Step Up 3D Blu-ray Review
The disc presents a widescreen 1.78:1 1080p 2D and 3D transfer from the original theatrical ratio of 1.85:1. Originally shot in 3D and not a convert the effects are surprisingly good, despite the relative shortness of the frame. Most of the film takes place inside, so there is very little distance, those few exterior shots of the New York skyline do show excellent depth of frame with tangible distance between the fore, middle and background. Up close there is some very decent layering and the distance between those layers is well defined, as well as a good deal of solidity to them. Most of the effects come from crowd scenes, be it dance crews or spectators this means there are some nice set ups between fore and middle ground. Equally each individual comprises of a solid form, giving weight to the layers themselves, which in turn increases the 3D effect. Lighting also plays a crucial role here, by highlighting specific layers and extending the depth of field even more so, it works really well. Some of the best examples are during the numerous dance sequences, where tricks are employed to extend the distance, such as chalk dust or water droplets sprayed into the air. Such tricks look spectacular and really add much to the effect. Since there is little distance to the frame, many effects are of the ‘point at the screen’ variety, such as dancers arms pointing, or a lone dancer, front and centre, balloons and bubbles are also used to push the screen out to your face. For the most part they work very well, but they are somewhat obvious and much better use is with the less flashy moves when concentrating on the long shots of the dance sequences.
Detail is nicely sharp with plenty of skin detail and clothing weaves noticeable, the wall of boom-boxes is detailed enough to discover the makes, if you so desire, and the light costumes at the end are clear and bright. Colour is bold and vibrant with strong use of the primaries in clubs and dance floors without wash or bleed.
Brightness and contrast are set well, the blacks are a little drab, never going as deep as one expects from reference, but never greying, and there is a little shadow detail in places, though the film seldom goes very dark. Although there was one odd sequence when the colours did blue, when Moose and Camille do their impromptu dance in the streets, but then this whole sequence was surreal and the colour scheme may have been chosen to accentuate this aspect.
Digitally there were no real problems to speak of, no compression artefacts, not posterization or banding, no edge enhancement and no grain, but just the occasional smattering of noise in the darker areas. Unfortunately the print suffers from crosstalk in numerous places which was a little distracting considering the otherwise fine print.
Boasting an English DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1 surround track that really only makes use of the surround channels to boost the score. Dynamically the separation is quite wide across the front, but somewhat limited between front and back. Dialogue was always natural sounding, clear and distinct and firmly anchored to the front. Bass was limited to the score, but with such a score it really gets a work out – the many drum and bass hits giving plenty for the sub to do. Surrounds were used, in the majority, to fill out the score, but during the dance contests also helped with discrete effects such as crowd cheering etc. The effect works and you do feel like you are in the room with the contestants; it matches the visuals well and adds much to the overall immersive experience. Nothing particularly noteworthy about the track, it doesn’t stand out, but there is nothing wrong with it either, a good solid 8.
- Music videos
Club Can't Handle me - Flo Rida feat. David Guetta
My Own Step - Roscoe Dash & T-Pain feat. Fabo
Already Taken - Trey Songz
This Instant - Sophia Fresh feat T-Pain
This Girl - Laza Morgon
No Te Quirero (Remix) _Sophia Del Carmen feat. Pittnull
Irresistible - Wisin Y Vandel
Spirit of the Radio - J Randall
None of which excited me to any degree. Rather sad that there are no making of features, I think, with the 3D element, there could have been some interesting material, but sadly, not in this case.
Step Up 3D is made for a specific audience, those that dance. The script is there to simply get from once dance sequence to the next. Valiant attempts to add characterisation, and therefore empathy, with the dancers’ plight does little to engage the audience because there is so little originality here, love, friendship and destiny can work well in lots of circumstances, but somehow here all that effort is lost because, well, it’s a dance movie. It did little to move me, but then, I don’t dance.
As a 3D Blu-ray Universal has provided a very serviceable package with decent picture and sound, but that is rather let down by a dull extras package, at least it is future proof with both 2D and 3D variants on this combo disc.
Suggested retail price when reviewed: £29.99
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