Friday, October 29, 2010

A Nightmare on Elm Street (2010) Blu-ray Review

Disc Size: 25.8 GB
Film Size: 20.9 GB
Film Rating: R
Release Date: October 5th, 2010
Region: ABC
The Video
A Nightmare on Elm Street (2010)’ debuts on Blu-ray with a 1080p VC-1 video presentation. Being a newly produced film I expected great things. The film looks great in high-definition overall, but that isn’t to say it is without issues.

The film starts off a bit soft when it comes to certain shots in the diner (particularly the scenes involving Kellan Lutz), but the overall clarity was still nice. The video presentation does pick up significantly and becomes the sharp detailed video presentation we all hoped for.

The video presentation remains strong throughout. Colors are nicely muted to give a chilling look to the film. Black levels while generally solid did at times suffer; if you look closely you will notice some minor crushing at times during Freddy sequences especially. Again, this is a very minor issue.

Overall I do think this is a strong presentation and the film is given a healthy sized encode. There are scenes which were significantly less impressive to the overall presentation, but there was nothing that was especially terrible looking.

As a whole I was impressed by the video presentation. Most scenes are visually impressive, I love the way the film was shot and I love the way it looks on Blu-ray. I do think the presentation could have looked better if given an even bigger encode (especially since they are using a BD50 disc), but it certainly could have looked much worse. Thankfully Warner Home Video gave the film a good-sized high-def presentation which is generally impressive. 8/10.

The Audio
An English 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio track is the lossless audio option included. Also included are French, Spanish and Portuguese 5.1 Dolby Digital audio tracks. Optional subtitles include English SDH, French, Spanish and Portuguese.

The audio mix included is quite impressive as a whole, but I also think it could have been slightly better had there been some adjustments. The film being a horror film, surround use is a must, and thankfully there is plenty of surround use.

I did have an issue with dialogue, which wasn’t bad at all. Dialogue was front heavy as expected, but it wasn’t as crystal clear as I had hoped. Then Freddy’s voice comes in which is notably louder (and clearer) and sounds slightly out of place to the rest of the dialogue in the film, it wasn’t bad at all, but it was distracting at first.

The film’s surround use moments are common, making presence in every scene. The horror sequences are especially strong and add a lot to the film experience as a whole. There are creepy moments and the clarity is all is very good.

Overall the mix is very good. Had there not been the slight issue with the dialogue I would have been even more impressed, but regardless I still enjoyed the mix very much. ‘A Nightmare on Elm Street’ features a chilling audio mix that fans will certainly enjoy. 8/10.

The Extras

Disc 1 (Blu-ray Disc):

Freddy Krueger Reborn (13:54) (HD)
Director Samuel Bayer and cast/crew talk about what makes the film series so iconic. The crew talks about starting over with a new Jackie Earle Haley playing Freddy Krueger.

WB Maniacal Movie Mode (Picture-in-Picture)
Explore the Maniacal Mind of Freddy Krueger as the Nightmare is reborn.

Focus Points (HD)
Makeup Makes the Character (3:34)
Micronaps (2:38)
The Hat (2:31)
Practical Fire (2:32)
The Sweater (2:20)
The Glove (2:24)
The Victims (3:51)

Additional Footage (HD)
Hospital Ending (1:11)
Nightmare Street (0:58)
Alternate Ending (6:12)

BD-Live Portal
Watch the latest trailers from Warner Home Video.

Disc 2 (DVD):

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

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

The extras included on this release are very enjoyable. I loved the picture-in-picture option, I just wish there was more content throughout. The behind-the-scenes featurettes are all very interesting and informative, despite being short. The additional DVD and Digital Copy of the film round this release out nicely. 7.5/10.

The Movie
I remember when the remake film ‘A Nightmare on Elm Street (2010)’ was announced. I remember thinking how exciting it would be to see Freddy Krueger return to the screen, an iconic character and certainly one of my favorite horror villains.

My excitement unfortunately dropped when I saw the trailer for the film, which of course features the new Freddy Krueger look and actor. The trailer made me lose all hope in the film; the character looked very lizard like and was just disappointing.

I still wanted to give the film a chance however, because it could surprise me. I know most will not agree, but I actually found enjoyment from ‘Friday the 13th (2009)’ with a successful return of Jason and elements which stay true to the entire franchise.

‘A Nightmare on Elm Street (2010)’ was being butchered by critics, but I still gave the film a chance. I didn’t like the film at all upon first viewing, I couldn’t get over the new Freddy Krueger look. Perhaps the look is more realistic, but it didn’t scare me in the least. I love the original look of Freddy, slightly cartoonish but far more scary.

