The Review at a Glance: (max score: 5 )
Audio/Video total rating:
( Max score: 100 )
Studio and Year: Warner/New Line - 2008
MPAA Rating: G
Feature running time:100 Minutes
Disc Format: BD-25
Video Aspect: 1.85:1
Audio Format(s): English Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround
Starring: Abigail Breslin, Chris O'Donnell, Julia Ormond, Glenn Headley, Stanley Tucci, Jane Krakowski, Wallace Shawn, Joan Cusack
Directed by: Patricia Rozema
Music by: Joseph Vitarelli
Written by: Ann Peacock
Region Code: A
Blu-ray Disc release Date: October 28, 2008
"An American Girl"
The Great Depression hits home for nine year old Kit Kittredge when her dad loses his business and leaves to find work. Oscar nominee Abigail Breslin stars as Kit, leading a splendid cast in the first ever American Girl theatrical movie. In order to keep their home, Kit and her mother must take in boarders - paying house - guests who turn out to be full of fascinating stories. When mother's lockbox containing all their money is stolen, Kit's new hobo friend Will is the prime suspect. Kit refuses to believe that Will would steal, and her efforts to sniff out the real story get her and friends into big trouble. The police say the robbery was an inside job, committed by someone they know. So if it wasn't Will, then who did it?
My Take:This is the 4th film in the American Girl Series following Molly, Felicity, and Samantha. This is a wholesome family film about the effects of the great depression not only on the title character's family but others who surrounded her. It conveys some of the hard financial times people experienced which resulted in the loss of their jobs, cars, homes and way of life. This left some living in shanty towns and hobo villages and eating in soup kitchens. There are some positive messages about trust, friendship, familial support and prejudice. Abigail Breslin is such a talented young actress and she has no trouble carrying the ball in this movie. She is sturdily supported by a solid cast of notables that lend strong experience and credibility to the cast. The story's pacing drifts a bit in the second act but things wrap up neatly in the emotive ending. This is a nice film to sit and watch with your young ones as it sends a positive message and has fun doing so.
There is nothing contained in this film that would not be appropriate for everyone.
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:
Kit Kittredge: An American Girl comes to Blu-ray Disc from Warner/New Line featuring 1080p VC-1 encoded video that has an average bitrate of 20 mbps and lossy Dolby Digital 5.1 channel audio that has a constant bitrate of 640 kbps.
This was a bright video presentation that featured vivid eye popping colors that were slightly exaggerated but pleasing nonetheless. Skin tones were naturally pale and lacking in subtle defining character but still appeared reasonably lifelike. Contrast was boosted which gave brightly lit sequences dynamic highlights that were noticeable but didn't seem to negate white detail. Blacks were minimally effected and although they were not inky in depth they still had ample dynamic range so they stood out well when onscreen with mixed content. Resolution was strong at times which gave images definitive texture, excellent dimensional perspective and razor sharpness. There were several occasions where sharpness waivered and the image took on a softer and less resolute aspect. An example of this occurred during chapter 14 after Jefferson magically levitates Lucinda in the Kittredge family parlor. It was more apparent during the close up camera shots. Luckily it was intermittent during that segment and didn't last long during any other occurrence. Grain is intact and appears well preserved although it sometimes made backgrounds during certain scenes appear noisy.
The lossy Dolby Digital surround mix had no trouble conveying the elements present in the soundtrack. The front three channels carry the bulk of the audio with the dialogue firmly planted in the center channel. Directional cues and panning effects were well separated and clearly rendered across the front soundstage. Surround activity was restricted to reproduction of the film's music score and some light atmospheric ambience. I thought the music had a warm enveloping aspect as it swept through the room like a gentle breeze. Dialogue was always intelligible and there was enough dynamic presence so that sounds were rendered with good clarity and detail. I would like to reiterate my disappointment in the lack of lossless audio support on Blu-ray Disc releases from Warner. I hope that they will begin including them on all future high definition Bl-ray title releases from now on.
- American Girl Movie Trailer Gallery - Includes trailers for Felicity, Molly and Samantha
- Digital Copy Bonus Disc: Includes a standard definition version of the film that can be downloaded from a compatible PC onto a portable playback device
Kit Kittredge: American Girl is a warm and fun family film that can be enjoyed by everyone. It sends a positive message about family, acceptance, and trust that is in keeping with good family values that younger viewers can learn from. Its presentation on high definition Blu-ray Disc from Warner/New Line features good audio/video quality but a noticeable lack of bonus features that fans may find disappointing. I am not so sure how this film would hold up under repeat viewings so I will recommend it as a rental.
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