Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 3D Blu-ray Review
The disc presents a theatrically correct widescreen 2.35:1 1080p 2D and 3D transfer. As to be expected with a digital film this is an absolutely pristine picture; colours are bright and bold, detail is as perfect as the artists want it to be, blacks are inky and contain shadow detail when meant to – there are no compression problems or edge enhancement; in every respect a reference 2D picture.
Now on to the 3D aspect, which is why we are here. I’m pleased to say that pretty much everything I said about the 2D picture can be transferred to the 3D. First up, colours, which are bold and striking and show wonderful gradation, take a look at the clouds when the hamburgers first drop, now down at their reflection in the sea – impressive stuff. All the primaries come across extremely well, take a look at the greens and blues in Flint’s lab. Brightness and contrast are set to give impressive blacks, not quite as impressive as their 2D counterpart due to the increased brightness needed for the 3D effect, but they are not too distracting and still show decent enough depth and the shadow detail when meant to. Detail, again, is extremely impressive; everything the artist wants you to see is clearly seen.
The 3D effect is very impressive for this, the first commercially available title, so it needed to be didn’t it? The depth of field is well developed but only concentrates on the fore to middle ground, rarely exploiting the distance, which is a shame - that’s not to say they aren’t there, the aforementioned clouds being one very nice scene, but there were plenty of other opportunities that were not capitalised on. When it really shines though, it really shines, you get a true sense of depth between the characters, which themselves have a great deal of solidity and depth. There are the obligatory ‘pointy at the screen’ moments – the first hamburger held up as a prime (geddit?) example – but on the whole this is not the norm, the directors choosing to go for depth rather than the obvious, this, in my book, is a far better option and gives a far better result. Simple things such as Flint sitting in front of his computer, or working in the sardine shop, the depth given to the room is wonderful to see. There are plenty of money shots, but my favourites are the hamburger ‘rain’, flying through the storm and flint falling down the peanut brittle.
Digitally I spotted no compression problems and of all the 3D titles I’ve viewed this one had the least amount of crosstalk, barely rearing its head. In all another demonstration title for the 3D format.
The disc sports ten (!!) 5.1 tracks, I concentrate on the English DTS-HD MA. Just as the picture is impressive so too is the sound mix in what is a clear reference track. Separation is wide, seriously wide, across the fontal array with plenty of stereo effect and when you bring the surrounds into play there is plenty of action of fill the room. There is hardly a time when the surrounds aren’t in use adding ambiance or sheer dynamic force to the mix. Effects of the thunder storms rolling around the room, or crowds cheering behind you as the Mayor speaks to the front are extremely well realised.
Bass is no stranger grounding everything with a natural oomph, LF effects are plentiful, from deep rumbling thunder to chest thumping impacts as steaks hit the plate. Dialogue is clear and precise, given directionality when needed and sounds very natural; never being lost in the any of the mayhem of the mix. And everything is held together with the swell of Mark Mothersbaugh’s score which, again, makes full use of all the speakers placing you in the centre of the mix. Nothing is lost and everything is precisely detailed. Teriffic stuff.
- A Recipe for Success: The Making of Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs – HD 10:51
Puff piece making of where cast and crew discuss the project, the original book and what they brought to it. Interviews and behind the scenes feature as well as a look at the animation process, but don’t expect too much detail, its neither long enough nor that sort of production, think EPK and you’re there.
- Key Ingredients: The Voices of Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs – 10:39
Slightly more detailed look at the acting talent that brought the voices to the character of the film, behind the scenes footage of the actors performing is interspersed with interviews with the respective cast, again far too short and more of an advertisement for the film to be of any real worth.
- Early Development Scenes – 05:47
Two scenes – “Flint's Letter to Super scientist Vance LaFleur” and “Twister”- shown as storyboard animation.
- Extended Scenes – 02:36
“Elevator Joke” and “Twister” scenes have a few seconds added to them.
- Progression Reels with Introductions by Visual Effects Supervisor Rob Bredow – 08:09
Rob Bredow talks about the animation process from the conceptual drawing through to the finished product with emphasis on particular scenes, my pick of these features as even in its very short run time still manages to be both detailed and entertaining.
- “Raining Sunshine” Music Video by Miranda Cosgrove – SD 03:45
Music video of the song that plays over the closing credits – not my cup of tea
- Behind the Scenes of Miranda Cosgrove's "Raining Sunshine" Music Video – SD 02:17
Making of the music video
- Open Season Sneak Peek – 3D
Trailer for Open Season – coming soon folks!
With the exception of the trailer, all these features are culled from the previous 2D Blu-ray (and SD DVD) releases, but I guess there was no room for anything new with all those sound tracks!
Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs was the first commercially available 3D title and clearly it is a winner. The story is a terrific meld of insanity and tender moments that give rise to a wonderful filmic experience – it may not have any of the depth or polish of Pixar but it does have a lot of talent and a desire to be entertaining and on that front it succeeds.
As a Blu-ray package the 3D picture is wonderious with plenty of vibrancy and depth, backed up with a reference sound track and a small, but neat extras package make this a decent disc. With good attention to detail to the 3D framing and an engaging story Cloudy’ is well recommended.
Suggested retail price when reviewed: £24.99
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