Fly Away Home (Blu-ray) Official AVSForum Review - AVS Forum | Home Theater Discussions And Reviews
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post #1 of 5 Old 03-29-2009, 12:49 PM - Thread Starter
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The Review at a Glance: (max score: 5 )

Film: attachment.php?attachmentid=109945&d=1210373692

Extras: attachment.php?attachmentid=109943&d=1210373692

Audio/Video total rating:

( Max score: 100 )


Studio and Year: Columbia Pictures - 1996
MPAA Rating: PG
Feature running time: 107 Minutes
Genre: Drama

Disc Format: BD-50
Encoding: AVC (MPEG-4)
Video Aspect: 1.85:1
Resolution: 1080p/24

Audio Format(s): English/French Dolby TrueHD 5.1, Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1
Subtitles: English, English SDH, French, Spanish
Starring: Jeff Daniels, Dana Delaney, Anna Paquin, Terry Kinney
Directed by: Carroll Ballard
Music by: Mark Isham
Written by: Robert Rodat & Vince McKewin
Region Code: A,B,C

Blu-ray Disc release Date: April 7, 2009

"An inspirational story"

Film Synopsis:

The soaring adventure of a 13-year-old girl and her estranged father who learn what family is all about when they adopt an orphaned flock of geese and teach them to fly! Starring Jeff Daniels, Anna Paquin and Dana Delaney.

My Take:

Fly away home is a heartwarming drama based on actual events that involved teaching geese to migrate by following an ultra light aircraft. The screenplay adds characters and drama but stays pretty close to what transpired when this flock was taught to follow the ultra lights and migrate south. This is my first viewing of it and I really enjoyed it. I thought it was inspirational and I liked the idea of how the plight of the geese brought a father and his estranged daughter together in a special way. The story moves along nicely and adds a few touching and suspenseful moments that keep it interesting. Daniels and Panquin gave credible performances. I especially enjoyed their moment together in the corn field during the third. I can honestly say after seeing this that I will never look at geese again in the same way.

Parental Guide:

The rating is for an opening accident scene and some mild language.

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)

Audio: 74

  • Dynamics: attachment.php?attachmentid=109945&d=1210373692

  • Low frequency extension: attachment.php?attachmentid=109945&d=1210373692

  • Surround Sound presentation: attachment.php?attachmentid=109945&d=1210373692

  • Clarity/Detail: attachment.php?attachmentid=109946&d=1210373692

  • Dialogue Reproduction: attachment.php?attachmentid=109947&d=1210373692

Video: 78

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

  • Resolution/Clarity: attachment.php?attachmentid=109945&d=1210373692

  • Black level/Shadow detail: attachment.php?attachmentid=109945&d=1210373692

  • Color reproduction: attachment.php?attachmentid=109946&d=1210373692

  • Fleshtones: attachment.php?attachmentid=109946&d=1210373692

  • Compression: attachment.php?attachmentid=109947&d=1210373692

Fly away home comes to Blu-ray from Sony featuring 1080p AVC encoded video that has an average bitrate of 28 mbps and lossless Dolby TrueHD 5.1 channel audio that has an average bitrate of 1.3 mbps.

This film contains a multitude of beautifully shot rustic landscapes that are capably captured by the camera's lens. The Aerial views of the mountainous regions/colorful fall foliage and lush forests/wetlands truly play a role in this production. I haven't seen Fly away home prior to this review so I have no frame of reference for what it looks like on video. The nature of the photography doesn't appear to be such that it will ever look highly detailed, three dimensional or razor sharp. Colors generally looked natural with vivid primaries and excellent delineation. Fleshtones ranged from pinkish to pasty but overall tonality stayed within lifelike limits. Blacks were not especially deep and detail in low light and dark areas was discernible but not definitively so. Resolution was stable but lacking in the kind of resolute definition that brings out subtle articulation and lucid depth and dimension. Grain is present and provides a noticeable texture that while prominent at times isn't intrusive. The front channel dominant soundtrack featured crystal clear dialogue, good dynamic range, and excellent directional spacing that mated well with the events transpiring onscreen. Low level sounds were clearly articulated and larger more dominant elements within the recording such as the whirring of plane engines and the power of bulldozers had excellent solidity and robust dynamic quality. Mark Isham's marvelous music score benefited from this as well and sounded resplendent. This presentation might not be considered among the best high definition discs available on Blu-ray but it is well balanced and seems to faithfully convey its elements.

