Zola appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 1.85:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. Shot on Super 16mm, Zola suffered from the stock’s limitations.
Many of the concerns stemmed from iffy definition. Close-ups looked good, and most wider exteriors showed decent detail. However, these elements lacked great delineation and could veer toward the mushy side.
I noticed no issues with jagged edges or shimmering, and edge haloes failed to manifest themselves. Print flaws didn’t become an issue.
In terms of colors, Zola often opted for garish reds, pinks, blues and greens. These tended to look heavy and overdone, also related to the stock.
Blacks were reasonably deep and dense, while shadows were acceptable. They could be a little murky, but that wasn’t a serious issue. Given lowered expectations that related to Super16, this seemed like an adequate presentation.
Better results came from the movie’s DTS-HD MA 5.1 soundtrack, as it used the spectrum in a fairly involving manner. Music became the most active component, as score and songs filled the various channels well. Effects got less to do but they added useful information as appropriate.
Audio quality worked fine. Dialogue felt reasonably natural and concise, without edginess or other issues.
Music showed nice range and impact, as the various songs and score packed a good sense of dynamics. Effects appeared accurate and tight. This turned into a fairly satisfying soundtrack for a character tale.
A few extras fill out the disc, and we get an audio commentary from writer/director Janicza Bravo and editor Joi McMillon. Both sit together for this running, screen-specific look at story, characters and themes, cast and performances, sets and locations, music, editing, photography and connected topics.
Bravo and McMillon offer an erratic commentary, one dominated by the director. While the editor chimes in with occasional insights, she mostly just giggles.
At times, Bravo gives us some useful material, but the track comes with a surprising amount of empty spaces given the film's brevity. Bravo also hardly ever reflects on the adaptation of the source tweets, and I would guess that these two issues overlap.
Because the commentary remains chatty the rest of the time, I suspect that the legal department caused the gaps. I would imagine that Bravo and McMillon delved into topics related to the real events that might not have been kosher in terms of how the actual people involved would react and these potentially controversial elements got the boot.
Or maybe Bravo and McMillon just went silent a lot of the time - the thoughts above simply offer my guess. Whatever the case, this becomes a spotty and disappointing track, as I really did hope to get more information about the challenges related to the translation of tweets to a screenplay.
Y’all Wanna Hear a Story runs 12 minutes, 37 seconds and brings notes from Bravo, executive producer A’Ziah “Zola” King, and actors Taylour Paige, Colman Domingo, Riley Keough and Nicholas Braun
“Wanna” covers the source tweets and their adaptation, Bravo’s approach to the film, cast and performances, and visual design. We get too much happy talk here, but “Wanna” packs a few good details, especially from the actors.
Five Deleted Scenes span a total of five minutes, 37 seconds. These mostly offer expositional filler.
We do get one intriguing clip in which we see how Stefani ran the same scam with women other than Zola, and another shows that Stefani cares less about her daughter than she claims. The weirdest focuses on a bunch of people we never see again, so it feels like a weird choice.
We can watch the deleted scenes with or without commentary from Bravo and McMillon. They deliver notes about the sequences and why the clips got cut.
Should one expect a coherent movie based on tweets? Apparently not, as Zola becomes little more than a loose collection of zany scenes without much insight or purpose. The Blu-ray gives us acceptable picture and audio along with a decent array of bonus materials. Some aspects of Zola show potential, but the end result goes nowhere.