I was anxious to revisit the film on Blu-ray. Over time I have come to accept the new look of Freddy a bit more and perhaps that is the reason I enjoyed the film much more this time around. The story was interesting; I definitely enjoyed the deeper background story which was always just implied in the original film.
I loved that certain sequences from the original film were reused for the remake; I loved the bedroom sequence especially. I did think they showed a bit too much Freddy this time around, with the film relying much more on jump scares than actual tension.

I mentioned that I found the story interesting, but not necessarily good. As said I liked the background relation to the characters, but at the same time you have to leave your brain at the door as not everything is logical.

I will never enjoy the remake as much as I enjoy the original film. I don’t think the film is a disaster, but I do think plenty could have been better executed. They are working with such an iconic character and franchise that they could have done so much more with the character and story.

If you are a fan of the original, there is a chance you will enjoy this solid but troubled remake. I definitely think the film could have been much worse. I think Jackie Earle Haley did a respectable job as Freddy Krueger, I can’t imagine the pressure in attempting to live up the role made iconic by Robert Englund. The remake is definitely better than several of the films in the franchise, but it won’t ever live up the original. 6/10.

The Blu-news Summary
‘A Nightmare on Elm Street’ is not an awful film, but it does fail to come close to the original. The Blu-ray release is good, featuring a solid video and audio presentation. The Extras are also quite satisfying. Overall the Blu-ray release is ‘Recommended’ to fans. Those new to the film should ‘Rent It’ first.

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Sex and the City 2 Blu-ray Review

Disc Size: 32.0 GB
Film Size: 25.3 GB
Film Rating: R
Release Date: October 26th, 2010.
Region: ABC
The Video
‘Sex and the City 2’ comes to Blu-ray with a 1080p VC-1 video presentation. Like ‘Sex and the City: The Movie’ this film is also very visual. Director Michael Patrick King certainly adds plenty of eye candy when it comes to colors and angles, at times quite randomly.

The film features plenty of fashion which looks absolutely incredible on Blu-ray. The colors are appealing, rich and vibrant and really leap off the screen. The film also features a strong level of detail like the first film and an improvement over DVD that cannot be denied.

Detail is simply incredible at times; there are some scenes particularly in Abu Dhabi which reveal perhaps a bit too much behind the makeup. I have always found Kristin Davis particularly attractive, but even she was looking very rough during certain scenes. At times though, the makeup was perfect and they still looked quite good considering their ages.

The Blu-ray release improves upon the DVD release in every possible way, the overall clarity is just fantastic. The movie does feature some softer scenes throughout, but still manage to be a notable improvement from DVD.

The film is one which should be seen on Blu-ray if you are going to see the movie at all. The level of improvement between the Blu-ray and DVD is absolutely clear and fans of the film will love the visual experience even more on Blu-ray. 8.5/10.

The Audio
An English 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio track is included as the lossless option. Also included are French, Spanish, Portuguese 5.1 Dolby Digital audio tracks. Optional subtitles include English SDH, French, Spanish and Portuguese.

The English 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio track is just as I had expected. The film being a comedy I expected a nice level of clarity, but perhaps a little surround use. The mix is very good, featuring dialogue priority which comes through clearly through the center speaker.

The film has surround use moments throughout, but at times they do leave a bit to be desired. The film’s music and few significant audio effects did sound great however. I really don’t have anything to complain about. The mix works well with the material in the film and I don’t think anyone will be disappointed. 8/10.

The Extras

Disc 1 (Blu-ray Disc):

Audio Commentary
With Director Michael Patrick King

So Much Can Happen In Two Years (26:03) (HD)
A conversation with Sarah Jessica Parker and Director Michael Patrick King.

Styling Sex and the City 2 (15:52) (HD)
Designer Patricia Field takes on a behind-the-scenes look at the fashion in the film.

Marry Me, Liza! (7:53) (HD)
This is a behind-the-scenes featurette about the ‘gayest wedding ever’, so of course Liza Minnelli would be there.

Revisiting The 80’s (4:00) (HD)
This is a short featurette about the 80’s opening featured in the film.

The Men of Sex and the City 2 (28:47) (HD)
Director Michael Patrick King and actor Mario Cantone talk about the men in Sex and the City 2, featuring plenty of footage from the television series.

Behind The Scenes with Alicia Keys (3:04) (SD)
For the Sex and the City 2 Soundtrack.

BD-Live Portal
View the latest trailers from Warner Home Video.

