Thursday, April 15, 2010

Where The Wild Things Are Blu-ray Review

Disc Size: 27.3 GB
Film Size: 18.7 GB
Film Rating: PG
Region: ABCThe Video
Where the Wild Things Are’ debuts on Blu-ray with a 1080p VC-1 video presentation. The film looks quite nice in high-definition while still retaining it’s very muted look. The movie is definitely on the darker side, but still features very pleasing high-def visuals.

The film’s upgrade in clarity from DVD is nice, everything is significantly stronger and the Blu-ray is free of some of the issues present on the DVD release. What I do think keeps the film from being demo worthy on Blu-ray is that the film itself is a bit on the softer side.

Details can be impressive from time to time, but are usually quite soft. Fortunately, DNR and Edge Enhancement are not a problem on this release, so no need to worry about that. The film’s muted color palette is interesting and actually quite fitting to the film’s story.

Overall I can’t really complain about the video presentation. Everything appears to be accurate to intention, how it was shot, etc. I think most viewers will be very pleased by Where The Wild Things Are in high-definition. 8/10.

The Audio
An English 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio track is the lossless option included. Also included are French, Spanish and Portuguese 5.1 Dolby Digital audio tracks. Optional subtitles include English SDH, French, Spanish and Portuguese.

The 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio track present on this release is very impressive. The film’s world is quite epic and features plenty of sound effects from the many environments. Those surround effects are placed nicely throughout the front and surround speakers, some will even have your room rumbling from time to time.

The film also features plenty of dialogue, which is all presented as crisp and clear as can be. Everything about the track has that nice sense of depth and life to it. The mix is exciting and definitely adds much more to the experience than I anticipated.

Overall I’m very satisfied and even impressed by the audio experience that is had by ‘Where the Wild Things Are.’ While it is a bit short of reference material, I don’t think the film could have sounded any better. 9/10.

The Extras

Disc 1:

Higglety Piggley Pop! Or There Must Be More to Life (23:30) (HD)
This is a short film based on another Maurice Sendak book. Personally, I didn’t love it, but it’s a nice addition to this release.

HBO First Look (13:03) (HD)
Go behind-the-scenes in an HBO exclusive look at production.

Maurice and Spike (3:15) (HD)
Maurice Sendak discusses with Spike Jonze on turning his book into a film, this is very interesting and worth a watch.

Max and Spike (6:38) (HD)
This is a feature about the growing relationship between Max Records and Spike Jonze. Pretty much the entire crew fell in love with the child actor; this is certainly a cute feature.

The Records Family (6:45) (HD)
This feature is about child actor Max Records, but also about the other members of the Records family.

Carter Burwell (4:40) (HD)
Go behind-the-scenes with one of the composers for the film.

The Absurd Difficulty of Filming a Dog Running and Barking At the Same Time (5:32) (HD)
This is probably the strangest but most self-explanatory feature, EVER!

The Big Prank (3:23) (HD)
This is a prank on set which a few people on the crew were behind, pretty dull though.

Vampire Attack (0:51) (HD)
This is a prank in which Spike Jonze wears vampire fangs to scare Max.

The Kids Take Over the Picture (4:58) (HD)
Many people from the crew bring their children to the set this day and they take over the film.

Disc 2:

DVD Copy of the film

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

The extras on this release are quite nice, I especially liked the HBO look of production as well as many of the featurettes. I do wish some of the extras were a bit more in-depth and an audio commentary would have been nice. The DVD and Digital Copy inclusion is nice though.

Please note that the Blu-ray Combo Pack is available only for a limited time and will eventually become a standard Blu-ray release. The version I am reviewing is the combo pack version which will be available at all retailers upon initial release. 7.5/10.

The Movie
I have to admit that I had no idea a film adaptation of ‘Where the Wild Things Are’ was being made. The first time I had heard of the movie was when a friend named Scott Neumyer posted a link to the trailer on Twitter. The trailer looked quite beautiful, unique and what could possibly be a great family film.

So did I enjoy the movie? I mostly did, but there were a few things I disliked about the movie. As we already know, the book is a VERY quick read. I have to say that they did a pretty great job at turning it into an hour and 40 minute film. They added to the story while still bringing the unique charm we get from the book.

Unfortunately, I do think the movie is a bit too long. The film is always interesting but fairly uneventful in which I noticed it turned off younger viewers quite quickly. The film definitely has some darker issues throughout and certain moments may scare younger children, but those with a decent attention span will likely enjoy it.

I found the film surprisingly deep, hitting some great subjects and made me realize how imagination in children is being lost more and more. Not all children are this way, but I have noted many lack the imaginations like previous generations. Everything has to be much more visual and that also comes with advancements in technology.

The movie tells the story of a child’s innocence so beautifully and upon repeated viewings I have certainly enjoyed it even more. Oh how I miss the days in which it was much safer to go outside and go on adventures with neighborhood friends. The days where toys weren’t all battery operated and backyards became massive new worlds.

‘Where the Wild Things Are’ is certainly a film worth viewing regardless of age. The film is one that can really appeal to all ages, but I certainly don’t think children will enjoy it as much as adults likely will. Overall I thought the film was simple, but perhaps that isn’t such a bad thing. 8.5/10.

The Blu-news Summary
‘Where the Wild Things Are’ is a great film with a very nice Blu-ray release. The video presentation is true to intention and the audio mix is certainly impressive. Bonus features are also nice and the DVD/Digital Copy is a nice addition. Overall this release is easily ‘Recommended.

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