Monday, November 1, 2010

16 Wishes Blu-ray Review

Disc Size: 16.3 GB
Film Size: 14.8 GB
Film Rating: G
Release Date: November 16th, 2010
Region: ABC
The Video
'16 Wishes’ debuts on Blu-ray with a 1080p AVC/MPEG-4 video presentation. The film is made for television and the look of the presentation looks very much like a television production. Anyone who has seen high-def releases such as Grey’s Anatomy knows the high-def look of this film.

The video presentation features great clarity and detail, but at the same time it has a soft glow to it which looks fine. Many television shows feature the same look, particularly Disney Channel shows and original movies.

The film is far from the sharpest looking presentation, but I do think the presentation is accurate to the source. The film looks great, featuring a clarity that is an improvement from DVD in every way. Colors are very strong and are a very appealing aspect of the presentation.

There was a moment in which the video presentation changes aspect ratios slightly for about three seconds, during a close-up shot of Abby’s hand which magically reveals a set of keys. I am not sure if this is an issue with the presentation or just a transitional effect, but either way it wasn’t too distracting. This transition is very slight and hardly an issue for me.

Overall I am more than pleased by the high-def presentation provided for ’16 Wishes.’ It is great to see content like this hit the format and I am glad Image Entertainment gave the film a Blu-ray release. The presentation looks great for a television production, a tad bit soft at times but overall very impressive. 7.5/10.

The Audio
Image Entertainment has included an English 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio track as the lossless option. It is actually the only audio option and subtitles are not included. Despite the lack of selection, I do appreciate Image Entertainment providing a lossless mix over a standard DVD quality mix.

Dialogue and effects tend to be mostly front heavy, but there are some nice surprises throughout. The wasp sequences expand to the surround area nicely, unexpected considering the lack of surround use during other times.

Dialogue is front and center, but always crisp and clear. The film’s music expands a bit more from the center, light and bubbly. The surround use moments which are present are good however; I just wish there were more moments throughout.

Overall this is a solid mix for a TV movie. The mix may not be very immersive, but everything is very clear and easy to understand. I don’t think many will be disappointed at all by the mix; it certainly gets the job done nicely. 7.5/10.

The Extras

Cast Interviews (HD)
Debby Ryan (1:33)
Jean-Luc Bilodeau (1:58)

“A Wish Comes True Every Day” Music Video (3:15) (HD)
A music video is included for the film’s song “A Wish Comes True Every Day.” The video includes footage from the film as well as sequences shot exclusively for the music video.

There aren’t many extras included on this release. Since the film wasn’t made for television, I didn’t expect too much. It would have been nice to see more behind-the-scenes footage included; also the trailer is not included but listed on the packaging. A DVD copy of the film would have been a nice addition as well, unfortunately it isn’t included. At least the extras are included in high-definition. 2/10.

The Movie
'16 Wishes’ is a made for television film which premiered on the Disney Channel in the U.S. and the Family Channel in Canada. I didn’t even know the film existed until it was announced for Blu-ray release; I was also not very familiar with lead actress Debby Ryan (Disney’s The Suite Life on Deck).

'16 Wishes’ features all the charm of a Disney Channel Original Movie; however it is one of the few films to not feature the label. Honestly, I had low expectations for this made for television movie. So what did I think of this ‘tween’ targeted film? Reception is positive.

Debby Ryan stars as newly 16 year old Abby. She is your typical teenage girl who dreams of an incredible sweet 16 birthday party, unfortunately the day starts off on a negative note, but things quickly turn around when she receives a box of magical birthday candles from a mysterious woman named Celeste.

Abby shares her birth date with her neighbor Krista Cook, who is basically her life-long enemy. Krista has always done everything possible to beat Abby at anything, including throwing the better birthday party. With wish after wish, Abby’s day seems to be getting better and better, that is until she makes a mistake that affects her life like never before.
The film is quite predictable, but I found it very charming. '16 Wishes’ definitely has that ‘made for television’ feel as expected, but the casting is great. Lead actress Debby Ryan is almost like a Selena Gomez clone in the voice, the look (an American version) and acting skills.

I was actually very surprised how similar I found Debby Ryan to Selena Gomez. Disney definitely finds actresses that are quite similar and strong when it comes to expression and humor. She’s definitely a likeable actress and surprisingly adds a lot to the movie.

I especially loved the message of the film which I think anyone who went to high school can relate to. Everything is competitive, but you don’t need materialistic things to be happy. They are definitely nice, but you have to realize what is most important in life.

The story is not that original, featuring plenty which feels quite borrowed from films such as ’13 Going on 30.’ Regardless though, the film is wholesome and fun and ultimately harmless. I do think this is a very solid made for television production.

The film is definitely intended for younger audiences, but it definitely could be enjoyed by the entire family with some fairly strong humor throughout. The film is far from perfect, had it been released theatrically I would have been disappointed by the feel of the film. Most films made for television are simply awful, so it was especially surprising to see that not everything fits the terrible mold.

The film isn’t one which I would call smart or clever. There are certainly some dumb moments throughout, but ultimately I feel the film accomplished everything it set out to be. It is fun, clean and younger audiences will enjoy this television movie very much. 7/10.

The Blu-news Summary
'16 Wishes’ is a fun film which teens and younger audiences will enjoy. The Blu-ray release is good, featuring a solid video and audio presentation. The extras are disappointing, but at least they are included in high-definition. Overall the Blu-ray release is ‘Recommended’ to those with middle school and high school family members.

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