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Category:    Home > Reviews > Fantasy > Comedy > British > Literature > Computer Animation > Ella Enchanted (2004/Lionsgate Blu-ray w/DVD)/Secret Of The Wings (2012/Tinker Bell/Disney Blu-ray 3D w/Blu-ray 2D, Digital Copy & DVD)

Ella Enchanted (2004/Lionsgate Blu-ray w/DVD)/Secret Of The Wings (2012/Tinker Bell/Disney Blu-ray 3D w/Blu-ray 2D, Digital Copy & DVD)


3D Picture: B     2D Picture: B & C/B- & C     Sound: B & C+/B- & C     Extras: C     Main Programs: C



With Disney issuing their classic Cinderella on Blu-ray (reviewed elsewhere on this site), two similar Fantasy titles aimed at an audience of young ladies also arrives on Blu-ray.



Though originally distributed by Disney, Ella Enchanted (2004) was actually a Miramax production and Lionsgate has issued the Blu-ray with a DVD.  Anne Hathaway continues to be one of the most critically and commercially successful actresses in Hollywood today, including her great turn as Catwoman in The Dark Night Rises in the middle of this year.  This now 8+ year old fantasy comedy sends up the genre like the Shrek films do and has its share of early digital visual work, but it is live action and because that work was styled, it does not look too bad or too dated.


The title character is coursed with being too nice (among other things) and decides to find the Fairy Godmother who gave her to a family when she was born to get her independence and free will back.  This gets silly and is not great, but supporting performances by Joanna Lumley, Hugh Dancy, Eric Idle, Hugh Dancy, Cary Elwes and Vivica A. Fox help make this 96-minutres long exercise in obvious humor more tolerable.  Unfortunately, it is amusing to watch, but not very memorable.  Tommy O’Haver is adequate in directing this, but it remains a curio at best.


Extras include a Music Video, Deleted/Extended Scenes, cast/crew feature length commentary, Magic World Of featurette and Red Carpet premiere featurette on both format versions of the film, but the DVD adds a game and DVD-ROM feature.



The fourth of CG animated Tinker Bell series has been issued, but this time we get 3D with Secret Of The Wings (2012) which is child and family friendly, but not much better than previous sequels and though the animation is not bad, it remains simple and on purpose for the most part.


This time, our heroine is compelled to go into the forbidden Winter Woods, but it will be to find the answer to the title of this adventure.  This is interesting at times, not too scary and competent, but is really intended for young viewers.  It is not bad overall, but not rewatchable unless you are the intended young age group.  I still do not always see CG as the classic Disney legacy and I bet many others cannot unless they think PIXAR or Chicken Little, but it is more than viable and as good as any of its predecessors.


Extras include Digital Copy for PC and PC portable devices, a game, two Music Videos and a preview for Fright Light, which is intended as the next installment of what they are calling the Pixie series.  We’ll see how that one works out.



The 1.78 X 1, 1080p full HD MVC-encoded 3-D – Full Resolution digital High Definition image on Wings is better than its 2D HD version and has a nice, smooth, simple, consistent quality that has maybe a demo moment or two at best, but adds to the sequel which needs all the help it can get.  The DVD version is the weakest of all (in 2D only of course) and much softer that I expected, especially when compared to the Blu-rays.  That is also true of the anamorphically enhanced 1.78 X 1 image on the Ella DVD which seems old, while the 1080p 1.78 X 1 digital High Definition image transfer on the Blu-ray has limited detail and depth, in part from the styling of the film and in part from the dated digital work.  The print might be a tad old and/or it is also the HD master.  I cannot imagine it looking too much better than the Blu-ray we get since it was produced almost semi-experimentally with the digital visuals.


The DVD on the other hand is lame.



All Blu-rays have DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 5.1 lossless mixes, but only the Wings Blus have consistent soundfields, being well recorded and nicely designed, albeit gently.  The Ella mix is more towards the front speakers and is just not as enveloping, plus some of the audio shows its age.  The lossy Dolby Digital 5.1 on the DVD versions of both releases are weaker with Wings losing its fuller surrounds and Ella being surprisingly compressed and too much in the center channel on home theater systems, which is quickly dismissed and forgotten.  Stick with the DTS in both cases.



-   Nicholas Sheffo


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