Monday, November 15, 2010

A Christmas Carol: 4-Disc Combo Pack Blu-ray Review

Disc 1 Size: 46.6 GB
Disc 2 Size: 33.7 GB
Release Date: November 16th, 2010
Film Rating: PG
Region: A
The Video
The Blu-ray 3D disc features a 1080p MVC video presentation. The Blu-ray disc features a 1080p AVC/MPEG-4 video presentation. I received the 3D release weeks before the 2D release, but I did want to wait to review until I had final/full product in hand.

Both the 2D and 3D versions of the film feature stellar video presentations. The film is done via motion capture technology, which is also used in films such as ‘The Polar Express.’ Motion capture is a neat technology and it looks great in high-definition, but something about it turns me off at times.

The 2D and 3D versions of the film feature great color reproduction, solid black levels and terrific detail. The film is quite dark and I was very pleased by the level of clarity and improvement found on the high-def versions over the DVD.

The 3D version of the film gives an added life to the film with a 3D experience that cannot be missed. To view the 3D experience you need to have a 3DTV, 3D Blu-ray player and 3D glasses. I compared the presentation among several Plasma and LED/LCD 3D televisions and the results are impressive on any display.
The presentation features some very slight crosstalk during the presentation, which I found to be more noticeable on the LED/LCD televisions. The Plasma televisions featured some very brief moments of crosstalk as well, but the difference was definitely clear between the displays.

The presentation definitely gets added depth which really sucks you into the experience. Everything has dimension and separation. The film has fun 3D moments throughout the entire film, it is constantly present in one way or another and it looks superb.

Some viewers may notice some black lines appear on the sides of the screen during certain moments in the film. This is not a technical issue, rather a way for certain 3D effects to have maximum 3D pop while preventing

Regardless of viewing choice, you are certainly in for a treat. The slight crosstalk present will likely be a non-issue with future televisions and better glasses, but to be honest it was not bad at all. The film looks great in high-definition and becomes even more immersive in 3D. 9.5/10.

The Audio
An English 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio track is the lossless option included. Also included are an English 2.0 Dolby Digital Descriptive Video Service, as well as French and Spanish 5.1 Dolby Digital tracks. Optional subtitles include English SDH, French and Spanish.

The audio mix included is quite impressive, featuring a great level of clarity and immersive use of surround speakers. Dialogue is generally front heavy as expected, but the quality makes it always easy to understand every word spoken.

The film’s surround use is impressive during the more intense moments of the film. At times surround use does leave a bit to be desired, with surprisingly light use occasionally. The mix perhaps could have been better, but it is certainly more than solid.

Overall I was quite impressed. We have definitely seen better surround use mixes lately, and while this one comes close, it does leave a bit to be desired. I don’t think very many viewers will find themselves disappointed by this otherwise top notch mix. 9/10.

The Extras

Disc 1 (Blu-ray 3D Disc) (46.6 GB):

Mr. Scrooge’s Wild Ride (2:34) (3D-HD)
A brief making of the film presented in 3D, love the inclusion of an actual 3D extra.

Blu-ray 3D Sneak Peek (3D-HD)
The 3D trailer which plays before the menus can also be found via the special features.

Disc 2 (Blu-ray Disc) (33.7 GB):

Behind the Carol: The Full Motion-Capture Experience (PiP)
This is a feature length picture-in-picture experience which allows you to watch the final product alongside the motion capture footage. This feature Includes optional commentary by Director Robert Zemeckis.

Capturing Dickens: A Novel Retelling (14:43) (HD)
An obnoxious woman who plays many of the heavier character roles throughout the film takes us through a behind-the-scenes look of the film. Crew interviews are included throughout as well.

Countdown to Christmas Interactive Calendar
An interactive calendar which was quite dull from the minute I spent on it.

On Set with Sammi (1:53) (HD)
Actress Sammi Hanratty (who has various roles in the film) takes on a behind-the-scenes look of production.

Deleted Scenes (8:52) (HD)
Six deleted scenes are included and include an introduction via the play all option.

Discover Blu-ray 3D with Timon & Pumbaa (4:14) (HD)
An animated short starring Timon & Pumbaa, they explain Blu-ray 3D and the benefits.

Learn How to Take Your Movies on the Go (1:04) (HD)
An instructional video for those who have never redeemed a Digital Copy.

Disc 3 (DVD):

DVD copy of the film
With select bonus features from the 2D Blu-ray disc.

Disc 4 (DVD):

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

The extras included on this initial release are definitely great. This is the ultimate combo pack, with a Blu-ray 3D, Blu-ray, DVD and Digital Copy version of the film included. The picture-in-picture track is very neat and the other features are satisfying as well. I love that Disney included a 3D exclusive feature in 3D, hopefully more studios begin to do this. 7.5/10.

The Movie
Disney’s 'A Christmas Carol' is a film I did get to view in a 3D theater. I have to say, I wasn’t very excited about the film when the trailer was released, but I was convinced by friends to go see it upon release. I actually found great enjoyment from the film, despite being another ‘Christmas Carol’ film.

Disney’s take on the classic Charles Dickens story is done via motion capture technology. Motion capture is something I do enjoy, however I do prefer purely animated material. At times I feel motion capture lacks polish, despite the impressive body and facial movements and details.

Jim Carrey stars as Mr. Scrooge as well as a number of other characters throughout the film. Supporting cast members also play various characters in the film as well, most characters are rather generic but Scrooge and few others are played quite well.I was very impressed by the environments which take us back in time. The scenes look very authentic and surprisingly lifelike at times. Obviously a great deal of attention was paid to the little details in the environments and I definitely took notice throughout, it is hard to miss.

Disney’s ‘A Christmas Carol’ is a fun adaptation which certainly ranks highly among the many film adaptations. This film will be a great way to introduce younger audiences to a timeless holiday story, which doesn’t wander far from the novel.

I wouldn’t call the film a masterpiece, but it certainly surpassed my expectations in every way. This is a well done family film that should be enjoyed by everyone this holiday season. There is definitely a lot to love about Disney’s ‘A Christmas Carol’ in either 3D or 2D. 8.5/10.

The Blu-news Summary
A Christmas Carol’ is a fun holiday film with a great Blu-ray 3D combo pack release. The video presentation is terrific, the audio is fantastic and the extras are enjoyable. Overall the Blu-ray 3D combo pack is ‘Highly Recommended’ to all.

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