Blu-Ray Review: ‘OPERA’
- BRAND NEW 2K REMASTER of the film with over 45 hours of extensive color correction
- Rare interview with director Dario Argento never-before released to U.S. audiences
- Brand new interview with star William McNamara
- Brand new 5.1 soundtrack and original
2.0 Stereo soundtrackMono soundtrack
- Original Trailers
Doppelgänger Releasing teams up with Scorpion Releasing (and Code Red, in some fashion – more on that below) to release the standard Blu-Ray release (again, more on that below) of Dario Argento’s Opera. This is the first of out of the three films Doppelgänger & Scorpion will be putting out in the next couple of months for Argento and Soavi fans, with Soavi’s The Sect & The Church to follow, so let’s take a look at this release.
Depending on who you talk to, Opera is often considered director Dario Argento’s “swan song”. Other films that may be considered his “swan song” could be Trauma or The Stendhal Syndrome but for me, I feel Opera is Argento’s last grandiose film with some great set pieces.
When a famed opera singer of a new, ambitious production of Verdi’s Macbeth is involved in an accident that requires a replacement to take over her role, Betty (Cristina Marsillach) reluctantly fills those big shoes only to be stalked and forced to watch some macabre murders involving known people from the production and within Betty’s life.
Like most Argento films, the plot is light but it is how Argento visually tells the story that makes the viewing worthwhile or not. For the most part, Argento carries out his set pieces with the great execution that we are used to. However, occasionally seeping into the film is a pretty horrendous hair metal track that plays during some of the kills that not only feels awkward and out of place but it is one song that gets repeated and more or less feels like a track that was nixed from the metal tracks from Phenomena (for the record, I dig the tracks and how they are used, but they are definitely not in tone of the film) or the Argento produced Demons. The mystery angle is also pretty lacking for this later giallo film – the killer seems telegraphed a mile away – and the film has a very odd ending. Regardless, there is fun to be had with Opera and while it may not be as strong as his previous films, it definitely isn’t as weak as his latest entries into cinema. Plus, it has a breathtaking sequence inside Betty’s apartment that features one of the most stylistic kills you will see for sometime.
This dual-layered 50GB region free Blu-Ray disc presents the film in its original aspect ratio of 2:35.1. On the back of the Blu-Ray case, it states that the film is presented via a “brand new 2016 2K scan with over 45 hours of extensive color correction done in the States”. While that may seem like an odd listing, it’s important because most Italian films are scanned in their home country and the elements are typically not allowed to leave Italy. Opera was previously released in Germany on Blu-Ray but based off of what I’ve seen, this transfer blows it away. I didn’t import the German release so unfortunately I cannot provide any comparison shots but based off the images littered within this post, you can see for yourself. For those of you that may be paying close attention to this title, you may know that Scorpion Releasing is planning on putting out a Deluxe Edition out in a couple of months which will include this transfer in the OAR but also include the “Orion cut” – named as such because Opera was distributed through Orion Pictures – which cropped the image to a 1:85.1 image.
The audio options here are two DTS-HD MA tracks in 5.1 and 2.0, with the 5.1 playing by default. While it lists Mono on the back of the Blu-Ray disc, the audio option is actually 2.0 instead of 1.0. Both tracks sound pretty good but some may have issue with the English dialogue which was recorded via post-production ADR. The dialogue has a bit of an echo but I don’t feel that is a result of the release but more of the source material.
Also worth noting, the disc shows the Code Red logo while this release was produced by Scorpion Releasing, who is mainly Walt Olsen (Code Red Bill’s brother), while the release/distribution seems to be handled by Doppelgänger Releasing, whose logo is nowhere to be found on the physical product.
- “Blood Red Curtain” (21:41, HD) – In an on-camera interview with Dario Argento talking about the complexities of filming Opera. The interview is Argento talking in Italian with English subtitles. Some behind-the-scenes footage accompanies the interview which is a nice visual assist when he is explaining some of the technical shots in the film – including that boss of a scene involving a peephole. Hopefully this footage is included on its own in the previously mentioned Deluxe Edition for hardcore fans of the film.
- Interview with Actor William McNamara (16:44, HD) – This is a pretty standard on-camera interview. What makes McNamara’s involvement interesting is how he was picked to be in Opera and how that role would score him an audition with Quentin Tarantino. There’s some pretty good insight here for those interested.
- Trailers – A U.S./ORION trailer along with a couple of Italian trailers are also included in “HD”.
For casual fans of Argento or those of you wanting to check out this Blu-Ray disc because of the amazing artwork or just to brush up on Argento’s filmography, Opera is a pretty great film that gets bogged down by some odd attributes. This release is great to have and for under $20, should be an easy choice to make. For hardcore fans of the film, if you have patience and some extra cash, you can probably pick up a more decked out version (which we first detailed here) of the film in the months to come but this will definitely tide you over if you feel you need to have both.