The disc is presented in a theatrically correct 2.35:1 aspect picture that has been anamorphically enhanced for widescreen TV's, and it looks pretty darn good. Colours are bold and striking, the primaries, especially blue, looking particularly strong. Brightness and contrast are set to give deep true blacks, be it the alleys, the stages or apartments all have very good depth. Detail too was very good, holding edges well into the distance, there were one or two moments of softness but nothing that is too distracting. Digitally I noticed no compression problems and only very occasional edge enhancement. There was no original print damage and only a smattering of film grain here and there. In all a very good picture helped no doubt by the better than average, average bitrate.
Two Dolby Digital tracks to choose from, English 5.1 and Italian 5.1. I was a little disappointed with the English track, it concentrates far too heavily on the front three, leaving the rears out of any real action, this has the effect of thinning the track somewhat. Good points are the separation, which was suitably wide, and the range with just enough bass to open the stage beyond a wide middle. In all the track comes across a very wide stereo, rather than a full on 5.1 and whilst it sounded great, a bit more action from the rears would have opened up the sound stage and given a far fuller experience.
The first and main extra is the audio commentary from director Chris Columbus and actor/performers Anthony Rapp and Adam Pascal. Their chat is pretty good and there is plenty discussed in an informal and informative manner. Scripting and song changes are discussed as well as locations; it is a little scene specific but as the talk progresses widens to encompass other subjects such as the MPAA battles for certification and critical backlash. Plenty of beeps in this commentary to keep to our own 12 certificate.
Next up are five deleted scene that can be played singly all together with or without commentary. The scenes removed are a few minutes of exposition and a couple of songs, all for pacing and emotional flow of the film. I'm not sure I agree with the decisions and each scene adds something new to the flow, especially the song between Rapp and Pascal that chronicles their differing opinions. So it is good to see it.
Finally there is the theatrical trailer for the film.
RENT remains a powerful musical, whether it makes a good film is very much up to the individual, as can be witnessed by is split critical appraisal and awards. As a DVD package the excellent picture is slightly let down by lacklustre sound and extras.
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