The Review at a Glance: (max score: 5 )
Audio/Video total rating:
( Max score: 100 )
Studio and Year: Sony Pictures Classics - 2008
MPAA Rating: PG
Feature running time: 88 Minutes
Disc Format: BD-50
Encoding: MPEG-4 (AVC)
Video Aspect: 2.40:1
Audio Format(s): Chinese (Mandarin), English, French Dolby TrueHD 5.1, Cantonese/Thai Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround
Subtitles: English, English SDH, French, Arabic, Korean, Thai, Indonesian
Starring: Stephen Chow, Xu Jiao, Kitty Zhang
Directed by: Stephen Chow
Music by: Raymond Wong
Region Code: A,B,C
Blu-ray Disc release Date: August 12, 2008
"A delightful and fun science-fiction fantasy"
Acclaimed director Stephen Chow (Kung Fu Hustle) is back to direct and star in this funny and touching film about a poor father who can't afford a toy for his son. When he decides to pick one up from the garbage, it turns out to be a magical toy from outer space.
This is only the second Stephen Chow film that I have seen and so far he is two for two. I liked Kung Fu Hustle and CJ7 while not in the same genre is just as much fun. The film centers around pre teen Dicky and his father Ti who are poor and struggling but very close. Ti works hard for little money, most of which is spent to send Dicky to a private school so he can get a good education and become a useful person. Dicky gets a hard time at school because his clothing is tattered and he is not always the most hygienic (neither of which is his fault). He suffers through a prejudice teacher (treats him like a leper) and a group of bullying classmates. One day one of the kids brings a CJ1 interactive mechanical dog into school and Dicky is enamored by it. He sees one in a toy store but his father promptly dismisses it because they cannot afford it. This leads to an emotional outburst from Dicky that gets him into trouble with his father. Later that night his father finds something at the local junkyard that he thinks might substitute for the CJ1 and brings it home for Dicky. It does not look like much but Dicky is pleased with it. Shortly after Dicky notices that it begins to change and appears to be alive (or perhaps a ghost !). It completes it transformation before Dicky's eyes and becomes a cute, cuddly and bright eyed little ET with loads of personality and affection for Dicky and his father. Like most films of this nature there are some truly touching, funny, and somber moments. One in particular involves a serious accident that might be a little disturbing to young viewers but as I mentioned this is a feel good movie so keep watching !
I watched it with my family and we all liked it. Xu Jiao does a wonderful job in the role of Dicky as do the other young actors that played the school kids. The cuteness factor runs high, especially in the case of young Fanny who is adorable. At 88 minutes the movie is paced perfectly and covers all the necessary bases. Stephen Chow adds his visual style and flair for comedy which plays out quite well with the story's elements and makes it all the more entertaining.
Parental Guide:The film contains a few thematic elements that parents may want to consider before letting little ones watch. There is adolescent bullying, minor language, and a serious familial event.
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.**
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)
- Low frequency extension:
- Surround Sound presentation:
- Dialogue Reproduction:
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)
- Black level/Shadow detail:
- Color reproduction:
CJ7 comes to Blu-ray Disc from Sony featuring 1080p AVC encoded video that has an average bitrate of 23 mbps and lossless Dolby TrueHD 5.1 channel audio that has an average bitrate of 1.4 mbps.
This was a very pleasing audio/video presentation that struck a nice balance with the film's thematic elements. Colors were overly saturated and vibrant with a warm palette reminiscent of those that you might see in a child's dreams or fantasy land. Fleshtones were also on the warm side and natural in appearance. Blacks were a solid shade of deep black with excellent dynamic range. There is a sequence where Dicky imagines he is in outer space watching CJ7 undergo his transformation. The black of space and the flamboyant colors that use it as a backdrop look beautiful with high definition's higher resolution and. Detail is quite good with excellent visual acuity and dimensional depth of field. Object detail in close up and longer distant shots is easily discernible. Grain is visibly moderate and appears to be well preserved. The image looked clean and free of compression related artifacts.
The Dolby TrueHD soundtrack had no trouble rendering clear and well articulated dialogue. Sound effects had ample dynamic energy so that they sounded full bodied and aurally satisfying. This is not a film that requires heavy use of surround sound to deliver its message but it does rely on the entire soundstage for proper atmosphere from time to time. The mix excelled at creating the right sounds at the right levels and placing them appropriately in the sound field's acoustic environment. Low frequency detail was used to good effect to deliver deep impact when called for and to add solidity to the film's score. I thought it sounded great.
*For those with CIH setups the subtitles for this one fall into the black bar portion of the image.*
There is a healthy cadre of bonus features included on this Blu-ray. There are several that are aimed at younger viewers as well as for those who are interested in the behind the scenes and technical aspects of the production. The majority of the cast crew interviews are in Chinese with English subtitles. I felt that these were informative and fairly entertaining.
- (HD) CJ& Mission Control: interactive game
- The story of CJ7 - a behind the scenes look at the making of the film
- CJ7: TV special - International TV special - technical behind the scenes info and visual effects look
- Anatomy of a scene - The bathroom scene with Dicky and CJ7
- How to Bully a Bully: Tips and Tricks for de-bullying a bully
- How to make a giant lollipop prop using modeling clay
- CJ7 Profiles - Profiles on the main CJ7 characters in the film
- (HD) Theatrical Trailer
- BD-Live enabled
- Cast and crew commentary
I enjoyed CJ7 but being a sucker for feel good movies I might be a little biased. All kidding aside I think that this is an entertaining family film that all can enjoy. Sony has brought it to high definition Blu-ray Disc for release day and date with DVD and it looks and sounds great. If you in the mood for a fun, family movie night give this one a rental.
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