Friday, June 4, 2010

Mary and Max Blu-ray Review

Disc Size: 29.8 GB
Film Size: 24.0 GB
Film Rating: Not Rated
Region: A
The Video
Mary and Max debut on Blu-ray with a 1080p AVC/MPEG-4 video presentation. The film is claymation which with past releases have looked very good, Mary and Max is no different. The level of clarity and detail present on the Blu-ray release is extremely impressive and a DVD could just not compare.

The film is an intentionally dull film, with very little color throughout. When colors are present the presentation is rich and vibrant, but even grays and blacks look fantastic on this release. The film is sharp and it really is no surprise that the movie looks great in high-definition.

I tried to find faults but really there isn’t anything to complain about with this high-def release. The transfer is healthy and the presentation seems pretty much perfect. I could not have expected better from the Blu-ray release and find myself extremely impressed by the quality. 10/10.

The Audio
An English 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio track and English 2.0 PCM lossless audio tracks are included. Also included is an English Audio Description track. Optional subtitles include English SDH and Spanish.

The film’s dialogue is presented front and center and is crisp and clear like any new release. The film’s effects are actually surprisingly immersive, most scenes are generally quiet and don’t call for many audio effects. However, when surround use is present it is done very well.

The effects feature nice clarity but also fantastic direction as they travel throughout the surround speakers. There was one moment in which I actually jumped as I heard a dog traveling towards the scene, not expecting it at all.

The audio mix may not be my choice for demo material, but it works with the content and presents it about as great as anyone could expect. There are definitely more impressive audio tracks on Blu-ray, but nobody will be disappointed at all with the audio mix included. 9/10.

The Extras

Audio Commentary
With Writer-Director Adam Elliot.

US Trailer (2:25) (SD)

International Trailer (2:10) (SD)

Making Of (15:48) (SD)
A making of which I didn’t really care for, I care more for the behind-the-scenes of the claymation over anything else. We do go behind-the-scenes of actors in the recording booth.

Behind The Scenes (8:15) (SD)
Go behind-the-scenes of the claymation sets and see how it was filmed.

Alternate Scenes (2:01) (SD)
Two alternate scenes are included and are presented in standard definition.

Casting Call (1:37) (SD)
Get a look at the casting tape for the girl who voiced the young girl in the film.

Harvie Krumpet short film (22:04) (SD)

The extras on this release definitely get the job done and are certainly satisfying. I do wish certain extras were included in high-definition, but it isn’t the end of the world. Overall this is a nice amount of features, I don’t know how much else could have been added. 5/10.

The Movie
Mary and Max is a film I have been anticipating for a long time as I did not get the opportunity to see it at the Sundance Film Festival (which I have been able to attend the past two years). When the title was announced for Blu-ray I was definitely excited and then this week the Blu-ray release finally arrived at my door.

I’ve read quite a bit about the film and heard great things from fellow reviewers. The movie comes from Academy Award winning Writer/Director Adam Elliott. The film is called a ‘clayography’ feature film as it is done entirely with clay animation.

The film is about an 8-year old Australian girl named Mary Daisy Dinkle (Who is partially voiced by Toni Collette) and a 44-year-old New York man named Max Jerry Horowtiz (Voiced by Phillip Seymour Hoffman). Mary Daisy Dinkle is lonely and has lots of questions and decides to find a random U.S. address in a directory and hopefully make a pen pal.

The letter goes to Max Jerry Horowitz, an obese man who struggles with Asperger’s Syndrome and like Mary Daisy Dinkle, quite lonely. The two form an unexpected friendship as they both deal with many different issues in their lives and ask each other for advice.

The film is both sad and happy as it explores both dark and lighter subjects. The film is one which is not for young children as it features plenty of sexual discussion and adult situations, but I do think the film could be quite appropriate for teenagers who have already have had the talk with their parents.

Like Disney/Pixar’s Up, Mary and Max features some very emotionally triggering moments. I have to admit that the movie did pull at my heartstrings and found myself with tears quite often. The characters were extremely likable despite their issues and often-times depressing outlook on life.

Mary and Max has a great message of friendship and getting past your struggles. The film is one which I don’t think everyone will love, particularly those with low attention spans as you may find certain moments a bit boring and repetitive. I have read a couple of people have not been fans of the narration throughout, but I think it works well and enjoyed it.

The movie is one that I think any adult should give a chance. Whether you have heard amazing things or bad things about the movie, don’t let any comments stop you from seeing the film. The movie is a nice surprise and I think it will have a following for many years to come. The film is one which I hope gets more attention with the home video release. The movie is often dark and emotional, but is also beautiful and amazing. 10/10.

The Blu-news Summary
Mary and Max is a dark but beautiful story. The Blu-ray release is visually stunning and impressive audio-wise. The extras are definitely satisfying, but I wish a few were presented in high-definition. Overall the Blu-ray release is easily ‘Recommended’ and something I think any adult should make time to see whether it be a purchase or rental.

Additional Screenshots:

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