S E A R C H D V D B e a v e r
Astro Boy [Blu-ray]
(David Bowers, 2009)
Review by Gary Tooze
Theatrical: Tezuka Production Company Ltd.
Video: Summit Entertainment
Region: 'A'-locked (as verified by the Momitsu region FREE Blu-ray player)
Disc Size: 33,349,821,458 bytes
Feature Size: 25,403,062,272 bytes
Video Bitrate: 29.58 Mbps
Case: Standard Blu-ray box inside slipcase
Release date: March 16th, 2010
Aspect ratio: 2.35:1
Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps
Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video
DTS-HD Master Audio English 3957 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 3957 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 5.1 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit)
Dolby Digital Audio Spanish 640 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 640 kbps
English (SDH), Spanish, none
Two New Animated Sequences;
• Astro vs. the Junkyard Pirates (3:30 in HD!)
• The RRF In: The New Recruit (1:12 in HD!)
•Inside the Recording Booth (5:54 in HD!)
•Designing a Hero (10:42 in HD!)
• Building Metro City (7:34 in HD!)
• Getting the Astro Boy Look (2:50 in HD!)
• Astro Boy Image Gallery: Creating a Global Icon (4:59 in HD!)
Description: Set in futuristic Metro City, Astro Boy is about a young robot with incredible powers created by a brilliant scientist in the image of the son he has lost. Unable to fulfill the grieving man's expectations, our hero embarks on a journey in search of acceptance, experiencing betrayal and a netherworld of robot gladiators, before he returns to save Metro City and reconcile with the father who had rejected him.
The comic-book world plumbs our deep craving for saviors – mostly found
from lonely and rejected outsiders who win the love of their adopted
world by saving it from destruction over and over again.
The plea for love and compassion for robots, as a representation of outsiders, brings freshness to Astro Boy's journey. That and the daring to put the finality of death and irreparable loss front and center in a movie so clearly geared toward children.Excerpt from NANCY CHURNIN / The Dallas Morning News located HERE
Astro Boy strikes a nice balance between, a sort of homage to, the simple animation of its roots whilst fitting in some stronger effects that come through very well in 1080P resolution. The style is nicely replicated with some expected updates. Astro Boy is a very kinetic film and the lead character zips around the screen enthusiastically - and it looks very impressive. This is dual-layered with a high bitrate and no flaws that I could detect. As we have said in the past - digital animation is that it is essentially perfect - especially in this medium where it should have none of the common deficiencies that we can find when transferring live-action film to 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 get a significant replication of the original intent. What would be more of a concern is how you might feel about the style. They have taken the old Astro Boy (same cowlick) - cleaned him up, given his surroundings brighter colors and dimensionality and produced some excellent visuals. I think the Blu-ray, and the film itself, look fabulous.
CLICK EACH BLU-RAY CAPTURE TO SEE ALL IMAGES IN FULL 1920X1080 RESOLUTION
The DTS-HD Master 5.1 at 3957 kbps probably doesn't have enough 'ummphhh' to be reference but I suspect it is supporting the original soundstage quite adeptly. I prefer the lack of overly dynamic bass that might be distracting to the story. This sounds very crisp and consistent - occasionally impressive without blowing your windows out or rattling your floorboards. I appreciated the restraint and enjoyed the theme music. There are English or Spanish subtitle options and my Momitsu has identified it as being a region 'A'-locked.
No commentary and actually the supplements are a bit fluffy with only about 30-minutes in total and the advertised 'Two New Animated Sequences'; Astro vs. the Junkyard Pirates + The RRF In: The New Recruit total less than 5-minutes. Inside the Recording Booth gives us some soundbytes from Kristen Bell, Nicolas Cage, Donald Sutherland, Freddie Highmore and director David Bowers plus the producers discussing the casting. Designing a Hero is the longest piece taking a more technical standpoint of the decision making process for the eventual look of the young protagonist. Building Metro City expands on the details and options for the creation of that visual effect - ditto for Getting the Astro Boy Look (haircuts for boys) and finally we get a Astro Boy Image Gallery: Creating a Global Icon with plenty of international posters etc. I would have thought throwing in a couple of the old episodes would have been a nice touch - but no luck.
March 7th, 2010
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