Up Blu-ray Review
Up arrives on locked Region B Blu-ray with an absolutely stunning 1080p encode, framed at a theatrically correct 1.78:1. Unfortunately, there is no option for a 3D version on this disc.
The first thing to say it that the source is absolutely pristine - as it should be for such a recent film. However, what immediately strikes you upon watching this is the sheer vibrancy of the colours. What is presented here is absolutely stunning. There are many examples. Watch, for example, when the house takes off. We see from inside a child's bedroom and as the house goes past, the reflection from a myriad coloured balloons reflects onto the walls in an ever changing pattern. It is breathtaking stuff. There are many other examples, but look also at the colours of Snipe's feathers, or the silhouette against the sunset. I can honestly say that I don't think I've ever seen colour representation this good.
The level of detail is also stunning. Faces may not be designed to look realistic, but you only have to look at Frederickson's eyebrows to see how well this disc renders the animator's intentions. Watch, also, the thunderstorm they fly through, - the water on the windows is amazing. The depth of field is superb, and even on a non-3D version, the 3D pop is fantastic. Blacks are deep and inky, and contrast is vast. This is a fantastic picture.
So whilst the transfer is perfect, I still think a 3D version should have been included. I know that 3D in the home isn't a patch on the cinema, and that some of the home examples have been appalling. But others haven't been too bad within the limitations of the technology. I really wish I had seen this in 3D at the cinema, and it would be good to at least have the option of seeing it in this format in the home.
The audio on this disc is as stunning as the picture. Presented in a DTS-HD MA 5.1 mix, this soundtrack never fails to impress.
From beginning to end, every speaker in your setup will be used to maximum, yet subtle effect. The front soundscape is wide, with character dialogue and action coming from left and right of center as they move around the screen. The dialogue is always crisp and clear, and well-balanced.
The surrounds are constantly lively but never seem to be gratuitous. Listen to the crack of thunder, or the planes during the dogfight, or even subtle moments like Frederickson throwing chocolate chunks. Every sound is precisely where it should be, enveloping the viewer in the action to a greater extent than any other animated film I have seen. This is an amazing mix.
A special mention must go to Michael Giacchino's score. It really soars within the mix when it needs to, bringing the orchestra to life. But the subtle moments impress just as much. Listen to the harps as Frederickson plucks the balloon strings. This is fantastic stuff.
On review here is the standard two disc edition which features the main film and some extras on a BD and also a DVD version of the film. Unless otherwise stated, the extras reviewed are replicated on both discs. All are in HD on the BD and SD on the DVD.
Partly Cloudy is the theatrical short which accompanied Up in the cinema and is included here. It is a six minute animated featurette which tells the story of how babies are made. It is, apparently, the cloud spirits who make them and the storks who carry them down. Unfortunately, one cloud can only make stingy, spikey, dangerous creatures and this makes life extremely difficult for the small stork who has to carry the resulting creatures down to earth. Although this does rather lack the extreme cleverness of the short that accompanied Wall-E it makes up for this with the ability to make you truly care for the characters even over a short run time. It also looks superb - the colour in particular being amazing.
Dug's Special Mission is an all new short which basically shows one of the main characters and the events leading directly up to his appearance in the main film. I am not going to give away the plot, suffice to say that this is of such a quality that it could easily have been included in the main film.
Adventure is out there is a fascinating 22 minute documentary which follows the filmmakers as they actually travel to a real-world version of Paradise Falls to document what the landscape looks like. This really brings home the level of detail and care that goes into a project like this and is full of insight.
The many adventures of Munz shows possible alternative endings for the character. Lasting 5 minutes, this is interesting but doesn't really stand up to repeated viewings. Finally, there is an excellent Cine-Explore track on the BD, which really engages and shows that the film-makers really engage with themselves and the film. This is a lot of fun and informative too. The DVD version has a Director's Commentary.
Up is just an outstanding disc in every way and can be nothing other than a highly recommended purchase. The film is of the highest quality and appeals to all ages. The extras on the reviewed disc were absolutely excellent, but true fans of the film will want to look at the four disc edition which contains the meat of the extras in high definition as well as a digital copy.
It is rare that a disc maintains such a high quality across the feature and the AV but Up most certainly does this and is a disc that is likely to present plenty of value in terms of rewatchability. As such, this is highly recommended.
Suggested retail price when reviewed: £23.99
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