Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Wonderful World Blu-ray Review

Disc Size: 21.6 GB
Film Size: 18.5 GB
Film Rating: R
Region: A
The Video
Wonderful World comes to Blu-ray with a 1080p AVC/MPEG-4 video presentation. The film definitely screams lower budget, but the technical presentation appears to be quite accurate to the way the movie was filmed.

The movie is not very colorful, but that was definitely not the intention. The film has a rather gloomy tone and the tone is accurately presented in the colors of the film. I wouldn’t say the film looks very muted, but it is far from the typical rich and vibrant high-def presentation.

The level of detail in the scene varies depending on many aspects, but for the most part is satisfying. The level of clarity in certain scenes is very impressive, and certainly compares to most new release films. There are many softer moments throughout the film, which will likely displease a few viewers.

The movie does appear to be accurate to intention, and I can’t argue with that. There are no technical issues to be found. The film is quite grainy and everything appears to be quite natural. Viewers should definitely be pleased by the high-def result. 7.5/10.

The Audio
A 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio track is included and is quite like the film. The movie is fairly quiet and the mix represents that accurately. Dialogue is the main focus in this movie and is presented front and center. Dialogue levels were always clear and easy to understand though.

Outdoor scenes tend to feel more alive surround wise than indoor scenes as expected. There are effects thrown in create a bit more of an immersive feel to the mix, which was nice. The film’s music is quite front heavy but is soothing and clear.

The audio won’t necessarily impress viewers, but it is certainly far from lifeless like it could have been. I definitely am glad to see a lossless track included here and I definitely don’t think the audio could sound much better. The mix works with the film, which doesn’t ever scream for surround sound. 7/10.

The Extras

As Soon As Fish Fall Out Of the Sky (4:32) (SD)
Character and Story of Wonderful World.

Behind the Scenes (1:30) (SD)
Working with Writer/Director Josh Goldin and Actor Matthew Broderick

Behind the Scenes Montage (1:28) (SD)
See more behind-the-scenes footage from the film.

HDNet: A Look at Wonderful World (4:42) (HD)
A promotional piece for HDNet, which is actually quite informative look at the film.

Also From Magnolia Home Entertainment (HD)
Trailers for other upcoming Magnolia Home Entertainment releases.

Save your favorite scenes and return to them later.

Unavailable at time of writing.

The extras included on this release definitely leave a bit to be desired, but are not too bad. The behind-the-scenes footage is nice, but surely they filmed more and could have included more. An audio commentary would have been a nice addition as well. Also, where is the trailer for the film itself?

Regardless, there are some entertaining extras such as the HDNet feature as well as the other included featurettes. It just would have been nice to have more included. 5/10.

The Movie
Wonderful World is a film I had never even heard about until just weeks ago. I’ve really found myself surprised by the quality of Magnolia Home Entertainment films these past couple of months and this one definitely interested me.

The film stars Matthew Broderick as Ben Singer, who could be considered one of the most negative men around. Rather than seeing the glass half full, Ben Singer sees the last half empty if not more. He’s a career proofreader and a failed children’s folk singer. He’s also a father, although not a very good one.

Little makes Ben happy, aside from the company of his roommate Ibou (played by Michael Kenneth Williams). Unfortunately, Ibou becomes deathly ill and is quickly hospitalized, leaving Ben feeling quite lonely and perhaps even more negative than he already was.

Ibou’s sister Khadi (Sanaa Lathan) comes to visit while her brother is ill and the story really begins there. His sister begins to play a big impact on Ben’s life and quickly helps him realize the important and positive things in life.

The movie was surprisingly charming and featured a great amount of humor as well as terrific emotional moments. It definitely feels like a lower budget film, but the story is quite enjoyable. There are some things which I do have to bring up though and it’s not all very positive.

The chemistry between Matthew Broderick and Sanaa Lathan is a bit underwhelming. There are moments that make it very hard to see them really connecting, it definitely felt acted rather than genuine. The movie is definitely much stronger the first half, but the last half is not very disappointing.

Despite some of my more negative opinions regarding certain moments in the film, overall I felt the story was quite strong as a whole. The acting while not perfect was certainly enjoyable for the most part and the film is quite touching as a whole. 7/10.

The Blu-news Summary
Wonderful World is an entertaining movie which I think many will find themselves surprised by. The video and audio presentations appear accurate to intention and the extras are fairly enjoyable. Overall the Blu-ray release is ‘Recommended.

Additional Screenshots:

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