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

Film:


Extras:


Audio/Video total rating:

( Max score: 100 )

92






Studio and Year: Disney - 2009
MPAA Rating: PG
Feature running time: 96 minutes
Genre: Animation/Holiday

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, French/Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1
Subtitles: English SDH, French, Spanish
Starring: Jim Carrey, Gary Oldman, Collin Firth, Robin Wright Penn, Cary Elwes, Bob Hoskins
Written & Directed by: Robert Zemeckis
Music by: Alan Silvestri
Based on the story by: Charles Dickens
Region Code: A

Blu-ray Disc release Date: November 16, 2010







"A holiday classic comes to life like never before"



Film Synopsis:


Academy Award-winning director Robert Zemeckis' unique interpretation of Charles Dickens' beloved tale, A Christmas Carol, starring Jim Carrey as multiple characters including the miserly Ebenezer Scrooge and the Ghosts of Christmases Past, Present and Yet to Come. Rounding out the stellar cast in this high-flying, heartwarming adventure for the whole family are Gary Oldman, Collin Firth, Bob Hoskins, Cary Elwes, and Robin Wright Penn.





My Take:


I would hope that most reading this would be familiar with the classic Charles Dickens tale of Ebenezer Scrooge the miserable, greedy old miser who can't tolerate the revelry of Christmas, much less comprehend its meaning. But after visits from his former business partner's ghost and three cautionary specters from the past, present and future he is forced to soul-search. Afterward he recognizes the repercussions of heartlessness which gives him a fresh perspective on life. A Christmas carol is a classic and timeless story that transcends generations and has been adapted in a variety of ways over the last 150 years. My first film experience with it was the 1951 version starring Alastair Sim. As a child I found it to be a little on the creepy side but it remains my personal favorite. This is the first animated version I have seen and I think that Robert Zemeckis appropriately captured the feel of the story and its dark nature while adhering closely to the boundaries of Dickens vision. Only occasionally does he allow the spectacle of special effects to detract but quickly retreats as the spirit in story's meaning resonates. I think what I enjoyed most about it was the performance (s) of Jim Carrey. Sometimes his over the top tomfoolery gets on my nerves but it was no where to be seen here. The motion-capture animation is spectacular and it allows not only Carrey but the remainder of the cast to add a personal touch to their characters that portrays them in a genuine light. I liked this animated retelling and think that it makes for a satisfying alternative for fans that enjoy this traditional holiday classic. Disney is offering it on Blu-ray Disc in both four Disc combo Blu-ray 3D and two disc Blu-ray/DVD combo packages (the latter being the subject of this review).



Parental Guide:


The rating is for scary sequences and images.





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: 90


  • Dynamics:

  • Low frequency extension:

  • Surround Sound presentation:

  • Clarity/Detail:

  • Dialogue Reproduction:





Video: 94


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

  • Resolution/Clarity:

  • Black level/Shadow detail:

  • Color reproduction:

  • Fleshtones:

  • Compression:

A Christmas carol comes to Blu-ray from Disney featuring 1080p AVC encoded video that has an average bitrate of 20 Mbps and lossless DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio sound that has an average bitrate of 3.2 Mbps.

This is a reference quality video presentation that boasts visually enticing imagery that looks great in high definition. A Christmas carol was shot utilizing motion-capture animation and the beautifully rendered results exhibit eye catching resolution and refined clarity. The shading and lighting used results in a dimensionally strong presentation that doesn't suffer from overcooked contrast or crushed detail. The majority of the film adheres to a limited and softer palette of colors that mate with the source in a visually satisfying way. Splashes of deep red, vivid green and golden highlights stand out against the sepia tones, beiges and various stages of gray. Blacks appear punchy and dynamic especially when onscreen with mixed content. Detail in shady areas and in backgrounds illuminated by failing light is excellent which enhances visual perspective and dimension. This is a pristine and visually engaging high definition presentation that looked amazing on my large screen.

The DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack nearly keeps pace with the video presentation and offers high level detail and an active/involving soundfield that engages with room filling surround sound. The soundstage across the front three channels has broad, clear perspective with enriching directionality and crisp, lucid dialogue that maintains prominent focus. The mix makes excellent use of the rear channels to simulate off camera cues and panning effects within the diffused acoustic environment which seamlessly integrates with the front channels. Dynamic range is excellent as low frequency effects provide bass response with enriching tactile emphasis that capably underscores active moments and supports Alan Silvestri's rousing music score. This is a high quality audio presentation that compliments the film while making for an invigorating surround sound experience.



