Thursday, March 19, 2009

The Tale Of Despereaux Blu-ray Review

The Tale Of Despereaux Blu-ray Review
Written by Loys Johnson
Disc Size: 35.6 GB
Film Size: 23.7 GB
Film Rating: G
Region: Free

Despereaux comes to Blu-ray with a 1080p VC-1 video presentation that is sure to please. I was very anxious to see Despereaux on Blu-ray, mostly because it is Universal Studio's first animated high-def release. The release features quite the pop and detail we have come to expect from major animated releases. Particularly impressive was the incredible amount of detail featured in the clothing worn. Colors are vibrant and rich, while giving a very film-like look. Black levels are solid throughout. There's not much more to say other than it looks very good, although the animation lighting itself doesn't always lend itself to the best we have seen on Blu-ray. 9/10.

Universal has included a 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio track for the release, and it sounds very nice. Dialogue was clear throughout, featuring quite the talented cast of voices. The surround use was minimal, but did support the film's adventurous score nicely. It sounds good, and I found it perfectly fitting for the film. 8/10.


My Scenes (BD-Live enabled) (Blu-ray Exclusive)
Save your favorite scenes, or share them with friends via BD-Live.

Sneak Peek of Curious George 2: Follow That Monkey! (10:21) (HD)
Quite the sneak peek of the upcoming Curious George 2 film, all in high-def glory. This is quite a big sneak peek, featuring a good amount of footage as well as entertaining for the kids.

Deleted Songs (4:36) (HD) (Blu-ray Exclusive)
'It's Great To Be A Rat' and 'Soup'.

The Tale of The Tale of Despereaux: A (Mostly) Non-Fictional Making Of (11:41) (HD)
Go behind-the-scenes of the film with the cast and crew, and the process involved in doing an animated movie. It's something fans should definitely check out.

Scene Progressions (35:08) (HD) (Blu-ray Exclusive)
Shows different scenes go from script to storyboard to layout to animation to final lighting. Six scenes are included, and will only really be enjoyed by die-hard fans interested in how it looks at each stage of production.

Top Ten Uses For Oversized Ears (1:19) (HD)
Extra for the kids, gives silly benefits for oversized ears, such as magic tricks and wiggling. Something to watch once at most.

Make Your Own Soup Game (Blu-ray Exclusive)
Help the chef make a soup. Use the arrow on your remote to select two different ingredients and add to your soup, the goal of the game is to make a soup the king will enjoy. Definitely for kids, but they should enjoy it at least the first time.

Card Creator (BD-Live enabled) (Blu-ray Exclusive)
Create a card that is customizable in many different ways, from the background setting, to the poser, to the border, quotes, and last but not least a message. You can then send and receive cards from friends on your BD-Live buddy list. Doesn't have too much depth, but a neat feature regardless.

Picture In Picture Animatic Track (U-Control) (Blu-ray Exclusive)
See the sketches of the scenes as the final product plays. It's very neat and very well put together.

Picture In Picture Live Action Track (U-Control) (Blu-ray Exclusive)
See scenes acted out live by the voice talent and crew, it doesn't sync directly with what is going on screen at all times, but used during the specific scenes being filmed.

Blu-news Summary
The Tale Of Despereaux is definitely a mixed bag as it won't appeal to all ages, but is ultimately very well done. The film is intended for families with younger children, in both the way the story is told and presented. Don't go into the film thinking Wall-E or Kung Fu Panda, which while intended for children as well, included plenty of humor for all ages to really enjoy.

As a children's film, Despereaux provides a very good message, and a very good time. The characters aren't all fantastic, but Despereaux himself is lovable and entertaining. The film has a fantastic voice cast that really adds to the film as well.

The Blu-ray release is fantastic, featuring a great video and audio presentation of the film. Universal Studios has included all the DVD extras, while adding quite an impressive amount of Blu-ray bonuses. The Blu-ray release is 'Recommended For Kids', all others 'Give It A Rent.'

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