3D (2015/BBC Earth
Blu-ray 3D singles)/Tom
Sawyer & Huckleberry Finn
(2014/E1/Phase 4/VMI DVD)
Picture: B- each Picture: B-/B-/B-/C Sound: B-/B/B/C+
Extras: D/C-/D/C- Main Programs: C+/C+/B-/C
children's titles this time around have some intelligent ambition to
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:
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.
is best by being the longest, but I just got more out of the box sets
of the mini-series.
9-minutes-long Making Of
clip on Giants
is the only extra among the 3 releases, sadly.
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.
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...
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.
trailer is the only extra.
1080p 1.78 X 1 MVC-encoded 3-D - Full Resolution digital High
Definition images on the BBC
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.
DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 5.1 lossless mixes on all three BBC
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.