A Turtle's Tale: Sammy's Adventures 3D Blu-ray Review
The disc presents a widescreen 1.77:1 1080p transfer in both 2D and 3D and is Region locked to B.
Being native 3D gives rise to some terrific effects, but it is all rather up front and in your face rather than relying on depth into the picture. Due to the nature of the film, this is forgivable, children are excited by the ‘out of the screen’ format, but there is very little beyond that which is a shame because there are plenty of other opportunities to really show off the format. Very early on when Sammy is on his raft, there is never an opportunity lost to shoot low down ‘along’ the wood so that the plank is both out of and into the frame; when Ray and Sammy dive into the water they swim down towards the camera, a nice effect in itself, but the surface travels further and further back into the frame. But by far the best effects are when the camera travels through the reefs, this is where the 3D really comes alive, fish swim in front of the frame, you travel through the corals and rock formations, under coves and out the other side – over and above this there are plenty of objects placed front and centre, such a sea horse scene when Sammy and Ray swim through them, or bubbles all around you, plankton and other miniature sea floaters give a real sense of space and weight to the water – shards of light pass into and out of the frame. Effects are wonderfully seen and expertly realised, but with the caveat that the majority of the time it is out of the screen rather than the much better use of frame depth.
Other picture elements fare just as well, colour is bold and bright; the primaries coming across extremely well, especially the blue/teal of the water, or the myriad colours of the various sea creatures.
Detail is pretty strong with sand grains, wood grain, surface water, as well as reptilian or fish scales all being well defined. Sea water looks quite realistic, but beach waves are rather woeful and show the limitations in the technology.
Contrast and brightness are well set to give decent looking blacks (with the usual 3D caveat) though the film seldom makes use of them, but there is no clipping or crush and a modicum of shadow detail is visible if the artist pen allows.
Digitally things were pretty good, there were no compression problems, though there was the occasional slight banding in some of the more gradational hues; particularly noticeable in the glowing jellyfish scene, but nothing that didn’t clear up very quickly. Of greater problem was the occasional aliasing visible on one or two scenes. The passive technology that I’m using to view the film only showed up one or two scenes that exhibited crosstalk, but for the most part this was not an issue.
On the whole this is a very pleasing picture with plenty of in your face effects and a clean and bright image that scores a high eight from me.
The sound comes in two flavours, both English; LPCM stereo 2.0 and a dts-HD Master Audio 5.1, I opted for the surround track. Baring in mind the studio, budget and source, I wasn’t expecting much for the sound track, and I was right; it’s not that it’s bad, it’s just that it’s ordinary. Dialogue comes through loud and clear, sounds very natural (Hurt’s tones are immaculate) and given a little directionality when called for. Stereo effects, however, are rather limited with little to turn your head. Ambience is also quite sparse, given that it’s set underwater there are opportunities to add plenty of little sounds, bubbles, lapping water, etc., but this is seldom the case. Bass is used well to give a natural feel to things, but there are precious little LF effects, I counted two. Where the speakers do come alive is with the score which does utilise the whole surroundscape and place you in the centre of the room. On the whole, whilst not bad, there is little to really set your system alight.
- 2D Version – the film in 2D
- DVD – contains the film on DVD and also an anaglyph 3D version complete with two pairs of glasses
Other than that there is nothing on the disc.
A Turtle’s Tale: Sammy’s Adventures sees the titular turtle recounting his fifty years of travel around the world as he finds love, friendship, loss and any number of environmental issues along the way. The delicate balancing of story, characterisation and development against the hefty issues it raises are sadly mismanaged in a story that fails to ignite any passion and remains exceedingly dull throughout. While the style is pretty good and director Ben Stassen’s keen eye for natural and exciting looking 3D are the natural highlights there is simply not enough substance to bring about anything worthy to the film. Finding Nemo this is not.
As a Region B locked 3D Blu-ray package, Optimum has released a rather lacklustre set, the picture is pretty good, the sound is ok, but there are no extras if you discount the 2D version (incidentally both 2D and 3D versions are on the same Blu-ray and not, as the packaging suggest, separate discs) and DVD, meaning this is a very basic set indeed.
Suggested retail price when reviewed: £24.99
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