The 2009 documentary "Objectified" hits the Blu-ray shelves via a single-disc package. This is the second entry to the Gary Hustwit design trilogy, which also includes "Helvetica" and "Urbanized." This middle venture focuses on people's complex relationship with manufactured goods and how this impacts their lives. It brings the subject closer to home by examining the processes that go into making different objects. It takes an intimate look at the value of industrial design and the creativity, identity, personal expression, consumerism, and sustainability behind producing the many things that people see and use everyday.
Given the design-centric subject of the documentary, the shots deliver very clean visual aesthetics with the predominance of whites and grays. A number of elegant-looking objects are seen in between talking heads of people situated in minimalist and economic working spaces. The picture generally looks unaltered with no stylization, which renders a rmore realistic look at the images.
Although colors are not as deep and vivid as those seen in more glossy productions, visual elements remain well-detailed with suitably deep blacks. Some overblown highlights are a bit noticeable, but not to the point of annoyance. Digital noise and artifacts are kept to a minimum.
The disc provides a simple five-channel lossless track, along with a stereo mixdown alternative. The master soundtrack does its job for such a straightforward documentary that is almost entirely made of interviews. As a dialogue-driven offering, the mix is filled with in-depth conversations supported by a buoyant and modestly involving soundfield. Its judicious use of music compliments the speaking lines and the subtle ambience heard in between channels.
After watching the main feature, an hour worth of comprehensive interviews of a number of designers await as the disc's supplemental materials. These videos can be played according to preference from the Blu-ray's floating menu. They can also be played automatically after the film's closing credits.
"Objectified" is a probing documentary that is both educational and entertaining to viewers with interest in industrial design and its influences. It works as a decent primer to what goes into the objects people use and throw away everyday and how much thought goes into making them. It interestingly presents and discusses the behind-the-scene work on conceptualizing, planning, and creating various products. It is filled with good insights about things that consumers often take for granted -- simply because they have always been right in front of them all along.