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post #1 of 20 Old 07-23-2014, 07:37 AM - Thread Starter
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Heaven is for Real (Blu-ray) Official AVSForum Review



Based on the #1 New York Times best-selling book, Heaven is for Real recounts the true story of a small-town father who must find the courage and conviction to share his son's extraordinary, life-changing experience with the world.




The Review at a Glance:
(max score: 5 )

Film:

Extras:

Audio/Video total rating:
( Max score: 100 )

88



Details:

Studio and Year: Sony Pictures - 2014
MPAA Rating: PG
Feature running time: 99 minutes
Genre: Drama

Disc Format: BD-50
Encoding: AVC (MPEG-4)
Video Aspect: 2.40:1
Resolution: 1080p/24

Audio Format(s): English DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio, Spanish/Thai Dolby Digital 5.1
Subtitles: English, English SDH, Chinese, French, Indonesian/Bahasa, Korean, Spanish, Thai
Starring: Greg Kinnear, Kelly Reilly, Thomas Haden Church, Margo Martindale, Connor Corum
Directed by: Randall Wallace
Music by: Nick Glennie-Smith
Written by: Randall Wallace & Christopher Parker
Region Code: A,B,C

Blu-ray Disc release Date: July 22, 2014


"Unlock the mystery…"


My Take:

Based on the #1 New York Times best-selling book, Heaven is for Real recounts the true story of a small-town father who must find the courage and conviction to share his son's extraordinary, life-changing experience with the world. Starring Academy Award® nominee Greg Kinnear (Best Supporting Actor, As Good As It Gets, 1997) as Todd Burpo, the real-life father whose son Colton claims to have visited Heaven during a near death experience. Colton shares the details of his amazing journey with childlike innocence and speaks matter-of-factly about things that happened before his birth ... things he couldn't possibly know. Todd and his family are then challenged to examine the meaning from this remarkable event.

Based on the book of the same name by Todd Burpo Heaven is for real tells the story of the four-year old son of a small town Nebraska pastor who during emergency surgery slips from consciousness and enters heaven. He survives and begins talking about being able to look down and see the doctor operating, his dad praying in the hospital chapel and his mother making telephone calls in waiting room. The family didn't know what to believe but soon the evidence was clear as Colton began to reveal things he’d seen and people he’d met in heaven that he couldn’t have possible known about otherwise.

Heaven is for real is most definitely a film that carries a message. Its foundation is faith based however I didn’t find it to have the syrupy after school propaganda feel that other films of its type have. The story is well written and stays on point as it depicts a spiritual family that is suddenly faced with a crisis that tests their faith. Once their prayers have been answered their 4 year old son tells them of an experience he had while in surgery which raises questions that cause them to re-examine their beliefs. This is a very personal story and it comes across that way. It’s not overtly preachy per se and I feel it speaks more to providing inspirational thought for people of faith rather than necessarily trying to make believers out of those who aren’t.

The drama and melodrama that revolves around the Burpo family as well as the ensuing strife/fallout, involving their friends/parishioners/townspeople makes for an engaging and sometime moving film. I think how affected you are by this film will depend largely on your beliefs as well as your personal experience with the loss of loved ones. I watched it with my wife and we enjoyed it not only for its spiritual foundation and charming performances but for the positive message it carries about family and community. Heaven is for real isn’t a perfect film as it sometimes get weighed down with minutia that could easily have been suggested rather than depiction. I didn’t find that to be an unrecoverable flaw and opted to simply take it at face value. For me the result was a pleasant and worthwhile film that families can enjoy.



Parental Guide:

The rating is for thematic material including some medical situations.


AUDIO/VIDEO - By The Numbers:
REFERENCE = 92-100/EXCELLENT = 83-91/GOOD = 74-82/AVERAGE = 65-73/BELOW AVERAGE = under 65

**My audio/video ratings are based upon a comparative made against other high definition media/blu-ray disc.**



Audio: 84
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)


  • Dynamics:
  • Low frequency effects:
  • Surround Sound presentation:
  • Clarity/Detail:
  • Dialogue Reproduction:
  • Low frequency extension * (non-rated element): NA


Video: 92
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)


  • Resolution/Clarity:
  • Black Level/Shadow Detail:
  • Color Reproduction:
  • Fleshtones:
  • Compression:


Heaven is for real comes to Blu-ray Disc from Sony Pictures Home Entertainment featuring 1080p AVC encoded video that has an average bitrate of 25 Mbps and lossless DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio sound that has an average bitrate of 2.1 Mbps.

Shot digitally this film looks excellent on Blu-ray Disc and features glossy high definition video quality that exhibits high level detail, and refining sharpness that brings out the innate lifelike textures of the source material. Dimensional perspective has a near infinite appeal that can be visually stimulating. Close ups are noticeably refined and revealing of the subtlest details within facial features and objects within the frame. Mid-level camera pans are equally enriching and offer excellent depth and dimension. Colors are appreciably delineated with natural rendering and punchy primaries that stand out among the remaining spectrum of secondary hues. Fleshtones are rendered with vivid tonality and discerning complexional depiction. Contrast is bold applied without overstatement as it enlivens colors and drives whites with washing away detail. Blacks are gradational and fairly deep which helps them pop during sequences containing a mix of light and dark elements. Detail in uneven light and darkened environments reveal visible shapes and structure in backgrounds. Other than some very minor banding this is a rewarding presentation that looks great.

