Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Tinker Bell and the Great Fairy Rescue Blu-ray Review

Disc Size: 35.4 GB
Film Size: 21.2 GB
Film Rating: G
Release Date: September 21st, 2010
Region: A
The Video
Tinker Bell and the Great Fairy Rescue comes to Blu-ray with a 1080p AVC/MPEG-4 video presentation. The previous Tinker Bell films have also been released on Blu-ray so it is no surprise that the presentation is visually captivating. The product values appear to be very high with this one, and if they aren’t, they could have fooled me.

The Blu-ray presentation knocks the included DVD version out of the water with so many details and colors to be seen. The animation quality is strong, close attention is paid to the small textures of the environments, clothing, hair, etc.

I was also very impressed by the quality of the colors; everything just leaps off the screen. Colors are just so rich and vibrant; blacks are always inky as can be. I was completely impressed by the high-def presentation and I really couldn’t find anything to complain about.

The presentation is just as stunning as the first two films on Blu-ray; there is no way one could be disappointed. Everything about the video presentation shines and fans and high-def viewers in general will be very impressed. 10/10.

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

The audio track included is very good, especially considering the material. The film isn’t extremely heavy on surround use, but that is because the film itself doesn’t necessarily call for very much surround use.

Thankfully Disney did pay attention to the surround speakers, whenever possible with little details added to scenes to help create a more immersive experience. Dialogue is basically front and center with a nice level of clarity like only a high-def track can bring.

The film’s surround use moments do pick up during more intense scenes and are delivered nicely. It is hard to be disappointed when the mix does such a great job working with the material. Sure, we all would love a major surround use experience considering they can be quite investment, however the mix is accurate to the film and I am very pleased. 8.5/10.

The Extras

Disc 1 (Blu-ray Disc):

Tangled: Exclusive Sneak Peek (3:39) (HD)
A promo for the upcoming animated Disney film Tangled.

Deleted Scenes (14:45) (HD)
Five deleted scenes are included and include optional intros from Director Brad Raymond and Producer Helen Kalafatic.

Bridgit Mendler - “How to Believe” Music Video (3:02) (HD)
Disney’s latest television star gets her turn on the latest song from the ‘Tinker Bell’ franchise.

Fairy Field Guide Builder (Game)
An interactive game that will get boring after a few minutes.

Design a Fairy House (1:53) (HD)
This is a feature about a ‘Design a Fairy House’ contest which was held, see the winning house created and displayed at Epcot’s Flower Garden.

BD-Live Portal
Download the latest Disney trailers in both high-def and standard-def viewing options.

Disc 2 (DVD):

DVD copy of the film.

There aren’t very many extras here, which is a bit disappointing. What I feel should have been included is behind-the-scenes with the voice cast for the film, perhaps showing some in-studio recording and interviews. An audio commentary would have been nice too, but perhaps we will see it on a future release years from now.

The DVD copy is greatly appreciated and something I am sure will get plenty of replay value from those with younger viewers. The DVD included just makes the Blu-ray that much easier of an option really. Overall I am satisfied by what is included, but I can’t deny that more should have and could have been included. 5/10.

The Movie
Tinker Bell and the Great Fairy Rescue is the latest film in the successful Tinker Bell franchise. I have had the opportunity of reviewing both the first film and second film from the series and if you read them, you would know that I think they are fantastic and well done, particularly when you think that they are direct-to-video productions.

Tinker Bell has been a very enjoyable and surprisingly well done series of Disney films which have brought Tinker Bell to a new generation as well as giving background story to those who loved her in Peter Pan.

In the past films we learned the origin of fairies as well as their own unique talents and exploration; however we have yet to see any of the fairies have human contact…until now. In this latest adventure, Tinker Bell finds herself a human friend named Lizzie who had been dreaming of seeing an actual fairy.

The adventure isn’t all fun and games when Lizzie’s father gets into the mix and the fairies must stage a rescue operation. The story is magical like only Disney can do. After seeing the first two films I was not surprised, I was expected it to be good and it does deliver.

Animated films are always cute, but I find that many rely on stupid gags and storylines to keep kids entertained. Disney does bring laughs with Tinker Bell and the Great Fairy Rescue, but it also brings plenty of imagination and heart.

The world is getting more competitive by the day, kids are becoming far more stressed than ever before with issues relating to school, self-esteem and just growing up in general. I appreciate that Disney doesn’t forget that you are never too old or too busy to be a kid, and for 77 minutes we can put everything aside and go into a world where it’s all about faith, trust and a little pixie dust. I loved it and your kids will love it even more. 9/10.

The Blu-news Summary
Tinker Bell and the Great Fairy Rescue is a fun film that the entire family can enjoy. The Blu-ray release is stunning, featuring an impressive video presentation and good audio mix. The extras are slightly lacking, but the DVD copy is a very welcome addition. Overall the Blu-ray release is ‘Highly Recommended.

Additional Screenshots:

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Thursday, September 23, 2010

Camp Rock 2: The Final Jam Blu-ray Review

Disc Size: 37.2 GB
Film Size: 32.6 GB
Film Rating: TV-G
Release Date: September 7th, 2010
Region: A
The Video
Camp Rock 2: The Final Jam comes to Blu-ray with a 1080p AVC/MPEG-4 video presentation. The Blu-ray release certainly looks good and is an improvement from the DVD copy included, however I wasn’t blown away by the high-def presentation.

