Aria appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 1.78:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. Due to the wide mix of directors featured here, the quality of the different segments varied, but the picture generally seemed subpar.
Sharpness offered one of the many up and down elements. Most of the movie offered acceptable delineation but nothing better than that, as the movie lacked great clarity. Much of the time, the image tended to seem a little soft.
I saw no jaggies or shimmering, and edge haloes remained absent. Print flaws turned into a consistent distraction, as various marks popped up throughout the film. While never overwhelming, small specks and nicks could be seen on a frequent basis.
With the wide mix of directors, Aria offered radically varying colors, and these tended to seem somewhat flat. Colors occasionally looked fairly peppy, but they appeared somewhat dull and bland much of the time.
Blacks followed suit, as those elements came across as a little faded and without great depth. Shadows seemed to passable, though the lack of darkness for the blacks made them look too bright. Aria came with a watchable image but not a good one.
I thought the PCM stereo soundtrack of Aria worked acceptably well. Obviously, the soundfield mainly dealt with the music, and the score showed good imaging across the speakers.
Effects also cropped up at times, and the track created a positive sense of ambience. Elements came across as neatly localized and they moved smoothly across the channels. Because music so heavily dominated the piece, the soundfield remained modest in scope, but it appeared fine for the material.
Audio quality seemed fairly solid. Dialogue and effects appeared infrequently and provided small parts of the track. Both of those elements seemed acceptably distinct and accurate, but they didn’t stand out in any particular way.
Music generally appeared reasonably good. Highs came across as bright and vivid, but low-end seemed a little flat. The music demonstrated decent bass, but I felt that domain should have been stronger. Nonetheless, the soundtrack to Aria remained adequate for this film.
How did the Blu-ray compare to the DVD from 2002? The DVD came with a 5.1 remix that went absent here. I didn’t mind this, as the 5.1 version added little beyond what we get from stereo anyway; the surrounds contributed fairly minor information, so I’m fine with the stereo track. The PCM audio showed a little more range and clarity compared to the old Dolby Digital version.
Visuals didn’t do much to improve on the DVD. We might’ve gotten a little better definition but the general lack of clarity meant any changes were minor. I believe the Blu-ray came with more print flaws than the largely clean DVD as well. I don’t view the Blu-ray as an obvious step up from the DVD.
Only minor extras fill out set Blu-ray. We get a Photo Gallery that includes 10 picture montages based on the movie’s directors. This means collections for “Nicolas Roeg” (2:22), “Charles Sturridge” (1:22), “Jean-Luc Godard” (1:47), “Julien Temple” (1:42), “Bruce Beresford” (1:42), “Robert Altman” (2:37), “Franc Roddam” (2:12), “Ken Russell” (1:42), “Derek Jarman” (1:27) and “Bill Bryden” (2:57). The photos vary in quality but add up to a nice array of images.
The disc opens with an ad for Tanna. We also get the film’s trailer.
If you want to see something unusual, take a look at Aria. The movie contains 10 short films based on works of opera. While not all of them succeed, the project as a whole seems inventive and refreshing. The Blu-ray offered acceptable audio along with problematic visuals and very few supplements. While the movie intrigues, the Blu-ray disappoints due to its iffy picture quality.
To rate this film visit the original review of ARIA