This film relies heavily on the spoken word and the DTS-HD MA soundtrack handles it with crystalline articulation and descriptive intonation that allows even minute changes in vocal inflection to be discernible. The presentation maintains a frontal perspective but broadens occasionally to effectively simulate exterior surroundings or the echoed expanse of the church. Dynamic range is appropriate and supports the track’s recorded elements which include the music score. Fidelity appears intact as the soundtrack has excellent tonal balance and high level detail that make for an enriching listening experience.

Bonus Features:
  • (HD) Colton goes to Heaven – 4 minute featurette
  • (HD) 6 deleted scenes
  • (HD) * Exclusive * The making of Heaven is for real – 13 minute featurette
  • (HD) * Exclusive * Creating Heaven – 4 minute featurette
  • Bonus DVD
  • Ultraviolet Digital Copy





Final Thoughts:

Based on the book by Todd Burpo Heaven is for real is an entertaining faith based family film with a heartwarming center that revolves around the true story of a little boy whose experience during emergency surgery impacts the lives of those around him. It comes to Blu-ray from Sony Pictures Home Entertainment featuring excellent high definition video, crystal clear lossless sound and a fair supplemental offering that includes insights from the cast, crew and real life subjects. If you find the subject matter to be of interest Heaven is for real is worthwhile viewing so feel free to toss it in your rental queue and give it a spin on Blu-ray.





Ralph Potts
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post #2 of 20 Old 07-23-2014, 09:11 AM
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While I am sure it's a very nice film, I had my I own near death experience's (plural), among other major medical issues when I was 9 so I don't need to see it. But I am assuming that the child came back and is OK so that's a good thing .
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post #3 of 20 Old 07-23-2014, 09:45 AM
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Thanks for the review Ralph. Will definitely be keeping an eye out for this one.
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post #4 of 20 Old 07-23-2014, 10:43 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MIkeDuke View Post
While I am sure it's a very nice film, I had my I own near death experience's (plural), among other major medical issues when I was 9 so I don't need to see it. But I am assuming that the child came back and is OK so that's a good thing .
Greetings,

Thanks Mike. I am glad to hear that you came out of them okay and I can certainly understand your feelings on the matter.

As for the outcome:


Yes, he turned out just fine.




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post #5 of 20 Old 07-23-2014, 10:51 AM
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Yea, now it's just dealing with some residual things from that time. I had many things go wrong with me and some were permanent. It's not that I can't watch the movie because of the subject matter. And I don't mean this in an arrogant way because I am sure it was horrific for his family, but for me it is sort of a "been there, done that", so I don't need to see it kind of thing. If that makes sense .

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post #6 of 20 Old 07-23-2014, 10:56 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MIkeDuke View Post
Yea, now it's just dealing with some residual things from that time. I had many things go wrong with me and some were permanent. It's not that I can't watch the movie because of the subject matter. And I don't mean this in an arrogant way because I am sure it was horrific for his family, but for me it is sort of a "been there, done that", so I don't need to see it kind of thing. If that makes sense .
Greetings,

Sure it does..


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post #7 of 20 Old 07-23-2014, 11:33 AM
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Ralph, thanks for the review and heads up. I think that while this film is not a "keeper" for my collection, I'll rent it via Netflix. Once in a while, it is nice to see movies of these sort. It seems like this movie has all the components for an intimate yet dynamic story.
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post #8 of 20 Old 07-23-2014, 12:04 PM
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Thanks for your review Ralph. As a 40+ year old man I can say without shame that I cried more during this movie than any other I have ever seen. It's a very sweet story and many will take only that away from it and that's fine. As a Christian, it meant much more to me however. This is a story about faith and about looking at life and the problems of the world through a child's eyes. I could have enjoyed the film at face value and I certainly did enjoy the character interaction of the family especially. It's hard not to like Greg Kinnear and I think he did a great job as the pastor/father. The story was very inspirational and a very good reminder for those that believe to look beyond the few feet in front of you and live life with purpose and compassion.
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post #9 of 20 Old 07-23-2014, 12:15 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dropzone7 View Post
Thanks for your review Ralph. As a 40+ year old man I can say without shame that I cried more during this movie than any other I have ever seen. It's a very sweet story and many will take only that away from it and that's fine. As a Christian, it meant much more to me however. This is a story about faith and about looking at life and the problems of the world through a child's eyes. I could have enjoyed the film at face value and I certainly did enjoy the character interaction of the family especially. It's hard not to like Greg Kinnear and I think he did a great job as the pastor/father. The story was very inspirational and a very good reminder for those that believe to look beyond the few feet in front of you and live life with purpose and compassion.
Greetings,

I agree wholeheartedly. Thanks so much for sharing dropzone7.

