Happy Feet Two 3D Blu-ray Review
The disc presents a theatrically correct widescreen 2.35:1 1080p 3D transfer and is Region free.
Once again a natively produced 3D picture in the digital realm produces absolutely stunning results. The film was clearly conceived to be seen in three dimensions as every effort has been made to give depth into and push elements out of the screen, sometimes in the same frame. What is abundantly clear is the solidity of every single character, whether it be the furry penguin chicks, their elder peers or the hapless krill, each and every one has a real sense of volume, and ‘roundness’ made all the more tangible by their existence in 3D space. Characters are set apart from each other with distance between them and they are placed within their surroundings be it a simple snow cap or under the water. Of all the characters it is that of the krill’s that are simply stunning, their long antennae protruding out of the frame, while their bulbous eyes are set apart from their bodies that is set into the screen, while their pulsating organs sit within their exoskeleton; it really helps that the makers put these little creatures right at the front of the picture, they really are in your face while at the same time the ocean is way, way back in the distance. Overhead shots of the various penguin colonies fair just as well in the ‘wow’ stakes with a real and tangible amount of distance into the screen. Negative parallax, apart from the krill’s antennae, is well catered for with snow, water, pointing beaks, fish and other objects projected out of the screen – in fact the closing titles with the bubbles floating around, showcases some of the most astonishing screen out moments ever - for the first time since having this equipment, it actually felt like I could reach out and touch them. Yes the 3D is at times over exaggerated but it never felt gratuitous and does showcase the format extremely well.
And the rest of the picture is just as stunning. Detail encompasses everything you’d expect from a modern digital CG film, feathers have form, snow has texture, water looks real and you can see every feature of the krill’s shells.
Colours are bold and distinct without wash or bleed, predominantly whites, being snow, show no signs of clipping, while the primaries are equally as strong; greens look lush, reds are vivid and blues are sublime.
Contrast and brightness are set to give strong deep blacks (with the usual 3D caveat), even though the film seldom uses them, the underwater scenes showcasing the best shadow detail, though some of the night scenes, or the inky blackness of the oil slick are just as good.
Digitally there were no compression problems or any edge enhancement but there were a few signs of banding in the underwater scenes. Using passive technology I did spot one or two instances of crosstalk, the main one being Erik’s stand off against Bryan the Beachmaster, where Erik himself has a ghost or two, but that was it in an otherwise unblemished picture. On the whole absolutely stunning.
I concentrate on the English dts-HD Master Audio 5.1 surround track. Just as the visuals are an immersive experience, so too is the sound; from the loud dance beats to the more sombre moments. The surrounds are used extensively to help fill out the ambience, whether that is wind and snow, tapping of penguin feet as they trudge through the snow, or the swell of ocean waves, there always seems to be something for the speakers to do. Dialogue is clear and precise, sounds very natural, is mostly dominated by the frontal array but is given a little directionality when called for. Stereo effects mirror the on screen action with aplomb. Bass is tightly controlled and grounds everything with naturally, though it seldom plumbs the depths that the very best can achieve, though the sub is never lacking. The score really fills the room, from the dance heavy beats to the lighter moments you really are put in the centre of the action. Dynamic, tight and precise, the sound track matches the visuals perfectly and is clearly reference throughout.
- I Tawt I Taw a Puddy Tat (03.45, HD, 3D) – I wonder if any of the children that this film is aimed at even know who Silvester and Tweety Bird are? Anyway, this is a short much in the same vain as the Road Runner cartoons that adorn other Warner releases. It is a new animation set to the original song “I Tawt I Taw a Puddy Tat” sung by Tweety as Silvester tries to ingest him only to be thwarted at every turn Tom and Gerry style – excellent to have the original Mel Blanc voices and the animation is top notch with superlative 3D rivalling anything in the main feature, almost worth buying the disc just to see this!
- How To Draw A Penguin (04.59, HD) – Concept and storyboard artist Tim McEwen talks us through how to draw Erik.
- Running With Boadicea (03.10, HD) – Concept and storyboard artist Tim McEwen and others explain the ethos behind this plucky character and how she was designed to be a parkour runner .. (?)
- The Amazing Voices of Happy Feet 2 (04.51, HD) – All the main cast talk about how much fun it is to record voices.
- Pink's New Song (01.56, HD) – Pink explains how happy she was to get the part and talks about the song she wrote especially for the part.
- The Mighty Sven Sing-A-Long (04.15, HD) – Sing karaoke style while the film plays.
- Bridge of Life Sing-A-Long (03.23, HD) – Sing karaoke style while the film plays.
- Papa Oom Mow Sing-A-Long (01.11, HD) – Sing karaoke style while the film plays.
- Helping Penguins & Pals (11.52, HD) – What could be nice little piece about conservation looses all its credibility by being way too child friendly.
- Happy Feet 2 Movie App (58.11) – Download the relevant app(lication) to your i(whatever) and get behind the scenes info as a Picture in Picture on your handheld device; fortunately I don’t have such equipment so I didn’t have to sit through the film again.
- I Tawt I Taw A Puddy Tat (03.49, HD) – The same cartoon but this time in 2D.
- 2D Blu-ray
- DVD and Digital Copy
Happy Feet Two is director George Miller’s follow up to the highly successful and Oscar winning Happy Feet from 2006. Unfortunately instead of building on that success the creative team have taken what amounts to a scatter gun approach to the story telling by combining and convoluting so many story threads that there is no identifiable protagonist, dramatic narrative or message to tell. As such the whole thing comes across as a muddled mess despite the best attempts at stunning visuals and all encompassing sound. Younger viewers may get something from the many dance numbers and (admittedly great) eye candy, but to everyone else there really is no emotional hook and thus no reason to stick with the characters and their plight. In essence the film quickly becomes incredibly tiresome and ultimately boring.
As a Region free 3D Blu-ray set Warner as produced a reasonable package. The 3D disc is absolutely sublime in its presentation of the visuals with plenty of depth into the screen as well as in your face effects, the sound matches the visuals with aplomb and the Silvester and Tweety Bird cartoon is an absolute hoot, rivalling the main feature in every way with is picture and sound presentation. The set also contains a 2D Blu-ray with all the extra features which, to be honest, really aren’t worth much and those that are, are way too child friendly to be of much merit, as well as a DVD and digital copy making this at least a future proof buy.
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