Puss in Boots 3D Blu-ray Review
The disc presents a theatrically correct widescreen 2.35:1 1080p 3D picture and is Region free.
Another splendid effort from Dreamworks in the same vain as How to Train your Dragon, filmed natively in 3D with the clear intention of getting the best out of the format, the is plenty of depth, volume to the characters and some decent negative parallax to keep the effects in your face. The film really starts off how it means to go on, the close up of Puss – see how his hat is on his head, and how the rim sticks so far away from his face, how the fur and whiskers on his face give real depth to his features; indeed every character has a real sense of solidity: Humpty looks round, Kitty has the same voluminous fur that Puss and all the cats exhibit. And what makes these solid characters appear so ‘real’ is their presence in 3D space – a real effort has been made to frame everything to give a front, middle and back so that character and objects sit within their surroundings. Look at the ‘dance contest’ how Puss and Kitty move into and out of the room, or how the tables of the saloon layer back into the space. One of the very best effects is just before the title: speeding along the desert floor, with the brush and rocks zooming past, flying over a huge drop – it really is like you are there flying along and that drop looks so real I felt myself dip with it. Throughout the film there are numerous effects like this (the growth of the beanstalk, landscape shots, swinging over the rooftops, the collapse of the bridge) that give a truly immersive experience and pull you into the film. Negative, in your face, parallax is used with spilt milk (no crying now), swords, dust, clouds and other elements to bring the film out to the audience. The 3D budget is wide and expansive and no effect is left unexplored; it may not have the subtly that Hugo has, but it nevertheless makes a terrific use of the format.
This is all helped by the absolutely stunning CG that makes up the rest of the picture. Detail is sublime; from the cat’s fur, to the leather texture of Puss’ boots, to the dust on his hat which look incredible; far off detail fairs just as well, looking down from the beanstalk, the fluffiness of the clouds, the grime of the saloon floor, the stubble and bad teeth of its patrons, wood grain, masonry texture – everything has a finite edge and looks pin sharp.
Colours are bold and strong with no hint of wash or bleed. All the primaries come of very well, reds and deep, greens are lush and blues grade with aplomb, in fact there is no banding apparent anywhere.
Brightness and contrast are set to give some wonderfully deep blacks (with the usual 3D caveat), with a terrifically real lighting set that helps define shadow detail and depth to further enhance the third dimension. Night scenes are never too dark as to destroy the effect, if anything they are exaggerated even more so.
Digitally there were no compression problems, no grain or edge enhancement. No banding or posterization issues either. Using passive technology I noticed only the lightest crosstalk in the extreme end of the negative parallax and aliasing was kept to the barest minimum. In all one truly engaging picture.
I concentrate on the English Dolby TrueHD 7.1 track. To go with the stunning visuals we have an equally stunning surround track that will, at times, leave your head spinning. Effects are extremely well realised with the surrounds being used for more than just ambience; the saloon is incredibly effective with patrons voices, creaking furniture and other effects positioned so well that you feel you are right there and can order a drink! The ‘dance off’ and all the chase sequences are full of stereo effects that really place you in the centre of the action. Surrounds are used vigorously for ambient effects, such as the wind while climbing the beanstalk, and to fill out the score. The score itself comes across with a strong sense of immersion with all the speakers getting in on the act to fill the room. Dialogue is clear, precise, sounds perfectly natural, given directionality when needed and is never drowned out by any of the action happening on screen. A superior surround track that matches the visuals to a tee.
- Puss in Boots: The Three Diablos (13.05, HD) – As is becoming the norm with all CG releases, a short animation utilising the characters from the film; this particular one picks up right where the movie leaves off, with Puss hired to track down the thief of the Heart of Fire ruby, and in doing so takes on the three devil hench kittens
- A Dreamworks Fairytale (HD) – Create nursery rhymes from a predetermined list of words inspired by three characters (Jack and Jill, Little Boy Blue and Humpty Dumpty) from the film.
- Puss Paw Pouncing Challenge (HD) – Use the remote control to move the cursor over the dots of light ...
- The Animators’ Corner (HD) – Dreamworks name for a Picture in Picture making of feature, which this time is hosted by director Chris Miller and producers Joe Aguilar and Latifa Ouaou as they guide us through the making of the film via storyboards, animation processes and interviews with cast and crew as they discuss the they discuss the making of the film, from script writing, casting, characters, environments through the animating and creative designs and ideas to improve the final product.
- Trivia Track (HD) – More making of and other ‘facts’ pop up on screen trivia style.
- Purr-fect Pairing: The voices behind the Legend (09.21, HD) – A look at the voice recording sessions of, amongst others, Antonio Banderas, Salma Hayek, Tony Bandyarse, Zach Galifianakis and Billy Bob Thornton.
- Deleted Scenes (07.27, HD) – Three scenes (Humpty Plots with Jack & Jill, Humpty Repays His Accomplices and Puss in Boots Fights the Giant) that didn’t make it past the storyboard.
- Kitten to Cat (12.01, HD) – A look at the titular character and how he was presented in this film through to his appearance in the Shrek franchise.
- Glitter Box Dance Off (05.01, HD) - Human choreographers take us through Puss and Kitty’s dance off from the Glitter Box.
- Klepto Kitty (03.42, HD) – Filler much? Dusty a real life cat that steals things from its neighbourhood.
- Kitty Keyboard (HD) – Oh dear, more filler, watch cat paws playing nursery rhymes on a keyboard.
- Fairytale Pop Up Book (HD) – An interactive feature that enables you to leaf through the pages of a pop-up book which highlights Memorable Moments, Favourite Lines and a Gallery of Puss in Boots, Kitty Softpaws, Humpty Dumpty and Jack and Jill.
- Kitty Strikes Again (HD) – Spot the Difference game between two nearly identical images; here you are asked to spot what Kitty has stolen from scenes from the movie.
- World of Dreamworks Animation (HD) – Trailers
- 2D Blu-ray
- DVD + Digital Copy
Puss in Boots is the first spin off from the Shrek franchise with a prequel that looks at the titular character’s adventures before we meet him in Shrek 2. The story is typically based in fairy tale lore: Puss, his new accomplices Kitty Softpaws and Humpty Dumpty team up to steal the magic beans from Jack and Jill. A host of colourful characters can’t hide the fact that the story is very basic with too many flashbacks and twists that can be seen from a mile away. Despite the spectacular 3D, the overall lack of character involvement means that whilst kids will enjoy the comedy lite there really is little to engage the adults and ultimately, in spite of a lively attempt, the film does nothing to stand out from the crowd and becomes, unfortunately, rather forgettable.
As a Region free 3D Blu-ray set Dreamworks has provided a stunningly good 3D presentation with bright colours and exceptional detail as well as plenty of immersion that is backed up by an equally absorbing 7.1 surround track. The 2D Blu-ray is clearly reference quality in both picture and sound and while the extras are rather light its inclusion, as well as the DVD (+ Digital copy), make this a nice future proof buy.
Suggested retail price when reviewed: £29.99
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