The film is colorful and the transfer brings out the colors vividly and accurately. The film also has a nice upgrade in clarity from DVD; however I wasn’t blown away by the detail at certain moments. Detail while generally solid did look a bit less than desired at moments, creating some very dull and flat looking moments at times.

The presentation as a whole does look like a made for television production, but that is because it is. Unfortunately I can’t rave about the video presentation, but I can tell you that it is very solid and actually free of any technical issues.

My issue lies within the source itself (which just doesn’t make for the most stunning high-def visuals). Overall I am certainly more than pleased; I just wouldn’t call this demo material whatsoever. TV on Blu-ray can look amazing, but we have also seen some very dull looking releases hit the format. Camp Rock 2 looks quite great for a TV production, but it won’t always blow your socks off visually. 8/10.

The Audio
An English 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio track is the lossless option included. Other audio options include Spanish L.A. 5.1 Dolby Digital, French 5.1 Dolby Digital, Spanish 5.1 Dolby Digital and Dutch 5.1 Dolby Digital. Optional subtitles include English, English SDH, Spanish L.A., French, Spanish and Dutch.

The audio presented on the release is certainly good, but I had hoped for better when it comes to certain audio aspects. The film’s music is aggressive and clear and makes terrific use of the surround speakers; it is exciting like a musical track should be.

Dialogue is always crisp and easy to understand. The audio effects included are also quite clear and are generally present within the front left and right speakers. Surround use is there, it just isn’t as immersive as it maybe could have been.

The uneven quality of the mix is my issue with the track. When there isn’t a musical performance, the mix is fairly uneventful and sounds like your basic TV-comedy. Surround use when used is actually quite impressive for a TV-produced film.

Overall the audio track is more than solid, I just think if more ambient effects were thrown into the surround speakers it could have been a more impressive track as a whole. Regardless, I wasn’t too disappointed by the audio mix included as it certainly did impress throughout. 8/10.

The Extras

Disc 1 (Blu-ray Disc):

Rock-Along (HD)
This is basically a sing-along feature, something I am sure younger audiences will enjoy.

Music Videos from Camp Rockers around the World (HD/SD)
Popular artists from other Countries made promotional music videos for Camp Rock 2, see them here. Some of the music videos are up-converted while others are presented in natural high-definition.
  • France (3:03) (SD)
  • Spain (2:47) (SD)
  • Benelux (3:26) (SD)
  • Germany (3:31) (HD)
  • Italy (3:39) (HD)
Getting to Know Camp Star’s Newest Stars (5:45) (HD)
Alyson Stoner interviews the new additions featured in Camp Rock 2. This is fun for those who would like to get to know them better.

BD-Live Portal
Download the latest Disney trailers in both high-definition and standard-definition viewing options.

Disc 2 (DVD):

DVD copy of the film.

Disc 3 (DVD):

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

There aren’t very many extras, which isn’t too surprising. The extras included are enjoyable, but I do wish behind-the-scenes featurettes were included. The DVD and Digital Copy inclusion is a smart choice by Disney and I am sure those buying the Blu-ray combo pack for their kids/teens will appreciate them. 4/10.

The Movie
Camp Rock 2: The Final Jam feels like it has taken forever to release since the time I heard it was originally picked up. The film is a sequel to the hit Disney Channel Original Movie Camp Rock. The entire cast returns for the sequel, which includes Demi Lovato and the Jonas Brothers.

The first film was actually decent for a Disney Channel Original Movie. The story while not completely original featured likeable characters and solid music. The film was basically another take on ‘High School Musical’ and it succeeded. The Camp Rock series may not be as big as the High School Musical series, but it certainly has many fans.

Camp Rock 2 had me worried by the time it was ready to air on television as I felt it had been too long since the first and the Jonas Brothers have lost steam due to Justin Bieber in particular. Despite my worries, Camp Rock 2 was a TV-success and is now on Blu-ray.

The film starts off very simple and basic, it actually turned me off quite a bit and made me delay watching the entire film to another time. After the first 20 minutes I do think the film picks up and feels much more high-budget than it did at first.

The musical performances are much impressive this time around; however they took more of a music video approach to many performances with heavy-choreographed dance numbers in which everyone is involved. At first I thought it was very cheesy, but by the end I found it to be well done.

The songs themselves vary in quality, but I was surprised that they did deliver some catchy songs that will leave kids and teens singing the songs in their head many times after the film ends, perhaps asking you to pick up the soundtrack.

The story itself was something that I also didn’t think I would like at first, but I actually liked the competitive edge they gave the film (introducing a new camp called Camp Star, which threatens the existence of Camp Rock) and it was the best idea when making a sequel rather than keeping things purely at Camp Rock.

Overall I was very impressed by the quality of the Disney Channel Original Movie. It isn’t amazing by any means, but I certainly expected much worse from this sequel. Younger audiences will really enjoy Camp Rock 2 and adult viewers (watching it with their kids) may not find it half-bad either. I can’t compare this to a theatrically released film, but all things considered it isn’t so bad. 7/10.

The Blu-news Summary
Camp Rock 2: The Final Jam is a solid Disney Channel Original Movie that your kids will enjoy. The Blu-ray release is good, featuring a solid video presentation and quite impressive audio mix. There aren’t many extras, but I do consider the DVD and Digital Copy some significant additions for this release. Overall the Blu-ray combo pack is ‘Recommended.

