Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Alice in Wonderland (2010): 4-Disc Combo Pack Blu-ray Review

Release Date: Dec. 7th, 2010
3D Disc Size: 41.5 GB
3D Film Size:
39.2 GB
2D Disc Size:
34.0 GB
2D Film Size: 23.9 GB
Film Rating: PG
Region: ABCThe Video
'Alice in Wonderland' comes to Blu-ray 3D with a 1080p MVC video presentation and to Blu-ray with a 1080p AVC/MPEG-4 video presentation on two separate discs. The film is one which looks visually stunning, whether it be in high-definition or not. The film features massive environments which are mostly special effects.

Those who read my review of the regular combo pack release earlier this year know that I was very impressed by the presentation, which could be considered reference material on Blu-ray. Now, 'Alice in Wonderland' is back and this time in 3D!

I am not really going to focus on the 2D presentation in this review, you can read specifically about that here. I always thought the 2D presentation looked fantastic, but I always thought the visual look was a bit soft with animation (although mostly intentional).

I believe 'Alice in Wonderland' was filmed in 2D and converted to 3D, which was disappointing to hear initially. However, watching the Blu-ray 3D release I could have been fooled. The 3D presentation is an incredible experience.

The film starts off fairly modest with 3D effects, there are moments in which we do get a great sense of depth and moments in which the 3D effect is hardly in place at all. Some may find this disappointing, but I actually loved it. The 3D effects really impress the second Alice falls in the hole, the transition to Underland.

The 3D pop is top notch on this release, with many moments that have incredible dimension and will please viewers of all kinds. There are viewers who are pleased by the awesome depth of a 3D presentation, others expect more pop (including flying out of the screen). With this presentation, we get both without feeling gimmicky (although it can be fun at times).

I did experience crosstalk for a few seconds of the presentation, but I was looking for it throughout. Depending on your display and glasses, it may not even be an issue. Personally, I wouldn't worry about it, it was very brief. This is definitely one of the most impressive releases as far as minimal crosstalk is concerned.

Colors on the release are very rich while black levels remain solid throughout. This 3D release definitely surpassed my expectations, seeing the 3D effects in the film only made me much more excited for the future of 3D projectors (which will showcase films like these with even greater impact). 'Alice in Wonderland' is a 3D conversion done incredibly right. 10/10.

The Audio
An English 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio track is the lossless option included on both the 3D and 2D discs. The 3D disc includes a heavy number of language options prior to the main menu. The 2D Blu-ray disc includes French 5.1 Dolby Digital and Spanish 5.1 Dolby Digital audio tracks as well as an English Descriptive Video Service 2.0 audio track. Optional subtitles include English SDH, French and Spanish.

The audio mix included on this release is definitely an impressive one as it features an immersive surround experience from beginning to end. However I did find I had to turn up the volume a bit higher than usual as dialogue was not always as clear as I would have hoped (No, the problem is not the accents).

The film’s score is beautiful and makes use of your entire audio setup nicely. The film’s audio effects also travel quite often and have a great sense of direction. The mix works well with both the quieter scenes and the most intense scenes.

Overall I’m very impressed by the quality of the audio included. As mentioned, certain moments of dialogue felt a bit lacking, but that isn’t too much to complain about. This is certainly a strong mix, but that was expected. Mix the 3D video presentation with the high-def audio mix and you are ready for quite the experience. 9/10.

The Extras

Disc 1 (Blu-ray 3D Disc):
No extras are included on the 3D disc, however they can be found on the included regular Blu-ray disc below.

Disc 2 (Blu-ray Disc):

Finding Alice (5:25) (HD)
The cast and crew talk about working with Tim Burton on Alice in Wonderland. They also talk about the character Alice specifically.

The Mad Hatter (6:03) (HD)
Go behind-the-scenes with Johnny Depp as he talks about his character and his specific approach.

The Futterwacken (3:24) (HD)
Learn about the futterwacken dance and meet the choreographer who helped come up with the dance.

The Red Queen (5:59) (HD)
Helena Bonham Carter talks about playing the Red Queen and the oversized head.

Time-Lapse: Sculpting the Red Queen (2:40) (HD)
Watch a time-lapse of all the work that goes into the Red Queen’s makeup.

The White Queen (4:28) (HD)
Anne Hathaway talks about playing the White Queen and her ideas she had for the character.

Scoring Wonderland (3:11) (HD)
Composer Danny Elfman talks about scoring the film and working with Tim Burton, who he admits is a process.

Effecting Wonderland (6:53) (HD)
The film is extremely heavy on special effects; see how they mixed it all together.

Stunts of Wonderland (2:34) (HD)
This is a feature all about the stunts in the movie.

Making the Proper Size (2:12) (HD)
Alice is always changing in height throughout the film; see how they dealt with all the potential issues that came with that.

Cakes of Wonderland (2:34) (HD)
The staff of Cake Divas talks about working on the food props they created for the film.

Tea Party Props (2:05) (HD)
See how they came up with the look of the tea party for the film.

Disc 3 (DVD):

DVD Copy of the film

Disc 4 (DVD):

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

I am glad that Disney has included the bonus features via the second Blu-ray disc. The Blu-ray 3D disc is set to play 3D only and does not include menus aside from the main setup menu. I do wish pop-up menus were included, but at least you can easily skip scenes or fast forward.

The extras on this release are definitely enjoyable and informative. I do however wish that an audio commentary track or video commentary track were included. There were also features that could have been made into a Picture-in-Picture informative track. 8/10.

The Movie
'Alice in Wonderland (2010)' is a movie I was definitely excited about. I love most Tim Burton films and if anyone could make a strong Alice film it would be him, with such an experience in the fantasy/adventure genre. To be honest though, I always made sure to keep my expectations a bit lower just in case this turned out to be similar to Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (which had its moments, but ultimately was forgettable and bland).

Walking out of the theatrical release I remember thinking “Good, but definitely not as amazing as it could have been.” The film wasn’t as magical as previous Tim Burton films, but I didn’t think it was bad at all. The casting was great, but certain aspects just felt underwhelming.

Revisiting the film on Blu-ray and now Blu-ray 3D was a great experience however. I found myself much more captivated by the film this time, despite knowing every scene in the movie. The film felt more exciting when viewed in my own home and I actually enjoyed it much more than I did theatrically.
The story still has moments which feel quite uninspired, but they definitely didn’t bug me as much. The film is not as out there as previous Tim Burton movies, perhaps that is a good thing in this situation. While the story of Alice in Wonderland is very out there and quite trippy, it could have also gone to the point of weird and creepy.

Alice in Wonderland is a great family film and I definitely see myself watching the movie many more times on Blu-ray 3D in the years to come. The movie won’t ever be considered a classic, but I do what Tim Burton did with his turn in the Wonderland universe.

The film could have been better, there is no going back now. The film definitely delivers a very enjoyable experience and fantastic cast. While the movie may not be memorable to all, I do think the film is worth at least watching once. Personally though, I think this is one movie which becomes much more enjoyable with repeated viewings.

The 3D version actually enhanced my experience even more than the standard Blu-ray release. The visuals can be much more appreciated in 3D, there are so many things that I didn't notice on the 2D release that have life and dimension in 3D. If you enjoyed the film, this Blu-ray 3D experience will only enhance it. 9/10.

The Blu-news Summary
'Alice in Wonderland', is a fun family film with a great video and audio presentation. The extras on the release are also very enjoyable. The film may not be everyone's cup of tea, but the 3D release has become a must own in my collection. Overall, 'Alice in Wonderland' on Blu-ray 3D is ‘Highly Recommended’ to all.

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