Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Fantastic Mr. Fox Blu-ray Review

Disc Size: 25.8 GB
Film Size: 17.2 GB
Film Rating: PG
Region: A
The Video
Fantastic Mr. Fox comes to Blu-ray with a 1080p AVC/MPEG-4 video presentation. As expected, the film looks absolutely beautiful in high-definition. As most of you already know by now, the film is done entirely with puppet animation and shot with Nikon D3 digital cameras.

Because of this, there is plenty of fine detail to be seen by the figures included in the picture. The environments are also filled with dazzling levels of detail and really leap off the screen. Colors are also very pleasing to the eye and blacks stay inky throughout.

Textures look as if you could literally reach into your television screen and feel them; there is also a great level of depth to be found by the high-def picture. The only issue I found is some extremely slight banding during a night-time background, but it really is such a minor issue.

Aside from that small issue, the presentation is free of any technical issues or flaws. Fantastic Mr. Fox on Blu-ray is truly revealing and features a great upgrade from the included DVD copy of the film. There is no way a viewer could be displeased by the Blu-ray presentation. 9.5/10.

The Audio
An English 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio track is the lossless option included. Spanish 5.1, French 5.1 and Portuguese 5.1 Dolby Digital audio tracks are also included. Optional subtitles include English, Spanish, French, Portuguese and two different styles of Chinese.

The lossless audio presentation sounds quite good, although a bit underwhelming for a film with so much energy and charm. The voice recordings were captured in open environments rather than typical recording studios, which adds a lot to the film.

Everything include is crisp and clear like the best new release, but unfortunately lacks the surround experience that I had hoped for. There are some great moment surround wise, but they are few and far between.

Overall though, I can’t really complain. While I wish it could have been a bit more immersive, everything is clear and far from lifeless. This is a very respectable mix that will leave viewers of all ages satisfied, if not totally impressed. 8/10.

The Extras

Making Mr. Fox Fantastic (44:48) (HD)
This is an extensive making of which shows many stages of production. This is truly fantastic and a must see for any fan of the film. Aspects of production covered in this feature, include:
The Look of Fantastic Mr. Fox
From Script to Screen
The Puppet Makers
Still Life (Puppet Animation)
The Cast
Bill and His Badger

A Beginner’s Guide to Whack-Bat (1:13) (HD)
Learn the rules of Whack-Bat, the sport featured in the film.

Fantastic Mr. Fox: The World of Roald Dahl (3:01) (HD)
See how Director Wes Anderson received inspiration from the life of Roald Dahl and not just his books.

Theatrical Trailer (2:27) (HD)

Disc 2:

DVD Copy of the film

Disc 3:

Digital Copy of the film
Compatible with iTunes and Windows Media.

The extras included on this release are great, particularly the making of featurette (which is very extensive and informative). An additional DVD and Digital Copy being included is a nice feature and perfect for those with children who loved the movie and want to take it on the road or watch it in their bedroom. The only other thing I felt should have been included is an audio commentary or Picture-in-Picture commentary. 7.5/10.

The Movie
Directed by Wes Anderson comes Fantastic Mr. Fox. The film’s unique style and look did turn off many potential viewers from seeing the film theatrically, some even called the promotional trailer boring. To be honest, the promotional trailers did nothing to excite me. The film’s look was interesting, but it looked a bit underwhelming despite the strong cast of voice talents.

Fortunately I still managed to see the film and was very surprised by the high quality of the film, I loved it. The first five minutes are a bit slower, which will turn off younger viewers with shorter attention spans. While the movie is great for all ages, this is a movie that your children may or may not like.

While your children may or may not like it, I think most adults and young adults will love Fantastic Mr. Fox. The film’s puppet animation is charming and presents the Roald Dahl’s children novel in a much better way than I anticipated.

The cast of voices is also extremely impressive, including George Clooney, Meryl Streep, Jason Schwartzman, Bill Murray and Owen Wilson. George Clooney is most surprising as Mr. Fox, adding so much charm to what could have been a very dull character.

The film is definitely one of the best from 2009 and deserved it’s nominations for Best Animated Picture. That being said, I did think UP was slightly more enjoyable (and more kid appealing). Hopefully that doesn’t prevent children and adults from giving the movie a chance though, as I think many would be surprised by the film if they really give it a chance.

I loved Fantastic Mr. Fox and watching it on Blu-ray only made me love it more. There is a great amount of work that went into making this movie and on the Blu-ray release it really shows. A lot of attention was paid to even the smallest details and becomes one of the most unique and enjoyable films of the year. 9/10.

The Blu-news Summary
Fantastic Mr. Fox is a very smart film which I think is even more enjoyable for adults than it is for children. The video presentation is stunning and the audio presentation is respectable. Extras are very satisfying and the included DVD and Digital Copy is very welcome. Overall the Blu-ray release is ‘Highly Recommended.

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