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Saturday, September 18, 2010

Modern Family: The Complete First Season Blu-ray Review

Release Date: September 21st, 2010
TV-Rating: TV-PG
Region: A
Disc 1 Episodes:
  • Pilot
  • Run For Your Wife
  • The Bicycle Thief
  • Come Fly with Me
  • The Incident
  • Coal Digger
  • En Garde
  • Great Expectations
Disc 2 Episodes:
  • Fizbo
  • Undeck the Halls
  • Up All Night
  • Not In My House
  • Fifteen Percent
  • Moon Landing
  • My Funky Valentine
  • Fears
Disc 3 Episodes:
  • Truth Be Told
  • Starry Night
  • Game Changer
  • Benched
  • Travels with Scout
  • Airport 2010
  • Hawaii
  • Family Portrait
The Video
Modern Family: The Complete First Season’ comes to Blu-ray with a 1080p AVC/MPEG-4 video presentation for each of the 24 half-hour episodes. The show looks stunning and expectedly so; the HD broadcasts on television have always looked great.

Modern Family is one of those shows that benefits very much from a high-def release. The release is not a dark and gritty television program like 24 (which I do think looks good, just not as good). Modern Family is bright and crystal clear and on Blu-ray it is only better.

Colors are spectacular and rich, black levels are also nice and inky throughout. The level of detail and clarity is also impressive, this is not a release you could ever confuse for DVD or an HD broadcast. Whether it is the textures of the home environments or the textures of skin, hair and clothing, it all truly shines.

The show also features a welcome layer of grain at times, which isn’t always noticeable. There are a couple of moments in which the grain is a bit distracting (like that of Nurse Jackie on Blu-ray), however this issue is only very present on the pilot episode.

Don’t worry; the intense grain is not a technical issue of the Blu-ray release. The Blu-ray just presents everything true to the source and unfortunately it is a bit distracting during the pilot in which Phil is sitting in the kitchen area for his interview. The ‘issue’ isn’t really an issue, but I figured it was worth mentioning so it isn’t unexpected.

Aside from that minor mention, the high-def presentation is everything I could have dreamed of and more. Right from the video quality seen on the main menu for the first time do you know you are in for one very impressive release.

Some may argue that Modern Family isn’t worth a high-def purchase, especially since it is a comedy and not set on an island like Lost or features amazing explosions like on 24. Those who think this way will hopefully begin to think otherwise once you get a look at Modern Family on Blu-ray.

The entire season from beginning to end is impressive visually and thankfully Fox made this a 3-disc set and not a 2-disc set. Each episode is given a healthy high-def encode and I could not be happier. I had high expectations to begin with, but it is especially nice to see that my high expectations were surpassed. 10/10.

The Audio
An English 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio track is included for each episode. Optional subtitles include English SDH, Spanish, French and Portuguese.

The show is a comedy, I expected front heavy and what we get on the Blu-ray release is certainly front heavy. The show is extremely dialogue driven, but thankfully the dialogue is all as clear as can be like only a high-def track can provide.

The surround use is minimal, with effects focused more within the front left and right speakers. There are times when the surround use does expand, but it isn’t a common thing. Regardless of where it is placed, everything is easy to understand and well balanced.

The show’s theme song is a different story however; it takes up your entire surround setup and is vivid and loud. I didn’t expect the theme to be so full of life and with such clarity; all while making use of the surround speakers as well.

Overall it is hard to be disappointed by the high-def mixes included. Modern Family doesn’t include musical numbers or car explosions, but it does work with the content it is and makes it shine as much as possible. I can’t say I was amazed, but I couldn’t really expect much more from the mixes included. 8/10.

The Extras

Disc 1 (Blu-ray Disc) (42.4 GB):

Deleted, Extended & Alternate Scenes (14:54) (HD)
  • Pilot (0:58) (HD)
  • Run For Your Wife (1:18) (HD)
  • The Bicycle Thief (2:51) (HD)
  • Come Fly with Me (0:51) (HD)
  • The Incident (1:35) (HD)
  • Coal Digger (1:44) (HD)
  • En Garde (2:25) (HD)
  • Great Expectations (4:02) (HD)
Deleted Family Interviews (8:52) (HD)
  • Pilot (4:57) (HD)
  • Run For Your Wife (0:35) (HD)
  • The Bicycle Thief (0:59) (HD)
  • Come Fly with Me (0:48) (HD)
  • Coal Digger (1:28) (HD)
  • En Garde (0:37) (HD)
Disc 2 (Blu-ray Disc) (41.8 GB):

Deleted, Extended & Alternate Scenes (20:46) (HD)
  • Undeck the Halls (6:38) (HD)
  • Up All Night (8:15) (HD)
  • Not In My House (2:31) (HD)
  • Moon Landing (1:03) (HD)
  • My Funky Valentine (1:48) (HD)
  • Fears (1:06) (HD)
Deleted Family Interviews (1:37) (HD)
  • Fizbo (0:25) (HD)
  • My Funky Valentine (0:53) (HD)
  • Fears (0:31) (HD)
Disc 3 (Blu-ray Disc) (42.1 GB):

Deleted, Extended & Alternate Scenes (9:25) (HD)
  • Truth Be Told (1:33) (HD)
  • Starry Night (1:30) (HD)
  • Travels with Scout (6:36) (HD)
Gag Reel (5:41) (HD)
The gag reel is surprisingly unfunny overall.

