H D - S E N S E I

A view on Blu-ray by Gary W. Tooze


Donkey X aka Donkey Xote [Blu-ray]


(Jose Pozo, 2007)



Review by Gary Tooze



Theatrical: Filmax Animation

Video: Phase Four Films



Region: FREE (as verified by the Momitsu region FREE Blu-ray player)

Runtime: 1:27:25.406

Disc Size: 17,167,864,148 bytes

Feature Size: 15,711,725,568 bytes

Video Bitrate: 19.10 Mbps

Chapters: 12

Case: Standard Blu-ray case

Release date: August 11th, 2009



Aspect ratio: 2.35:1

Resolution: 1080p

Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video



DTS Audio French 896 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 896 kbps / 16-bit
DTS-HD Master Audio English 1587 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1587 kbps / 16-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 16-bit)
DTS Audio Spanish 768 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 768 kbps / 16-bit



English, none



• Trailers





Description: Follow Don Quijote, his "squire", Sancho Panza (Don Quijote's best friend and the wealthiest man in town), Sancho's donkey, Rucio (who wants to be a horse) and a real horse, Don Quijote's faithful steed, Rocinante (who hates leaving his stable) on their adventure to duel the "Knight of the Moon" where, if Don Quijote wins the duel the true identity of Dulcinea will be revealed.



The Film:

"From the producers who saw 'Shrek'," proclaim the posters for "Donkey Xote," which imports almost wholesale the grinning green ogre's donkey and pic's inventive visuals, but forgot to include any of the wit. A lively but clumsy comic retelling of the Cervantes classic, pic reps Spanish cinema's finest computer animation to date, but its humdrum script leaves it flailing at windmills. Home B.O. since Dec. 5 release has been solid but not special, with surefire sales to Spanish-speaking territories unlikely to be replicated elsewhere.

Sancho's donkey, Rucio (voiced by Luis Posada), who wants to be a horse, promises us the real story of Don Quixote. It involves the journey to Barcelona of the knight (Jose Luis Gil), here recast as a romantic lead, and tubby, pragmatic sidekick Sancho (tube presenter Andreu Buenafuente), to fight for the hand of the former's beloved, Dulcinea (Sonia Ferrer). The ride takes them through fabulously rendered scenery, stretching away just like the real thing; noctural visuals are also stunning, and one dream sequence is authentically terrifying.

Excerpt from Jonathan Holland and Variety located HERE



Image :    NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were ripped directly from the Blu-ray disc.

Donkey X looks absolutely stunning on Blu-ray. It's so good at times it doesn't even look like animation - it looks like photographed puppets in smooth motion. There are even slight inconsistencies in character's complexions to add to the realism. The depth is probably the best I have seen from digital animation - right up there with Monsters Inc. Colors are brilliant - contrast strong - it's digital animation and at the 1080P level it is essentially perfect. You only need judge the animations style - which has similarities to Shrek but textures and depth-of-field seem more resolved at the animation level. This Blu-ray image is pristine and worthy of demo-ing you-r system to friends.

















Audio :

3 tracks are offered. We have, what I assume is, the original Spanish - in the lesser DTS 2.0 channel at 768 kbps and a French DUB in DTS 5.1 at 896 kbps but feeling lazy I watched with the DTS-HD Master track which is in English, but only 2.0 channel, at 1587 kbps. I wasn't crazy about the English voices (bad choices in my opinion) and tried the Spanish with subtitles for a while - which seemed better. I suspect this transfer is from France as that is the only track with surround functionality. This is quite a head-scratcher not to have either the original Spanish or the English in 5.1. The 2.0 channel tracks are, as you might expect, limited but had some deep bass response and sounded 'okay'. There are optional English subtitles and my Momitsu has identified it as being a region FREE disc playable on Blu-ray machines worldwide.




Extras :

None beyond a trailer for the film and four other Phase 4 or Peach Arch production discs (3 of which are in HD). The Dragon Hunters one seems forced (I couldn't chapter past it) but the others I could skip. It starts with some weird advert/promo for 'T.O. Domo' - but, even after watching, I don't know what that is.


I was very impressed with this animation, but the rest of the package seems like a dud with no extras and the 2.0 channel audio. The film is really only 'okay' at its best as the plot meanders inconclusively with a convoluted storyline far too complex for children. So the price seems high for what is being offered. I would say that only those really keen on digital animation should consider indulging. The Don Quixote angle is an amusing divergence and Donkey X has some adult humor (including healthy, bouncing cleavages) but should still be okay for kids. Overall, I would say only the animation itself, and 1080P transfer, is on solid ground - the rest of this presentation is rather disappointing.   

Gary Tooze

July 30th, 2009





About the Reviewer: 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 7500 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
Momitsu - BDP-899 Region FREE Blu-ray player
Marantz SA8001 Super Audio CD Player
Marantz SR7002 THX Select2 Surround Receiver
Tannoy DC6-T (fronts) + Energy (centre, rear, subwoofer) speakers (5.1)

Gary W. Tooze








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