(Eric Leighton + Ralph Zondag, 2000)
S E A R C H D V D B e a v e r
H D - S E N S E I
A view on Blu-ray by Gary W. Tooze
(Eric Leighton + Ralph Zondag, 2000)
Production: Walt Disney Home Entertainment
Region: 'A'-locked (as verified by the Momitsu region FREE Blu-ray player)
Disc Size: 23,219,729,674 bytes
Feature Size: 20,572,594,176 bytes
Video Bitrate: 21.25 Mbps
Case: Standard Blu-ray case
Release date: September 19th, 2006
Aspect ratio: 1.85:1
Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps
Video codec: MPEG-2
LPCM Audio English 6912 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 6912 kbps / 24-bit
DTS Audio English 1509 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit / DN -4dB
Dolby Digital Audio English 640 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 640 kbps / DN -4dB
Dolby Digital Audio French 448 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 448 kbps / DN -4dB
Dolby Digital Audio Spanish 448 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 448 kbps / DN -4dB
Dolby Digital Audio English 192 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 192 kbps / DN -4dB
• Audio commentary, short featurette, Blu-ray promo additions
The breathtaking opening of Disney's computer-generated family entertainment - a swooping bird's eye view of Earth's fauna and flora 65 million years ago - knocks spots off earlier CGI movies, but must have eaten so much of the budget that the rest looks strangely pedestrian. That's a shame, because aurally and visually this creature feature is a treat, no matter that it's a palaeontological / climatalogical / geological pick 'n' mix. The script nods towards the meteorite theory of dinosaur extinction, but allows little iguanodon Aladar to survive among a cutesy lemur community. The dull plot concerns a cross-species dinosaur drive through the desert to fresh breeding grounds and sees ideological battle between nasty down-mouthed Kron and young Aladar. Kron's sister, meanwhile, is caught between the two. Disney has gained a lot from its relationship with the smaller more adventurous Pixar, which shows in the marvellous point-of-view shots, backgrounds and surface textures.
The Video: NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were taken directly from the Blu-ray disc.
It's funny to consider that a mere eight years ago was still considered the early days of Digital animation feature films. Disney supposedly spent a bomb on the technology of Dinosaur... and it shows. The visuals are so strong at times that it rivals real life action - there is a real sense of depth. This, of course, differs from, say, the Pixar animation style - and demands a different type of appreciation. My complaint would be that it appears a bit soft - due to either the frequent CG motion effects and/or the MPEG2 encode. This was one of the earlier new format discs (one of the first four Disney Blu-ray launch titles) and this is the only reason that I can think why AVC wasn't utilized. Colors are deft, and often muted adding a further level of realism. Landscape visuals look as if they were taken from a BBC nature documentary. Contrast is strong and overall, I think, the 1080P appearance could only be ratcheted-up with the stronger MPEG4 encode.
NOTE: As this is being re-released in 2011 - it is quite possible that we will be a new transfer. Stay tuned.
Audio: I listened to the PCM track (at a whopping 6912 kbps) and it bested the DTS offering which seemed notably less dynamic. The lossless sounded marvelous to me - possibly some of the better audio that I have heard on Blu-ray to date. Buoyant, subtle and sparingly explosive - the PCM gives great value to the presentation of the film. It is not very aggressive as the film's track rarely warrants anything violently demonstrative (beyond the 'meteor explosion' and fight scenes). It is clean and quite adept in impressively representing the soundstage of Dinosaur. It is supported by English SDH, French, or Spanish, subtitle options. The disc is region 'A'-locked but this title is available in Europe (region 'B') as well on Blu-ray.
Extras: There is an audio commentary by the directorial team of Zondag + Leighton, along with two of the digital effects management crew. They predominantly discuss the digital animation features and there is some talk on dinosaurs. (NOTE: the SD had a second commentary that is not present on this single layered Blu-ray.) The Monster Cloud is a short (about 4 minute) featurette discussing the scenes involving the impact of the meteor in Dinosaur. Only for the Blu-ray we have Blu-Scape: Origins runs almost 6 minutes and has some strong high-definition cinematography. Really it is a selling feature - that they hope would entice consumers to indulge in Blu-ray. I think newer releases actually look much better. Finally we have Movie Showcase - that focuses on three of the more impressive scenes from the film.
BOTTOM LINE: I bought it as I didn't own the SD and I have two small boys very keen on dinosaurs. It is certainly not something that would be considered technically accurate in terms of paleontological education but if your children are young enough then they will enjoy it and you can be sure to get repeat performances from this Blu-ray that is pleasing to both the eyes and ears. I do think it has less adult-appealing features (as say the amusing humor in Toy Story 2) but I can't see anyone really disappointed in the, comparatively short feature. Everyone seems to like watching dinosaurs.