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Mama (Blu-ray) Official AVSForum Review

post #1 of 25
Thread Starter 
700
The Review at a Glance: (max score: 5 )

Film: attachment.php?attachmentid=109943&d=1210373647

Extras: attachment.php?attachmentid=109944&d=1210373647

Audio/Video total rating:

( Max score: 100 )
87





Studio and Year: Universal - 2013
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Feature running time: 100 minutes
Genre: Horror

Disc Format: BD-50
Encoding: AVC (MPEG-4)
Video Aspect: 1.85:1
Resolution: 1080p/24


Audio Format(s): English DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio, Spanish DTS 5.1
Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish, French
Starring: Jessica Chastain, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, Megan Carpentier, Isabelle Nelisse, Daniel Kash
Directed by: Andy Muschiette
Music by: Fernando Velazquez
Written by: Andy Muschiette, Barbara Muschiette & Neil Cross
Region Code: A,B,C

Blu-ray Disc release Date: May 7, 2013







"A mother’s love is forever"


Film Synopsis:

MAMA is the haunting tale of two little girls who vanish without a trace from their suburban neighborhood the day that their parents were killed. But when the young sisters are found alive years later in a decrepit cabin, their uncle (Coster-Waldau) and his girlfriend, Annabel (Chastain), take them in. As they try to introduce the children to a normal life, Annabel begins to wonder if the traumatized girls are the only guests they have welcomed into their home or if someone or something still wants to come tuck them in at night.


My Take:

Mama revolves around two little girls, Victoria and Lily, whose father after committing a heinous crime, takes them and goes on the run. In an attempt to hide he stumbles upon an abandoned/dilapidated/remote cabin in the woods. Once inside it quickly becomes evident that they are not alone and soon the girls find themselves orphaned or do they? There is a dark presence/entity residing there that “looks after” the girls for five years. When they are found half starved and wild their paternal uncle and his girlfriend take them in hoping to re-assimilate them into normal life. Unfortunately it isn’t going to be that simple. The children, especially Lily, are having difficultly adapting to life away from the cabin. Victoria has nightmares, resists affectionate advances and seems to live in inexplicable fear. It isn’t long before her fears are realized as the dark presence won’t leave them and begins to target those it deems as a threat to Victoria and Lily.

As a fan of the genre as well as Jessica Chastain I looked forward to reviewing Mama on Blu-ray but the trailer didn’t urge me to check it out during its theatrical run. Seeing Guillermo Del Toro’s affiliation with it I figured it would be the type of film that would be both visually and eerily stimulating. The film is based on co-writer/director Andy Muschiette and co-writer/producer Barbara Muschiette’s 2008 Spanish language short film of the same name. There are some problems with both the premise and script. The story isn’t properly developed and among other things doesn’t provide enough tangible background on the entity although it does offer the reason why it “adopts” the girls. The idea of a spirit with predominantly good, although obviously misguided, intentions as the story’s ominous evil kind of makes it less effective as an antagonist.

Additionally character development for the main players is poor which essentially leaves you disconnected to them. Lastly, the elements of horror play out with fairly predicable results which water them down. That isn’t to say that there aren’t one or two decent jump scares but overall the film really just didn’t leave me thinking about it once it was over which I find is the mark of a good horror movie. As an aside I didn’t care for the Annabel/Jessica Chastain combination. The character is drawn as a tattoo covered gothic looking bass player in a hard rock band. That might be fine but the paring with JC didn’t physically work which proved to be a distraction for me although she played the role well enough. I will say that I watched the original short film from which Mama is derived and found it to be well done and effectively creepy.

It would probably be unfair to say that Mama is a bad film. It’s thematically moody enough to keep interest going but close attention to the storyline and character development leaves it feeling muddled and lacking in the kinds of chills that help it linger afterward.


Parental Guide:

The rating is for violence and terror, some disturbing images and thematic elements.



