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.

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