Disc 2 (DVD):

DVD copy of the film
Includes select extras found on the Blu-ray disc.

Digital Copy of the film
Compatible with iTunes and Windows Media. Digital Copy offer expires October 30th, 2011.

The extras included on this release are quite good, clearly better than the extras included on the first film. The behind-the-scenes featurettes are entertaining and included in high-definition. For at least a limited time, a DVD and Digital Copy version of the film is also included. 7.5/10.

The Movie
Sex and the City 2’ is a sequel which I have been excited to see. Although I did feel that the first film was a good ‘end’ to the series, the idea of continuation definitely sounded like a good idea when it was announced. Upon seeing the film’s trailer, I have to admit that the movie did look quite fun, but I also had a feeling that things were going where they should not be going.

The sequel takes place two years after the first film, the girls have all continued in their different relationships. The film’s main storyline takes place in Abu Dhabi, but before they get there we have a gay wedding between two long time characters of the series and a premiere party which makes an ‘excuse’ for the trip.

The film is certainly different in tone to the first. Both are comedies, but the first film featured much more drama than their adventure this time around. The film is a fun comedy, but it certainly has plenty of things which don’t feel very ‘Sex and the City.’

I have read many reviews of this film and the general consensus is that the film is ‘offensive,’ ‘disgusting,’ and features hateful ‘gold-diggers.’ While the girls certainly aren’t very sensitive to the situations they encounter in Abu Dhabi, I didn’t find it out of place for these women.

The gold-digging comment also didn’t make much sense; perhaps they haven’t seen the series. These women live far above average lives when it comes to financial situations, but they didn’t just marry into money. If they want to spend $400 on shoes, go at it. If you want to see gold-diggers, watch ‘The Real Housewives’ on Bravo.

What I didn’t like about the film however had nothing to do with the offensiveness or sense of entitlement these women live. I hated the fact that they went to Abu Dhabi and for a film titled ‘Sex and the City,’ there just wasn’t enough sex or city.

There was one particular scene though in the film that actually made me cringe, and I think you can guess which if you have seen the film. The karaoke scene! The karaoke scene in which the girls perform ‘I Am Woman’ was excruciating and an obvious sign that they weren’t very inspired when coming up with ideas for the sequel.

The film as a whole is still funny; I loved how offensive these women were in a country that really is behind-the-times when it comes to sexuality. The film does suffer with some bad scenes and mediocre storylines, ultimately making me wish for a third film to tie everything up nicely again. Unfortunately I don’t think a third film will happen, but anything is possible.

If you enjoyed the first film, chances are you will find entertainment from the sequel. Not everyone will love the sequel; in fact I didn’t love it. However, I did enjoy it for what it is. I definitely think the film could have been far better had they given it more time in pre-production, but the final product is now here and it is far from perfect.

I do think that this film relies a lot on the series for support, especially when we see the surprise return of Aiden of Carrie’s former relationship. Those who haven’t seen the show definitely miss out on the back-story and lose the impact on why certain things happened the way they did rather than just saying no.

Overall I found ‘Sex and the City 2’ to be enjoyable, but ultimately lacks substance to even compare to the first film. I didn’t find it awful like others did, but I do admit that this sequel does disappoint. If you are a fan of the series however, I definitely would give it a chance (if you are one of the few who hasn’t seen it already) as it still manages to be quite funny. 6.5/10.

The Blu-news Summary
‘Sex and the City 2’ is a sequel which does not live up to the original, but still enjoyable for fans of the series. The Blu-ray release is terrific, featuring an impressive video presentation and good audio mix. There aren’t many extras, but the combo pack treatment is nice. Overall the Blu-ray release is ‘Recommended’ to fans.

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Sex and the City: The Movie Blu-ray Review

Disc Size: 37.4 GB
Film Size: 30.9 GB
Film Rating: Unrated/R
Release Date: September 23rd, 2008
Region: ABC
The Video
Sex and the City: The Movie’ on Blu-ray features a 1080p VC-1 video presentation. The film has always impressed me visually in high-definition, everything from the colors to the level of detail. ‘Sex and the City’ is generally very sharp and a notable improvement from its DVD release.

The film is very visual, intentionally so. I think the film is beautifully shot, with incredible colors and amazing environments, almost as if it were made with Blu-ray in mind. The colors are rich and vibrant, leaping off the screen at all times.

The film’s details are also impressive, with a few softer moments throughout. Detail is so strong we can see how terrible the women look without makeup, particularly Sarah Jessica Parker who looks rough throughout.

