PictureOn disc one we have the movie in an 1.78:1 anamorphic widescreen and on disc two the movie is presented in Full frame video. Obviously the widescreen version is the option to go for.
The picture is very nearly reference quality with the underwater world looking very realistic and with good detail on show. The backdrop to marlins home is stunning with the surrounding coral plants moving with the water and the light reflecting in a natural way. The characters do look animated and not as realistic animals but the facial expressions are detailed and look good. You soon forget you are watching computer generated images. Colours are rich and varied as we move through the ocean world, starting with rich tropical blues along with oranges and yellows which always look natural and do not suffer from any bleed. The open ocean takes on a deep mixture of blues to create a feeling of depth; you really believe you are far beneath the ocean.
The picture does however display some slight encoding problems, most noticeably in darker scenes with bright objects present such as the angler fish scene. The bright light looks good but the surrounding background gives into macro blocking effects around the edges. This however is the only problem I noticed of any interest, some of the slight edge enhancement seen on my display screen at over 7ft would probably not be seen on a standard Plasma or 32” CRT TV.
Overall whilst not perfect, you will be amazed with the realistic and natural images which are superbly detailed and coloured, very good indeed.
SoundPresented in Dolby Digital 5.1 EX the soundtrack is again another work of art and works very well in creating the underwater world we inhabit for just over an hour and a half. But don't think this will be an aggressive surround fest like previous Pixar movies. The soundtrack is constantly present around you in every scene and working its magic when you probably don't even realise it is there. The constant feel of being underwater is mixed with great subtlety but turn it down and you soon notice it has gone and that feeling of realism goes with it. There are moments of split surround action such as the pelican chase across Sydney harbour, but the majority of this mix will do its job and you won't notice.
Dialogue is always rich and easy to follow and the music score is nice and dynamic. There are excuses to use the LFE channel to underpin some of the action on the screen such as the shark chase through the submarine where it all ends in the launch of a missile to devastating effect.
This mix will probably not be used as a set up disc like the beginning of Toy Story 2, but it is an excellent example of the very best in subtle soundmixing. I would doubt that any DTS track which may be available on the R2 version are worth waiting on when this mix is just so good.
ExtrasAt last we get some extras worth watching and which actually go behind the scenes of the movie. There are a few games and one or two extras that are clearly based at the youngsters such as the studio tour presented by the kid who voiced Nemo and the character interviews and story time features. But there are some great extras to be seen such as the interactive commentary track where you get snippets from behind the scenes as you watch the movie. You can activate this as you watch the film or just go through the clips from a separate menu. The making of feature is fun and informative at 25 minutes and provides some useful information and behind the scenes content. There are a few features made for fun by the team such as the Exploring the Reef feature which although aimed at kids is humorous and fun for adults(well I laughed, especially every time he said his name).
Rounding off the disc are trailers and teasers, a sneak peek at The Incredibles, Design galleries, an encyclopedia of the ocean and the virtual Aquariums. Last but not least is the brilliant short film Knick Knack which is very funny.
VerdictWell Pixar hit Gold again with this brilliant movie which can be enjoyed by anyone of any age. The AV presentation is also very good with some extras worth watching, recommended.
Our Review Ethos