Sky High Blu-ray Review
PictureSky High reaches the HD generation as a crisp 1080P / MPEG 2 transfer. Being a recent film, it stands to gain a lot from the Blu Ray experience and I am pleased to say that Disney have really done a superlative job here.
The look of the film is key. The director uses lots of primary colours, and there is an excellent contrast presented between the more earthy colours of the “real world” and the bright colours and shiny surfaces of Sky High itself. Yet the transfer finds no problems between these two contrasts presenting both environments equally as well. The sense of depth is superb, and colours vibrant and bright.
The print looks pristine with very little grain evident at all, and the level of detail is such that you can really tell that the actors are performing their own stunts. In HD it is sometimes more obvious when this is not the case, so it just adds an extra layer of realism to the whole film.
The makers of Sky High eschewed CGI as much as possible, preferring a more natural organic look to their film, and again this really shows up the HD transfer. In my opinion, when not done on an absolute sky high (sorry) budget - CGI can have its limitations exposed in HD. With a minimum of CGI, that is not a problem here.
It has to be said that all is not always perfect with the transfer. There are some weak areas, noticeably in dark shots. For example, the key scene where The Commander and Jetstream first meet is shot inside a dark warehouse and the levels of details in the shadows is not always clear or easy to see.
However, these scenes are rare - and overall this is an excellent transfer.
SoundSky High is one of a new breed of discs that are starting to appear on the UK market from Disney. These discs contain a DTS track in French, Italian, German, and Spanish, but forgo an English DTS track in favour of a PCM 5.1 English track. They do include a Dolby Digital 5.1 Track in English however. I am not a fan of this configuration. The ability to decode a PCM track is not currently in everyone's homes - so it would be nice to have a DTS English track.
Listening to the DD track, however - it is clear that “Sky High” sounds just as good as it looks. What is most impressive here is the use of the surround channel. The rear speakers are used extensively throughout the whole film, but unlike some tracks I have heard the sound is always natural and unforced.
During scenes in the gym for example, the atmosphere is really enhanced from crowd scenes coming from all around you - and when action happens off screen behind you it is heard clearly and well placed.
The same is true with the front mix - the speakers getting lots of precise and clear use in both the left and right channels. The centre speaker anchors the dialogue perfectly, with speech being clear and precise.
The sub is also used subtly and well - underpinning the action when needed, with deep levels of LFE. However, like the rears this is always natural sounding and never forced.
A very good mix indeed.
ExtrasUnfortunately the documentary “Welcome to Sky High” is missing in action from the US release. What we do get, however, is an Alternative opening which deserved to be dropped from the film, and an interesting documentary on the stunts.
This documentary, entitled Breaking Down Walls : The Stunts of Sky High is fascinating - showing how they used a rig originally designed for Spiderman 2 and adapted it to allow the actors to perform their own stunts. It is over all too soon, however, and nothing else is included.
This does mean that extras wise, this release is inferior to both the US Blu Ray, and the SD DVD release.
VerdictSky High is a film that deserves a wider audience. Appealing to all age groups - it features a clever plot, well written script, excellent performances from the cast and superb stunts. The film gets a very good transfer, and dynamic sound mix, but loses some extras from both the SD and US HD versions.
Whereas it may not be the kind of film adults will choose to sit down and watch on their own, as a family film this has plenty to offer all generations. An undiscovered gem.
Suggested retail price when reviewed: £24.99
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