Black Rainbow appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 1.85:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. I don’t expect much from late 80s movies, but Rainbow looked fairly good.
Overall sharpness worked fine, as the majority of the movie offered nice delineation. Occasional shots felt a bit soft – and not always for logical reasons - but most of the flick seemed well-defined.
I saw no issues with jagged edges or moiré effects, and the image lacked edge haloes. The movie came with a nice sense of light grain and kept print flaws minimal, as I noticed a handful of small specks and nothing more.
Colors tended toward a mix of natural tones, and the Blu-ray replicated them well. This meant the hues appeared full, albeit on the amber or green side to suit the material.
Blacks seemed dark and dense, while shadows were largely appealing, though a few low-light shots seemed a bit thick. Overall, the visuals worked mostly well.
As for the film’s DTS-HD MA 5.1 soundtrack, it seemed fine but not memorable. The soundscape lacked much breadth, as it often leaned toward monaural.
Music showed pretty solid stereo imagery, but effects remained restrained. Ambient elements spread to the sides but other components felt more centered.
For instance, a moving train stayed stuck in the middle and lacked the expected sense of dimensionality. A few shots opened up a bit, but the focus remained largely centered, and surround usage was nearly non-existent.
Audio quality seemed fine. A few lines sounded a little stiff, but most of the dialogue was natural and concise.
Effects fit in with the track well, as those elements appeared accurate and well-defined. Music fared best of all, so the movie’s score appeared warm and rich. This wasn’t a slam-bang soundtrack, but it was satisfactory.
When we head to extras, we find two separate audio commentaries. The first comes from writer/director Mike Hodges, as he provides a running, screen-specific look at the project’s origins, story and characters, cast and performances, sets and locations, music, photography and other elements.
For the movie’s first half, Hodges delivers a mostly good look at the film. He rants a little too much about social areas that don’t really connect to the flick, but he still brings a useful examination of production areas.
Unfortunately, Hodges tends to fade during the film’s second half. While we still get some decent info, he goes AWOL too often, so this becomes a spotty chat.
For the second commentary, we hear from film writers Kat Ellinger and Samm Deighan. Both sit together for this running, screen-specific discussion of Both sit together for this running, screen-specific look at story/characters, genre areas, cast and performances, locations, themes and interpretation, and connections to other films.
Though they occasionally get into nuts and bolts aspects of the production, Deighan and Ellinger instead concentrate on more introspective areas. They do a good job of this and deliver a fairly rich view of the film, even if I don’t always agree with their assessments.
Called Message in a Bottle, a “making of” featurette runs 19 minutes, 19 seconds. It brings notes from Hodges and producer John Quested
“Bottle” looks at the project’s origins and development, story/characters, cast and performers, themes and some production elements. Given that only two people appear here and Hodges dominates, “Bottle” repeats a fair amount of info from the commentary. It’s not a bad program but it lacks the perspective one expects from a “making of” show.
Archival Interviews breaks into three domains: “Jason Robards” (2:23), “Rosanna Arquette” (2:17) and “Tom Hulce” (2:22). We also get a little from Quested.
They tell us a little about the characters and involvement, but we mostly see movie snippets in these promotional reels.
In addition to the film’s trailer, we conclude with four Archival Featurettes: “8 Minutes” (8:22), “Disasters” (2:12), “Seeing the Future” (2:19) and “Behind the Rainbow” (20:32). Across these, we hear from Hodges, Arquette, Quested, Robards, Hulce,
and co-producer Geoffrey Helman.
These reels examine story/characters, cast and performances, themes, sets and locations, and a few other production topics.
Though we get some new material, much of this repeats from the other programs. “Behind” is semi-worthwhile, though, so if you don’t want to watch all the disc’s featurettes, go with it as the best of the bunch.
With a potentially clever plot, Black Rainbow comes with the potential to create an engaging supernatural thriller. Instead, it wallows in melodrama and cheap plot twists. The Blu-ray comes with mostly good picture and audio as well as an erratic but sometimes useful array of bonus materials. Rainbow squanders its strengths to deliver a disappointment.