Sarah Jessica Parker has never been particularly attractive, but she has an appeal which comes from her personality. I feel bad by how awful she looks on the Blu-ray release at times though, especially the moments in which she is intended to look beautiful. The intentionally rougher looking moments are especially hard to watch, with Mrs. Parker looking like one of the most popular Halloween costumes for females, a witch.

Overall I thought the film looks incredible. The visual style of the film is very appealing and easily benefits from a high-def transfer. DVD owners will certainly want to upgrade to the Blu-ray release as there is no denying the upgrade. 9/10.

The Audio
An English 5.1 Dolby TrueHD audio track is the lossless option. Also included is an English 5.1 Dolby Digital audio track. Optional subtitles include English SDH and Spanish.

‘Sex and the City’ sounds quite good, although admittedly not the best mix when it comes to impressive surround use. The film opens up strong with the lead song ‘Labels or Love’ by Fergie, there is a very significant difference in the quality from the TrueHD track and the lossy Dolby Digital track.

Dialogue is presented front and center and sounds crisp and clear like your typical newly produced film. The film’s surround use isn’t especially strong, but there are impressive moments throughout which make this far from a lifeless audio experience.

For a ‘chick flick’ with no explosions or serious adventure, I do think the mix was more than solid. I do wish there was a bit more surround use in the mix, but overall it is not too disappointing at all. The mix certainly gets the job done nicely for the material. 8/10.

The Extras

Audio Commentary
By Director Michael Patrick King

A Conversation (23:50) (HD)
With Michael Patrick King and Sarah Jessica Parker.

The Fabulous Fashion of ‘Sex and the City’ (18:03) (HD)
The cast raves about Costume Designer Patricia Field who styled the film. Patricia Field then takes us on a tour through the wardrobe for the film.

Fergie in the Studio (2:11) (SD)
Go behind-the-scenes of Fergie recording ‘Labels or Love’ for the film.

Additional Scenes (3:53) (HD)
Four deleted scenes are included with optional audio commentary by Director Michael Patrick King.

The City
This is a map of the city with highlighted locations that were featured in the film. Click on a location to learn more or select the option to see the scene where it is featured.

Dish It! (Trivia Track)
A pop-up trivia track which plays during the film, revealing fun and random facts throughout.

The extras included on this release are good, although there isn’t too much to see. The audio commentary is interesting, but nothing particularly special. The featurettes are definitely the most interesting aspect of the extras, especially ‘A Conversation.’

A Digital Copy may be included with your copy of the Blu-ray release, but if you haven’t used it yet it has expired and is no longer useful. Overall the extras are satisfying, and perhaps the film being ‘extended’ can be seen as a bonus as well. 5/10.

The Movie
Sex and the City: The Movie’ is a film I previously reviewed in the early life of the site. I have to say I wasn’t a fan of Carrie Bradshaw and the girls, the story felt overdramatic and I just didn’t connect with the characters like I hoped I would.

‘Sex and the City’ was a long running series on HBO which for its time was especially racy. I didn’t see the show as it originally aired, but this past year I decided to watch the series for the very first time. I tend to enjoy anything from HBO, so I definitely wanted to know what the series was about.

Watching the series I realized how open the show is in confronting sexual topics. Each episode featured some unique sex discussion, whether it is anal sex or threesomes. The story focuses on four successful women in New York City who are reaching 40, but none of them married.

Throughout the show we definitely get to know the characters, we go through both their high-points and low-points. The show is actually quite relatable with certain discussion, topics and issues that may hit home to your life.

Watching the series certainly interested me in revisiting the film, especially knowing that a sequel was on the way. I have to say I really enjoyed the series, a fantastic comedy and drama series which pushed boundaries.

‘Sex and the City: The Movie’ really is a great film now that I have had a chance to experience the series. The movie is definitely made so it can appeal to newcomers as well, but I find that I enjoyed it much more knowing the characters and previous struggles.

The relationships and hurt that comes in the film just wasn’t as gripping before, now all makes sense and we can better understand the reactions to the hurt in the film. The story brings both the sex and the city and I do think most fans enjoyed the film. Newcomers may not love the film as much, but I certainly think it was well done and intended for fans of the series. 9/10.

The Blu-news Summary
‘Sex and the City: The Movie’ is a great film which is best enjoyed by fans of the series. The Blu-ray release features a strong video presentation with good audio track. The extras are slightly lacking, but not bad whatsoever. Overall the Blu-ray release is ‘Highly Recommended’ to fans and ‘Worth a Look’ to those new to the series.