Bonus Features:

  • Director and Cinematographer commentary

  • Operation migration: Birds of a feather - 18 minute feature

  • Documentary: The ultra geese - 49 minutes

  • HBO Making of Fly away home: Leading the flock - 13 minutes

  • (HD) BD Previews - Open season 2, Surfs up, The Water Horse: Legend of the deep

  • BD-Live enabled

Final Thoughts:

Fly away home is a heartwarming and inspirational story about personal tragedy, reconnecting, and establishing a common purpose that forms a bond between an estranged father and daughter. It is loosely based on actual events that I found not only interesting but eye opening as well. I wasn't blown away by its audio/video presentation but it offered good overall quality that will more than likely improve upon any previous release on home video. The bonus content should appeal to fans as it relates well to the film's subject matter. I enjoyed it and have added it to my Blu-ray collection. If you haven't seen it give it a rent. If you're a fan I suspect this is easily worthy of an upgrade.


Ralph Potts
AVS Forum Blu-ray Reviews

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JVC DLA-RS20 1080p High Definition Front Projector
Carada Precision Brilliant White 96" Screen
Oppo 970HD universal disc DVD Player (480i HDMI)
Toshiba HD-XA2 HD DVD Player (HDMI Audio/Video)
Panasonic DMP-BD55K Blu-ray disc Player (HDMI Audio/Video)
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Marantz DV7001 Universal Disc Player
Denon AVR 5308CI THX Ultra 2 Preamp/Video Processor
B&K Reference 200.7 Series 2 seven Channel amplifier
Philips TSU9400 Pro Series Touch Panel Remote Control
Canton "Ergo" Series speakers
Axiom Audio QS8 Quadpolar speakers
SV Sound PB-13 Ultra (Rosenut finish)
APC AV S15BLK Power Conditioner/Surge Protector
Furman SPR-20i Stable Power Regulator
Wireworld, VizionWare, Audioquest, Best Deal Cables - Audio/Video/Speaker Cabling
Cool Components - CP-CP102 cooling package

Ralph C. Potts
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post #2 of 5 Old 03-29-2009, 03:22 PM
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Nice review as always Ralph, I had this movie on LaserDisc back when it came out and it was a movie I shared with more than a few friends over the years.

Will definitely be adding this to my ever expanding Blu Ray collection.

Previously I did not listen to the Director & Cinematographers commentary, although I believe it was included with the LD version I had. I will probably give that a listen the first time I play it.
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post #3 of 5 Old 03-29-2009, 07:06 PM
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A great another one for review,This film was my favaorite one.
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post #4 of 5 Old 03-30-2009, 07:13 AM
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I saw this movie in the theater before my wife and I had kids. It was breathtaking on the big screen, and the story is of far greater quality than one would expect from a modern "family film." I own it on DVD but I look forward to buying the Blu-ray version for the visual impact of many of the ultralight scenes.
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post #5 of 5 Old 03-30-2009, 04:51 PM
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It's good to know that there are gems like this that even reviewers and film fans can overlook for years.

I saw this initially on VHS (borrowed from my parents; my daughter watched it while staying with them over a holiday weekend)... I have owned the DVD for a few years, and we like to watch it at least three or four times a year. Mary Chapin-Carpenter's "10,000 Miles" swelling at the climax of the film invariably brings a tear or two.

It looks like I'm going to have to dip into this on Blu-Ray; any comparisons of this vs. the DVD would be appreciated...
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