H D - S E N S E I

A view on Blu-ray by Gary W. Tooze

 

Dragon Hunters aka Chasseurs de dragons [Blu-ray]

 

(Guillaume Ivernel + Arthur Qwak, 2008)

 

 

Review by Gary Tooze

 

Studio:

Theatrical: Futurikon

Video: Peace Arch Home Entertainment

 

Disc:

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

Runtime: 1:21:59.414

Disc Size: 17,605,874,420 bytes

Feature Size: 14,728,482,816 bytes

Video Bitrate: 19.10 Mbps

Chapters: 12

Case: Standard Blu-ray case

Release date: June 23rd, 2009

 

Video:

Aspect ratio: 1.78:1

Resolution: 1080p

Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

 

Audio:

DTS-HD Master Audio English 2386 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 2386 kbps / 16-bit (DTS Core: 5.1 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 16-bit)
DTS Audio French 896 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 896 kbps / 16-bit

 

Subtitles:

English, Spanish, none

 

Extras:

• Interview with Forest Whitaker (4:23)

Character Biography

Dragon Gallery

The Universe of Dragon Hunters

Trailer and Peach Arch Previews

 

Bitrate:

 

 

Description: With more than US$ 15M in box office to date, Dragon Hunters has already been successfully released in France, Russia, Brazil, Germany, Singapore, Poland, Turkey, Belgium, Norway, etc. It has been sold in over 25 countries and will be released on more than 2000 screens.

The feature film benefits from a 52 half-hour animated TV series already sold in more than 70 countries and broadcasted over the last 18 months.

 


The story : Zoe is a little girl who believes in fairy tales. Not because she is naive, but because she likes fairy tales. So in order to help her uncle Lord Arnold get rid of a terrible dragon, Zoe decides she has to find some heroes. And when she meets Gwizdo and Lian-Chu – a couple of two-bit, fly-by-night dragon hunters – well what the heck, she decides that she’s going to believe in them anyway!

 

 

The Film:

Gwizdo and Lian Chu fancy themselves dragon hunters, mercenaries of sorts that roam the land fighting dragons for profit. Their goal is to earn enough money to purchase a little farm where they can relax in peace. But the dragon hunting game is a tough one, and fighting dragons isn't quite as hard as getting paid for their services. Zoe offers them a grand opportunity to join her uncle and be paid handsomely for ridding the Kingdom of the World Gobbler, a dragon, as its name implies, capable of consuming everything in its path. Although the promise of great financial game is the official reason he's taken up the fight, for Lian Chu, removing the evil World Gobbler is personal.

Dragon Hunters” is visually stunning. The Kingdom is a combination of real and imagined—the laws of gravity seem to be thwarted by magic of some sort. Everywhere parts of the earth around the characters are crumbling and floating away, and the players walk on the floating stones and bits of earth traveling from place to place. As Zoe, Lian Chu, Gwizdo, and their toothy pet Hector journey toward the World Gobbler, they encounter parts of the world that are becoming more and more in disarray, the environment is alive, almost enchanted. This approach helps the narrative and add colorfully to the fantastical look of the movie—it's all very wonderful.

Excerpt from Jonathan W. Hickman ay IEinsiders located HERE

 

 


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

There was a French Blu-ray of this film released in November of 2008 but it only offered the French language version with no English subtitles. Like this though the image and audio quality are extremely strong - as the expandable screen captures below should attest. Being digital animation - it has some healthy advantages over live-action film. There are no (zero) visible artifacts, haze is only intentional to represent motion - and frankly, the image amounts to perfection at the high resolution levels of Blu-ray . What then enters into play is your personal preference for the animation style. It grew on me fast and I can see it doing so for most who give it a chance. Colors are vibrant and contrast exhibits healthy, rich black levels. Certain scenes show some real depth. This Blu-ray also benefits with the dynamic action of the film - it's a real boisterous ride and the 1080P carries it extremely well - despite the feature's pragmatic file size (at less than 20 Gig). I don't feel any vast increase in this would dramatically effect the end presentation. This is flawless hi-def video in 1.78 (despite stating 2.35 on the back of the box).

 

CLICK EACH BLU-RAY CAPTURE TO SEE ALL IMAGES IN FULL 1920X1080 RESOLUTION

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Audio :

The DTS-HD Master 5.1 at 2386 kbps may be even more impressive than the seemingly perfect video. As one friend stated - it was like my basement was 'decompressing'. The mix is incredible and chapter eight exhibits such cutting bass it is definitely demo material. This ends up being a big part of the viewing experience. Klaus Badelt's score sounds super-tight with sharp bells, pulsating cues and gentle 'choir'-like backgrounds. This is an incredibly impressive English track and it comes with an optional French DTS DUB and subtitles in English or Spanish. My Momitsu has identified this disc as being region FREE! 

 

 

 

Extras :

Supplements are kind of bare with a scant (less than 5-minutes) interview with Forest Whitaker and Mary Matilyn Mouser (Zoe) talking a bit about their voice characterizations. Peach Arch have included a kind of neat feature under the Character Biographies, Dragon Gallery and a Universe of Dragon Hunters extras. You move your arrow buttons on the remote to float to the next (or previous) piece of information as on a humungous spec sheet - be it a paragraph or two on 5 dragon types or the characters etc. It's visually impressive and very kid-friendly (maybe more so than some of the film's intensity) and as you grow into this 'universe' it may be something you revisit. There is also a trailer for Dragon Hunters and some Peach Arch Entertainment previews.

 

 

BOTTOM LINE:
Word in North America is getting out fast on Dragon Hunters and some are extolling it as one of the best computer animated films ever made - which, in this age of Pixar, is high praise indeed. The world of Dragon Hunters is quite beautiful and... has an indefinable addictive quality to it. I certainly hope they do a sequel, although I understand that this movie is a prequel to the first season (17 episodes) of the animated TV show which may be worth checking out one day. Although the Blu-ray is bare of some meaty extras the price reflects this (less than $15).
It's also available in DVD HERE for the same reasonable price but includes a comic book which is probably not worth the AV transfer of this Blu-ray - that we, do indeed, recommend! 

Gary Tooze

June 10th, 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
Toshiba HD-A2 HD-DVD player (firmware upgraded)

Sony BDP-S300 1080p Blu-ray Disc Player (firmware upgraded)
Sony DVP NS5ODH SD-DVD player (region-free and HDMI)

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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