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post #10 of 20 Old 07-23-2014, 02:59 PM
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Based on some comparisons to the book, sounds like the film was largely sanitized in terms of references to “hell”? In the book, the boy expressed concerns over people not being right with his god, and so ending up in a place other than “heaven”. Perhaps that material is reserved for a sequel: “Hell Is For Real”.

Personally, I generally don’t find childhood religious indoctrination a good thing, and do not find the doctrine of the mythical heaven and hell inspirational or family friendly. I do appreciate the review though, and as mentioned in the review, “how affected you are by this film will depend largely on your beliefs”. I am likely affected differently than others who believe in gods, devils, angels, demons … and little boys having visions of them.
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post #11 of 20 Old 07-25-2014, 07:17 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by indio22 View Post
Based on some comparisons to the book, sounds like the film was largely sanitized in terms of references to “hell”? In the book, the boy expressed concerns over people not being right with his god, and so ending up in a place other than “heaven”. Perhaps that material is reserved for a sequel: “Hell Is For Real”.

Personally, I generally don’t find childhood religious indoctrination a good thing, and do not find the doctrine of the mythical heaven and hell inspirational or family friendly. I do appreciate the review though, and as mentioned in the review, “how affected you are by this film will depend largely on your beliefs”. I am likely affected differently than others who believe in gods, devils, angels, demons … and little boys having visions of them.
Personally, I don't see why you commented on this review at all. Seems you have your own indoctrination issue. These are movies reviewed by Ralph or Lee and their opinions on the quality of that movie and not a venue for someone to take potshots at others with different beliefs than you. These smart ass remarks don't belong in this discussion, IMHO.
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post #12 of 20 Old 07-25-2014, 10:51 PM
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This blu ray enables "XV Color" on my Sharp television
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post #13 of 20 Old 07-26-2014, 05:50 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MIkeDuke View Post
While I am sure it's a very nice film, I had my I own near death experience's (plural), among other major medical issues when I was 9 so I don't need to see it. But I am assuming that the child came back and is OK so that's a good thing .
Just to clarify, the child was hospitalized but didn't "die"...not even briefly.

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post #14 of 20 Old 07-26-2014, 09:28 PM
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Originally Posted by powertoburn View Post
This blu ray enables "XV Color" on my Sharp television
I noticed this on my jvc rs4910. Which is the same projector Ralf has.

In my case, I had to disable super white on the ps3 or the picture was washed out. It was immediately apparent something was wrong when the movie started and the sony logo was grey with the black bars top and bottom being almost as grey. I then tested a few mastered in 4k discs and found the same thing. The jvc indicates it is receiving xv color instead of yuv.

In my case I run the jvc in standard hdmi mode so I am already clipping above white. Since super white allows wtw and btb values, I'm guessing something is being remapped with x.v color.

Anyone else seeing the same thing with washed out image unless they disable super white?
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post #15 of 20 Old 07-26-2014, 11:35 PM
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Originally Posted by curlyjive View Post
I noticed this on my jvc rs4910. Which is the same projector Ralf has.

In my case, I had to disable super white on the ps3 or the picture was washed out. It was immediately apparent something was wrong when the movie started and the sony logo was grey with the black bars top and bottom being almost as grey. I then tested a few mastered in 4k discs and found the same thing. The jvc indicates it is receiving xv color instead of yuv.

In my case I run the jvc in standard hdmi mode so I am already clipping above white. Since super white allows wtw and btb values, I'm guessing something is being remapped with x.v color.

Anyone else seeing the same thing with washed out image unless they disable super white?
I am not noticing the washed out image with super white enabled on PS3 on my Sharp LC-60LE857U
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post #16 of 20 Old 07-27-2014, 02:29 AM
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Originally Posted by powertoburn View Post
I am not noticing the washed out image with super white enabled on PS3 on my Sharp LC-60LE857U
This is setup depended, so you may not.
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post #17 of 20 Old 07-27-2014, 11:52 AM
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Just to clarify, the child was hospitalized but didn't "die"...not even briefly.
My mistake then. It sounded like from the description of the film that the child was close to death.

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post #18 of 20 Old 07-28-2014, 03:06 AM
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My mistake then. It sounded like from the description of the film that the child was close to death.

I thought the same too Mike

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post #19 of 20 Old 07-29-2014, 07:45 AM
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This boy did not die, but the concept of a "Christian Movie" did.

Horrible, I hate to disagree with Ralph, as I always agree with his reviews, but this one is a STINKER.

I wont even go into how ANTI-Christian this film is.
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post #20 of 20 Old 07-29-2014, 11:33 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by indio22 View Post
Based on some comparisons to the book, sounds like the film was largely sanitized in terms of references to “hell”? In the book, the boy expressed concerns over people not being right with his god, and so ending up in a place other than “heaven”. Perhaps that material is reserved for a sequel: “Hell Is For Real”.

Personally, I generally don’t find childhood religious indoctrination a good thing, and do not find the doctrine of the mythical heaven and hell inspirational or family friendly. I do appreciate the review though, and as mentioned in the review, “how affected you are by this film will depend largely on your beliefs”. I am likely affected differently than others who believe in gods, devils, angels, demons … and little boys having visions of them.
the sequel is already out - "This is the End"
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