PictureStunning. Film makers walk a tight line with image quality when using CGI these days, and the purity of the rendering process can leave them looking artificial, which I suppose is fine for a robot, but bricks and mortar have to behave according to the laws of nature. The best thing to be said about the CGI therefore is that it becomes completely transparent to the movie. The colour palate, as with so many films set in the future, is a mix of blues and greys, all of which are presented with remarkable richness and clarity by this top-drawer disc. Contrast is well controlled with lovely inky blacks and clean highlights that never bloom. Digital picture artefacting is none existent, as is analogue picture damage, and detail levels are outstanding. All in all a modern disc encoding that is thoroughly worthy of the name. Reference quality.
SoundI, Robot comes with both Dolby Digital and a half bitrate DTS 5.1 track. It has become my preference when reviewing discs with both tracks, to replay critical scenes while flicking between the two encodings. The first thing you always notice if you do this is that the DTS track sounds louder, and this can cloud your mind to the benefits of the DTS track. So is the case with I, Robot. On first listening to both tracks your attention is drawn by the obvious volume difference, but stay awhile and you will be rewarded with a soundtrack that is clearer, more rounded, with a bottomless bottom end, and a far superior sense of spaciousness than the corresponding scenes in the DD track. Having listened to many tracks this way I can safely say this is often the case. While the DD track is excellent the DTS is exceptional, and only a touch behind the very best on offer. You would be proud to demo your system to others using this disc.
ExtrasFor such a major summer blockbuster release the extras on offer are very underwhelming. This is not bad thing if, like me, you just want to watch the movie with the best sound and visual quality on offer, but many people value the “extras” that the DVD format offers, and for you we have a “Making Of “ featurette which is very much of the infomercial variety, and a very good directors/writers commentary - although I have never yet listened to one which makes it worth watching the whole movie through twice over to listen to, and this doesn't break that mould. I feel a special edition coming on.
VerdictI, Robot is a disc with reference quality presentation that presents the essence of Asimov in an enjoyable action thriller. Will Smith is engaging in the action cop role, and it is quite refreshing not to have a time consuming love story bolted on for the girlies, but the show stealer is the CGI. This disc will be a staple of the demo rooms for the next twelve months and that's for sure.
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