Friday, June 4, 2010

Alice in Wonderland (2010): 3-Disc Combo Pack Blu-ray Review

Disc Size: 34.0 GB
Film Size: 23.9 GB
Film Rating: PG
Region: AThe Video
Alice in Wonderland comes to Blu-ray with a 1080p AVC/MPEG-4 video presentation. The film is one which looks visually stunning, whether it be in high-definition or not. The film features massive environments which are mostly special effects.

The release is definitely impressive and did not feature any technical flaws. The level of detail varied but was usually impressive, certain moments comparing with the very best the Blu-ray format has to offer. However, certain scenes look a bit softer in comparison, although mostly intentional (The caterpillar smoking scenes for example were intentionally softer).

Colors on the release are very rich while black levels remain solid throughout. The film also features a nice level of depth throughout, which viewed on my high-def projector, made for some amazing and beautiful moments throughout.

Have I seen better video presentations? Yes, definitely. Certain films just lend themselves better detail-wise, but that should not keep you from checking out Alice in Wonderland on Blu-ray. There is nothing wrong with Alice in Wonderland on Blu-ray; in fact many would consider this release to be reference. I personally feel it is just a bit short of reference, but it definitely comes close.

Alice in Wonderland looks great on Blu-ray and I think the only way you can really be disappointed by the video presentation is if you are not a fan of the look of the film itself. Alice in Wonderland makes for some great eye candy throughout and captures some amazing levels of detail and clarity throughout. 9/10.

The Audio
An English 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio track is the lossless option included. French 5.1 Dolby Digital and Spanish 5.1 Dolby Digital audio tracks as well as an English Descriptive Video Service 2.0 audio track are included. Optional subtitles include English for the hearing impaired, French and Spanish.

The audio mix included on this release is definitely an impressive one as it features an immersive surround experience from beginning to end. However I did find I had to turn up the volume a bit higher than usual as dialogue was not always as clear as I would have hoped (No, the problem is not the accents).

The film’s score is beautiful and makes use of your entire audio setup nicely. The film’s audio effects also travel quite often and have a great sense of direction. The track is definitely one which is fitting during the more quiet scenes and the most intense scenes.

Overall I’m very impressed by the quality of the audio included. As mentioned, certain moments of dialogue felt a bit lacking, but that isn’t too much to complain about. This is certainly a strong mix, but that was expected. 9/10.

The Extras

Disc 1:

Finding Alice (5:25) (HD)
The cast and crew talk about working with Tim Burton on Alice in Wonderland. They also talk about the character Alice specifically.

The Mad Hatter (6:03) (HD)
Go behind-the-scenes with Johnny Depp as he talks about his character and his specific approach.

The Futterwacken (3:24) (HD)
Learn about the futterwacken dance and meet the choreographer who helped come up with the dance.

The Red Queen (5:59) (HD)
Helena Bonham Carter talks about playing the Red Queen and the oversized head.

Time-Lapse: Sculpting the Red Queen (2:40) (HD)
Watch a time-lapse of all the work that goes into the Red Queen’s makeup.

The White Queen (4:28) (HD)
Anne Hathaway talks about playing the White Queen and her ideas she had for the character.

Scoring Wonderland (3:11) (HD)
Composer Danny Elfman talks about scoring the film and working with Tim Burton, who he admits is a process.

Effecting Wonderland (6:53) (HD)
The film is extremely heavy on special effects; see how they mixed it all together.

Stunts of Wonderland (2:34) (HD)
This is a feature all about the stunts in the movie.

Making the Proper Size (2:12) (HD)
Alice is always changing in height throughout the film; see how they dealt with all the potential issues that came with that.

Cakes of Wonderland (2:34) (HD)
The staff of Cake Divas talks about working on the food props they created for the film.

Tea Party Props (2:05) (HD)
See how they came up with the look of the tea party for the film.

Disc 2:

DVD Copy of the film

Disc 3:

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

The extras on this release are definitely enjoyable and informative. I do however wish that an audio commentary track or video commentary track were included. There were also features that could have been made into a Picture-in-Picture informative track.

The additional DVD and Digital Copy add a lot of value to this release as it will likely be one which your children or even you will want to take on the go. Overall I’m very satisfied by what was included, but certainly more could have been included. 8/10.

The Movie
Alice in Wonderland (2010) is a movie I was definitely excited about. I love most Tim Burton films and if anyone could make a strong Alice film it would be him, with such an experience in fantasy films. To be honest though, I always made sure to keep my expectations a bit lower just in case this turned out to be similar to Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (which had its moments, but ultimately was forgettable and bland).

Walking out of the theatrical release I remember thinking “Good, but definitely not as amazing as it could have been.” The film wasn’t as magical as previous Tim Burton films, but I didn’t think it was bad at all. The casting was great, but certain aspects just felt underwhelming.

Revisiting the film on Blu-ray was a great experience however. I found myself much more captivated by the film this time, despite knowing every scene in the movie. The film felt more exciting when viewed in my own home and I actually enjoyed it much more than I did theatrically.
The story still has moments which feel quite uninspired, but they definitely didn’t bug me as much. While the film is not as out there as previous Tim Burton movies, perhaps that is a good thing in this situation. While the story of Alice in Wonderland is very out there and quite trippy, it could have also gone to the point of weird and creepy.

Alice in Wonderland is a great family film and I definitely see myself watching the movie many more times on Blu-ray in the years to come. The movie won’t ever be considered a classic, but I do what Tim Burton did with his turn in the Wonderland universe.

While the film could have probably been better, there is no going back now. The film definitely delivers a very enjoyable experience and fantastic cast. While the movie may not be memorable to all, I do think the film is worth at least watching once. Personally though, I think this is one movie which becomes much more enjoyable with repeated viewings. 8/10.

The Blu-news Summary
Alice in Wonderland is a fun family film with a great video and audio presentation. The extras on the release are also very enjoyable, but more could have/should have been included. Overall Alice in Wonderland on Blu-ray is ‘Recommended’ to all.

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