Real Modern Family Moments (10:25) (HD)
Executive Producer/Co-Creator Steve Levitan and his family talk about moments in Modern Family taken directly from their modern family experiences. Other crew members also talk about their stories which were inspiration for some of the show’s best moments.

Before Modern Family (12:54) (HD)
Each cast member talks about their work before Modern Family; this is actually very entertaining and interesting.

Fizbo the Clown (4:13) (HD)
Actor Eric Stonestreet talks about his character ‘Fizbo’ the clown which he created as a child as well as bringing the character to the show.

The Making of Modern Family: “Family Portrait” (9:16) (HD)
This is a fantastic behind-the-scenes look at the filming of the episode “Family Portrait.”

Modern Family “Hawaii” (5:20) (HD)
Go behind-the-scenes at the filming of the episode “Hawaii.”

The extras on this release are fantastic and I found everything enjoyable, aside from the dull gag reel. Fans of the series will certainly enjoy everything to be found on the disc, even the deleted scenes and family interviews are extremely funny.

There could have been more features such as audio commentaries, but in this case the quality of everything is great and presented in high-definition. Having seen some almost barebones TV releases on Blu-ray, the bonus features included are really easy to appreciate. 7.5/10.

The Season
There have been some pretty stellar TV releases on Blu-ray this September. Notable releases such as The Twilight Zone, The Office, The Simpsons. and Glee. They are all great series which I enjoy immensely, however none have as much of my love as my latest TV comedy obsession, Modern Family.

Modern Family is a series which I thankfully started watching from the very first episode. After watching the pilot I remember thinking what a special show this could be if the humor continued to stay as solid and if the characters continued to be as funny.

Modern Family has not only stayed as funny as its pilot episode, it has become what I believe to be one of the funniest TV comedies of the past decade. Sure, I may sound like I am over-hyping this release, but it really is that funny and I know many critics who share the same sentiment as this reviewer.

The show is done from a reality perspective, similar to that of ‘The Office’ and other comedies. The reality perspective may be something viewers are bored of, especially since ‘Parks and Recreation’ follows the same routine as well, however I don’t think any show does it as smoothly as Modern Family.

The cameras follow these three modern families deal with their own unique situations and events. It does feature family and individual character interviews throughout the episode, but it is extremely well done and makes for some very funny and memorable sequences.

What I really love about Modern Family is the memorable humor. The lines are hilarious that you could go over your favorite lines all day with friends or families who have also seen the show. The humor is wacky, but I think everyone will find characters and situations they can relate to, although perhaps on different levels.

The show also includes a marvelous cast which includes Ed O’Neill from Married with Children. Also featured is the smoking hot but hilarious Sofia Vergara, Julie Bowen, Ty Burrell, Jesse Tyler Ferguson and Eric Stonestreet (Who just won the Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series – Modern Family).

Modern Family is funny because it is modern and deals with three different situations which I am sure we can all relate to in some way. We have the all-American family which includes a married couple and their three children. We have the older man who is previously divorced and now married to a much younger woman, who happens to have a son from a previous marriage. We also have the gay couple who are now parents to a newly adopted daughter.

The three families are all relate and despite their differences and dislikes about each other, they are always there for each other. The show is extremely humorous in dealing with the story-lines, but each episode ends with some heart and makes this show very family friendly.

I quickly became in love with Modern Family and I cannot tell you how excited I am for season two. Season one is a genius, and I enjoyed every single episode, that is something that is hard to come by. The days approaching this release have been long and busy, but I just had to clear up my entire schedule when Modern Family arrived.

I watched the entire season on Blu-ray in just two days time, and you may find yourself in the same situation if time allows, it is just that funny. The show is easy to watch from beginning to end or even just random episodes.

I would recommend those new to the series to watch the series from beginning to end, there are many jokes which come up throughout the season which make much more sense when you know the background of the comments, etc. There are also jokes which happen earlier than other events which only make them much more humorous when revisiting.

Modern Family is just one of those rare shows that manage to really capture your heart and keep you coming back for more on a weekly basis. The episodes are terrific, the characters are amazing and personally I cannot get enough.

I could just go on and on about how much I love the show, hopefully you will give it a chance (if you haven’t already) and maybe it will capture your heart like it did mine. Modern Family is the comedy every modern family has been waiting for and I cannot recommend it enough. 10/10.

The Blu-news Summary
Modern Family is one of the funniest TV comedies I have ever seen. The Blu-ray release is fantastic in every aspect, featuring stunning video presentations, fitting audio mixes and a quality selection of extras. Overall the Blu-ray release is ‘A Must Own.

NOTE: would like to encourage all readers to pick up the Blu-ray release of Modern Family. If you are to purchase Modern Family: The Complete First Season, please remember to buy the Blu-ray release to show Fox Home Entertainment that they should continue to release TV shows on Blu-ray.

We have seen a few shows discontinued on Blu-ray after bad sales and we hope this trend does not continue or we may not see future seasons on Blu-ray. As always, thank you for reading! If you would like to support the site and support the release, please click the link below to order.

