The second disc included in this set is the exact same Region B 2D Blu-ray that has previously been available, and typical of CG animated films, its picture is basically reference in terms of detail, colour, brightness and contrast.
The 3D disc presents a theatrically correct widescreen 1.78:1 1080p transfer using the MVC codec and is a fully 3D disc, menus as well, it will not load in a normal Blu-ray player at all, and is Region Free. Once again a natural 3D film, in the digital realm, comes across in a near flawless presentation. Detail is as perfect as the animators pen, and the animators here are extremely detailed, take a look at Bolt’s (or Mittens’) fur - it’s sublime - or the Styrofoam pieces, or the damaged boxes containing it; it really doesn’t get any better than this. Colours too are bold and striking without bleed, wash gradation problems or banding. Whether in the ‘real world’ or the make believe TV studio colours have a strong vibrancy only normally associated with a Pixar release. Brightness and contrast are set to give very impressive blacks, again I point to the TV studio, or the fire at the end to see some impressive depth to the black, which contain as much shadow detail as we are meant to see.
In terms of 3D we have yet another example of how to approach the task by seldom using gimmicks of ‘point at the screen’ but relying on depth of frame and solidity to the object in focus. Take a look at Bolt himself, see how his fur is in 3D layers giving the character solidity, see how his face has actual depth when he looks at the camera, look at the framing of the picture and how there is fore, middle and background but within those layers the object themselves have depth? This is how to ‘wow’ with 3D; this is where the strength of the format lies. Yes it’s great to have the gimmicks, Bold swinging on the crane hook, or on the banner, or debris from explosions flying at you, but to really immerse you it’s the depth that is needed, and Bolt has it in spades, so much so that you can often forget that you are watching a 3D film, it becomes natural over and above the style of the animation – impressive stuff! Money shots for me were the over head explosion of the gas tanker at the pet shop, any of the TV exploits and the animal’s fur.
Digitally there were no compression problems, no banding or edge enhancement, but it did suffer a little from crosstalk in some of the faster moving scenes, nothing too distracting, but notable. Further to this, I also noticed the ‘floating black bars’ on the left and right of the frame on the odd occasion – this is a side effect of 3D and not an issue per se but I thought I’d mention it for the sake of completeness. In all a superb addition to the format.
Of the eight sound tracks listed I concentrate on the English DTS-HD MA 5.1. To match the visuals the disc has a superior audio offering that is just as impressive and helps to further immerse you in the film. The opening TV chase sequence is hugely impressive with a racing score that matches the fury happening onscreen, containing discrete stereo and front/back effects from cars, explosions, vocals all with perfect placement around the room. With LF effects aplenty, but never so much as to overwhelm the action it is a terrific opening sequence. Once we enter the ‘real world’ things are not quite so bombastic, but rely on wide separation and ambience to give a very natural feel, there is seldom a time when all the speakers aren’t asked to work and it shows with such a room filling experience that is so natural, that, like the visuals, you fail to notice as it becomes part and parcel of the experience. Dialogue is clear, natural sounding and given directionality when called for. Sonically there is a wide dynamic range with plenty of bass to hold everything in check and LF effects come with room shaking ferocity when needed. Excellent stuff.
- Super Rhino – HD, 04.27
An animated short with the plucky hamster living out his fantasy in the world of Bolt complete with super powers, nice little feature.
- Deleted Scenes –HD, 06:37
Two scenes excised from the film due to incompatibility with the story, and rightly so, particularly the first one that sees Bolt beaten up by two other dogs. Note these are story boarded and not animated in the real sense of the word, can be played with or without an introduction from the directors.
- In Session with John Travolta and Miley Cyrus – HD, 00:59
Incredibly short behind the scenes look at the recording session for the title song ‘I Thought I Lost You’ with contributions from Travolta, Cyrus and the directors.
- ‘I Thought I Lost You’ Music Video –HD, 01:47
Video of the song from the soundtrack.
- Bolt’s Be-Awesome Mission
A three level platform game where you control Bolt, complete with his super powers, in his never ending quest to capture the ‘Green Eyed Man’.
- A New Breed of Directors: The Filmmakers’ Journey – HD, 04:34
Following Chris Williams and Byron Howard on this, their animated directorial debut, with contributions from computer animation God John Lasseter as they discuss the movie and to what lengths they went to, to keep spirits up – not shaving and hamster balls.
- Act, Speak! The Voices of Bolt – HD, 09:48
A worthwhile feature that looks at the voice acting talent during the various recording sessions of the film, contributions from Travolta, Cyrus, Susie Essman, James Lipton & Mark Walton.
- Creating the World of Bolt – HD, 06:45
Discussions with animators and art directors on how the world of Bolt was created by melding traditional painted backgrounds with the 3D CGI elements, probably the most worthwhile extra on the set.
- Bolt Galleries
Split into four sections of Character Design, Colour Script, Storyboard Art and Visual Development, there is a near uncountable number of images to wade through.
- 2D Blu-ray
Finally, included in the set, is the exact same Blu-ray that is already available, on which all these extras reside, the 3D disc has just the film.
So there you have it, what looks like a plethora of extra material is basically nothing at all, and all resides on the 2D disc that has been available for months.
Bolt, is another Disney attempt at reclaiming their lost glory and crown themselves, once again, as king of the animation, but sadly a combination of a weak, seen it all before script, and non-plus acting talent mean that this is nothing more than an average adventure. Bolt, under the belief he has super powers due to his cocooned nature in a TV show, gets himself shipped across America and fights to return to his Person, along with a stray cat and his number one fan, a hamster in a ball. In trying too hard to involve the audience by throwing as much emotion as possible at the screen it ends up taking you out of the picture. Adult involvement is limited, but kids, I’m sure will get much out of it, since that is the target audience.
As a 3D Blu-ray package, Disney have provided us with a reference point 3D disc in terms of picture and sound, and included the, already available, 2D Blu-ray, itself reference picture and sound, but sadly lacking in extras, making this another future proof buy.
Finally the 3D disc is Region free, but, oddly the 2D disc is coded B.
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