Wednesday, November 18, 2009

It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia: A Very Sunny Christmas Blu-ray Review

Disc Size: 13.8 GB
Film Size: 12.5 GB
Region: A

It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia makes it's Blu-ray debut with a 1080p AVC/MPEG-4 video presentation that looks terrible. The content is standard definition and up-converted to 1080p for the Blu-ray release. The results can be pretty good and pretty disastrous, at times looking almost like VHS tape quality.

While I'm sure the DVD is bad as well, the only warning about it being up-converted is in very small text under the tech specs. You will find it next to the long ''DTS' is a registered trademark of blah blah blah' explanation.

Unfortunately I do not have the DVD to compare it to the Blu-ray, to see which actually looks better upconverted but I would think they would look extremely similar if not exactly the same. I am fine with standard definition content on Blu-ray, but I wish it was pointed out a bit more clearly on the packaging.

Overall this is certainly as good as it gets for the Blu-ray effort, at times it can look fine but other scenes are just way disappointing. I am not sure how much better the content could look since they can't magically make it high-definition, the results are probably as good as can get, they just aren't pretty. 2/10.

A 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio track is included for this release, which is certainly redeeming for the Blu-ray release. Despite being a 5.1 mix, they still use the same style as always, which is very front heavy.

Despite being front heavy, at least everything is presented extremely crisp and clear. Dialogue is always easy to understand, and the film's music and effects are actually pretty good as well as they fill the front left and right speakers.

While the mix is pretty much all in the front, they did place all effects very nicely to still feel a sense of direction and separation in the mix. This is certainly as good as it gets audio-wise, and for a television show it isn't half bad. 6.5/10.


Producers' Blu-ray Introduction (:50) (SD)
An explanation about the Blu-ray release and stating it was up-converted since it's not true high-definition. At the end he says 'thank you for buying the DVD' in which subtitles pop up to say 'he means Blu-ray,' which I don't think was meant to be a joke.

Young Charlie & Young Mac Deleted Scenes (2:48) (SD)
Three deleted scenes are included, up-converted.

Behind-the-Scenes Making of Featurette (7:24) (SD)
Go behind-the-scenes of production, featuring a good amount of footage.

Sunny Sing-A-Long (3:13) (SD)
The cast sing Christmas songs in character and costume.

Blu-news Summary
A Very Sunny Christmas is a funny and well put together special, which is about the length of two regular episodes. The special is certainly not intended for kids, as there is a bit of graphic content in the mix.

The special focuses on the gang trying to get back the true Christmas spirit, something that has always been difficult for all of them. They each go on their own little adventures, remember childhood memories and much more within the 43 minutes.

The special is funny yes, but it's certainly far from memorable. The content is about as good as the average episode, some scenes are extremely funny and other scenes just miss the mark. If you are a fan of the show, you may enjoy having the special in your collection. If you have not seen the show, you will probably not get much out of this release. 7/10.

The Blu-ray release is more like a DVD with improved audio. Extras appear to be identical as well, ultimately the decision is yours. If I had to make the decision I would go Blu anyway, simply for the Blu-ray packaging alone over the clunky DVD. 'For Fans Only.'

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