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Sure, a lot of critics had a field day ripping into MAMMA MIA! THE MOVIE ($40), but this musical romantic comedy is a 100% pure; toe tapping, sing-a-long crowd pleaser. Adapted from the popular stage show that built a story around the songs of Swedish pop group ABBA, MAMMA MIA! THE MOVIE delivers a ton of winning entertainment value that translated into over a half a billion dollars worldwide at the boxoffice. As the dollar figures would attest, moviegoers paid no heed to the critics and went to see MAMMA MIA! THE MOVIE by the droves. The infectious, entertaining quality of the movie comes not only from the solid foundation of ABBA songs, but a terrific cast who are obviously having a blast singing their hearts out. None of the major actors in the film are notable for their singing prowess, but I give them all the credit in the world for tackling the material. Meryl Streep is such a delight in this film and sings with such an exuberant sense of joy that this performance ranks amongst my favorites from the actress. As for Pierce Brosnan, he seems to have taken the biggest drubbing from the critics, but I think his performance suited the material very well, even if he isnít a professionally trained singer.

Set on the Greek island of Skopelos, the premise of MAMMA MIA! is built around the pending marriage of Sophie (Amanda Seyfried) to Sky (Dominic Cooper). Sophieís mother Donna Sheridan (Meryl Streep) runs a small hotel on the island, where the wedding is about to take place and Sophie has something of a surprise planned for her mother. After discovering her motherís diary, Sophie sent wedding invitations to Sam Carmichael (Pierce Brosnan), Bill Anderson (Stellan Skarsgard), and Harry Bright (Colin Firth)- during a very short period of time before Sophie was born, all three men were involved with Donna, indicating that one of them is her unknown father. Hoping to finally discover just who her father is, Sophie intends to spend time with all three men before her wedding. Donna, on the other hand, is having another pre-wedding reunion with her old friends Rosie (Julie Walters) and Tanya (Christine Baranski), unaware that her former suitors are coming to the island. As expected, all the comic and romantic implications of the story play out between musical interludes.

Universal Studios Home Entertainment has made MAMMA MIA! THE MOVIE available on Blu-ray Disc in a 2.35:1 aspect ratio presentation that has been encoded onto the disc with the VC-1 codec. The 1080p presentation is gorgeous; perfectly rendering the candy colored confection. Clarity, dimensionality and detail are all pretty wonderful, especially for the on location photography, which make the ocean and shoreline absolutely sparkle. The level of fine detail, as well as the texturing of the costumes and sets also gets high marks. Color reproduction is excellent, with the vivid hues coming across perfectly. Blacks are deep, whites are crisp and clean, plus the picture produces smooth contrast and a healthy dose of shadow detail. The elements from which MAMMA MIA! THE MOVIE has been mastered demonstrate virtually no imperfections. A fine sheen of grain is noticeable throughout, which reminds one that they are watching a movie, instead of a video.

MAMMA MIA! THE MOVIE is presented on Blu-ray Disc with a 5.1 channel DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack. Certainly not the most aggressively mixed track out there, MAMMA MIA! THE MOVIE sounds wonderful, as the sound design builds on the strengths of the material. When the cast isnít bursting into song, MAMMA MIA! THE MOVIE is a fairly talky affair with much of the sound localized front and center. During the musical passages, the sound bursts from all the channels and pulls the audience into each song and making them want to sing-a-long. Fidelity is marvelous thanks to the lossless encoding, so one will naturally want to crank the track all the way up. Voices have a warm, natural quality, plus the filmís dialogue is always completely understandable. French and Spanish DTS 5.1 channel tracks are also encoded onto the disc, as are English, French and Spanish subtitles.

Full motion video, animation and sound serve to enhance the disc's interactive menus. Through the menus, one has access to standard scene selection and set up features, as well as some nice supplements. Starting things off is a running Audio Commentary with director Phyllida Lloyd. What may be the most popular supplement is the ability to play the movie with the Sing-A-Long enabled, which brinks up the lyrics on the screen Karaoke fashion. Universal's U-Control interface is utilized for an interactive version of the movie that provides in context picture-in-picture, pop-up supplements (requires a Profile 1.1 player).

Featurettes include The Making Of Mamma Mia! (twenty-four minutes), Anatomy Of A Musical Number: Lay All Your Love On Me (six minutes), Becoming A Singer (eleven minutes) and A Look Inside Mamma Mia! (three minutes).. Deleted Scenes, the Deleted Musical Number: The Name Of The Game, a Music Video for Gimme! Gimme! Gimme! and a Bjorn Ulvaeus Cameo close of the standard video based supplements.

As I stated above, MAMMA MIA! THE MOVIE is a sure fired crowd pleaser. The Blu-ray Disc presentation is another absolute winner. Highly recommended.



Mamma Mia! The Movie [Blu-ray] (2008)


DVD & Blu-rayDisc reviews are Copyright © 2008 THE CINEMA LASER and may not be copied or reprinted without the written consent of the publisher.
THE CINEMA LASER is written, edited and published by Derek M. Germano.



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