Alvin and the Chipmunks Blu-ray Review
PictureAlvin and the Chipmunks comes to Blu ray in a 1080p 1.85:1 ratio transfer. This is admittedly a very colourful vibrant presentation, but it seems almost too colourful - the visual equivalent of a sugar rush on the metabolism. It certainly left me with a headache.
The first thing to notice is that the film's source is immaculate. Certainly no marks or degradation visible here - and grain is non existant. As already mentioned, colours are incredibly rich and bright - but it seems almost as though they are artificially ramped up. The result is that the whole film seems to have this rather unreal sheen about it, to the extent where even the human characters look false and processed. The result of this is that skin tones look washed out, almost as if the human characters are CGI as well as the Chipmunks.
This artificialilty to the colours does not, however, extend to the black levels which are deep and dark. Contrast is also a little ramped up but the depth that we have come to expect is certainly present.
Overall, the picture is certainly above average, and is probably as faithful to the cinema presentation as it can be. It is just that the filmmakers seems to have made a stylistic choice that doesn't sit well with this reviewer.
SoundFox serve this disc with a lossless DTS-HD Master Audio track, and this is certainly an excellent example - rising above the source material.
The first thing to note is that the whole mix is just incredible well balanced. Dialogue, sound effects, bass, and surrounds all exists without seeming to fight each other for space within the sound spectrum. The dialogue is always clear and precise, the songs (as annoying as they are) sound excellent and punchy, and the LFE is surprisingly well used.
In addition to this the rears get a good workout as well, when required they provide some excellent ambient effects and are constantly underpinning the onscreen action. This is a surprisingly excellent track.
ExtrasI have no idea what is available on the SD release, but there is certainly very little on the BD. All we get is a nine minute mini-documentary Hitting the Harmony, which is a look at the music and the creation of the chipmunks voices. Much better, although still brief is the twelve minute Chip Chip Hooray! a look at the history of the Chipmunks. Finally we get a selection of trailers.
These really are very poor extras, not likely to appeal to children or adults. The only positive thing to mention is that they are all in HD.
VerdictAlvin and the Chipmunks is children's filmmaking at its most cynical. The youngsters will certainly enjoy it, and Lee is a very engaging presence, but it is not something that the whole family will want to sit in front of without some severe coercion of the adults by the youngsters.
The disc has a good picture (although I did not like the look they aimed for), and a surprisingly excellent sound mix - but the whole package is let down by terrible extras.
At the end of the day, Alvin and the Chipmunks is a children's movie - and children are not aware, thankfully, of cynicism within filmmaking. They just know when they are being entertained so because of this I have to mark it accordingly.
Suggested retail price when reviewed: £39.98
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