3D Blu-ray Review I, Robot 3D Blu-ray Review

Discussion in 'Blu-ray and UHD' started by Matt Hough, Oct 31, 2012.

  1. Matt Hough

    Matt Hough Executive Producer
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    A sci-fi crime drama enveloped in the web of a mystery story gets the 3D conversion treatment in Alex Proyas’ I, Robot. With the film’s creative visuals, it’s fairly easy to understand why Fox studio executives chose this movie for a 3D conversion, but, truth to tell, the film doesn’t gain appreciably in its journey from 2D to 3D. The film is still a bit too long to sustain its story, and a robot creation still ends up being the most sympathetic and agreeable character in the movie.





    I, Robot 3D (Blu-ray Combo Pack)
    Directed by Alex Proyas

    Studio: 20th Century Fox
    Year: 2004
    Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1   1080p   AVC codec
    Running Time: 115 minutes
    Rating: PG-13
    Audio: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 English; Dolby Digital 5.1 French, Spanish, others
    Subtitles:  SDH, French, Spanish

    Region: A
    MSRP: $ 49.99


    Release Date: October 23, 2012

    Review Date: October 31, 2012




    The Film

    3/5


    It’s Chicago of 2035, and police detective Del Spooner (Will Smith) who carries with him a complete mistrust of the masses of robots who have now assumed all of the hard labor and servant duties in the world is called to investigate what appears to be the suicide of Dr. Alfred Lanning (James Cromwell) at the U.S. Robotics headquarters. Lanning was the inventor of the next generation of robots: the NS-5 series, and Spooner suspects that it might possibly have been a murder by robot rather than a suicide. The CEO of the company Lawrence Robertson (Bruce Greenwood) and chief psychologist Susan Calvin (Bridget Moynahan) both scoff at the notion that a robot might have committed murder especially since their programming prevents them from ever injuring a human. But during his investigation, a seemingly rogue robot nicknamed “Sonny” (Alan Tudyk) bolts from the office whereupon Del finds himself the target of masses of NS-5 units who seem determined to stop his investigation even if that means killing him.


    Jeff Vintar and Akiva Goldsman’s screenplay takes a rather surprising amount of time to explain Spooner’s distaste for robots, and it seems very odd that in a huge city like Chicago, no one but Spooner seems to be witnessing these masses of NS-5 units who are on the rampage until it's too late. The script also makes Spooner a rather unlikable character, an odd choice for the lead in the movie where none of the humans are particularly admirable or trustworthy. To the writers' credit, the mystery of the identity behind the robot revolution is rather deftly handled, and director Alex Proyas stages the film’s three major action sequences with some flair (despite the sameness of masses of robots being shot and clubbed into submission) and keeps the camera constantly moving, especially up and over the scenes as the action becomes more heated late in the film. Despite the CGI robots and space-aged automobiles that can move in any direction, there isn’t much to the film’s production design that fully dictates this as a future time period. Clothes, hairstyles, and conversational idioms (as witnessed by Spooner’s boss played by Chi McBride and a wiseacre street kid played by the young Shia LaBeouf) remain inextricably mired in the early 21st century.


    Will Smith has less personality here than in some of his previous sci-fi and action-oriented films (though he's certainly in superb physical shape as he displays in several vanity shots), and he and Bridget Moynahan don’t really strike many sparks at all in their scenes together. Bruce Greenwood makes a credible man of mystery as the chief suspect behind the robot rebellion. James Cromwell’s contributions to the film are unfortunately limited to a brief scene or two and as a holographic image that can only answer questions in a frustratingly cryptic way. Alan Tudyk gives a superb motion capture/voice performance as the rogue robot Sonny, the most sympathetic and amusing character in the film.



    Video Quality

    5/5

    3D implementation – 3/5


    Shot in Super 35 and presented theatrically (and on the first Blu-ray release) at 2.35:1, this new 3D conversion (along with a 2D transfer on the same disc) has been framed at 1.78:1 and is presented in 1080p using the AVC codec. Some of the remarkable CGI robotic effects seem a bit less overwhelmingly impressive in this new encode though sharpness, color values and flesh tones, contrast, and black levels have not been compromised at all in this still-reference quality video release. The film has been divided into 39 chapters.


    3D does not add a notable amount of depth to the image except for possibly in a shot or two where huge landscapes are being pictured. The 3D does make object placement on separate planes remarkably distinct now and gives the converted imagery a striking visual sensibility that the previous 2D version didn’t always have. There are no forward projections even though there is plenty of broken glass sprayed at the lens at various times during the movie. Crosstalk is never a problem with the 3D imagery.



    Audio Quality

    5/5


    The DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 sound mix retains its reference quality attention to detail in the surrounds with superb use of the soundfield for many discreet sound effects and for Marco Beltrami’s dynamically driving music score. The LFE channel gets an excellent workout with the use of much deep bass in the mix. Dialogue has been well recorded and has been placed in the center channel.




    Special Features

    1/5


    The Blu-ray disc in the set contains both the 3D and 2D (in 1.78:1) versions of the movie along with promo trailers in 3D for Prometheus and Immortals.


    The extensive array of interactive bonus features on the previous Blu-ray release of I, Robot are completely missing from the Blu-ray disc in the set. However, the included DVD version of the movie (in its theatrical 2.35:1 aspect ratio) contains an audio commentary by director Alex Proyas and screenwriter Akiva Goldsman, a 12 ½-minute “making of” featurette, thirty drawings in an art gallery, and a promo trailer for Fox’s Arrested Development since the disc was produced in 2004.



