Tuesday, April 5, 2011

All Dogs Go to Heaven Blu-ray Review

Release Date: March 29th, 2011
Disc Size: 22.2 GB
Film Size: 21.6 GB
Film Rating: G
Region: A
The Video
All Dogs Go to Heaven’ comes to Blu-ray for the very first time with a 1080p AVC/MPEG-4 video presentation. After watching ‘The Secret of NIMH’ on Blu-ray from the same studio, I really wasn’t sure what to expect from this video presentation.

Watching the film I immediately noticed an upgrade from previous home video releases. I actually read a review a couple of days ago from a reviewer friend who stated he didn’t see a very big upgrade from his DVD copy. After comparing releases on my projector, I have to completely disagree with him.

The presentation is not demo material by any means, there is dirt and specks that pop up quite constantly. The film definitely would have benefited from a proper cleanup. Perhaps the studio will find it worthy of a proper cleanup someday, but I don’t see it happening anytime soon.

The detail in the animation is easy to appreciate, everything looks so natural in high-definition and I was very impressed. Colors look quite fantastic and balanced throughout. There are a few uglier looking scenes, but not because of any technical issues with the transfer, but instead the dirty source used.

As a whole this is a very solid high-def presentation of the film. The issues I had and that you may have with the presentation are all source related, which is unfortunate. Some may argue that they should have waited to release it on Blu-ray until properly restored, but I think this release certainly is solid enough to warrant a release in the meantime. 7/10

The Audio
An English 2.0 DTS-HD Master Audio track is the lossless option included. Also included are Spanish and French Dolby Digital tracks. Optional subtitles include English SDH and French.

The 2.0 mix is as simple as one would expect from such a limited track. Dialogue is focus and for the most part sounds quite clear. The film’s audio effects sound a bit more dated than I hoped, but there was nothing too negative to say.

The film’s music comes through clearly, but lacks the impact that I hoped it would have in the mix. As a whole the mix really isn’t too bad. The biggest disappointment is just how simple the track feels, for a lossless presentation I had hoped it would have been a little better and impressive. 6/10

The Extras

Theatrical Trailer (1:34) (HD)
The film’s theatrical trailer is included in high-definition.

A theatrical trailer is the only feature included, but it is in high-definition (thank you!), keeping me from complete disappointment. No new features were produced unfortunately, so we are still left with nothing to see. I do hope one day new features will be produced, but I do give the studio props for an actual high-def trailer, something most studios fail to include. 1.5/10

The Movie
All Dogs Go to Heaven’ is considered one of Don Bluth’s weaker films, but personally I have always loved the film. I have always found the movie to be incredibly touching, and revisiting the film really hit a soft spot for me.

The film is not nearly as dark as ‘The Secret of NIMH,’ but it is funny to see just how mature certain aspects of the story are for a family film. We really don’t see many films like this anymore, but I love the darker humor and situations.

The story tells of a German Shepherd named Charles B. Barkin, Charlie preferred. He is killed, but desperately wants revenge and makes his way back to Earth in hopes to get that revenge. This is when he meets an orphan named Anne-Marie who spends her days working for a dog named Carface. People do find it odd that I love the film so much, but I can admit it has plenty of flaws which I tend to overlook. The film’s musical numbers are one of the bigger disappointments in the film, nothing stands out and as a whole they are very bland and unoriginal.

The storyline is very original however, even if certain scenes fail to bring anything significant to the film. The characters are likable and I actually find them to be quite memorable, but I know plenty would disagree with that statement.

‘All Dogs Go to Heaven’ is a cute film, but it also isn’t widely loved. I admit it has flaws that will keep this from being a favorite of most, but I thought it was very touching and it brings back nostalgic memories. Perhaps the memories are why I have more appreciation for the film than others, but even revisiting it has been so much fun. 8/10

The Blu-news Summary
All Dogs Go to Heaven’ is a cute family film. The Blu-ray release features a satisfying video presentation and decent audio mix. The only extra is a high-def trailer, but I welcome it with open arms. Ultimately this release is not as impressive as it could have been, but I don’t think we will see a re-release (aside from a potential double feature release with the sequel and same transfer) for many years to come. ‘For Fans Only.’

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