AUDIO/VIDEO - By The Numbers:
REFERENCE = 92-100 / EXCELLENT = 83-91 / GOOD = 74-82 / AVERAGE = 65-73 / BELOW AVERAGE = under 65

**My audio/video ratings are based upon a comparative made against other high definition media/blu-ray disc.**


Audio: 86

(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)


  • Dynamics: attachment.php?attachmentid=109947&d=1210373692

  • Low frequency extension: attachment.php?attachmentid=109945&d=1210373692

  • Surround Sound presentation: attachment.php?attachmentid=109946&d=1210373692

  • Clarity/Detail: attachment.php?attachmentid=109948&d=1210373692

  • Dialogue Reproduction: attachment.php?attachmentid=109947&d=1210373692



Video: 88

(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)


  • Resolution/Clarity: attachment.php?attachmentid=109947&d=1210373699

  • Black level/Shadow detail: attachment.php?attachmentid=109947&d=1210373699

  • Color reproduction: attachment.php?attachmentid=109946&d=1210373699

  • Fleshtones: attachment.php?attachmentid=109947&d=1210373699

  • Compression: attachment.php?attachmentid=109947&d=1210373699


Mama comes to Blu-ray Disc from Universal Studios HE featuring 1080p AVC encoded video that has an average bitrate of 28 Mbps and lossless DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio sound that has an average bitrate of 3.7 Mbps.

This film utilizes a dark and singular chromatic visual style that doesn’t lend itself to overly vibrant colors and high gloss video quality. There are instances where brighter elements/deeper color extension are utilized and the contrast allows them to pop visually. Otherwise onscreen images predominantly lean toward darker sepia tones and grittier textures that provide the look that the filmmakers use to drive the story’s components. This is done to good effect. Shadow delineation is quite good and revealing of subtle details within dark backgrounds and low lighting which enhances visual depth. Stable contrast and dynamic blacks allow scenes containing mixed content to appear gradationally satisfying with crisp whites and discernible dark highlights. Resolution is excellent as images are characterized by definitively rendered detail that gives the video appreciable dimension and delineated texture. This is the case in all but a few instances where definition softens and doesn’t retain the same level of lucidity.

The lossless DTS-HD Master Audio surround mix does an excellent job rendering the film’s soundtrack. Dialogue has excellent intonation and clarity which allows even subtle changes in vocal pitch to be appreciable. This is a well balanced audio presentation that quite often engages the entire system. Dynamic range is excellent and the soundstage has an open expression that allows its elements to extend well into the room. Discrete rear channel activity isn’t extensive however the elements of fright provide an enriching level of immersion generated by a seamless sound field. The LFE channel is frequently active and reproduces the film’s music and extended lower bass frequencies with palpably rich extension.



Bonus Features:

  • Feature commentary by co-writer/director Andy Muschietti & co-writer/producer Barbara Muschietti

  • (HD) Mama: Original short with introduction by Guillermo Del Toro & commentary by Andy & Barbara Muschietti – 4 minutes

  • (HD) 6 deleted scenes with optional commentary by Andy & Barbara Muschietti

  • (HD) The birth of Mama – 9 minute featurette

  • (HD) Matriarchal secrets: The visual effects of Mama – 6 minute featurette

  • Bonus DVD

  • Digital Copy

  • Ultraviolet Digital Copy

  • BD-Live enabled



Final Thoughts:

Mama is based on co-writer/director Andy Muschiette and co-writer/producer Barbara Muschiette’s 2008 Spanish language short film of the same name. It capably sets the thematic tone of the source material but its muddled storyline and underdeveloped characters rob it of hair raising chills and evocative horror. It comes to Blu-ray Disc from Universal Studios Home Entertainment featuring gratifying high definition audio/video and an above average supplement package that includes the original film short, deleted scenes and plenty of insightful information from the filmmakers. If you’re already a fan this is worth picking up otherwise going in with reserved expectations might make for a decent rental.




attachment.php?attachmentid=109949&d=1210373731






Ralph Potts
AVS Forum Blu-ray Reviews





Reference Review System:


