Sony Pictures Home Entertainment brings the Netflix Original Movie El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie to Blu-ray, loaded with fan-friendly special features exclusive to this disc release.
The Production: 3/5
When the TV series Breaking Bad ended its five season run on AMC, it wrapped up its storyline with most of its subplots and character arcs fulfilled. I won’t go into spoilers, but the only real thread left partially dangling was what happened to Jesse Pinkman (Aaron Paul) after he escaped from his neo-Nazi captors. El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie answers that question, but also acts as a “reunion” movie bringing back many of the series regulars either in newly created flashbacks or interacting with Jesse in the present. Unfortunately, that is really all this movie is – Jesse trying to scrape together enough money to plan his escape to a new life while eluding police and dealing with his PTSD that triggers flashbacks to scenes that were not included in the series Breaking Bad. The bulk of those PTSD-induced flashbacks involves assisting captor Todd (Jesse Plemons) in cleaning up after his messes, such as disposing of Todd’s housekeeper.
The film has some fine performances, especially Robert Forster (in one of his last roles) as Ed, the only guy that can help Jesse with a new identity and across the border. Writer-director (and series creator) Vince Gilligan gives the fans what they want. The problem is that Gilligan does not really give the fans anything more than just that, and although it is nice to see what happened to Jesse, it really isn’t necessary nor all that compelling.
3D Rating: NA
El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie was captured at 6.5k resolution on Arri Alexa 65 cameras (for the most part), and completed as a 4K digital intermediate in the 2.39:1 aspect ratio. The movie was a co-production between AMC Networks, Sony Pictures Television, and Netflix, with Netflix getting the right to premiere the movie on its service (in 4K) before airing on AMC and Sony releasing on physical media. One year later, and now Sony has released El Camino on Blu-ray. The 1080p AVC-encoded transfer does the film justice, retaining much of the detail and color stylings found on the Netflix 4K HDR stream, but to a slightly lesser degree.
Sticking with Sony’s policy regarding audio formats on Blu-ray, El Camino is presented with a standard DTS-HD MA 5.1 audio mix, nixing the Dolby Atmos track found on the Netflix 4K stream (provided you have a device that actually supports the service’s version of Atmos). This is still a very good track, with solid use of surrounds, consistent clarity, LFE support for gunshots, and clear dialogue. It just lacks the immersion factor that Atmos can provide.
Special Features: 4/5
It is the special features that may be the key selling point for fans to purchase this disc, particularly the two audio commentary tracks. This edition comes in a limited edition steelbook.
Making “El Camino” (1080p; 28:28): The cast and crew discuss reuniting for this movie, which was made very quickly and covertly in New Mexico.
Deleted & Extended Scenes (1080p; 16:39): Seven scenes are included.
Gag Reel (1080p; 6:18)
Storyboard Breakdowns (1080p; 22:48): Writer-Director Vince Gilligan walks us through three key scenes from the movie.
Promotional Materials (1080p; 11:16): Includes Snow Globe: A Breaking Bad Short, Skinny Pete in the Box, On the Radio, Rocker Salvage Commercial, Vamonos Pest Commercial, “Enchanted” by Chloe x Halle, and Theatrical Trailer.
Rodeo FX (1080p; 2:49): A very brief glimpse at the visual effects, including a VFX Breakdown which is essentially a demo reel from the effects company, and Kandy Welding CGI which is the raw computer generated explosion of the Kandy Welding building.
Audio Commentary with Vince Gilligan and Aaron Paul: The two discuss many aspects of making the film.
Super-Commentary!: Nearly 50 different members of the cast and crew chime in abut their experiences on the movie and series, with Jonathan Banks (Mike) leading things off.
I was never a rabid fan of the series Breaking Bad, and found the follow-up movie El Camino to be more of a curiosity piece for me. The movie has been available on Netflix (in 4K and Dolby Atmos) for over a year now, but this Blu-ray release will likely please fans with its Special Features and allows those completists to include his movie on their shelf with the complete series.
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