Michael – Blu-ray Review

Michael is a 1996 American fantasy film that was directed by Nora Ephron. The film stars John Travolta as the Archangel Michael, who is sent to Earth to do various tasks, including mending some wounded hearts. The cast also includes Andie MacDowell, William Hurt, Bob Hoskins, Joey Lauren Adams, and Robert Pastorelli as people who cross paths with Michael.

The original music score was composed by Randy Newman. The dance scene and other location shots were filmed at the community center of Holy Trinity Catholic Church in Cornhill, Texas, and on country roads near Walburg, Texas, as well as at Texas’ Gruene Hall.

Contrary to popular depictions of angels, Michael is portrayed as a boozing, smoking slop that is yet to be capable of imparting unexpected wisdom. Professor Christopher R. Miller compared the depiction of angels in Michael to John Milton’s in Paradise Lost. Milton presented angels as “six-winged shapeshifters who patrol the galaxy, leaving a vapor trail of heavenly fragrance in their wake.” Miller also notes that Michael is portrayed as warring on Lucifer with shields resembling “two broad suns,” and credits Michael with referencing this particular mythology.

The Film Itself (4/5):

Michael is a romantic comedy that, while I’m admitting this, I’ve really enjoyed with the handful of viewings I’ve had the pleasure of sitting down to. Definitely being a product of its time, the story and presentation overall still manages to hold up after all of these years.

Picture Quality (5/5):

This particular release from Warner Archive takes the original 1997 pan and scan DVD release and fixes ALL of the problems that were there in the earlier release, and improving the copy of the film significantly. Michael is being sold with the note that it’s featuring a new master of the film. Overall, the Blu-ray is extremely clean, crisp and does a great job at presenting itself in a very similar manner that I felt when this movie had originally came out.

Audio Quality (4.5/5):

Bundled with an English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 mix, the Blu-ray release of Michael breathes new life into this timeless classic from the 90s. The dialogue is spoken cleanly, and the musical accompaniment sounds full and open to swallow you into the movie There was a minor issue in that the rear channels of my setup weren’t used too much; but the movie as a whole doesn’t call for a lot of surround effects and I feel that was appropriately used. As I watched along, everything went smooth, the transitions from channel to channel were effortless and I had no issues in hearing what was going on and I didn’t have any need to adjust the volume levels as it progressed.

The Packaging (3/5):

The Blu-ray release of Michael is made available in your standard single-disc amaray case. In that case is the Blu-ray copy of the movie. There are no DVD copies nor are there any digital copy redemption pamphlets. There is no slipcover available with this release. The art that’s been made available on the disc matches the art that’s there on the front of the case.

Special Features (1/5):

As you would anticipate with Michael being made available from Warner Archive, this release is considerably lacking in terms of supplemental content. As much as I would have loved to have seen more material included, I can’t really complain too much as this is pretty much the norm when it comes to this distributor. It isn’t necessarily a bad thing as they still put in significant amounts of effort in the restoration processes; but, I can guarantee some folks aren’t going to be too happy about this. Included with this release is:

  • Theatrical Trailer

Technical Specs:


Codec: MPEG-4 AVC (34.99 Mbps)

Resolution: 1080p

Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1

Original Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1


English: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 (48kHz, 24-bit)


English SDH


Original Film: 105 Minutes

Final Thoughts:

I was genuinely surprised to see Michael getting the Blu-ray treatment. It’s a movie that I’d nearly forgotten about and it was great to really sit down with this and re-visit a movie that I hadn’t seen since I was a kid. The video and audio presentations of the Blu-ray release are spectacular and offer an extremely cleaner look into the story at hand. The release as a whole is severely lacking in terms of bonus features; but at this point, I don’t expect much in terms of supplements from Warner Archive, so I can’t really get too upset. If you’re looking to check this release out for your collection, I would definitely recommend picking it up. Michael is available on Blu-ray today.