JVC DLA-RS55 3D Ready 1080p High Definition Front Projector
(Calibrated with Calman 5 & C6 Meter from Spectracal)
Stewart Filmscreen - Studiotek 130 G3 100” 16x9 Screen
Marantz AV8801 11.2 Channel Audio/Video Processor
Sherbourn Technologies - 7/200 Seven Channel Amplifier
B&K Reference 200.7 Series 2 Seven Channel Amplifier
Oppo BDP-103 Universal Disc/3D capable Blu-ray Player (HDMI Audio/Video)
Panasonic DMP-BDT310 3D capable Blu-ray Player (HDMI Audio/Video)
Toshiba HD-XA2 HD DVD Player (HDMI Audio/Video)
Sony Playstation 3 Blu-ray disc Player (HDMI Audio/Video)
System Controller: Apple iPad/iRule Pro HD Universal Remote Control
Canton "Ergo" Series speakers
Axiom Audio QS8 Quadpolar speakers
SV Sound PB-13 Ultra (Rosenut finish)
APC AV S15BLK Power Conditioner/Surge Protector
Wireworld, Better Cables (Silver Serpent) - Audio/Video/Speaker Cabling
Cool Components - CP-CP102 cooling package
post #2 of 25
Another great review from the master. Sounds like the date flick I was searching for biggrin.gif
post #3 of 25
Great review Ralph! I never heard of this one but when I read the title " Mama" out loud to my wife, she responded "No way"!, that trailer creeped me out! I had to laugh, maybe I'll surprise her on Mother's Day with a rental!..
post #4 of 25
The wife and I saw this one in the theater becuase she loves horror movies. She was disappointed with it, not appreciating the special effects but rather wishing that "Mama" would have remained more of a mystery rather than overdone CGI. However, even now we jokingly call to each other using the words of the little girl, "Come, Mama". I rather enjoyed Jessica Chastain who did the best she could with the material.
post #5 of 25
Jessica Chastain was the only decent thing about this movie, everything else was terrible and I'm even not overly critical of films. Out of all of the movies I've seen in the theaters, I might have been most disappointed with this one.
post #6 of 25
Just warning you all-

This movie was visually good...but a total disaster of a story. When "Mama" exposed herself for the first time in the movie I burst out in laugher at the theatre....and I wasn't the only one laughing.
post #7 of 25
2.5 out of 5 doesn't sound all that good---was hoping for more, much more, from Del Toro, whose work I'm a fan of. Oh, well, I might see this some day... rolleyes.gif
post #8 of 25
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Taranteacher View Post

2.5 out of 5 doesn't sound all that good---was hoping for more, much more, from Del Toro, whose work I'm a fan of. Oh, well, I might see this some day... rolleyes.gif

Greetings,

TT, Del Toro just served as Executive Producer...


Regards,
post #9 of 25
I just watched the trailer on YouTube. I think I could live without seeing this one. I am going to judge this book by its cover since even the trailer bombed half way through...
post #10 of 25
Thanks for the review, Ralph! cool.gif

J Chastain is one of my most admired actresses, but I'm going to take your advice and stick with a rental on this at least for the first viewing.
post #11 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ralph Potts View Post

Greetings,

TT, Del Toro just served as Executive Producer...


Regards,

You're so right, sorry I missed that. "From the creator of Pan's Labyrinth"...misleading advertising indeed! eek.gif

Thanks, Ralph! wink.gif
post #12 of 25
I want to like this movie very much, alas it sucks big time with no scare, no creepiness, and mostly predictable scenes. frown.gif I wasted my time watching it.
post #13 of 25
I have to agree with Ralph on his rating of 2.5/5...this film is sort of middle-of-the-pack material. I was happy to see it once but have no real desire to add it to my collection.
post #14 of 25
I watched Mama last night and actually really enjoyed it (an iTunes rental). I think horror movies are definitely a genre where everyone has very specific tastes as to what they are looking for in the movie. In this case, I was very happy with this movie--the plot, the characters, the actors and story were all to my liking and what I want personally from a horror movie. One thing that usually draws me to certain horror movies are those that include child actors such as this one. I am always impressed at how young actors handle these difficult roles--and the roles in this movie were indeed both interesting and difficult. I may have to add this one to my collection when the price comes down. smile.gif I gave this 4/5 stars.
post #15 of 25
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by spiritfox View Post

I watched Mama last night and actually really enjoyed it (an iTunes rental). I think horror movies are definitely a genre where everyone has very specific tastes as to what they are looking for in the movie. In this case, I was very happy with this movie--the plot, the characters, the actors and story were all to my liking and what I want personally from a horror movie. One thing that usually draws me to certain horror movies are those that include child actors such as this one. I am always impressed at how young actors handle these difficult roles--and the roles in this movie were indeed both interesting and difficult. I may have to add this one to my collection when the price comes down. smile.gif I gave this 4/5 stars.

