This Region B locked release includes both the 2D and 3D versions of the film as high definition 1080p presentations on one disc. The film was shot at a ratio of 1.78:1 in native 3D using rigs comprised of twin Red One cameras and then transferred directly from the digital masters. The 2D version has been encoded using the AVC codec and the 3D version has been encoded using the MVC codec. Whilst the film may have many other failings, picture quality isn’t one of them and the digital source results in a very detailed and clean image with very little noise or grain and no edge enhancement. This reflects the nature of the film's production which has a rather ‘digital’ look to it and is not the result of any excessive DNR in the transfer process. The colour palette is vividly saturated and the scenes are brightly lit, which is clearly a stylistic choice that suits a film that comes across like a kid on a sugar rush. As a result the blacks aren’t as deep as they should be but the shadow detail was reasonably good. The 89 minute running time means that there are no obvious compression artefacts, banding or posterisation and overall this is a surprisingly good video presentation.
The 3D presentation is also annoyingly good, with an effective use of the added dimension in some scenes. The filmmakers certainly aren’t afraid to use negative parallax effects but then there’s nothing subtle about this film. The fact that it was shot in native 3D is immediately apparent with objects having a realism and a solidity that only comes from genuine 3D. The production design makes good use of the added depth to create layers and overall this is a well shot 3D movie. The effects are fairly mediocre and the 3D only adds to how fake they look but the transfer is very good with no obvious artefacts. In fact this would be a great 3D movie if the film itself weren’t so terrible but this is the big problem with 3D and it’s why it's failing as a mass market medium.
The film’s soundtrack is presented as a DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1- channel mix and just like everything else in Horrid Henry, it wouldn’t be considered subtle. However, much like the picture, it is far better than it should be and whilst the overall sound design is aggressive, at least it remains focused. Dialogue is always clearly defined and anchored on the centre channel and there are plenty of directional effects and active use of the surrounds. The LFE track is used sparingly but does kick in quite well when it needs to and the musi is spread across the front sound stage effectively. The problem with all this lossless clarity is that whenever Henry starts to sing, which is far too often, there’s a danger that your eardrums might start to bleed. However, just like the picture, this is an effective audio presentation that is far better than the film itself deserves.
There are very few extras on the disc but one should be grateful for small mercies:
- Interview with Theo & Matthew (04:26, SD) - A brief interview with Theo Stevenson who plays Henry and Mathew Horne who plays Henry’s dad. It’s largely a waste of time but Mathew Horne does a good job of not looking like he’s made a terrible mistake and it shows that young Theo is just as annoying in real life.
- Premiere Video (01:50, SD) - A brief video of the film’s premiere, which incredibly looks like it was held at the National Film Theatre of all places and was attended by the usual collection of so-called celebrities who would turn up to the opening of an envelope.
- Trailer (02:28, SD) - The theatrical trailer is obviously better than the film because it’s far shorter but even two minutes is too much. The CIA is currently using it in their psychological torture of terror suspects.
If Horrid Henry is representative of the kind of inexorable rubbish that gets forced upon kids these days, then no wonder the world is going to the dogs. The idea that 89 minutes of this annoying, whining little brat could be considered entertainment for anyone is just scary and the large and distinguished cast should be ashamed of themselves.
The film is presented as a single Region B locked disc on which there is both the 2D and 3D version of the film. The 1080p high definition transfer is framed at 1.78:1 for both versions of the film and is encoded using the AVC codec for 2D and the MVC codec for 3D. The native 3D was captured digitally and the 3D photography and the video transfer are far better than the film deserves. The digital source results in a clean and detailed image with a saturated colour palette and impressive 3D. The DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 is also rather good, with clear dialogue and an aggressive use of the surrounds. However, whilst the dialogue and music are well recorded, the sound of Henry singing in lossless audio is almost more than anyone could bear. The extras are poor but a least they’re brief which keeps the torture to a minimum.
Horrid Henry is ultimately a sad reminder of the kind of B-movie ghetto that 3D often finds itself in and it's no surprise that the format is struggling if this is the kind of film on offer. Unfortunately for every Hugo, there are ten Henrys...
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