Gnomeo & Juliet 3D Blu-ray Review
The disc presents a widescreen 1.78:1 (from a theatrical aspect of 1.85:1) 1080p transfer in both 3D and 2D and is Region locked to B.
In typical fashion for a film that exists purely in the digital realm, and in native 3D, we have a lush, bright picture with plenty of detail and absorbing three dimensions. Care is taken to construct compositions to make the most of potential depth into the frame, whether that be by placing an extreme close up of, say grass, in front of the main action, which is itself set apart from the background or a simple two shot that exhibits tangible distance between the characters. Add to this a genuine solidity to the characters/objects and you have the makings of a terrific looking image. What I particularly liked was the relief of the faces of the characters, I’m not talking about their features, which were typically excellent, but rather the ‘pottery’ of their makeup i.e. the imperfections of the manufacturing process, or damage, which show up as distinct notches or undulations on the three dimensional planes. Excellent stuff. The wide scope isn’t quite so well looked after, there are no large scale establishing shots, however the overhead shots of the gardens show some terrific effects with sweeping depth into the frame. There are very few point at the screen moments, which is good, but those that are there are well realised; be it Featherstone’s leg brandished as a weapon, or Nanette’s water spraying the screen, all have the desired ‘duck’ effect.
Detail is, again, excellent with the imperfections of the characters taking top place, though their environment is a close second, take a look at the cut grass, it’s jagged edges, or the peeling paint in Featherstone’s hut, or the weave of Juliet’s ninja sock, each and everything exhibit an attention to detail that borders on the obsessive.
Colour is, of course, bright, bold and beautiful, with the reds and blues taking centre stage; there’s no wash or bleed to be seen anywhere. Gradation is perfect with no banding to cause any issues from the sweeping green laws to the majestically blue skies.
Contrast and brightness are set to give strong blacks, though the film seldom really uses them; the night time scenes or best of the bunch, when the rotten door to Featherstone’s hut is finally prised open giving a deep inkiness that still exhibits some shadow detail when the artist pen allows.
Digitally there were no compression problems, nor was there any edge enhancement. Using passive glasses there was absolutely no flicker or cross talk, though for the first time I did spot a few jagged edges which is a by product of the interlaced images needed to make the technology work; not a fault of the disc, just observable if you really look for it.
One the whole another excellent presentation for the format.
The disc has only the one track, English dts-HD Master Audio 5.1, but thankfully it’s a great one. Dialogue is always clear, precise and sounds so natural that you can always identify the actor voicing the part, it’s also given directionality when needed. Stereo effects are numerous, both left/right and front/back and really help to place you in the centre of the action, the lawn mower race is a prime example of this. The surrounds are used to provide plenty of ambient effects that centre around the ‘garden’ variety, wind, water, birds etc. The score by Elton John is given full range and each and every song plays out to terrific all round stereo effects placing in the centre of the room. Bass is well realised grounding everything naturally, though LF effects are nowhere near as low as the best out there; though the Terrafirminator and its subsequent destruction do get some nice thump and rumble. One the whole it’s a very absorbing track and only just shy of reference.
- Alternate Endings (1.56, SD) – there are two to look at, both given an introduction by the director explaining why they were not used; they are simple storyboard pictures playing to the sound track. “All well that ends well” is very different and tries to give everyone their ‘happy ever after’ including the house owners, “Dance Routine” is just an alternate take on the dance scene that was ultimately used.
- Frog Talk with Ashley Jensen (1.46, SD) – an incredibly short behind the scenes look and chat with the actress who plays the frog.
- The Fawn of Darkness (1.30, SD) – much the same as the above but this time with Ozzy Osborne who tells us numerous times that this is the easiest gig he’s ever done.
- Crocodile Rock Music Video (1.32, SD) – the music video to the song that ends the film.
- Trailers and Previews
That’s it. Hardly worth the effort, if you ask me, nothing is really worth while looking at as you learn nothing about the production of the film – I’d like to have an answer as to why there were so many writers ....
Gnomeo and Juliet is a(nother) retelling of Shakespeare’s well know play Romeo and Juliet; this time the warring families are garden gnomes whose feud is inspired by two neighbours that despise each other and whose hated fuels their garden ornaments who spring to life ‘Toy Story’ style when no one is around to see. The story is boiled down to its barest essentials and told in the most simplistic terms to be enjoyed by a children’s audience, so much so that there is very little for an adult to grasp onto and enjoy; though bizarrely it is full of puns and jokes that are way over the head of its intended audience in an attempt at bring in the adult vote – the resulting concoction is satisfying to neither parties. With no less than fifteen writers it is amazing that Shrek 2 director Kelly Asbury manages to salvage anything at all from what is clearly a film made by committee. It’s not one to avoid, but you won’t be going back for more.
As a 3D Blu-ray set, the disc presents a wonderfully immersive 3D image that is as bright, bold and detailed as the very best out there and has a sound track that is close to reference; it’s a bit of a shame that the set contains no significant extra material, but with both 2D and 3D on one disc this is a future proof buy.
Suggested retail price when reviewed: £25.99
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