Greetings,

Thanks for sharing your thoughts Bob. I am glad you enjoyed this one... smile.gif


Regards,
post #16 of 25
I've got this one and Revenge for Jolly up for the weekend...thanks for the heads up, at least I'll know what I'm getting myself (and my wife wink.gif) into. Sounds like it will give us plenty to comment on during the movie!.
post #17 of 25
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Chewbacco View Post

I've got this one and Revenge for Jolly up for the weekend...thanks for the heads up, at least I'll know what I'm getting myself (and my wife wink.gif) into. Sounds like it will give us plenty to comment on during the movie!.

Greetings,

Enjoy Warren and be sure to post back afterward. smile.gif


Regards,
post #18 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ralph Potts View Post

Greetings,

Enjoy Warren and be sure to post back afterward. smile.gif


Regards,
Sadly, this was the best movie I saw this weekend. Even with the weak characters, monster plots holes, and the predictable cheap scares, at least it was somewhat entertaining. I did enjoy the audio and video presentation but I can't recommend this movie to anyone. Well, there's always next weekend. wink.gif.
post #19 of 25
Solid 5 stars here the wife and I loved it daughter as well, it may be the scariest movie I've seen wink.gif
post #20 of 25
I watched MAMA last night and it was just OK. Wish it did the suspense better and produced a better scare. I would put this in the low end of my scary movie mix, but it did have some potential. I thought it ended horribly.
post #21 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by herushan View Post

I watched MAMA last night and it was just OK. Wish it did the suspense better and produced a better scare. I would put this in the low end of my scary movie mix, but it did have some potential. I thought it ended horribly.

The ending had one hoping for the best but strayed away from the happy American ending and left one having to settle, as for the mix I'm not sure how your setup but I found it terrifying with near perfect timing of effects and that whaling voice she had unique and a bit unnerving at times. For me it took all of my favorite scary movies and took the best elements and added some. here's a few that come to mind

The Haunting

The Ring

The Grudge

The woman in Black

Overall wonderful vibe and excelled at terror wink.gif
post #22 of 25
Watched this the other night and it was just OK at best for me. The Ex watched it with me and was bored silly as she slept through a good chunk even with the sound cranked up to reference and the good dynamics. Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show)
I thought they showed MAMA WAY too much which took the suspense and fear factor out of the film for the most part
. The trailers made this film look better than it actually was unfortunately. I would agree with the poster a few posts up that the ending was terrible.

PQ was solid, but nothing special.

Audio was serviceable, but again nothing special. LFE was OK at best overall. Surround use was the highlight of the track with some fun moments.


Honestly, the best parts of this film involved the wiener dog and any time he made an appearance made me smile. Other than that, very forgettable all around and so glad I rented.
post #23 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by Toe View Post

Watched this the other night and it was just OK at best for me. The Ex watched it with me and was bored silly as she slept through a good chunk even with the sound cranked up to reference and the good dynamics. Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show)
I thought they showed MAMA WAY too much which took the suspense and fear factor out of the film for the most part
. The trailers made this film look better than it actually was unfortunately. I would agree with the poster a few posts up that the ending was terrible.

PQ was solid, but nothing special.

Audio was serviceable, but again nothing special. LFE was OK at best overall. Surround use was the highlight of the track with some fun moments.


Honestly, the best parts of this film involved the wiener dog and any time he made an appearance made me smile. Other than that, very forgettable all around and so glad I rented.

This one indeed is hit or miss with most folks, but I'll agree on the rental status wink.gif but in the end there were a few hair raising moments for me and the wife and at -10db from reference on a few scenes the wife said on one 'That was terrifying" eek.gif and I had to agree wink.gif
post #24 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by audiofan1 View Post

This one indeed is hit or miss with most folks, but I'll agree on the rental status wink.gif but in the end there were a few hair raising moments for me and the wife and at -10db from reference on a few scenes the wife said on one 'That was terrifying" eek.gif and I had to agree wink.gif

Glad you enjoyed it more than me audiofan1. These horror movies seem a bit more subjective than most it seems.

I do agree with you on The Ring and The Grudge. Two of my favorites!
post #25 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by Toe View Post

Glad you enjoyed it more than me audiofan1. These horror movies seem a bit more subjective than most it seems.

I do agree with you on The Ring and The Grudge. Two of my favorites!

Very subjective on what scares one ! it would seem clowns have quite the following though biggrin.gif thanks no part to Steven kings "It" and "Poltergeist"
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