Friday, December 16, 2011

Ice Age: A Mammoth Christmas Special Blu-ray Review

Disc Size: 11.3 GB
Runtime: 25 Mins.
Region: A
The Video
Ice Age: A Mammoth Christmas Special’ debuts on Blu-ray with a 1080p AVC/MPEG-4 video presentation. While the quality of the animation is slightly weaker than the actual films, this special does look quite impressive in high-definition.

Like with most animated material, colors are rich and vibrant throughout. The level of detail is also impressive, particularly the textures of the characters. The high-def release also includes a standard DVD copy, which when compared is no competition for the Blu-ray disc.

‘Ice Age’ looks fantastic. I really had no issues with the presentation at all, it’s as strong as the source material allows and I couldn’t have asked for better. While there are better looking animated releases on Blu-ray, ‘Ice Age: A Mammoth Christmas Special’ does impress. 9/10

The Audio
An English 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio track is the lossless option included. Also included are Spanish and French 5.1 Dolby Digital audio mixes. Optional subtitles include English SDH and Spanish.

The mix is surprisingly immersive, making full use of the surround speakers throughout. Dialogue is centered, balanced, and features excellent clarity. I honestly wasn’t expecting much from the audio mix, so what we get on this Blu-ray release is certainly surprising. 9/10

The Extras

Disc 1 (Blu-ray Disc):


Ice Age: Continental Drift Sneak Peek (2:03) (HD)
A sneak peek clip from the next Ice Age film is included.

Music Video (3:00) (HD)
Swingin’ Jingle Bells

Disc 2 (DVD):

DVD copy of the film

Disc 3 (DVD):

Digital Copy version of the film
Compatible with iTunes.

There aren’t too many bonus features included, a silly music video and a sneak peek into the next film. The DVD and Digital Copy are nice and welcome inclusions for such a short special, making the high-def combo pack the obvious choice. 4/10

The Special
“When Sid accidentally destroys Manny’s heirloom Christmas rock and ends up on Santa’s “naughty list,” he leads a hilarious quest to the North Pole to make things right – and ends up making things much worse. Now it’s up to Manny and his prehistoric posse to band together and save Christmas for the entire world.”

It seems every year we get more animated holiday specials from a few of the animation studios, and now Ice Age is the latest series to get the holiday treatment. I actually enjoy the ‘Ice Age’ films for what they are, fun family films. This special is no different.The special certainly isn’t anything ‘special’ in terms of how memorable it is, but I do think it was a lot more entertaining than it could have been. The characters and the cast behind them are back, and the humor is quite solid for audiences of all ages.

‘Ice Age: A Mammoth Christmas Special’ is certainly cute and with the smart low prince point that Fox Home Entertainment has provided for this release, I would certainly recommend any ‘Ice Age’ fan adding this release to their high-def collection. 7/10

The Blu-news Summary
Ice Age: A Mammoth Christmas Special’ is a fun special that the entire family will enjoy. The Blu-ray release features an impressive video and audio presentation, but not so many bonus features. Overall this Blu-ray release is definitely ‘Recommended.

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Monday, September 26, 2011

Supernatural: The Complete Sixth Season Blu-ray Review

Release Date: 9/13/2011
TV-Rating: TV-14
Region: ABC
The Video
Supernatural: The Complete Sixth Season” features a 1080p AVC/MPEG-4 video presentation for all 22 episodes of the season. Having seen the previous seasons on Blu-ray, I knew what to expect, and it does not disappoint.

The show has a dark and gritty look, and it looks absolutely fantastic in high-definition. Detail is excellent and generally makes for some very demo worthy moments. The colors are also an improvement from standard definition, colors are rich and blacks are inky as can be.

I didn’t notice any technical issues throughout the season. If you love the look of the show, you will be very impressed by ‘Supernatural’ on Blu-ray. Is it among the best looking television shows on Blu-ray? Perhaps not, but I certainly think it’s impressive, considering the look of the show itself. 9/10

The Audio
An English 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio track is included for each of the 22 episodes. Also included are Portuguese 5.1 Dolby Digital tracks. Optional subtitles include English SDH, French, Dutch, Spanish and Portuguese.

I was always very satisfied with the standard 5.1 Dolby Digital tracks included on previous seasons, but Warner Home Video has stepped it up and included lossless mixes for all the episodes and there is definitely an improvement.

Dialogue comes through crisp and clear. Most impressive is the effective surround use, which definitely enhances the experience. For a television series, the audio mixes included are pretty fantastic. Fans of the previous seasons on Blu-ray will definitely notice the audio improvement this season. 8.5/10

The Extras

Disc One (38.2 GB):


Jensen Ackles: A Director’s Journey (26:46) (HD)
Lead actor Jensen Ackles talks about taking on directing.

Disc Two (36.3 GB):

Audio Commentary
For episode “Clap Your Hands if You Believe”

Disc Three (42.0 GB):

Audio Commentary
For episode “The French Mistake”

Trivia Track
For episode “The French Mistake”

Alternate Takes and Outtakes (4:28) (HD)
For episode “The French Mistake”

Episode from Supernatural: The Anime Series (22:44) (HD)
Includes English DTS-HD Master Audio mix.

Another episode from Supernatural: The Anime Series (22:45) (HD)
Includes English DTS-HD Master Audio mix.

Disc Four (39.2 GB):

The Hunter’s Guide to Season Six (HD)
Filled with over 45 featurettes, on-set photos and exclusive behind-the-scenes footage. You won’t want to miss a page of this interactive guide detailing how the entire season was created.

Supernatural and the Quest of the Soul (29:21) (HD)
This is a documentary all about the soul, a major theme in the Supernatural series.

Gag Reel (11:11) (HD)
For those who like gag reels, there is plenty of footage included.

There are a lot of cool features included on this release. For a television series, this is actually very impressive. The features are all included in high-def, including the bonus anime episodes (which also have their own Blu-ray release). 9/10

The Season
Supernatural: The Complete Sixth Season’ makes for a pretty impressive high-def release. More importantly however is the quality of the show itself. ‘Supernatural’ has been on the air since 2005 and still stands strong in a time where shows are being canceled left and right.

Those familiar with the previous season and it’s ending, have no worries. I was a bit worried about this season after the season five finale, which many said could have served as the series finale. Season six picks up a lot better than I expected, delivering entertaining storylines that will have you coming back for more.

What I love about ‘Supernatural’ is the added humor; it’s nicely balanced and makes for just a fun show. The lead actors are excellent together, and they are the really the reason the show has remained as popular as it has. Season six is a great return for the series, definitely surpassing my expectations. 8/10

The Blu-news Summary:
Supernatural: The Complete Sixth Season’ is fantastic. The Blu-ray release features impressive video presentations and immersive audio mixes. The extras included this season are also quite nice and extensive. This high-def release is 'A Must Own’ for any fan of the show.

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