In a film about the life and career of a musical icon that is blind, there is perhaps no aspect more important than sound quality. Thats why the new Blu-ray version of Taylor Hackfords film, Ray, starring Jamie Foxx, is a must-see. The life of music icon Ray Charles is brought to life in magnificent audio and visual clarity.
The musical performances, some of which are new to this release, are all unique. The jazz bar environment is brought to the viewer in a way that is clear and vivid. The brass from the trumpets and saxophones gleams, beads of sweat are visible percolating on the musicians faces, smoke fills the air and every footstep or movement on stage can be heard.
The recording sessions in the film are very elaborate in the Blu-ray edition, creating a sense of being right there in the studio as small details (like the hum of the microphone and the crispness of the instruments) are captured. One of the best performance scenes involves a full symphony, as Ray record the hit, Georgia On My Mind.
The high-quality audio of Blu-ray makes it easy for viewers to appreciate the scenes in which Ray uses his ears as his guide. One scene that sticks out is when Ray is thinking back to his childhood shortly after he became blind. The young Ray trips and falls running in the house and calls for his mother (Sharon Warren) to help direct him. When she ignores him, he begins to tap into his sense of hearing as a means of navigation. The scene becomes deathly quiet, to the point where the minutest sounds can be heard birds flying outside, the crackling of the fire, a bug crawling on the floor. Eventually, he's able to tell exactly where his mother is standing. As a viewer, one has the feeling of being right in the middle of what's taking place. It's a cool effect.
Also included in this edition are 14 deleted scenes not seen in theaters, additional live performance (a primary feature of the new release), and behind the scenes commentary from director Taylor Hackford. In addition, the Blu-ray provides a deep look into the Jamie Foxx's preparation for the film, even including a jam session between Foxx and the real Ray Charles. All in all, Ray is a worthwhile addition to any movie fan's Blu-ray collection, and a must-have for fans of the music of Ray Charles.