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Friday, September 17, 2010

Glee: The Complete First Season Blu-ray Review

Release Date: September 14th, 2010.
TV-Rating: TV-14
Region: A
Disc 1 Episodes:
  • Pilot – Director’s Cut
  • Showmance
  • Acafellas
  • Preggers
  • The Rhodes Not Taken
Disc 2 Episodes:
  • Vitamin-D
  • Throwdown
  • Mash-Up
  • Wheels
  • Ballad
  • Hairography
Disc 3 Episodes:
  • Mattress
  • Sectionals
  • Hell-O
  • The Power of Madonna
  • Home
  • Bad Reputation
Disc Four Episodes:
  • Laryngitis
  • Dream On
  • Theatricality
  • Funk
  • Journey to Regionals
The Video
Glee: The Complete First Season’ comes to Blu-ray with a 1080p AVC/MPEG-4 video presentation for all 22 episodes. The show while generally looking sharp and vibrant was a bit of a disappointment and certainly below my high expectations.

Having seen Glee on television in high-def, I was always thinking ‘this will look fantastic on Blu-ray.’ Now the Blu-ray release is here and while I will say it looks generally impressive, there are quite a few flatter looking moments than I expected.

I think the show definitely looks high-def, I even have the DVD to compare and there is a notable improvement. I just think the show could have looked at least a little better if they made this a 5-disc set rather than a 4-disc set. The DVD release takes up 7 discs.

I know I am coming across as very negative, but I just expected some amazing levels of detail throughout. The show has an upgrade in clarity from standard-definition which I am very thankful for and many scenes do feature an impressive level of detail.

The video issues are not too serious, however I did notice what appeared to be banding during brief moments and noise does pop up on occasion. The show has a natural grain throughout which is more present during certain scenes over others, but it looks good and is unobtrusive to the experience.

There are moments where watching that I was impressed and amazed by the high-def quality, I just can’t rave about it completely like I was hoping I could. I think Glee could have looked at least somewhat better if given the space, but it is far from a worse-case scenario really.

Colors are strong, certainly rich and create many eye-popping sequences throughout. The details present at times are incredible and very revealing. The show certainly benefits from a high-def release and I find the presentation to be impressive overall.

Don’t let my negative aspects turn you off to the Blu-ray release. There is no comparing the DVD to the Blu-ray release; it is a noticeable improvement that viewers will certainly appreciate. I had to make note of the negative aspects as there are a couple, they just feel more highlighted because I expected reference level material from Glee at all times, not just sometimes.

Overall this is far from a bad experience; I just really had some high expectations. At the end of the day I am very grateful to be able to own Glee: The Complete First Season in high-definition as it has incredible benefits visually. The show may not be the reference material I had hoped it would be, but it certainly looks very good as a whole. 8/10.

The Audio
An English 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio track is included for every episode. Optional subtitles include English SDH, Spanish, French, Portuguese, Danish, Finnish, Norwegian and Swedish.

The 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio track is something I was especially looking forward to with this release. Seeing the show on television I did not feel like the music had that much of an impact and I was really hoping the Blu-ray release would give it that added oomph to truly shine.

So how is the audio? Well it certainly isn’t all I had dreamed it would be, but it certainly is very clear. Upon the first episode I realized this show would be a front heavy experience. Whether it be dialogue or music, everything major and almost anything minor came from the front.

The show stays this way for quite some time and picks up a bit towards the latter half of the season. I think the latter-filmed episodes do sound a bit better; particularly the season finale as far as surround use goes. The musical numbers while still a bit front heavy, didn’t feel so limited and did expand ever so slightly to the surround speakers.

Towards the finale we do get some very notable surround use and I do think with season two we will be much more impressed with the audio experience. Glee is just front heavy unfortunately, I wish it was, but it just isn’t.

The audio itself sounds very clear and is always very easy to understand. The show sounds better with lossless audio than it does with the lossy audio found on the DVD release for Glee. I wish there was more surround use, but at least the clarity and upgrade is present to help make up for it a bit.

Like most comedies on Blu-ray, the mix is clear; it is just surround use which is lacking. Glee unfortunately fits into the comedy audio stereotype. The show does sound good; just don’t expect to get immersed into the music via your surround speakers. 7/10.

The Extras

Disc 1 (Blu-ray Disc) (43.9GB):

Glee Music Jukebox (HD)
Select this feature if you want to select a specific musical performance from an episode and don’t want to fast-forward through the episode. This feature is available across all four discs, however you can only access the songs from the episodes included on that specific disc.

Behind the Pilot: A Visual Commentary with Cast and Crew (48:39) (HD)
Watch the pilot episode with the cast via side-by-side video, presented in high-definition. This is very enjoyable and entertaining, fans of the show will certainly enjoy it.

Disc 2 (Blu-ray Disc) (45.0 GB):

Glee Music Jukebox (HD)
Select this feature if you want to select a specific musical performance from an episode and don’t want to fast-forward through the episode. This feature is available across all four discs, however you can only access the songs from the episodes included on that specific disc.

Disc 3 (Blu-ray Disc) (45.7 GB):

Glee Music Jukebox (HD)
Select this feature if you want to select a specific musical performance from an episode and don’t want to fast-forward through the episode. This feature is available across all four discs, however you can only access the songs from the episodes included on that specific disc.

Disc 4 (Blu-ray Disc) (45.8 GB):

Glee Sing Along Karaoke (HD)
Sing along with the songs ‘Alone,’ ‘Somebody to Love,’ ‘Keep Holding On,’ and ‘Don’t Stop Believing.’

Glee Music Jukebox (HD)
Select this feature if you want to select a specific musical performance from an episode and don’t want to fast-forward through the episode. This feature is available across all four discs, however you can only access the songs from the episodes included on that specific disc.

