Mamma Mia! (Blu-ray)

January 28, 2012 8 Min Read

Review by: Matt Brighton

Plot: What’s it about?

Perhaps it was that intoxicating ABBA music for the trailer or just the fact that I’d heard that Pierce Brosnan really couldn’t sing I’m not really sure what attracted me to “Mamma Mia!” but after my long wait, the Blu-ray finally hit home and I popped it in my player. “Mamma Mia!” is, of course, the big screen adaptation of the hit Broadway musical and with “Hairspray” being such a hit, it was only a matter of time before we started to see more of these Broadway shows hit the big screen. My mother has seen the show three times, my girlfriend once so suffice it to say that I would be seeing this movie whether I liked it or not (good thing I wanted to see it, though). And let us not forget the always great Meryl Streep who, literally, makes the movie work and it’s not for a lack of star-power, either. Oh and lest I forget ABBA, yes that Swedish band has had quite the comeback due to this show/movie and if you’ve ever wanted to hear their songs hacked up a bit, well this is your chance.

The plot of “Mamma Mia!” is painstakingly easy to digest and that’s good so we can focus on the beautiful scenery (more on that later), Pierce Brosnan’s singing and the constant jiggling of Amanda Seyfried’s chest. Sophie (Amanda Seyfried) and her mother (Meryl Streep) live on an island and run a bed and breakfast that seems to do well. Sophie is set to marry local beau (Dominic Cooper) though she’s grown up without a father. Add to that she doesn’t even know who her real father is and it’s causing her a bit of stress. So Sophie does what any normal girl would, she invites the three most likely culprits (her mother got around a bit, evidently) and invites them to her wedding hoping that one of the three will tell her that he’s her father. Is it that easy? Oh of course not! Along the way there’s plenty of singing, drinking and outright fun to fill a movie.

“Mamma Mia!” isn’t that bad of a movie and, in fact, it was one of the surprise hits of the summer. I’m sure the initial draw was those folks who’d seen the Broadway play and wanted to see the big screen version and I for one rather enjoyed it. As a fan of ABBA (a while ago), their songs have this way of getting into your system and you can’t help but sing along. Speaking of singing, yes Pierce Brosnan really is as bad as they say he was. Mr. Brosnan, you make a fine James Bond but you shouldn’t start a band anytime soon, ok? See it for the impressive visuals, see it for Amanda Seyfried’s tight outfits or see it for yet another great performance by Meryl Streep but this one deserves to be seen at least once.

Video: How does it look?

“Mamma Mia!” has one thing going for it in that it’s one of the more scenic films that has some of the most beautiful visuals I’ve seen. That being said, the 2.40:1 AVC HD transfer does a good job at re-creating the look on the small screen though the actors all look like they’ve spent a bit too much time in the sun. The deep blacks contrast nicely with the light blue waters, giving a very exotic look and feel to the movie. I noticed no noise, no artifacting and the detail level was amazing. Truly, when you think of a new to Blu-ray movie looking good, you should look no further. Now this isn’t a perfect transfer per se, but anyone wanting to show off how good a HD movie can look this might be a good place to start.

Audio: How does it sound?

Universal uses DTS HD Master Audio for their films and I have to admit that “Mamma Mia!” really packed a punch. Granted the film is a musical and what’s the point of a musical if you can’t have really great audio? Oh yeahthe whole Pierce Brosnan thing. Well, aside from that the soundtrack does pack quite the punch with at least something coming out of all speakers pretty much at every given moment during the film. Vocals are rock solid and we get a very generous sound stage coming from the fronts with the appropriate ambiance out of the surrounds to really give it a good 360 degree feel. Again, not the best soundtrack out there but far from the worst.

Supplements: What are the extras?

“Mamma Mia!” will be under a lot of Christmas trees this season I’m sure and Universal has given just the right amount of supplements to warrant a purchase. We start off with an audio commentary with director Phillydia Floyd gives us her comments on the movie and she’s obviously new to this. The track has many holes and we don’t get a lot of information about the shoot, but there are some interesting tidbits from time to time. Four featurettes give us way much more than we need to know that include the always-present “The Making of Mamma Mia!'”, though we do get a look at how some of the original members of ABBA were very involved with bringing the music to life in the film. We also get a look at one of the songs performed by Amanda Seyfried and Dominic Cooper as well as a brief look at the “phenomenon” of “Mamma Mia!” There are some deleted scenes as well as a music video of “Gimme! Gimme! Gimme!” But wait, there’s more! We get some Blu-ray exclusives with a picture-in-picture commentary track, “Behind the Hits” which lets you get everything you wanted to know about the music of ABBA (when the song is sung on-screen) as well a “My chat” which lets you discuss the movie with online friends and the ability to record your own commentary of the film if you are so equipped (“The Dark Knight” has this feature as well). The movie also includes a digital copy of the film.

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