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Category:    Home > Reviews > Documentary > Animals > Science > Evolution > Environment > Ecosystems > British TV > Adventure > Comedy > L > Planet Dinosaur 3D/Tiny Giants 3D/Wings 3D (2015/BBC Earth Blu-ray 3D singles)/Tom Sawyer & Huckleberry Finn (2014/E1/Phase 4/VMI DVD)

Planet Dinosaur 3D/Tiny Giants 3D/Wings 3D (2015/BBC Earth Blu-ray 3D singles)/Tom Sawyer & Huckleberry Finn (2014/E1/Phase 4/VMI DVD)

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

The children's titles this time around have some intelligent ambition to them...

First we have three new Blu-ray 3D singles from the BBC Earth series. Planet Dinosaur 3D is an all-new piece obviously meant to capitalize on the new Jurassic Park film, Tiny Giants 3D is an abridged program from the Hidden Kingdoms Blu-ray (2D only) we reviewed at this link:


and Wings 3D is the Winged Planet 3D program issued as a chain store exclusive we did not get which loves birds as much all the past BBC Earth titles many of us have covered over the years have respected their subject. That does not mean they are all exciting and these run 50 minutes each save Wings at 90 minutes for whatever reason. In 2D, they are just fine, though maybe not the best in the series, but the point is to have some 3D and it is passable at best in each case making it interesting if not spectacular viewing for shows not really intended originally as such. Wings is best by being the longest, but I just got more out of the box sets of the mini-series.

A 9-minutes-long Making Of clip on Giants is the only extra among the 3 releases, sadly.

Jo Kastner's Tom Sawyer & Huckleberry Finn (2014) is the latest attempt to capture the spirit of the original Mark Twain books, plus the fun and spirit of the characters, this time played by Joel Courtney and Jake T. Austin respectively. They are not bad and the supporting cast is not bad, but Val Kilmer shows up as Mark Twain and this instantly tries to be too much like Young Indiana Jones and not enough like the books.

From there, the 91 minutes (was this longer originally?) starts to drag after a decent start, but the flashback approach (as it turns out) is too Spielbergian for the script's own good and the proceedings become too mechanical. I haven't liked an adaptation of the books since the live action/animation Hanna-Barbera show from 1969, though ambitious productions turn up here and there like the 1993 Elijia Wood feature film, Classical Hollywood film attempts, the 1973 musical version or this 1960 musical version...


This one lands up playing like a widescreen telefilm when it could have been more and the sets and set-ups are a bit too clean for their own good. Serious fans might ant to see it once, but I think the rest might get bored eventually. What a shame.

A trailer is the only extra.

The 1080p 1.78 X 1 MVC-encoded 3-D - Full Resolution digital High Definition images on the BBC Earth 3D Blu-rays are good, if not great and you can tell they were conversions overall, so the 1080p 1.78 X 1 2D digital High Definition image transfer can more than equal them, though some of the 3D can cover a few flaws here and there. The anamorphically enhanced 2.35 X 1 image on Finn is too soft, even with its stylizing choices and being a digital shoot, but some shots are not too bad.

The DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 5.1 lossless mixes on all three BBC Earth releases are just fine for documentary releases, if not offering much in sonic excitement (Dinosaur is flatter than the other two for some odd reason), but the lossy Dolby Digital 5.1 on Finn is passable, not as warm and might sound better lossless. As it stands, it is a bit compressed and limited on this release.

- Nicholas Sheffo


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