Staying in Step with Glee (6:19) (HD)
Choreographer Zach Woodlee and Asst. Choreographer Brooke Limpton teach viewers the dance steps for the song 'Rehab.'

Bite Their Style: Dress like Your Favorite Gleek (8:53) (HD)
Costume Designer Lou Eyrich talks about the characters and the clothing which defines them. She talks about what makes each character distinct from the others.

Unleashing the Power of Madonna (10:37) (HD)
The cast and crew all talk about working on the Madonna episode as well as why they are all inspired by Madonna.

Making of a Showstopper (17:22) (HD)
The crew talks about making some of the big dance numbers seen on Glee, including Bohemian Rhapsody.

Welcome to McKinley! (5:08) (SD)
In this feature Principal Figgins gives us a tour of the school to familiarize new students. This is a pretty dull feature, but the idea is nice.

Glee Music Video (2:45) (SD)
A Glee promotional music video which I believe aired on television before the show aired.

Full Length Audition Pieces (4:11) (SD)
The pilot featured the characters auditioning for the Glee club; however we didn’t see their auditions in full. The auditions for Rachel and Mercedes can now be seen in full.
  • Rachel – “On My Own”
  • Mercedes – “Respect”
Fox Movie Channel Presents Casting Session (12:04) (SD)
This Fox Movie Channel special features interviews with Ryan Murphy and others who helped turn the idea into the actual show.

Deconstructing Glee with Ryan Murphy (2:49) (SD)
Ryan Murphy talks about his idea for the show, casting the show and more.

Dance Boot Camp (3:13) (SD)
See the cast rehearse dance numbers seen on the show.

Jane Lynch: A to Glee (0:52) (SD)
This is a promo piece for Glee; this is also present on the Vol. 1 DVD release of Glee.

Meet Jane Lynch (1:04) (SD)
This is a feature from the Vol. 1 DVD release of Glee released last year; it is a feature in which Jane Lynch talks about her character Sue Sylvester.

Things You Don't Know About... (SD)
  • 5 Things you don’t know about Jayma (0:40) (SD)
  • 7 Things you don’t know about Cory (1:00) (SD)
  • 6 Things you don’t know about Amber (0:58) (SD)
  • 7 Things you don’t know about Chris (0:42) (SD)
Video Diaries (17:10) (SD)
  • Jane Lynch
  • Lea Michele
  • Matthew Morrison
  • Cory Monteith
  • Kevin McHale
  • Amber Riley
  • Chris Colfer
  • Dianna Agron
The extras on this release are certainly fantastic and very enjoyable. I loved the visual commentary for the pilot episode as well as the jukebox features and behind-the-scenes videos. The only thing I wish was done for the release would be audio commentaries for each episode, however I understand that takes a lot of time to do. Overall the bonus features are very solid and very entertaining. 8/10.
The Season
Glee: The Complete First Season' is now available on Blu-ray. It feels like just a few months have passed since the season premiere as my memory and thoughts about the show are still just as fresh. The series premiered in 2009 with a pilot episode that I thought was enjoyable, but ultimately forgettable.

I did find the closing performance of ‘Don’t Stop Believing’ touching, although a bit cheesy as well. However, having seen every episode of the season at this point I do consider myself a ‘Gleek.’ The show features one of the more talented casts on television (ahh, what a great year of television 2009 was).

The show stars the incredibly talented Lea Michele who plays lead character Rachel Berry, with a supporting cast that includes Matthew Morrison, Jane Lynch, Cory Monteith, Chris Colfer, Amber Riley, Mark Salling and Dianna Agron to name a few.

The season also gets a very impressive number of guest stars including Kristin Chenoweth, Idina Menzel, Neil Patrick Harris, Victor Garber, Olivia Newton-John and Josh Groban. The next season will also see a number of guest stars, but hopefully they don’t go overboard with celebrities wanting to be on the show.

Glee is very High School Musical in the sense that they do break out into song and dance at some random times, although this time more fitting and usually with more teen/adult themes. If High School Musical were realistic, Vanessa Hudgens’ character would have been knocked up by senior year while Ashley Tisdale’s character would find herself at an abortion clinic on a regular basis.

Glee is actually a terrific mix of teen themes with a bit of cheesiness included. The show can be quite family friendly, although not everything is intended for younger viewers. The show does put episode focus on sexually active teens, pregnancy, homosexuality, and weight/eating issues. However, I find them all subjects that tweens and teens should be comfortable talking about with their parents.

The show’s biggest message of all is unity and accepting people for who they are. Regardless of gender, race, weight, sexual orientation, etc, they are all accepted. The characters certainly have their issues within each other, but typical high school drama is usually the issue.

So let’s talk about the drama, I find the drama to be very stupid at times. However, many of these stupid issues are not stupid to those in high school. It certainly is believable drama overall. There is an episode which did bug me and it about Kurt and Finn. Kurt is a gay teen who is verbally attacked by Finn, by the end of the episode Finn apologizes after much scrutiny. That is great; however they made the episode so one-sided that it feels preachy.

Personally, I feel every person deserves equal rights and I loved that the show brings attention to homosexuality and acceptance. However, I am not a fan of things being so one-sided and in your face, it is very distracting and that is probably my biggest annoyance from the entire season.

The show’s music is fantastic. I have seen people call the music ‘Kidz Bop’ versions of the originals, however I actually disagree. To be honest, I think Glee’s cast made certain songs better or at least updated them well. The music is fun and it is hard not to get into the music, I’m sure most who have seen the show would agree.

