S E A R C H D V D B e a v e r
Cloudy With A Chance of Meatballs [Blu-ray]
(Phil Lord + Chris Miller, 2009)
Review by Gary Tooze
Theatrical: Sony Pictures Animation
Region: FREE! (as verified by the Momitsu region FREE Blu-ray player)
Disc Size: 39,552,085,302 bytes
Feature Size: 24,935,639,040 bytes
Video Bitrate: 27.83 Mbps
Case: Standard Blu-ray case
Release date: January 5th, 2010
Aspect ratio: 2.35:1
Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps
Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video
DTS-HD Master Audio English 2973 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 2973 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 5.1 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit)
DTS-HD Master Audio French 3008 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 3008
kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 5.1 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit)
Dolby Digital Audio English 192 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 192 kbps / Dolby Surround
English (SDH), English, French, Spanish, none
• Commentary with writers/directors Christopher Miller and
Phil Lord and actor Bill Hader
Digital Copy/DVD + BDLIve functional
Description: Inspired by Ron and Judi Barrett's beloved children's book of the same name, Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs follows inventor Flint Lockwood (voice of Bill Hader) and a brainy weathergirl (voice of Anna Faris) as they attempt to discover why the rain in their small town has stopped, and food is falling in its place. Meanwhile, lifelong bully Brent (voice of Andy Samberg) relishes in tormenting Flint like he did when they were kids, and Mayor Shelbourne (voice of Bruce Campbell) schemes to use Flint's latest invention -- a device designed to improve everyone's lives -- for his own personal gain. Mr. T voices by-the-books cop Earl Devereaux, and James Caan voices Flint's technophobe father, Tim.
For the big musical montage number in the wildly enjoyable "Cloudy With
a Chance of Meatballs," the filmmakers chose Lesley Gore's giddy
"Sunshine, Lollipops and Rainbows," but they could just as well have
taken a page from "Oliver!" and gone with "Food, Glorious Food."
Firstly, although this played in 3-D in MANY theaters (and IMAX) - neither the Blu-ray nor the included DVD disc have the 3-D version offered - and obviously no glasses either.
The thing about digital animation is that it is essentially flawless - it should have none of the common deficiencies that we can find when transferring live-action film to high-definition digital - things like edge-enhancement or noise removal manipulation. Haze and blurriness are intentional effects to create the perception of motion. Out-of-focus experiences are simply created to make the true focal object more primary to our vision. By rendering digital animation to Blu-ray we should be able to obtain the highest accuracy of the original, flawless intent. Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs looks absolutely magnificent on Blu-ray. Colors are often brilliant, contrast is wonderful and detail is sharp as a tack. This transfer is dual-layered with a high bitrate - this is one animated feature I might have liked to sample in 3-D. Colors are definitely brighter and truer than SD can ever relate and this Blu-ray could easily be used to demo your system (inside the Jell-O castle itself is incredible) - especially the vibrant colors and wonderfully rich black levels. There are some 'video representation animations' - described on the commentary as deliberately looking like 'crap' to give the impression of looking at a TV screen of through a video lens. All-in-all it is a stunningly beautiful image - another of a handful of perfect transfers I have seen in 2009 (although this technically comes out in 2010). I was often watching with an open-mouthed stare forgetting the plot. The visuals are tremendous.
CLICK EACH BLU-RAY CAPTURE TO SEE ALL IMAGES IN FULL 1920X1080 RESOLUTION
The DTS-HD Master 5.1 track at 2973 kbps has plenty of effects and decent separation. It really doesn't have any faults but I found it a bit more passive than I was expectingwith no earth-shaking bass (which would have been appropriate for some of the scenes). It is, however, exceptionally tight, crisp and clean with an exceptionally effective high-end. There is a solid score by Mark Mothersbaugh who has a lot of credits to his name including some TV. The music of the film sounds excellent as well. There are optional Spanish subtitles for the commentary and the regular subs are oddly rendered appearing as Universal DVDs have had them for years directly beside, underneath or over the specific characters but they also have a black background (see sample) protruding at times in the frame. This could be some as not to blend of get distracted from the awesome colors of the film. My Momitsu has identified it as being a region FREE disc playable on Blu-ray machines worldwide.
The commentary with writers/directors Christopher Miller and Phil Lord and actor Bill Hader is quite fun. These guys sound young but know their stuff and gave a lot of good input helping appreciate the extensive production efforts. There are some standard production featurettes in HD - A Recipe for Success: The Making of Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs running for 10.5 minutes and Key Ingredients: The Voices of Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs for 12.5 minutes. The Blu-ray version offers an interactive 'Splat Mode', which lets the viewer use the Blu-ray remote control to throw virtual food at the screen. There is also a Flint's Food Fight Game - enhanced for Blu-ray. It allows portraying the film's hero as he must save his town and the world from the rain of food, fighting highly mutated food enemies, asking a cow what the best typewriter is, and using his gadgets to help him on the way. There are two inconsequential extended scenes for 2.5 minutes and two early development scenes ("Flint's Letter to Super-Scientist' and 'Early Storyboard version of Twister' running almost 6-minutes). More in-depth are the five progression reels with introductions by visual effects supervisor Rob Bredow where you get more of a sense of the effect rendering. For direct promo - we get the “Raining Sunshine” music video by Carly's Miranda Cosgrove with optional interactive sing-a-long and 3 minutes of behind the scenes. Make It Rain Food is a 1/2 minute public service announcement and here are 8 film previews. There is a second disc that has a PSP capable Digital Copy and the DVD of the film and the Blu-ray has an untested BDLive function.
December 19th, 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 9500 DVDs and have reviewed over 3500 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
Oppo Digital BDP-83 Universal Region FREE Blu-ray/SACD
Gary W. Tooze