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Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Toy Story 3: 4-Disc Combo Pack Blu-ray Review

Disc 1 Size: 44.4 GB
Disc 2 Size: 36.1 GB
Film Rating: G
Release Date: November 2nd, 2010
Region: A
The Video
'Toy Story 3' debuts on Blu-ray with a 1080p AVC/MPEG-4 video presentation. 'Toy Story 1 and 2' are both visually stunning on Blu-ray so it is no surprise that 'Toy Story 3' not only matches but surpasses the high-def quality of the first two films.

I love Pixar animation, it is simply the best. The attention to detail in their films really becomes present on the high-def transfer. Every texture of clothing, environments, etc. just comes to life with a clarity and level of detail that you have to see to believe.

Animation regardless of production values tends to look great in high-definition, but add the quality of Pixar to the production and you have yourself the ultimate visual demo material. This is one film that has to be seen in high-definition.

Colors are astounding, rich and vibrant and always leaping off the screen. Colors really are just amazing, I have seen so many animated releases on Blu-ray at this point that I don’t always find myself in awe like I used to, but I found myself extremely impressed from beginning to end by 'Toy Story 3' on Blu-ray.

I’ve seen the film theatrically a couple of times, but there were so many details found on the Blu-ray release that I didn’t even notice theatrically. This is a top notch Blu-ray presentation with not a technical flaw to be found. 'Toy Story 3' is absolutely one of the best looking films on Blu-ray; nobody will be disappointed in the least. Incredible. 10/10.

The Audio
An English 7.1 DTS-HD Master Audio track and English 5.1 Extended Surround DTS-HD Master Audio track are the lossless options included. Also included are an English 2.0 Descriptive Video Service track, French and Spanish 5.1 EX Dolby Digital audio tracks. Optional subtitles include English, English SDH, French and Spanish.

I viewed the film with the English 7.1 DTS-HD Master Audio track. I am happy to report that aside from the video presentation being astounding; the audio presentation is also a definite winner that will make for the perfect demo material.

Being an animated release, I especially had high expectations when it came to clarity. Dialogue being recorded in-studio is as crisp and clear as possible, making presence throughout your surround setup, nothing is limited.

The film’s audio effects are especially immersive, with nice direction and panning throughout the entire surround area. Everything is clear as can be and extremely fitting to the scene. What I especially loved about the mix is that surround use isn’t just present during the more intense scenes of the film, there was obviously some close attention paid to each scene.

'Toy Story 3' sounds fantastic. I can’t say I didn’t expect it, because I definitely did. The film’s surround use is impressive and this is certainly one of the better 7.1 DTS-HD Master Audio tracks to be released on the format. A fantastic audio experience can add so much value to the overall film experience, and this one certainly does just that. 10/10.

The Extras

Disc 1 (Blu-ray Disc) (44.4 GB):

Day & Night: Theatrical Short (6:03) (HD)
The short film which played prior to the film theatrically is included in high-definition.

Buzz Lightyear Mission Logs: The Science of Adventure (4:26) (HD)
This is episode 3 of Buzz Lightyear’s adventures onboard the International Space Station. Episode 1 and 2 can be found on the Blu-ray releases for Toy Story 1 and 2.

Toys! (6:40) (HD)
The production crew talks about the incredible amount of toys found in the film. The crew talks about recreating the original characters as seen in Toy Story 1 and 2, due to changes and updates in technology. The crew also talks about the new characters in the film and their different purposes in the film.

DisneyFile Digital Copy Guide (1:04) (HD)
Learn how to take your favorite movies on the go.

Sneak Peeks (HD)
High-def trailers are included for ‘Cars Toon: Mater’s Tall Tales,’ ‘The Incredibles,’ and ‘Disney Parks.’ Previews for other Disney films including ‘Bambi,’ ‘Tangled’ and more play prior to the menus, but are not found under sneak peeks.

Disc 2 (Blu-ray Disc) (36.1 GB):

The Gang’s All Here (10:24) (HD)
The cast and crew talk about returning to the film, we are also introduced to the voice cast of the new characters in Toy Story 3.

Goodbye Andy (8:02) (HD)
Director Lee Unkrich and production crew talk about making humans differ in look from the toys, a complaint they received from previous Toy Story films. John Morris talks about returning to the series to voice Andy one last time.

Accidental Toymakers (3:59) (HD)
The crew talks about creating the characters and the actual produced toys of certain characters.

A Toy’s Eye View: Creating a Whole New Land (5:29) (HD)
This feature is all about the Disney Park attractions found all around the world.

Epilogue (4:22) (HD)
See the epilogue which runs during the credits of the film, without the credits.