Bonus Features:

  • Behind The Carol: A feature length picture-in-picture

    viewing mode takes the audience behind the scenes of motion capture filmmaking.

  • (HD) Capturing Dickens: A novel retelling - 14 minute featurette

  • (HD) Countdown to Christmas: interactive calendar

  • (HD) On set with Sammi: A kid's eye view - hosted by Sammi Hanratty

  • (HD) 6 deleted scenes with introduction by Robert Zemeckis

  • (HD) Discover Blu-ray 3D with Pumba and Timone - 4 minute promo

  • Bonus DVD - A Christmas carol



Final Thoughts:


Disney's animated retelling of Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol is a well acted and faithful adaptation that makes for a decent alternative for fans who enjoy this holiday classic. Its debut on Blu-ray disc from Disney offers reference quality high definition video and involving DTS-HD Master Audio surround sound. The bonus supplements include exclusive behind the scenes content, an interactive calendar, and several fluff pieces that together make for an above average package that compliments the film. If you're already a fan this is an easy recommendation, otherwise toss it in your rental queue and take it for a spin with your family this holiday season.















Ralph Potts
AVS Forum Blu-ray Reviews





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Stewart Filmscreen - Studiotek 130 G3 100 16x9 Screen

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Sherbourn Technologies - 7/200 Seven Channel Amplifier

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Samsung BD-C7900 Blu-ray Player (HDMI Audio/Video)

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Saw this in the theater (in 3D) and loved it. No "crazy Carrey" and loved the visual style. I'll be picking this up for sure
 

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This is supposed to be a top notch 3D offering on BD. I've seen a few trailers and clips in 3D and it looks impressive. Comes out next week in 3D.
 

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Thanks for the review Ralph. I have yet to see this, but am really looking forward to it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by rdgrimes /forum/post/19455704


This is supposed to be a top notch 3D offering on BD. I've seen a few trailers and clips in 3D and it looks impressive. Comes out next week in 3D.

I would imagine so. I'm most likely going to pick up the Panasonic 46' 3D HDTV at Costco and put it in my basement. This will be the first title I watch on Blu-ray 3D I'm hoping. Having watched the regular HD trailer from YouTube last year, you could kind of tell that this movie would be great in 3D. If you watch the HD trailer make sure to check out the final 10 seconds or so. Check out the nose on Scrooge. This has a 3D effect on a regular 2D screen. Check out the snow flake that falls on his nose too. Very cool indeed.
 

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Saw this when it first came out a year ago or so and thought it was awesome!


I thought Robert did a pretty good adaptation on this and everything else fell in place. Interestingly enough i was hoping to get a Blu Ray copy but for some reason the studio postponed it and waited another year for it to come out? Nonetheless this is definitely a collect for me. Thought the video would've scored more but still an excellent overall score.


Cheers
 

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Thanks for another fine review Ralph! I missed this one at the cinema but I have just pre-ordered it based on your review.

 

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Now that I'm set up with a 3D projector and a 120" HP screen I can't wait for the arrival of the 3D version - I'm really looking forward to this.
 

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My parents waited till they thought it wouldn't creep me out before they let me view the 1951 version and in complete darkness no less. I don't think a year has gone by since then that I haven't watched it during the holidays.


This version is a blind buy with probably as high as my expectations have been in quite awhile. Bet I'm not disappointed!
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·

Quote:
Originally Posted by robertc88 /forum/post/19493154


My parents waited till they thought it wouldn't creep me out before they let me view the 1951 version and in complete darkness no less. I don't think a year has gone by since then that I haven't watched it during the holidays.


This version is a blind buy with probably as high as my expectations have been in quite awhile. Bet I'm not disappointed!

Greetings,


I know the feeling Robert. Enjoy!



Regards,
 

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As good as this was in 3D I'm wishing I had a 3D setup...Great adaption of the story and it will be a 1st day buy for my girls (W/ Discount of course!)
 

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I was pleasantly surprised to hear so much actual Dickens dialog in this adaptation. I'd expect most lovers of the original (and Dickens) to enjoy this. It gets a bit far off the original story a few times but always upholds the "spirit" of the original. 3D effects are very good and realistic for the most part. A high quality adaptation in all respects. I could have done without the "action" sequences, but I suppose they are expected in a Disney animation. I'm glad I got this one.
 

