Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Wallace & Gromit: The Complete Collection Blu-ray Review

Disc Size: 31.7 GB
Rating: Not Rated
Region: A

Video
Each film comes to Blu-ray with a 1080p AVC/MPEG-4 video presentation, and they have never looked better. The four included films are 'A Grand Day Out', 'The Wrong Trousers', 'A Close Shave' and 'A Matter of Loaf and Death.' The quality of each is generally solid throughout, each looking very good considering the budgets, technology and time. The earlier shorts definitely look much duller in comparison to 'A Matter of Loaf and Death' but that doesn't keep them from having their moments.

Instantly you will notice the much sharper look present on this collection, the textures of the characters, objects, and environments all really become clear as well. Thanks to Blu-ray we can really get a more detailed look at the Wallace & Gromit world, and we can truly see just how much work is put into these films. There are little details throughout you may have not really noticed before that will be much more clear on Blu-ray.

The release isn't all perfect, at times I noticed a bit of aliasing in the older films, possibly making them upconverts from 1080i, despite this issue, it was actually very subtle and not so easy to notice. I was still left very pleased, and I'm sure fans of the films will be pleased as well. 8/10.

Audio
An uncompressed 5.1 PCM audio track is included for each film, which was a nice surprise, as the original announcement made no mention of the lossless audio. You will notice the track improve from film to film due to release order, but each one was very fitting and very nice.

I didn't and don't expect a film like 'A Grand Day Out' to sound like 'A Matter of Loaf and Death' simply because of the clear differences in budget and time. I found the surround use on all four films to be active and when aggressive when necessary. The sound effects were solid, particularly on the latter two films, featuring very immersive audio experiences.

Dialogue was crisp and clear, especially when compared to the included Dolby Digital tracks as well. The music present is also very beautiful, and will have your surround speakers delivering as clear as can be. Like mentioned earlier, each one improves upon the other. 8/10.

Extras

Audio Commentaries
An audio commentary is included for each film in the collection, and I sampled about 10 minutes from each. The commentaries were fun and informative, discussing each scene quite in depth. From the effects to the inspiration behind certain things.

How they Donut: The Making of "A Matter of Loaf and Death" (20:21) (SD)
All about the latest Wallace & Gromit adventure, the story is explained, and we also get a very in-depth look behind-the-scenes of the film and sets. It's clearly the latest produced, and by far the most informative.

"A Close Shave" How It Was Done (5:05) (SD)
See how the effects in 'A Close Shave' were done, this feature could be interesting to some, but I personally found it rather dull.

Inside the Wrong Trousers (24:19) (SD)
A featurette dedicated to the included film 'The Wrong Trousers', it also features behind-the-scenes on the set with Nick Park.

The Amazing Adventures of Wallace & Gromit (15:24) (SD)
An overall look of Wallace & Gromit, their origin and how far the series has come.

Scrap Book
Includes a gallery of invention blueprints, as well as a gallery of Wallace & Gromit in general.

Cracking Contraptions (25:22) (SD)
Shorts about all many different contraptions in the Wallace & Gromit world.

Shaun The Sheep (7:05) (SD)
The episode 'Off The Baa!' is included.

Game Demo
A demo for a Wallace & Gromit video game, you must have a Blu-ray drive on your PC to play.

Trailers (1:33) (SD)
Shaun The Sheep and Thomas The Train trailers are included.

Blu-news Summary
I was completely surprised when we saw a Wallace & Gromit: Complete Collection Blu-ray announcement, and while this release isn't totally complete (missing Curse Of The Wererabbit due to different studio ownership), it's about as complete as we will get without multi-studio involvement.

These films are classic, and who hasn't come to love the hilarious duo on their several adventures? I have seen the first three films in the collection before, but Matter of Loaf and Death was new to me. To be honest I really enjoyed them all, they each had great storylines, and each brought their own unique charm. This release is fantastic for those with children, there's something to be enjoyed by everyone in the family.

The Blu-ray release is very good, featuring overall impressive video, and beautiful audio mixes. The extas are all in standard definition, but there are some must see features included. The Blu-ray release is a great package and a great price, it's hard to not want this release in your collection. Overall this release is 'Highly Recommended.'

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