H D - S E N S E I

A view on HD DVDs by Gary W. Tooze


Introduction: Hello, fellow Beavers! I have been interested in film since I viewed a Chaplin festival on PBS when I was around 9 years old. I credit DVD with expanding my horizons to fill an almost ravenous desire to seek out new film experiences. I currently own approximately 4600 DVDs and have reviewed over 3000 myself. I appreciate my discussion Listserv for furthering my film education and inspiring me to continue running DVDBeaver. Plus a healthy thanks to those who donate and use our Amazon links.

Although I never wanted to become one of those guys who focused 'too much' on image and sound quality - I find HD is swiftly pushing me in that direction. So be it, but film will always be my first love and I list my favorites on the old YMdb site now accessible HERE.  

Gary's Home Theatre:
Samsung HPR4272 42" Plasma HDTV
Toshiba HD-A2 HD-DVD player (firmware upgraded)
Sony DVP NS5ODH SD-DVD player (region-free and HDMI)
Harmon Cardon DD/DTS receiver
Ascent (main) + Boston Acoustics (centre, rear, subwoofer) speakers (5.1)

Gary W. Tooze








NOTE: We understand image quality (duplicate VC-1 encode) and content are exactly the same on both HD and Blu-ray editions.


Happy Feet [HD DVD and Blu-ray]


(George Miller, 2006)

Warner Home Video
Review by Gary W. Tooze

Video codec: VC-1
Video resolution: 1080p
Aspect ratio: 2.40:1

English: Dolby Digital 5.1 EX (Blu-ray), Dolby TrueHD mix on the HD DVD, DUBs: French: Dolby Digital 5.1 EX, Spanish: Dolby Digital 5.1 EX

English SDH, French, Spanish, none


Supplements: Deleted Scenes, "Mumble Meets a Blue Whale" and "A Happy Feet Moment.", cartoon short "I Love to Singa", Instructional - "Dance Like a Penguin: Stomp to the Beat", Music Videos (2)

25GB (single-layered) Blu-ray Disc
Released: March 27th, 2007
HD-DVD/Blu-ray standard case
28 Chapters


The Film:



"In the great nation of Emperor Penguins, deep in Antarctica, you're nobody unless you can sing - which is unfortunate for Mumble, who is the worst singer in the world. He is born dancing to his own tune...tap dancing. As fate would have it, his one friend, Gloria, happens to be the best singer around. Mumble and Gloria have a connection from the moment they hatch, but she struggles with his strange "hippity- hoppity" ways. Away from home for the first time, Mumble meets a posse of decidedly un-Emperor-like penguins - the Adelie Amigos. Led by Ramon, the Adelies instantly embrace Mumble's cool dance moves and invite him to party with them. In Adelie Land, Mumble seeks the counsel of Lovelace the Guru, a crazy-feathered Rockhopper penguin who will answer any of life's questions for the price of a pebble. Together with Lovelace and the Amigos, Mumble sets out across vast landscapes and, after some epic encounters, proves that by being true to yourself, you can make all the difference in the world.."



Presentation Comments:

In the past few years, after having two young children, I've become much more exposed to family-oriented cinema - especially of the digital animation variety, than I ever have in the past. In fact, there isn't much I haven't watched (including recently; The Wild to Ratatouille) - it's great actually - I love much of it and have garnered a new appreciation for this developing 'genre'. 


Happy Feet is gaining on The Incredibles as being the most watched (it still has a ways to go though). Part of the impressiveness of these new animation feature films is to keep it interesting for the parents as well - whether we believe it for not we still have some influence on what our kids enjoy. Happy Feet fits perfectly in the niche for late baby boomers (those with kids now) with music from The Beatles, Queen, Stevie Wonder and Earth Wind and Fire. I had a buddy in Florida who was right into Emperor penguins - fascinated and impressed with the unique way they ran their society. from this standpoint the film is also educational.


There really is so much to enjoy in Happy Feet and the final message may give off airs of being preachy - but it's really not. This is musical, funny, poignant and inspirational. I couldn't ask more from the manner the film presents its themes or the way it looks.      

Gary Tooze




Do you own snow-blindness glasses? The animation in this is as close to real cinematography as I think I've seen so far. Vast blanket-white snowy peaks and occasional flashes of naturalistic color only intensify the brilliant Antarctic visuals. Luckily they don't try to overdo it and you can enjoy the film without shaking your head excessively in awe of the image quality. Details, contrast and color are as perfect as you could hope for in the 1080p VC-1 transfer. The penguin skin and shorts hairs (feathers actually) give off a 3-D texture that encourages realism and the depth that many hope for in high-definition. Ohhh - I own the competent SD but the stellar HD/Blu-ray blows it out of the, ice-cold, water.     


Screen Captures












Not as grandiose on the Blu-ray as we have seen from some other releases (are we spoiled?) but the English: Dolby Digital 5.1 EX track sounds fine and dandy - thank you. The HD sports a stronger audio option - Dolby TrueHD mix and audiophiles would consider this a big improvement. The film's track doesn't support too much excess but its nice to have it stand out when it does. If this is a concern for you the HD would be seen as superior if you are capable of a choice. Both give DUBs in French or Spanish (both 5.1) and the dialogue is supported with English (CC), French or Spanish subtitle options.



Fairly weak supplements all considering - deleted scenes, "Mumble Meets a Blue Whale" and "A Happy Feet Moment." (both are presented in 1080p and look marvelous), a cartoon short "I Love to Singa" and an instructional video of sorts - "Dance Like a Penguin: Stomp to the Beat" with choreographer Savion Glover. There are also two Music Videos (Prince and Gia) and the theatrical trailer.    





I, of course, recommend. You may not feel these type of films are your 'cup of tea' but I strongly suggest dropping your guard down and give it a spin. It's reference quality video and an infectiously pleasing film that no one can really dislike. Just watch it and see...

Ohhhh... I should mention that Warner also has a 'Combo DVD' of this title for $4 more HERE with nothing significantly superior (in the way of extras) on the SD side - except a lesser quality image. It may benefit those with two televisions and only one hi-def player.


NOTE: Image quality (VC-1 encode) and content are exactly the same on both HD and Blu-ray editions.


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