Monday, July 26, 2010

James and the Giant Peach Blu-ray Review

Disc Size: 27.3 GB
Film Size: 24.2 GB
Film Rating: PG
Region: ABC
The Video
James and the Giant Peach’ comes to Blu-ray with a 1080p AVC/MPEG-4 video presentation. Those who have seen the film before know that the movie is very stylistic and features plenty of grain and is far from the clearest looking of movies.

Those going into the Blu-ray experience with set expectations will not be disappointed, but anyone expecting a dazzling crystal-clear video presentation will no doubt be disappointed. The film is thankfully very heavy on grain, but there is a strong level of detail present past the grain.

Colors are quite good, a tad subdued at times, but very pleasant overall. The film’s black levels are quite strong however. The film is quite soft-looking, but as stated earlier there is plenty of detail to be found in the image throughout.

There are sequences which do look much more dated than other scenes, as well as many scenes which do look worse than others due to added effects. The sequence with James and his parents at the beginning of the film is especially soft, but it always has been.

Overall the image won’t necessarily impress all viewers, but I do think Disney did a fantastic job in bringing the film to Blu-ray. The high-def transfer is accurate to the source and there is not a technical flaw to be found.

I can’t say the film’s visuals necessarily impressed me from beginning to end, but comparing it to the included DVD definitely helps you appreciate the Blu-ray presentation even more. ‘James and the Giant Peach’ has never looked better and I definitely don’t think the movie could look much better than it does now. 7/10.

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

The English 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio included is actually very impressive. The entire presentation sounds much more robust and clear than I anticipated; surround is also present in quite creative and fitting ways.

Dialogue while generally front and center also made appearances throughout the surround speakers and sounded clear wherever placed. The film’s audio effects make their presence known and rarely sound dated.

The audio mix included works with the material much more than I expected and I was very impressed by the audio overall. ‘James and the Giant Peach’ definitely couldn’t have sounded any better. Fans of the film and fans of good audio mixes will certainly enjoy this one! 8.5/10.

The Extras

Disc 1:

Spike the Aunts Game
This is the only new feature included on James and the Giant Peach, and I have to say I am definitely disappointed. Not that I expected anything out of this game, but the characters don’t even resemble the aunts in the film whatsoever, and the game is both repetitive and far too basic for even a minute of amusement.

Production Featurette (4:34) (SD)
A promotional featurette released prior to the film’s release.

“Good News” Music Video by Randy Newman (2:28) (SD)
This is a music video featuring scenes from the movie.

Still Frame Galleries:
Concept Art
Behind The Scenes
Live Action

Original Theatrical Trailer (1:28) (SD)
A standard-definition theatrical trailer.

Connect to BD-Live to download the latest Disney trailers.

Disc 2:

DVD copy of the film

The extras are definitely disappointing, I was hoping for a few more newly created bonus features. The game is new, but it really is pointless. The classic DVD bonus features are thankfully included, but previous home video releases didn’t consist of much either.

Overall it appears that everything that should have been included is included, but I can’t help but feel more should have been included. The additional DVD copy is a nice inclusion though. 4/10.

The Movie
It had been more than a few years since I last saw ‘James and the Giant Peach,’ but I watched the film almost immediately after I received the Blu-ray release. The film features both live action and claymation sequences, even scenes in which both meet.

The film is based on the classic book by Roald Dahl, author of some of my absolute favorite children’s books. The film is mostly associated with Tim Burton who was a producer for the film, but is directed by the talented Henry Selick.

So what did I think of the movie after so many years? I actually enjoyed it much more now! The story is creative and unique and one which can be enjoyed by the entire family. Certain moments may be a tad scary for the younger audiences, but if they could handle ‘The Nightmare before Christmas’ or ‘Coraline’ then this one should be no problem for them either.

The film’s characters are very loveable and loved the entire cast. I wouldn’t call the characters memorable, but the story definitely is. If you have never seen the movie (which I doubt) then this one is definitely one for you and your children should make time for in the near future.

The movie is very fun and quite the family adventure. If you liked ‘The Nightmare before Christmas,’ ‘Coraline,’ or possibly ‘Alice in Wonderland’ then you will very likely enjoy ‘James and the Giant Peach’ as well. The film isn’t among my favorite family flicks, but it ranks quite high compared to most and I actually enjoyed it much more on Blu-ray. 8/10.

The Blu-news Summary
'James and the Giant Peach' is a fun adventured filled family flick which is even better on Blu-ray. The video presentation is true to the source and the audio presents the film without a hitch. The extras while slightly disappointing are something I can get over. Overall the Blu-ray release is ‘Recommended’ to everyone.

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