Monday, November 8, 2010

Open Season 3D Blu-ray Review

Release Date: November 16th, 2010
Disc Size: 36.3 GB
Film Rating: PG
Region: ABC
The Video
Open Season in 3D’ premieres on Blu-ray 3D with a 1080p AVC/MPEG-4 video presentation. The film can be viewed in both 3D and 2D on the disc, unlike other studio releases. Open Season previously released on Blu-ray in 2D and the transfer included on this release appears to have minimal differences if any in quality.

The animation of the film is impressive when it comes to character textures and certain environment details. There are times when background environments are intentionally out of focus or weaker looking in comparison to the characters, stylistic decision or money saving decision, ultimately it doesn’t matter as it is not an actual issue.

Having owned the film on 2D Blu-ray already, I already had great expectations for the 2D presentation of the film, which is fantastic. I had no expectations whatsoever for the 3D version, as I never saw the film in 3D when it released at IMAX theaters in 2006.

I kept my expectations low, despite hoping for the best. The results are surprisingly impressive, with a nice level of 3D pop throughout. Many scenes lend themselves very well to 3D, this film was definitely made with 3D in mind with the amount of objects flying at the screen throughout the film.

The presentation always has pop and dimension; I didn’t find any scenes to look flat or notably dull in comparison to the overall presentation. Crosstalk was minimal in this 3D experience, you may not even notice it or come across any at all depending on your settings, display and glasses.

Colors are rich and vibrant; blacks are inky as can be. The presentation as a whole is very appealing. The 3D experience was much more fun and immersive than I anticipated. The film may be from 2006, but the film still manages to make fantastic use of the Blu-ray 3D format. 10/10.

The Audio
An English 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio track, French 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio track and Portuguese 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio track are the lossless audio options included. Also included is a Spanish 5.1 Dolby Digital audio track. Surprisingly, no subtitle options are included.

The English 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio track is new for ‘Open Season’ which included an English 5.1 Uncompressed PCM audio track on the previous Blu-ray release. I thought the mix on the first Blu-ray release was quite front heavy and not as immersive as I hoped.

Does the English 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio prove to be an improvement? Not quite. While the mix is very clear when it comes to dialogue and effects, surround use still begs for more. Obviously the film kept the same mix, with just a different audio codec.

Everything about the mix is very clear. Surround use moments are definitely there, but they tend to be reserved for the more intense or wilder scenes in the film. It would have been nice if immersive wildlife effects were added during quieter scenes to create a more immersive experience.

The mix is not bad by any means; in fact I was generally impressed. Perhaps it isn’t such a good idea to revisit the film after listening to immersive surround sound experiences like ‘Toy Story 3’ on Blu-ray. Overall viewers will definitely be pleased by the mix included, it just doesn’t shine. 7.5/10.

The Extras

Monster House Sneak Peek in 3D (1:10) (HD)
This is a quick peak of the 3D Blu-ray release, which is reviewed here.

Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs Sneak Peek in 3D (1:33) (HD)
This is a quick peak of the 3D Blu-ray release, which is reviewed here.

The Smurfs Sneak Peek in 3D (0:55) (HD)
This is the teaser trailer of ‘The Smurfs’ in 3D. The 3D effects come mainly from the text which pops up throughout the teaser. There is also a cool 3D effect added to the MPAA approval message before the actual preview plays.

Boog and Elliott’s Midnight Bun Run (4:32) (HD)
A bonus short film is included which was also included on the previous Blu-ray release. It is quite short, but very cute.

Behind The Trees (15:14) (SD)
This is the making of featurette for Open Season. The featurette is in standard-definition, but it is very entertaining and informative.

The Voices behind the Stars (7:36) (SD)
Go behind-the-scenes with the voice talent for the film.

Deleted Scenes (2:04) (SD)
Two deleted scenes are included and are presented in standard-definition.

Music Video (2:19) (SD)
“I Wanna Lose Control (Uh Oh)” by Deathray

Inside the Animals Studio! Commentaries (SD)
• Mr. Weenie (1:31)
• Porcupine (0:42)
• Maria the Skunk (0:49)

Audio Commentary
With the filmmakers behind Open Season.

Wheel of Fortune: Forest Edition (3D Enhanced)
The game included on the previous Blu-ray release is back and 3D enhanced, however there is really nothing great about the experience.

Voice-A-Rama (3D Enhanced)
The game included on the previous Blu-ray release is back and 3D enhanced, however there is really nothing great about the experience either.

Swept Away Scene Deconstruction (2:31) (SD)
This feature allows you to switch between different levels of production, from sketches to final animation. Use the left and right keys on your remote or your player’s angle change function to cycle through the angles.

RingTales (0:55) (SD)
Three shorts are included.

Galleries (Images)
• Environments
• Characters
• Beat Boards

BD-Live Portal
Download the latest trailers from Sony Pictures Home Entertainment.

All of the bonus features from the previous Blu-ray release are ported on this new 3D Blu-ray release. I enjoyed the making of feature the most. The preview trailers are neat sneak peeks for those without the other Sony Pictures Home Entertainment 3D discs. It is nice that Sony included the 2D version of the film on disc, something I hope they continue to do with all future releases. 6.5/10.

The Movie
Open Season’ returns to Blu-ray, now in 3D. The film released as an IMAX 3D Experience in 2006, but unfortunately I did not see it. I have always found ‘Open Season’ to be a cute film, however it does lack in substance.

The film is a family comedy, which relies a lot on dumb gags rather than smart writing or storytelling. The film is not awful by any means, in fact it is better than many family films available on Blu-ray and DVD, but to be honest the film just isn’t anything special.

I don’t think every film should be released in 3D, nor do I support the many 2D-3D rushed conversion jobs that hit theaters. There is a line which I have heard said time and time again, “If you can’t make it good, make it 3D.”

“If you can’t make it good, make it 3D” does relate to ‘Open Season’ somewhat. The story really isn’t bad, but to be honest the film is much more enjoyable if viewed in 3D than 2D. I have found myself more forgiving of content on 3D simply because of the entertainment factor, but that is also due to the limited content on the format.‘Open Season’ works great in 3D and will have viewers of any age enjoying the film. I suspect most kids will enjoy ‘Open Season’ regardless of viewing mode, but the 3D mode is very fun. I don’t remember enjoying the film this much in the past, although I have only viewed the film two times prior to the 3D release.

‘Open Season’ is a very flawed but cute family film. The characters are all very humorous and the film does have some strong moments on occasion. Those looking for the perfect family film will not find it here, but those looking for an enjoyable 3D experience certainly will. 7/10.

The Blu-news Summary
‘Open Season’ is an enjoyable 3D experience with a good Blu-ray release. The video presentation is top notch, but the audio does leave a bit to be desired. The included extras are quite good; fans of the film will enjoy them. Overall ‘Open Season’ on Blu-ray 3D is ‘Highly Recommended’ to fans of the film and easily ‘Recommended’ to those just looking for an impressive 3D experience.

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