Ballerina Blu-ray Review
Movies reviewSRP: £14.99
Ballerina is a fun but formulaic French-backed production that may not capture Disney magic, but sure captures some impressively choreographed ballet dancing.Featuring the voice talents of Elle Fanning (The Neon Demon) as the protagonist, Felicie, singer-songwriter Carly Rae Jepsen as her mystery mentor Odette, a simple cleaner with secret skills, and Sia muse Maddie Ziegler as her rich kid rival, Camille, Ballerina may be straightforward in its plotting and execution (and even its slightly dated archetypes - the girl's dream to be a ballerina, whilst the boy gets to be an inventor), but it's got all the right ingredients to thoroughly impress on the song and dance front. Indeed, despite some impressive CG animation throughout, rendering the Parisian period locales (complete with half-completed Eiffel Tower) with loving attention to detail, it's the dance moves that truly stand out, as some expertly choreographed ballet setpieces distinguish the production from its peers.With real-life ballet masters on hand to lend their skills behind the scenes, the ballet-work is stunning, and captivating for audiences, although obviously the familiar path of oppressed orphan fighting the odds to make her dreams come true will likely spark more of an interest in the younger generations less familiar - or at least more forgiving - towards this tried-and-tested routine. Ultimately there's little to detour the plot from precisely what you would expect from this kind of production, and the Disney magic is lacking - where Pixar would have provided a deeper resonance, and Disney-proper a more heartfelt journey, and both a far better line of humour, Ballerina only manages an impression of any of those elements, instead only really standing out on the song and dance front.
Picture QualityBallerina may not have a big name like Disney behind it, but the animation is very impressive nonetheless, and Entertainment One's Region B-locked UK Blu-ray release delivers a fantastic 1080p/AVC-encoded High Definition video presentation that certainly does it justice.
The animation is impressive and the Blu-ray presentation is fantastic
Detail is excellent. Not Moana excellent, but still finely nuanced, lapping up the intricate hair strands and ruffled/perfected styles, the facial expressions, the shimmering eyes, and the period Parisian setting which offers up its own set of nuances. Clothing is textured, and there's plenty of attention to detail here, with strong clarity.
The colour scheme is broad and vibrant, yet bathed in an honest look reflective of the setting and era, with lots of warm but not LA-hot sunlight, gorgeous blue skies, healthy skin tones and rich hair colours. The film has got more of a spring rather than a summer feel, and that works for the Euro setting and period flavour. Black levels are strong, and offer a good backbone to the piece which is certainly a very pretty demo affair.
Sound QualityThe accompanying DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track is a strong number, delivering the music - old and new - as well as the dialogue and myriad effects with aplomb.
It's not quite got the power or precision to match the best tracks, but it still does a very good job
Retaining priority for the dialogue across the frontal array, there's still more than enough room for the effects to span out across the surrounds, with the crazy ground and aerial exploits of the opening sequence setting the scene, whilst Paris brings echoing ballet halls, skittering across cobbled streets and, yes, yet more crazy aerial exploits, particularly in the ridiculous finale.
The song and dance numbers really hit home though, sweeping across the stage and delivering energetic setpieces that dominate the array and engulf you in the affair. It's not quite got the power or precision to match the best tracks, but it still does a very good job.
Blu-ray VerdictThe ballet-work is stunning, and captivating for young audiences
Whilst the story of Ballerina is overly-familiar, the ballet angle is new and refreshing. And whilst the market for this kind of affair may be more tailored towards the younger audiences than anything Disney would have delivered, it's still a strong effort. It also looks commensurately good on Blu-ray with great picture and sound although sadly no extras.
You can buy Ballerina on Blu-ray here
Suggested retail price when reviewed: £14.99
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