Shot digitally at 2K 24FPS, 1.85:1 and maintained in the same format throughout the process, the picture is sharp and clean, with a little added film grain and plenty of colourising to give it the correct feel. I would guess this was almost entirely shot in a studio, as the lighting is very consistent, even in the forest scenes. The CGI is pretty much flawless as one comes to expect these days. The AVC MPEG4 transfer is equally good, with no real problems and will cause few issues to most display devices. The muted tones look fantastic, but if you have an LED LCD TV with high chroma settings and are used to really green grass and really blue skies, then you may be disappointed with the less colourful picture. The contrast however, is excellent and the darker scenes exhibit plenty of shadow detail. Depth of field is a little flat at times and the camerawork is a little too “safe” with little movement within shots. This is understandable and quite common in films with lots of CGI, as it makes the post production much easier. The SKU is a double disc format, with the Blu-Ray and DVD copies essentially having the same content.
This is another of those discs that does not select the DTS-HD MA track by default. The default audio is just 2 channel PCM, so it is worth switching to the bitstream, even if your system is DTS only. As I noted in the main review, some parts of the sound track lack something in cohesion and the surround could be better utilised. The DTS sound track does sound better in some respects than the DTS-HD MA track. I think this is due to the reduction in dynamic range bringing everything in a bit closer, but it is possible that the tracks were mastered separately. The music score is not particularly memorable but trundles along happily. It’s a shame the dwarfs don’t sing, but you can’t have everything!
A fairly average set of extras is included. There is the usual sycophantic “Making of” documentary, a few deleted scenes, all of which could be left in the movie without argument in my opinion, a “Storybook” video that is just totally pointless plus a fairly silly Princes and Paws short and an over long dance teaching segment. This last video would have been great if the big dance number had made it into the main film and not been relegated to the credits. Some are 24FPS, others 50i, so I experienced quite a lot of annoying flicking between one refresh rate and another on the TV.
This film was not a huge success when it hit the cinemas and just about covered its costs. Opinion was divided and the natural comparison with other versions of the tale did not help matters. For all of that the kids and I quite enjoyed it. It is not a perfect movie by any stretch, but neither is it at all bad.
Technically the same is true, not best in class, but neither is it a disgrace to the format. The sound is the main let down, but for the casual viewer is not a disaster. The disc is quick to load and works flawlessly. One to buy for the kids to watch during the summer holidays.
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