Mamma Mia! appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 2.40:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. This was a solid transfer.
Sharpness appeared accurate and detailed. A smidgen of softness popped up in some wide shots, but not to a substantial degree. Most of the movie appeared clear and appropriately focused. Moiré effects and jagged edges presented no concerns, and edge haloes remained absent. No print flaws materialized; the film remained clean and fresh.
In terms of colors, the flick went with a whole lot of teal and orange – especially teal. Within its parameters, the tones looked fine. Blacks were dark and firm, while shadows appeared clear and well-developed. The image seemed very good.
As for the film’s DTS-HD MA 5.1 soundtrack, it offered a functional effort and that was all. Of course, I didn’t expect a dazzling soundfield from this sort of musical, and I got exactly what I anticipated. In terms of effects, general ambience ruled the day. Surround usage stayed limited; the back speakers gently fleshed out various settings but did no more than that.
In those forward channels, the music provided nice stereo separation and opened up the mix reasonably well. There wasn’t a whole lot of activity or movement, but the effects conveyed a passable sense of space and place. Surround bolstered the music in a decent manner. The track functioned appropriately for the story.
Audio quality appeared fine. Dialogue was consistently warm and natural, and speech displayed no concerns related to edginess or intelligibility. Effects were a minor component of the mix, and they seemed appropriately subdued and accurate; there wasn’t much to hear, but the various elements were clean and distinct. The music came across as acceptably distinctive. This became a decent reproduction of the material.
How did the Blu-ray compare to the DVD version? Audio showed a little more oomph, while visuals seemed clearer and more accurate. The Blu-ray offered the expected upgrade.
The Blu-ray offers most of the DVD’s extras and adds a new one. We open with an audio commentary from director Phyllida Lloyd. She provides a running, screen-specific chat that looks at cast and performances, the adaptation of the stage musical, music and choreography, sets and locations, cinematography, production design, and a few other subjects.
While I don’t care for her movie, I think Lloyd provides a strong examination of the production. She covers virtually all of the appropriate topics and does so in an engaging manner. I’d have liked to learn more about what it was like to shift from the stage to the screen, but I can’t complain, as I think Lloyd offers a lot of good info here.
A Deleted Musical Number runs three minutes, two seconds. “The Name of the Game” comes during Sophie’s chat with Bill to figure out if he’s her dad. I don’t know why they cut it; it’s no worse than anything in the final flick.
In addition to the standard movie presentation, we can watch it in Sing-Along Mode. The film actually ran theatrically with this feature. It simply runs lyrics at the bottom of the screen; the big block capital letters change from blue to yellow as the songs progress.
If I actually wanted to croon along with the movie, I’d prefer the standard subtitles; they’re less ugly. Note that the “Sing-Along” is available in English, Spanish and French.
Five Deleted Scenes last a total of eight minutes, six seconds. We find longer introductions to the three potential fathers, a sequence in which Sophie badgers Sky to follow her will, more of the Dynamos arrival, an extension to “Lay All Your Love On Me”, and a bit more to the potential romance between Bill and Rosie. These are pretty minor scenes, though fans will enjoy them, I suppose.
One annoyance: the disc presents the scenes in a way that makes them all blend into each other. At times it becomes tough to tell when one ends and the next begins. Would it have killed the disc’s producers to leave a second or two of black screen to separate the clips?
One minute and 33 seconds of Outtakes arrive next. Don’t expect more than the standard goofs and giggles. This short reel doesn’t give us much of interest.
After this we locate six featurettes. The Making of Mamma Mia! goes for 24 minutes, five seconds as it provides notes from Lloyd, producer/creator Judy Craymer, producer Gary Goetzman, lyricist/executive producer Bjorn Ulvaeus, screenwriter Catherine Johnson, composer/executive producer Benny Anderson, music director Martin Lowe, choreographer Anthony Van Laast, executive producer Mark Huffam, production designer Maria Djurkovic, and actors Meryl Streep, Stellan Skarsgård, Pierce Brosnan, Christine Baranski, Colin Firth, and Dominic Cooper.
“Making” looks at the adaptation of the stage production, Lloyd’s direction, aspects of the flick’s music and choreography, sets and locations, and cast and performances. Here we find a fairly fluffy look at the film. We already learn much of the info from Lloyd’s commentary, so don’t expect many new details. The addition of some behind the scenes elements makes the show more worthwhile, but it remains pretty mediocre.
For the five-minute, 42-second Anatomy of a Musical Number, we hear from Lloyd, Cooper, Lowe, Seyfried, and Van Laast. “Anatomy” looks at “Lay All Your Love On Me”, as it digs into various aspects of that tune’s presentation. It does a good job of this, as it provides a nice little recap.
Becoming a Singer goes for 10 minutes, 55 seconds and features Lloyd, Andersson, Streep, Goetzman, Ulvaeus, Lowe, Baranski, Skarsgård, Craymer, Brosnan, Firth, Seyfried, and Huffam. The featurette looks at issues related to the music, with an emphasis on turning the actors into vocalists. Through the piece, we get good glimpses of the recording sessions and other background elements. Those allow this to become an interesting piece.
Lastly, A Look Inside Mamma Mia! runs two minutes, 40 seconds as it shows Brosnan, Streep, Baranski, Craymer, Andersson, Ulvaeus, Seyfried, Lloyd, and Goetzman. This is a basic promotional featurette and nothing more, so don’t expect any substance. It is the only place here where we see shots of ABBA and of the original stage production.
Next comes a Music Video for “Gimme! Gimme! Gimme! (A Man After Midnight)”. Essentially a vehicle for Seyfried, it mixes shots of her in the studio and on some locations with movie clips. Seyfried remains pretty hot, but this is a dull excuse for a video.
The extras end with a Bjorn Ulvaeus Cameo. The one-minute, 35-second clip offers a specific look at the ABBA composer’s brief appearance in the film. It’s a nice way to isolate him since he passes by pretty quickly in the flick.
Exclusive to the Blu-ray, U-Control splits into two areas “Behind the Hits” offers text pop-ups that arise for the movie’s songs. These tell us basics about the tunes and the albums on which they appeared. The info seems decent, but the format bites because the windows take up too much of the screen – it becomes impossible to inspect the nuggets and watch the movie at the same time.
“Picture-in-Picture” mixes behind the scenes footage and interviews. We hear from Goetzman, Craymer, Lloyd, Streep, Lowe, Baranski, Brosnan, Seyfried, Van Laast, Johnson, Djurkovich, Huffam, Firth, Skarsgård, executive producer Rita Wilson and actor Julie Walters. The comments discuss the movie’s viewpoint/themes, cast and performances, songs, singing and choreography, and locations. On their own, the “PiP” clips work fine, but they tend to repeat info from prior sources. That makes this a mediocre addition to the disc.