    In Conclusion

    3/5 (not an average)


    With the 3D not adding any appreciable value to the film of I, Robot and with the loss of the bonus features from the previous Blu-ray edition, there doesn’t seem to be much to recommend about this new release of I, Robot. Completists may require it, but all others will likely be more than satisfied with the high definition disc they already own.



    Matt Hough

    Charlotte, NC

     
  2. Cameron Yee

    Cameron Yee Executive Producer
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    I really loved the "I Robot" short stories, so my expectations were properly modulated when I saw the film, which made me think it was better than expected. I agree there was minimal chemistry between Smith and Moynihan, but it seemed the script didn't have them fully committing in that way.

    I actually saw the movie the first time at Fox Studios on my first HTF Meet, so this BD release is sort of a milestone.
     
  3. FoxyMulder

    FoxyMulder 映画ファン

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    This is using the newly developed JVC 3D conversion process, apparently just 3 people and costs have been lowered from $10m to $15m per conversion to $3m to $5m costs, unfortunately if this is an example of conversions to come then it won't prove a hit, well i don't think so anyway, for their first conversion using this new process they should have went all out to impress, all the reviews i am reading suggest this is just an average 3D conversion.
     
  4. Steve Christou

    Steve Christou Long Member

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    I'm a fan of the film and bought the 3D edition but was disappointed at how flat most of the 3D looked. A couple of scenes at the end with all the robots leaping about the main computer complex looked good in 3D but otherwise it was a poor effort.
     
  5. sidburyjr

    sidburyjr Second Unit

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    i think I'm disappointed in your review if I read it correctly. The original movie was 2.35 and this release is a pan-and-scan 1.78 and you still gave the video 5/5? I'm dreading the idea that it's going to be OK to release 2.35 movies as 1.78 (I don't really like 1.85 as 1.78 even though i'm perfectly willing to admit that I probably can't tell the difference.
    If I misconstrued, please accept my apology.
     
  6. lukejosephchung

    lukejosephchung Screenwriter

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    If you'll read the review more carefully, you'll find that this movie was shot in Super 35 format, allowing for multiple aspect ratios by the filmmakers, which is what happened here...James Cameron uses it a great deal!!!
     
  7. Matt Hough

    Matt Hough Executive Producer
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    Luke is completely correct. As James Cameron did with Titanic and Avatar, when composed for 3D home video (going from theatrical 2.35:1 to home video 1.78:1), the Fox engineers recomposed their Super 35 frame for 3D without sacrificing anything of importance in the process. I didn't do an A/B comparison with the original Blu-ray, but the framing didn't appear the least bit compromised by the change so I didn't let it affect the overall video rating.
     
  8. FoxyMulder

    FoxyMulder 映画ファン

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  9. cafink

    cafink Producer

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    I think a MAR release should entail a significant reduction in the video score. Framing and composition are important; you can't simply recompose "without sacrificing anything of importance in the process." There's more to framing a film than just making sure that all the characters are on the screen.
    Of course, I have misgivings about the whole idea of converting a movie to 3D in the first place, but there's no excuse for including the 2D version in MAR, too.
    That said, Matt was very clear about the aspect ratio change and what exactly is included on this release, so anyone reading his review can decide for themselves if they still think it's worth purchasing. So thanks for that.
     
  10. sidburyjr

    sidburyjr Second Unit

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    Well, the fact is that in the theater it was 2.35 and it's in 1.78 in bluray. I'm happy that you are not bothered by that. But I am. And as was pointed out by Carl in another comment I'm very grateful that Matt's review contained this information. I just hope that it doesn't become a habit in the release of disks even if the filmmakers were making it easy. Perhaps pan-and-scan was too harsh, but still that accurately conveys my emotional feeling about the practice.
     
  11. Moe Dickstein

    Moe Dickstein Filmmaker

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    Taking older 2.4 films to 1.78 for 3D conversion (if shot super 35) seems to be the common practice.
     
  12. lukejosephchung

    lukejosephchung Screenwriter

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    I have no problems with this practice...if done with the approval and/or participation of the original filmmakers, which is the case here...
     
  13. Moe Dickstein

    Moe Dickstein Filmmaker

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    Yeah, opening it up is great if you don't give a shit about what it looked like in the theater.
    I think people have become a lot more tolerant of alterations now that they have widescreen TVs.
    I cringe every time I watch 3D Titanic due to losing the proper framing.
     
  14. Worth

    Worth Screenwriter

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    It wasn't 3D in the theatre, either. Seems a bit silly to complain about one alteration, but not the other.
     
  15. Moe Dickstein

    Moe Dickstein Filmmaker

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    If they had had viable 3D at the time, would that have meant they would shoot the film in 1.78 instead?
    One should not affect the other. This is just the pan and scan disease of "I want my TV filled up"
     
  16. FoxyMulder

    FoxyMulder 映画ファン

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    Wouldn't the effects work be done at 2:1 so a little bit is being lost. ? This is a heavy effects movie.
     
  17. Moe Dickstein

    Moe Dickstein Filmmaker

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    That's what Cameron does but who knows what ratio FX were done at for this film
     
  18. FoxyMulder

    FoxyMulder 映画ファン

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    I do see an image here in this review of one scene where the crop loses image information, where there is one shot i imagine there are many more.

    http://noreruns.net/2012/10/23/blu-ray-review-i-robot-3d/

    I just don't know why they can't just keep the original aspect ratio, i watched Final Destination 4 in 2.35:1 in 3D, it worked for me, i hope this trend stops now.
     

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