Cine-Explore (HD)
This is a picture-in-picture commentary which includes pre-production sketches and images throughout There picture-in-picture images included are fitting to the audio commentary included. We learn neat little facts throughout, many quite random but very cool, such as the fact that there is a character from Cars 2 included in the film. I love cine-explore and this is one of the best uses to date for a picture-in-picture track.

Beyond The Toybox: An Alternative Commentary Track
Featuring leads from story, tech, art and animation. This is a different audio commentary than the one featured in the cine-explore feature.

Roundin’ Up a Western Opening (5:48) (HD)
In this feature the crew talks about the western opening of the film, learn about the concept and progress which led to the final product.

Bonnie’s Playtime: A Story Roundtable (6:31) (HD)
The production crew talks about the difficulty that came in finalizing the ‘Bonnie’s Playtime’ scene.

Beginnings: Setting a Story in Motion (8:15) (HD)
Screenwriter Michael Arndt talks about writing a good beginning and inspiration from previous Pixar films. He explains the screenwriting process in a fun animated way.

Life of a Shot (7:00) (HD)
We learn about the many people behind production of all the little details found in the film, obviously a lot of work goes into every single thing on screen.

Making of ‘Day & Night’ (2:05) (HD)
You saw the short on disc one of this Blu-ray release, now join the production crew as they talk about making the short film.

Paths to Pixar - Editorial (4:40) (HD)
The editors at Pixar talk about the job of an editor, including their paths to Pixar. Director Lee Unkrich also talks about working his way from an editor to a director.

Studio Stories – Where’s Gordon? (2:19) (HD)
Pixar Animator Andrew Gordon talks about a secret room he found and decorated at the Pixar building, which became quite the popular room.

Studio Stories – Cereal Bar (1:38) (HD)
Pixar has a cereal bar, which includes almost every kind of cereal one could imagine. This story is narrated by Tia Kratter, Darla K. Anderson, Adam Burke, Andrew Stanton and Pete Docter.

Studio Stories – Clean Start (3:08) (HD)
This is a very funny story involving haircuts and growing hair. This story is narrated by Bobby Podesta, David Park and Nicole Grindle.

Toy Story Trivia Dash (Powered by BD-Live)
Use the checkboxes to select trivia questions from Toy Story 3 or from all Toy Story movies. If you have a BD-Live capable Blu-ray player and are connected to the internet, you can use your phones to control the game.

Grab Bag (3:54) (HD)
This is a collection of promotional videos released for Toy Story 3.

Ken’s Dating Tips (1:36) (HD)
Ken is ready to give dating tips for today’s bachelor, remember that you need to love yourself before someone can love you.

Lots-o’-Huggin’ Bear Commercial 1 (0:32) (SD)
This commercial is intended to look like a commercial from decades ago, which is why it is included in standard-definition.

Lots-o’-Huggin’ Bear Commercial 2 (Japan) (0:27) (SD)
This is a very funny Japanese commercial which is also intended to look like it was released in 1983, the reason why it is included in standard-definition.

Making of the Lots-o’-Huggin’ Bear Commercials (1:28) (HD)
Go behind-the-scenes of the fake commercials produced for the bear as it transitions from the high-def recording to the standard-def look.

“Internet Chat” (1:02) (HD)
This is a funny promotional piece which involves IM chatting between Woody and Buzz.

“Security Cam” (1:14) (HD)
This is a fun promotional piece which I remember seeing on television which includes creepy footage from security cameras, ultimately revealing Toy Story 3.

“Gadgets” (0:56) (HD)
This is also a fun promotional piece which compares the new high-tech ‘toys/gadgets’ of today to the classic toys from Toy Story.

“Dancing With the Stars” At Pixar (2:23) (HD)
Tony Dovolani and Cheryl Burke of ‘Dancing with the Stars’ talk about choreographing the dance Jessie and Buzz Lightyear dance to in the film.

TS3 Silence Trailer (0:38) (HD)
This is the trailer which reminds viewers to turn off their phones in the theater.

TS3 Antipiracy Trailer (1:01) (HD)
This is an antipiracy trailer which reminds viewers that illegal downloads/copies do not compare to the original.

TS3 Teaser Trailer (1:48) (HD)
The original teaser trailer released is included; it doesn’t feel like it was that long ago that it was released, how time flies.

TS3 Trailer 2 (2:26) (HD)
The second theatrical trailer is included in high-definition.

TS3 Trailer 3 (2:36) (HD)
The third theatrical trailer is included in high-definition.

TS3 Japan Teaser Trailer 1 (1:01) (SD)
The Japan teaser trailer is included in high-definition, much more emotional than the U.S. teaser.