Glee, the first season is a show which I plan to revisit many times again in the future. The show is best enjoyed from beginning to end your first time, however I have also found enjoyment from just watching random episodes throughout the season with my favorite performances and humor.

Glee is a great comedy, I think it can get a bit overly dramatic at times, but it never strays too far that it becomes non-enjoyable. The show is clever, fun and something I look forward to on a weekly basis as it airs. I’m certainly ready for season two, aren’t you? If not, pick up season one on Blu-ray and get ready! 9/10.

The Blu-news Summary
Glee is a fantastic show with a good Blu-ray release, the video and audio presentations aren’t always amazing but they easily improve upon the DVD release. The extras are fun and there are plenty to be seen. Overall the Blu-ray release is ‘Highly Recommended’ for the show alone.

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Thursday, September 16, 2010

Babies Blu-ray Review

Disc Size: 26.6 GB
Film Size: 20.0 GB
Film Rating: PG
Release Date: September 28th, 2010.
Region: ABC
The Video
Babies’ comes to Blu-ray with a 1080p VC-1 video presentation. The film is captured entirely in high-definition and as expected, looks fantastic. We know documentaries truly shine on Blu-ray and this film is no different.

Right from the first few minutes you know this is going to be one sharp and vivid presentation. Colors are also beautiful and blacks are inky as can be. The detail levels also amaze, whether it be rocks in the sand or the texture of a basket.

The film is beautifully captured to begin with, but the Blu-ray makes this one a knockout. Babies isn’t necessarily a film in which you may care about the level of detail as say ‘Planet Earth,’ but it is still incredible to see the detail of the four different environments these babies live in.

The Blu-ray presentation is free of any notable technical issues. The release appears to be true to the source and I could not have expected much better than what we get here. Fans of the film and high-def lovers in general will be extremely pleased and impressed by the presentation. 9/10.

The Audio
A 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio track is the lossless option and only audio option included. Optional English SDH subtitles are included. This is fine as the only dialogue present is that of the babies and mothers in their own different languages.

The audio track is very clear; however this is a documentary film with no major dialogue present. The film presents the stories of the babies through the visual presentation rather than the audio presentation.

The track presents the environment noises clearly and distinctly, while the center speaker gives great focus to the noises and occasional dialogue which each baby presents. The audio track is very strong for a documentary; just don’t go in expecting a surround sound experience for something that shouldn’t be. 8/10.

The Extras

The Babies – Three Years Later (4:04) (HD)
Director Thomas Balmès goes back three years later to visit the four families captured in the film.

Everybody Loves…Your Babies Sweepstakes Winners (2:06) (SD)
See winning entries from a sweepstakes held in promotion of Babies.

My Scenes
Save your favorite scenes and share them with friends through BD-Live.

BD-Live Portal
View the latest trailers from Universal Studios Home Entertainment via BD-Live.

There really aren’t many extras included, however I did enjoy the feature in which the Director goes back and visits the family three years later, it is great to see the babies as kids now. I do think a DVD copy would have been a nice addition or perhaps more deleted scenes. I didn’t go in expecting very many features from the documentary so I am not too disappointed. 2/10.

The Movie
Everybody loves…’Babies,' or so the cover claims. I for one disagree. While I do find babies adorable, I can’t imagine the responsibility and annoyance that comes with one. However, I can say that I do love the documentary film called ‘Babies.’

‘Babies’ is directed by Thomas Balmès, following four different babies from four different locations. We have Ponijao from Namibia, Bayarjargal from Mongolia, Mari from Tokyo and Hattie from San Francisco.

The film follows the babies from the womb and through their first year of life. We see their different lifestyles and different learning patterns. We see the opportunities some babies get that others don’t. We see the babies learn to crawl, and then learn to walk and even run.

The film features very little dialogue throughout, it is extremely simple. However, I think the simple aspect of the film is what makes it genius. The film can be visually impressive, as the filmmakers clearly paid attention to the angles and lighting in the scenes to make it that much more visual.

The content of the film is certainly one which I find appropriate for viewers of all ages. We see plenty of nudity throughout, not just the babies, but also of the mothers. Most scenes feature just maternal nudity; however there is one scene in which the mother from San Francisco decides to get into a hot tub outside her home in the nude with her baby. Not much is shown, it is just more random than the other scenes.

‘Babies’ does not have me in any hurry to have children, but I will admit it was very beautiful the way the lives of these four babies were captured on film. Baby lover or hater, I do think most viewers will certainly enjoy the film simply to see the different lifestyles they all live, as well as the many things they have in common.

I don’t think the film ultimately delivered everything it wanted to, at least everything I wanted it to. The film could have left a bigger impact and I do think ‘March of the Penguins’ is a better film (which it is compared to). Despite its flaws, I think this is a very solid and enjoyable film that should be seen. 8/10.

The Blu-news Summary
‘Babies’ is a cute and enjoyable film. The Blu-ray release is impressive, featuring a strong video presentation and fitting audio track. The extras are lacking, but in this case I didn’t expect many to be included anyway. Overall the Blu-ray release is ‘Recommended.