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I watched about a 1/2 hour of this last night on a 120" HP screen in 3D. It was friggin snowing in my home theater! This movie looks incredible in 3D with the right equipment - no flicker and no crosstalk, just a solid 3D image with a ton of depth - Wow! I don't usually buy, just rent. With 3D I want to own these titles. I feel like a kid all over again.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·

Quote:
Originally Posted by Deja Vu /forum/post/19501944


I watched about a 1/2 hour of this last night on a 120" HP screen in 3D. It was friggin snowing in my home theater! This movie looks incredible in 3D with the right equipment - no flicker and no crosstalk, just a solid 3D image with a ton of depth - Wow! I don't usually buy, just rent. With 3D I want to own these titles. I feel like a kid all over again.

Greetings,


Great stuff..



Regards,
 

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I watched this last night and found it to be a fairly enjoyable re-telling of a very familiar story. The PQ was simply beautiful with loads of fine-detail on display and excellent contrast. The AQ was also suprisingly robust with wide dynamic-range. I live in an apartment so I had to manage the volume throughout the movie so as not to a offend the neighbors, but those without such restrictions should enjoy this soundtrack loud!
 

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Ralph -- Great review! I couldn't agree more. I thought the film was both visually and sonically stunning and that the often over the top Jim Carrey gave what may have been the best performance of his career. The guy has a lot of talent but needs the leadership and discipline only a great director can provide. Carrey got that from Robert Zemeckis.


The 1951 Alastair Sim version remains the gold standard of A Christmas Carol films but the 2009 version was a worthy successor; I was hugely entertained. Dickens was a dramatic genius and to say that his stories are cinematic understates the case. I thought that Zemeckis captured that well here with the support of the Disney wizards and an outstanding cast. In the familiar manner of so many Dickens tales, the film was alternately sad, funny, and creepy, but most of all, moving. "God Bless us every one," indeed!
 

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Excellent review as usual Ralph, thanks! I agree 100% with your ratings on this one.


The detail is super crisp, and well contrasted. Shadow detail is very impressive. It was a mixed bag when it came to visual dynamics. Some scenes had beautiful intrascene contrast, while others were rather bland. This was due to the nature of the scene however, and couldn't be helped in a lot of the cases.


The visual style of the film was different. It is CGI, but very realistic and lifelike, especially the extreme detail in the faces. Sometimes I found myself thinking, well if they went through all this trouble to make this so lifelike, then why didn't they just use live characters? Of course, this would make many of the scenes in the film impossible (scrooge flying around..., looking through the floor, etc...) This is in contrast to the stylized look of something like "How to train your dragon", where characters may have had huge upper bodies, with tiny legs for instance. I'm honestly not sure which I prefer.


Sound was crystal clear. Amazingly clear. The clarity in the thud of Marley's cement blocks were awesome. Dialogue was very well defined. However, due to the British accent, and the old style of speak, I had to explain to my young daughters (under 10 yrs) what was being said in a few cases.


On another note, a warning, this film will scare the bajeezus out of some kids. Heck, it even made me jump a few times, (Marley's visit, and Christmas Future's chase scene). My daughters probably would not have liked to watch this alone, especially the younger 6 yr old. I was actually a little concerned that this may give them nightmares. Some very dark and startling stuff for kids.


Overall, I felt that the film was good, but a little flat. I felt that some of the key points of the story got lost. I think they could have built up Scrooge's repentance much better during the three ghost's visits made the purpose of these "visits" easier to understand for the younger crowd. I also felt that Tiny Tim could have been highlighted a little more during the middle of the film. He kind of got lost in the Christmas Day scene at their home.


PQ: 4.5 out of 5, SQ: 4.5 out of 5, Film 3.5 out of 5


Dan
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by stereomandan /forum/post/19508320


The visual style of the film was different. It is CGI, but very realistic and lifelike, especially the extreme detail in the faces. Sometimes I found myself thinking, well if they went through all this trouble to make this so lifelike, then why didn't they just use live characters?

It is made with live actors. Check out the bonus features on this and on Polar Express. What's it called - "live motion capture"? Other animated features have used it to a lesser degree but Zemeckis has pushed it further.
 
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