Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Dumbo: 70th Anniversary Edition Blu-ray Review (Mexico Version)

Disc Size: 46.6 GB
Film Size: 14.9 GB
Film Rating: G
Region: A
The Video
Dumbo debuts on Blu-ray with a 1080p AVC/MPEG-4 video presentation. The film features a Lowry restoration, which was likely done sometime in the last couple of years. Dumbo was a lower budget Disney production and at times it shows, but there is no denying this is one dazzling presentation.

Disney tends to scrub away all grain from their animated classics, something that does not affect animation as negatively if done right. Dumbo’s grain always made the movie look a bit dirtier, particularly skies and more focused scenes. Dirt and specks are nowhere to be found on this release, every moment featuring about as clear a picture as one could expect.

The release definitely received a restoration as strong as Sleeping Beauty, Snow White and Pinocchio did. Colors are very strong and improved, but never look pushed or unordinary from previous releases. The animation itself also looks very good, without any technical issues to be found.

The film’s lower budget shows in the animation at times though, certain moments and backgrounds tend to look a bit cheap at times and far from Disney’s best work. I definitely appreciate Disney giving the film the proper treatment and release, especially since it is not a Platinum/Diamond title, it could have looked much more rushed. That being said, Dumbo has never looked better and fans of the film are in for a dazzling treat. 9/10.

The Audio
An English 7.1 DTS-HD Master Audio track is the only lossless option and will also be present on the U.S. release whenever it is released. Disney has included a 7.1 DTS-HD Master Audio track for every animated classic so far on Blu-ray and it’s nice to see it does not only apply to Platinum/Diamond edition releases.

The audio mix present on this release is great. The film is nearly 70 years old so I expected it to sound a bit dated, but doesn’t sound anywhere as dated as I had expected. Dialogue is of most importance in this animated classic and is presented about as crisp and clear as one could expect.

The 7.1 use is not much of a surround experience, but I don’t think anyone expected it to be. The film is not meant to be a surround sound experience, although features nice separation. The audio feels very authentic and is presented without a flaw. The track doesn’t compare to a new release, but I definitely can’t imagine it sounding any better. 8/10.

The Extras

Disc 1:

Watch the film with a very neat Picture-in-Picture video track. View interviews, early animation sketches and more while you view the film. I definitely enjoyed this feature and they used it in very clever ways.

If you hate black bars you can play the movie with DisneyView, which adds beautifully painted borders on both sides of the screen. The borders change with each scene so they are very fitting. I actually like DisneyView and find the borders to be beautifully done.

Deleted Sequence: The Mouse’s Tale (5:37) (HD)
Learn about a deleted scene from the film titled ‘The Mouse’s Tale.’

Deleted Song: “Are You A Man Or A Mouse?” (3:56) (HD)
Listen to a song that did not make it into the film, featuring early animation sketches.

Taking Flight: The Making of Dumbo (28:09) (HD)
Film historians and Disney animators talk about how Dumbo saved the studio as well as the animation of Dumbo. This featurette is quite extensive and talks about all levels of production. This featurette also includes footage from other Disney titles, including Mulan, Pocahontas, Beauty and the Beast, Fantasia, The Lion King and more.

The Magic of Dumbo: A Ride of Passage (3:09) (HD)
A short featurette all about the Dumbo ride found in Disney Parks. The footage is all in high-definition and look absolutely great.

Classic DVD Bonus Features:
Sound Design Excerpt from “The Reluctant Dragon” (5:58) (SD)
“Celebrating Dumbo” (14:54) (SD)
Original Walt Disney TV Introduction (1:05) (SD)
Original Theatrical Trailer (2:13) (SD)
Theatrical Re-Release Trailer (1949) (1:18) (SD)

Bonus Shorts:
“The Flying Mouse” Bonus Short (9:22) (HD)
“Elmer Elephant” Bonus Short (8:32) (HD)

Art Galleries (HD)
Visual Development
Character Design
Layouts & Backgrounds
Storyboard Art
Production Pictures
Research Pictures
Original Dumbo Storybook (1941)

“What Do You See” Game (BD-Live Enhanced)
This is a newly-produced visual trivia game.

“What Do You Know?” Game (BD-Live Enhanced)
Another newly-produced game, this is a trivia game asking questions about the film.

Disney BD-Live Network
If you are using a BD-Live enabled player, connect to view the latest Disney trailers in both SD and HD viewing options.

Disc 2:

DVD Copy of the film.
The DVD appears to be made for U.S. release and is region locked like the Blu-ray disc.

Dumbo comes to Blu-ray with previous DVD features as well as a few newly produced features. I love the updated features, they add so much to the viewing experience and are included in beautiful high-definition.

The Cine-Explore viewing option is such an entertaining viewing option and I love the new making-of featurette. Disney definitely included much more features than I expected for this anniversary release and fans will be very pleased by what is included. 8/10.

The Movie
I cannot believe that Dumbo will soon be celebrating its 70th anniversary. It’s amazing how time flies, despite not being around when the film originally released, I have great memories of watching this movie many times as a kid.

While Dumbo was not my favorite animated classic, there are certainly many qualities that make it easy to appreciate and enjoy. The film may be short, just slightly over an hour, but is extremely touching and tells a great story.

I remember really connecting with the character of Dumbo and really loved the character. As a kid I would sometimes cry while watching the film, I hated the separation of Dumbo and his mother and how he was constantly teased about his big ears.

It’s been a long time since I have last seen the film, but just a few days ago I did watch bits from the DVD to get a visual image of how it previously looked. Revisiting Dumbo on Blu-ray was exciting and I definitely find the story to hold up very well.

The film may not be everyone’s favorite, but it has become an animated classic that I hope most children today get to experience as well. The story is innocent and really has some strong messages for both children and adults. I find myself enjoying the movie even more than I remember. While the animation itself is not particularly impressive compared to other classics, the story definitely is. 10/10.

Blu-news Summary
Dumbo has been delayed for U.S. release and a new date has yet to be announced. The Blu-ray release just recently released in Mexico and features the same content planned for U.S. release. Certain sites are reporting a February 2011 release for the U.S. while others still believe it will come this year.

Regardless of release date, this version features the exact same content and encodes that will be included on the U.S. release. The release was only pushed back for marketing purposes and not to include additional content.

Like other animated classics on Blu-ray, Dumbo is region locked in each region where it is released. Those hoping to import the U.K. release next month may find yourself disappointed unless you have a region free Blu-ray player.

The Mexico edition shares the same region as the U.S. and is compatible with all U.S. Blu-ray players. Menus and features are all included in English for those worried about navigating. A beautiful slip cover is also included for a limited time. Dumbo on Blu-ray is a 'Must Own' for fans and 'Highly Recommended' to all others.

Additional Screenshots:

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