Additional Screenshots:

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Can't wait until September 28th? Babies is available now on Blu-ray, exclusively at Target.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Scooby-Doo! Camp Scare Blu-ray Review

Disc Size: 13.8 GB
Film Size: 10.8 GB
Film Rating: Not Rated
Release Date: September 14th, 2010
Region: ABC
The Video
Scooby-Doo! Camp Scare’ debuts on Blu-ray with a 1080p VC-1 video presentation. The video quality is very strong, featuring the crystal clear high-def look that every animated release hopes to be.

Let’s start off colors, the colors are visually stunning and give an impressive level of pop to the high-def presentation. The included DVD copy of the film was also nice when handling colors, but the Blu-ray is still a notable improvement.

The animation quality is good and the film appears to have very solid production values. The encode size is a bit on the smaller side, however I still think the Blu-ray release is given a strong and worthy video presentation.

There is banding which pops up on occasion, but seeing it with almost every other animated Blu-ray release it has become something that doesn’t bug me as much. In this case the banding is noticeable at times, but overall I didn’t find it to be intrusive to the film nor very distracting to the experience.

The high-def upgrade is undeniable and the included bonus episode also looks fantastic and is a significant improvement from the HD-broadcast of the episode. The animation looks terrific and while I do think a slightly bigger encode would have fixed the few issues present at least somewhat, I do find the transfer to be much more impressive than it was disappointing. 8/10.

The Audio
English 5.1 Dolby Digital, French 5.1 Dolby Digital and Spanish 5.1 Dolby Digital are the audio options included. Optional subtitles include English SDH and Castellan. Spanish subtitles are included as well, but are only available for the special features and not the actual film.

The audio mix included certainly gets the job done, however the lack of lossless audio is certainly disappointing. I don’t even care if there is a major upgrade to be had or not by a lossless track, consumers pay more for Blu-ray and should expect better audio-encodes for even the simplest of audio mixes.

The track features some pretty decent surround use, although tends to be front heavy by nature. The dialogue is generally impressive, but it does help that it is an animated release in that aspect. I thought the mix was fine, there was nothing particularly distracting to mention.

I do think a high-def mix could have given it an added oomph, but I guess we will never know unless a re-release happens (although doubtful). At the end of the day the mix gets the job done well, I just hope studios remember to keep things lossless regardless of what is being released on the format. 5/10.

The Extras

Disc 1 (Blu-ray Disc):

Scooby-Doo Spooky Camp Stories (9:12) (SD)
Listen to camp stories from this stupid counselor named ‘Cooper.’ Next.

Bonus Episode: Beware the Beast From Below (23:16) (HD)
The premiere episode from the new series ‘Scooby-Doo Mystery Incorporated’ is included and presented in high-definition. I think fans of Scooby-Doo will find the new series enjoyable (especially kids) so definitely watch it, if you haven’t seen it already.

Trailers (SD)
Standard-definition trailers are included for ‘Lego Universe,’ ‘Scooby-Doo: Abracadabra Doo,’ and ‘Batman: Brave and the Bold.’

Disc 2 (DVD):

DVD copy of the film
The DVD includes the same features on the Blu-ray disc, although entirely in standard-definition.

Digital Copy of the film
Windows Media only.

The extras are certainly lacking, but this is a direct-to-Blu-ray release afterall. The additional DVD copy is a must and welcome addition for this family release. The Digital Copy is worthless to most however, as it is not compatible with Apple/iTunes devices. 4/10.

The Movie
Scooby-Doo! Camp Scare’ is just the latest animated Scooby-Doo film to release and is pretty much the quality of past productions. I am a huge fan of the Scooby-Doo series and always make time for even the direct-to-DVD releases.

‘Camp Scare’ is not a long film whatsoever, in fact is under 75 minutes (If you include opening and closing credits). The film however is actually not too bad, although admittedly is not one of the better Scooby-Doo films I have seen.

Scooby-Doo and the gang find themselves at ‘Camp Little Moose,’ a place which is filled with mystery and plenty of surprises. The mystery is certainly not as epic as seen with some major animated Scooby-Doo productions, but it is still fairly strong and the characters are enjoyable like always.

To be honest, I find the film length to be a bit short, but thankfully Warner has included a bonus TV episode of Scooby-Doo’s latest series and in high-def too! The new series is quite strong and will keep Scooby-Doo relevant with younger audiences and even adults.

‘Camp Scare’ does nothing to stand out among Scooby-Doo films, but for direct-to-video it is surprisingly good and very entertaining. I screened the film for a couple of younger viewers who enjoyed it very much and would both watch it again, if you have children they will likely respond the same way. 7.5/10.

The Blu-news Summary
‘Scooby-Doo! Camp Scare’ is a fun direct-to-video release that the entire family can enjoy. The Blu-ray release features a fairly strong video presentation and audio mix which gets the job done. The extras are lacking, but the additional episode and DVD are very welcome extras. Overall the Blu-ray release is ‘Recommended’ to any Scooby-Doo fan.

Additional Screenshots:
NOTE: The Blu-ray release of ‘Camp Scare’ is a title I have mentioned on my site via news item. However, I can’t seem to find a retail website which is selling the Blu-ray release whatsoever. I had to make my own high-res Blu-ray art as the cover art is only available in low-resolution.

The Blu-ray release is likely a store exclusive; I am unable to confirm which store at the moment (although it is likely Wal-Mart). If any reader happened to come across this release in-store, please comment and let us know where you found it!

UPDATE: reader Wes told us he found this release at Wal-Mart. This is likely another in-store exclusive like 'Tom and Jerry Meet Sherlock Holmes.'