TS3 Japan Trailer 2 (2:43) (HD)
The second Japan trailer is included in high-definition, including footage from previous Pixar productions at the beginning rather than just title mentions.

Character Intros (2:09) (HD)
The character intros released for the new characters of the series are included in high-definition.

Poster Gallery (Images)
See the many posters created for the film in the poster gallery.

Disc 3 (DVD):

DVD copy of the film
Includes select features found on the Blu-ray discs.

Disc 4 (DVD):

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

The extras on this release are fantastic. I loved all of the video features included, but I especially loved the cine-explore feature, which was far better than I anticipated. I loved the cine-explore audio commentary and can’t wait to revisit the film a third time on Blu-ray with the second audio commentary track included.

There are so many features to see, especially on disc two. This is an extremely packed new release, other studios should take note. The additional DVD and Digital Copy are terrific additions; this is one film which will certainly see high replay value among younger viewers as well. 10/10.

The Movie
I am a huge fan of Pixar films and it seems that Pixar only gets better with age. ‘Toy Story’ is classic, ‘Toy Story 2’ is the rare sequel which lives up to the original (if not better). It is rare to find a trilogy where there wasn’t at least one mediocre film. ‘Toy Story 3’ however lives up to the first two films, in fact it is my favorite film of the trilogy.

‘Toy Story 3’ appears to be the last adventure for Woody and the gang (although they could choose to explore new story opportunities with the ending, however I am doubtful). I had high expectations going into the film’s theatrical release, especially after films like Wall-E and UP, which I consider modern masterpieces.

‘Toy Story 3’ does not disappoint, it takes place years later from the first two films. Andy has now graduated from high school and is going away to college. The toys are still at home, however they know changes are ahead for all of them.

The toys believe they are in for a great experience after being donated to a local day care, a place which they will be played with on a daily basis, however not everything is as happy and great as they had hoped. Ultimately, the toys find themselves trapped and must plan their biggest escape yet.
Pixar has always been an amazing studio when it comes to storytelling, but I believe they have improved when it comes to bringing emotion into their films. Emotional impact has been there with all of their films to a degree, but the past few films have been particularly impressive. ‘Toy Story 3’ while very funny and adventurous, was also very touching and reflective.

I love ‘Toy Story’ and ‘Toy Story 2,’ but they didn’t compare in emotional impact like ‘Toy Story 3’ does. The film deals with change, moving on and sticking together. While I never found an emotional connection with my toys as a child, the story has a bigger meaning than toys.

I am especially a fan of the film’s ending, which is very likely the close to the series as well. The ending was beautifully done and manages to be bittersweet, as it should be. I didn’t expect to be so saddened saying goodbye to the characters, but the character development throughout the films has been so solid it would be hard not to feel at least somewhat upset.

‘Toy Story 3’ is the best animated film of the year and quite possibly the best film of the year in general. ‘Toy Story 3’ is a film made for everyone and Pixar has once again created a masterpiece. I cannot express my love for ‘Toy Story 3’ enough, the film is a must own in any collection. 10/10.

The Blu-news Summary
Toy Story 3’ is a must own film in any collection. The Blu-ray release is completely reference, with an incredible visual and audio experience. The bonus features included are also fantastic. ‘Toy Story 3’ is easily ‘A Must Own’ with one of the best Blu-ray releases to date.

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Monday, October 25, 2010

Dinosaurs Alive! 3D Blu-ray Review

Disc Size: 22.1 GB
Film Rating: Not Rated
Release Date: Nov 2nd, 2010 ( exclusive until 12/7/10)
Region: A
The Video
Dinosaurs Alive!’ debuts on Blu-ray 3D with a 1080p AVC/MPEG-4 video presentation. The Blu-ray release features both the 3D and 2D versions of the film. Please note that the 3D version requires a 3D compatible home theater setup, the 2D version plays fine on any regular Blu-ray player and television however.

‘Dinosaurs Alive!’ previously released on the Blu-ray format with a 1080p VC-1 video presentation. I can’t say whether there is an improvement in the Blu-ray 3D 1080p AVC/MPEG-4 video presentation for 2D viewers, but the 3D version certainly impresses.

I viewed the film entirely in 3D, but also made sure to revisit many scenes in the film via the 2D option. The CGI effects featured in the documentary tend to vary in how impressive they are, but I was mostly quite impressed by the level of detail that went into the dinosaurs.

