John & Yoko: Above Us Only Sky appears in an aspect ratio of 1.78:1 on this Blu-ray Disc – mostly. We also get a fair amount of 1.33:1 material along the way, so expect mixed aspect ratios.
Like any program that mixes archival and new footage, picture quality varied. As always, I viewed the old material and the new shots with different expectations, and the archival stuff jumped all over the place.
It could look pretty good at times, but we also got some messy, clips. I didn’t have any real problems with those, however, as I figured they were about as good as we could get.
In any case, the flaws of the old bits didn’t interfere with my enjoyment of the program. They blended just fine and didn’t cause distractions.
Overall, the new footage offered nice visuals. Sharpness was quite good, as virtually no softness impacted on the new footage.
Those elements appeared concise and accurate. Colors were reasonably natural, and no notable defects affected the new footage.
Blacks and shadows followed suit, as they seemed perfectly positive. Overall, the visuals were solid given the program’s parameters.
As for the DTS-HD MA 5.1 soundtrack of Sky, its reliance on music made it a little livelier than I’d expect from a documentary. Songs were a constant companion, and they spread to the side and rear speakers. Stereo delineation was positive and the overall soundfield seemed acceptable.
Audio quality was solid. The new interview comments sounded just fine, as they offered perfectly acceptable clarity. No issues with edginess or intelligibility occurred, as they provided warm and natural tones.
Music also demonstrated good range and definition, while the rare effects appeared decent. This mix did enough right to earn a “B-“.
A few bonus materials appear, and we get three related to music. These include raw takes (7:14) of “How Do You Sleep?”, a raw studio mix (3:19) of “Oh My Love” and a version of “Oh Yoko!” from Bahamas 1969 (4:25).
“Sleep?” and “Love” come with footage from the Imagine sessions, while “Yoko!” shows film of John and Yoko while he works through the song. All three are terrific – I’d love to get all the footage of this sort that exists.
A Conversation with Chris Claudio spans seven minutes, 56 seconds. Claudio is the stalker who pops up at John and Yoko’s house, and we see parts of his interaction with them in Sky.
“Conversation” brings a longer version of this. It’s good to check out the extended take of this foreboding event.
Finally, the package includes a booklet. It mixes credits and photos to become a minor addition.
When it concentrates on archival materials, John & Yoko: Above Us Only Sky delights. Unfortunately, the documentary lacks much focus and comes with too little cinematic space to become a satisfying examination of the subject matter. The Blu-ray brings adequate picture and audio as well as a few bonus materials. The clips from the 1970s make this one worthwhile but I’d like to see a much longer version.