|S E A R C H D V D B e a v e r|
Summer Wars aka SamÔ w˘zu [Blu-ray]
(Mamoru Hosoda, 2009)
Review by Gary Tooze
Theatrical: Nippon Television Network Corporation (NTV) / Warner
Region: 'A"-locked (as verified by the Momitsu region FREE Blu-ray player)
Disc Size: 41,875,773,709 bytes
Feature Size: 33,294,403,584 bytes
Video Bitrate: 29.26 Mbps
Case: Standard Blu-ray case
Release date: February 15th, 2011
Aspect ratio: 1.78:1
Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps
Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video
Dolby TrueHD Audio English 2393 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 2393 kbps / 16-bit (AC3 Embedded: 5.1 / 48 kHz / 448 kbps / DN -3dB)
Dolby TrueHD Audio Japanese 2352 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 2352 kbps / 24-bit (AC3 Embedded: 5.1 / 48 kHz / 448 kbps / DN -4dB)
Interview with Ryunosuke Kamiki (Kenji Koiso) - 6:14
• Liner notes and 4 double sided cards with characters
Description: From the visionary directory of
The Girl Who
Leapt Through Time (2007 Japanese Academy Award winner,
Best Animated Feature) comes the story of an ordinary family
going to extraordinary lengths to avert the impending cyber
THE JAPANESE BOX OFFICE SENSATION! When timid eleventh-grader and math genius Kenji Koiso is asked by older student and secret crush Natsuki to come with her to her family's Nagano home for a summer job, he agrees without hesitation. Natsuki's family, the Jinnouchi clan, dates back to the Muromachi era, and they've all come together to celebrate the 90th birthday of the spunky matriarch of the family, Sakae. That's when Kenji discovers his summer job is to pretend to be Natsuki's fiancÚ and dance with her at the birthday celebration. As Kenji attempts to keep up with Natsuki's act around her family, he receives a strange math problem on his cell phone which, being a math genius, he can't resist solving. As it turns out, the solution to the mysterious equation causes a hijacking of the social networking site through which most of the world's social and business traffic flows. It s up to Kenji and his new fake family to put reality back in order.
Kenji is a teenage math prodigy recruited by his secret crush Natsuki for the ultimate summer job - passing himself... off as Natsuki's boyfriend for four days during her grandmother's 90th birthday celebration. But when Kenji solves a 2,056 digit math riddle sent to his cell phone, he unwittingly breaches the security barricade protecting Oz, a globe-spanning virtual world where millions of people and governments interact through their avatars, handling everything from online shopping and traffic control to national defense and nuclear launch codes. Now a malicious AI program called the Love Machine is hijacking Oz accounts, growing exponentially more powerful and sowing chaos and destruction in its wake.
Mamoru Hosoda's "Summer Wars," an official entry for the animated
feature Oscar, imagines an online community known as Oz, a virtual world
so vast that it has become a marketplace, a social media site and a
gaming enterprise — in short, the engine that drives the electronic
Much like the rest of the movie, that's real enough that we can easily overlook the bits of the science-fiction story that may seem a bit silly to an increasingly web-savvy audience. "Summer Wars", after all, is about how a family that can pull together can take on any challenge, even though it's a thing in flux, losing and gaining members in various ways. Hosoda and Okudera don't come right out and say this, just as they didn't spell out what they were saying about youth and missed opportunities in "The Girl Who Leapt through Time", but that's what makes their movies surprisingly rich - there is that universal idea there, whether you're looking for it or not.Excerpt from efilmcritic located HERE
Image : NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were taken directly from the Blu-ray disc.
As we have said repeatedly - digital animation is can be essentially flawless - at the Blu-ray level (1080P) it has 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. Summer Wars has very little haze or blurriness produced as intentional effects to create the perception of motion. It is beautifully bright and smooth throughout. I suspect that in transferring digital animation to Blu-ray they have obtained the highest accuracy of the original appearance - and the animator's intent. Summer Wars is rife with vibrant eye-candy and looks quite marvelous. The animation style alternates between the, more passive, 'normal family existence and the, visually chaotic, Online 'virtual' one. Contrast is exceptional consistent and, frankly, there isn't a pixel out of place in this transfer. I was highly impressed.
CLICK EACH BLU-RAY CAPTURE TO SEE ALL IMAGES IN FULL 1920X1080 RESOLUTION
Funimation have done this audio correctly including both the original Japanese as well as the popular English DUB (that it is defaulted to). Each are equally rendered in a Dolby TrueHD 5.1 track at over 2000 kbps. I sampled both lossless transfers and there, of course, is a difference in the voice characterizations - almost creating a totally different film experience. I did the bulk of my viewing and completed with the original Japanese track. There aren't as many effect sounds as you might anticipate but there are a few notables and those separations are crisp and can surprise when emanating from the rear speakers. Depth is sporadic but can be volatile in the 'virtual world' which produces most of the dynamic activity - although there are dramatic explosions in the 'real world too. The optional English subtitles are, thankfully, NOT DUB-titles and my Momitsu has identified it as being a region 'A'-locked disc.
Despite mention of a cast commentary - I couldn't find it but there are about 1/2 hour's worth of interviews with the Japanese language cast (Ryunosuke Kamiki, Nanami Sakuraba, Mitsuki Tanimura, Ayumi Saito and Sumiko Fuji) plus the director, Mamoru Hosoda, during the Locarno International Film Festival. These are in 480i (as are all extras) and in Japanese with English subtitles. Beyond that are some short trailers and TV Spots. There is a liner notes flyer and 4 double sided cards with characters in the package case.
February 12th, 2011
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.
Oppo Digital BDP-83 Universal Region FREE Blu-ray/SACD
Gary W. Tooze
ALL OUR NEW FORMAT DVD REVIEWS