Cloudy With A Chance Of Meatballs (2009/Sony Blu-ray 3-D format)
Picture: B+ 2-D Picture: B Sound: B+ Extras: C+ Film: B-
A step up
from the many decades of home 3-D involving those red/blue (or variations
thereof) cardboard glasses, the new Blu-ray 3-D format is a giant step ahead
and though it requires glasses (which are more efficient and do not cause
anywhere near the headaches the old type do) especially made to go with the 3-D
capable HDTVs and you also need a 3-D Blu-ray player, but all the machines play
regular 2-D Blu-rays, all DVDs and CDs.
As our inaugural Blu-ray 3-D title, we will look at Columbia Pictures
computer animated feature Cloudy With A
Chance Of Meatballs from 2009, which we already covered on standard
Blu-ray. You can read more about that
and the plot at this link:
the animated feature and thought its very idea was charming, though also ironic
considering the increase of childhood hunger and starvation worldwide, yet it
thinks with childlike wonderment without being childish and formulaic to its
advantage. Though the animation is obviously
not at the level of PIXAR or DreamWorks, what is impressive is how the makers
pushed what they had to the limit. The
result is a work as charming as Chicken
Little and an early minor fantasy classic in the CG animation world.
complaint it is an unusual one. The
jokes and gags work well and are well written, but whoever matched the picture
and sound hurt the final edit because the visual timing with the verbal jokes
are always off by a few seconds and the animation technology cannot be blamed
for it; it is a simple matter of mismatching the two. If I could re-sync this the way I wanted to
(this would be a much funnier film), but enough on that. This is fun and the love of and celebration
of food is a true riot.
2.35 X 1 MVC-encoded 3-D – Full Resolution digital High Definition image has some
limits on its richness (including color that is not as wide ranging as I would
have liked), but has some great, fun 3-D effects that add to the unique world
the animated images build and the attention to detail is very clever. Some effects are terrific and others (a
pleasant surprise) offer very interesting uses that will allow this title to
hold up for years to come, but it has some minor 3-D decoding errors and does
not always have the depth of the best 3-D I have seen (going back to the
earliest productions in 1952). With that
said, when it works (which is more often than nor), it is a great,
one-of-a-kind and perfect Blu-ray 3-D demo that will endure for years to come.
version is the same as the previous Blu-ray, which is fine, but has some limits
outside of its lack of 3-D fully shown in the older digital animation used and
other animation limits inherent to the production, plus detail is not always
great, though it is not always about detail and has its own style that does not
always need it. Anybody note how the
moving images sometimes seem like Play-Doh?
Edible Play-Doh perhaps?
MA (Master Audio) lossless 5.1 mix is also a winner, though not one of the best
such mixes I have ever heard, it is sonically superior to many live action
features I have seen of late and the mix has character, plus moves the
narrative along, something most productions of any kind seem to forget these
days. Except for my earlier complain, the
quality of the recording is very impressive and soundfield decent
throughout. The result is that the
visual world is confirmed by the sound and that makes it all that much more
palpable and fun.
room for the 3-D, some of the extras from the regular Blu-ray (interactive
features and commentary, as well as Digital Copy for PC & PC portable
devices and the DVD) are absent, but the rest of the features remain and you
can read all about them in our previous Blu-ray review at the link above.
As for the
Blu-ray 3-D format, I was not certain how it would play, but its superior
accuracy versus older systems is a plus and though some 3-D HDTVs and their
glasses are not as good as others, the format and hardware at its best is more
than impressive enough to be a hit and we will cover more Blu-ray 3-D titles as
they become available, so be on the lookout for more coverage.
- Nicholas Sheffo