Certain dinosaurs are softer in appearance than others, but this is not a technical issue. It is incredible to see the level of detail found in the environments which were filmed for IMAX 3D. Not every moment was visually astounding when it came to effects, but I was way more pleased than disappointed.

The 3D effects in the film are a mix in style. At times the feature relies more on 3D depth rather than 3D effects flying out of the screen, that being said, there are occasional moments where visual effects are created for the intention of giving the pop-out effect.

The 3D pop is actually quite impressive on this release and was visually stunning throughout. Watching the 2D version I found that black levels in general could have been inkier, but they are quite solid throughout. I have seen the original release on Blu-ray, and the new transfer appears brighter (perhaps altered to avoid ‘darkness’ on the Blu-ray 3D version).

I do think the brighter look affects the level of detail on screen, as certain moments did look like they could have been notably sharper. There is some banding present throughout, but it bugged me more when viewing the 2D version. Dirt and specks are there on occasion, but I am quite sure they were there on the last release as well.

Overall I was very pleased by both the 3D and 2D versions of the film. I certainly prefer the 3D version however, it even added to the overall film value to me than the standard 2D version does. The 3D version has a nice level of depth throughout which adds to the visual experience significantly. 8/10.

The Audio
An English 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio, French 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio and Spanish 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio track are included. Like many documentary releases, no subtitle options are included.

Talk about fantastic (some would say overkill), Image Entertainment has included three lossless audio mixes in three different languages. The English 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio track is the language track I went with and for a documentary the audio is quite great.

The IMAX film is narrated by Michael Douglas, his vocals come thoroughly clearly through the front center speaker at all times. The film as a whole is more front heavy than immersive, but the surround use does pick up during dinosaur moments throughout.

Overall the mix gets the job done nicely. The quality is impressive throughout; the material itself just doesn’t call for major surround use at all times. I am very happy with the quality of the lossless mixes included. 8/10.

The Extras

2D Version of the Film (HD)
Some would not consider this a bonus, but there are future Blu-ray 3D releases from other companies which will include only the 3D version of the film on Blu-ray disc. This is nice for those who want both options in one release.

Making Of (26:42) (HD)
Go behind-the-scenes of how they shot the film with the 3D camera for IMAX 3D.

Meet the Creatures (HD)

Trailers (HD)
Wild Ocean
Wild Ocean 3D
Mummies: Secrets of the Pharaohs
Mummies: Secrets of the Pharaohs 3D
Ride Around the World
Dinosaurs Alive!

BD-Live Portal (BD-Live Connection Required)
There is currently no available content, but the release has yet to retail at the time of writing.

Overall there aren’t many extras to be found on this release. There is an extra missing from the previous release; a dinosaur quiz consisting of ten questions, which I have to say won’t be missed. The making of is very entertaining and neat to see, definitely the best feature included. The 2D version of the film is also appreciated, something I hope the studio continues to include. For a documentary film, the extras aren’t bad at all; I just wish there were more. 6/10.

The IMAX Movie
Dinosaurs Alive!’ is a documentary film created for exhibition at IMAX theaters in 2007. I never saw the film in an IMAX theater, but I remember watching the original Blu-ray release when it released last year on the format.

To be honest, I wasn’t a big fan of the film when I watched it on Blu-ray. The film was short (as expected), but felt rather dull considering the title ‘Dinosaurs Alive!’ The film does include some more exciting moments with CGI special effects, but plenty of scenes consisted of fossil exhibitions and paleontologists exploring. The CGI scenes also were clearly made for 3D, which could not be experienced on the previous Blu-ray release.

I knew the film was released in 3D so perhaps that is why I found the original release so dull in comparison. Watching the film for the first time in 3D on Blu-ray 3D was a treat however and I enjoyed the film much more than I did originally.

The film’s 3D effects add excitement to the release, with visual effects that were created for 3D finally feeling full of life rather than lifeless. The scenes which consisted of fossil exhibitions and paleontologist scenes feature great depth as well, really immersing you into the film much more.

I wouldn’t say the documentary is great by any means, but it is definitely meant to be seen in 3D. Those who enjoyed it in 2D will find much more enjoyment of the 3D release, it was made for 3D and shines on Blu-ray 3D. Compared to other IMAX films it may not be as impressive of a documentary, but I certainly enjoyed it on Blu-ray 3D. 7.5/10.

The Blu-news Summary
‘Dinosaurs Alive!’ is a solid documentary film which benefits from a Blu-ray 3D release. The video and audio presentations are good and the extras are pleasing. Overall the Blu-ray release is definitely ‘Recommended’ to those with a Blu-ray 3D setup.

Additional Screenshots:

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