3D Blu-ray Review Journey to the Center of the Earth: THE HTF 3D ADDICT REVIEW

Discussion in 'Blu-ray and UHD' started by Ronald Epstein, Jan 16, 2012.

  1. Ronald Epstein

    Ronald Epstein Administrator
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    What can I say?  I love 3D!  From the moment I began watching 3D content in my home I quickly discovered that I needed more content.  I suspect that those of you just purchasing your first 3D hardware will acquire the same ferocious appetite.  That's why I became the HTF 3D ADDICT.  I personally love images that pop off the screen and come inches away from your face without becoming overly gimmicky.  However, I certainly appreciate the nature documentaries that offer beautiful depth and separation.  These are not necessarily reviews of the film themselves.  I am not going to concentrate on story or supplements -- you can find the 2D reviews elsewhere on this forum.  My job is to let you know exactly what kind of 3D experience to expect from the titles that are being released.   As I will be receiving a handful of new product from the studios expect to see more title coverage.






    JOURNEY TO THE CENTER 

    OF THE EARTH


    Studio: Warner Bros.

    Product Release: January 17, 2012

    Ratio: 1.85:1

    Audio: English 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio

    Running Time: 92 Minutes

    Rating: PG


    3dsmall.jpg

    ON A SCALE 0-5

    Overall 3D Presentation Rating: 4

    3D Separation: 4

    3D In Yo' Face Factor: 5




    The experience of watching Journey to the Center

    of the Earth is like taking a deep breath of fresh air.

    It harkens back to a time when there were more 3D films

    being shot natively.  By this, I mean they were conceptualized

    and designed for the format rather than upconverted in 

    post production.  


    What's rather odd is that Journey To The Center of the

    Earth, as tremendously fun as it is, falls short of being the

    perfect 3D action film.  However, when you discover that

    most movies currently released on 3D Blu-ray consist of

    upconversions, the film somehow manages to rise to the

    top of "must have purchases."


    I'll explain this in a moment.



    I don't think the story is unfamiliar --- especially for anyone

    who has read Jules Verne novel or watched the spectacular

    1959 film this remake is loosely adapted from.  In this

    modernized  version, Professor Trevor Anderson (Brendan 

    Fraser) is on a quest to find his lost brother. With his nephew

    Sean (John Hutcherson) at his side, they head to Iceland to

    explore strange seismic activities that may be their key to

    a portal that will transport them to the deepest regions inside

    the earth. With the help of a beautiful mountain guide (Anita

    Briem) and the Jules Verne book to guide them, the team

    soon finds themselves living a real-world science fiction fantasy.


    It's rather a shame that a terrific novel and a well-respected

    1950s film was ultimately rebranded into a juvenile B-rated

    remake that gears itself towards young moviegoers.  However,

    that being said, I was awfully surprised as to how much I was

    enjoying this popcorn flick, particularly for the fact that it does

    come across as a wild, mindless theme-park roller coaster ride

    with lots of WOW moments along the way thanks to its abundance

    of 3D gimmickry.


    By all rights, Journey to the Center of the Earth should have

    been the Blue Ribbon prize winner for all the personal standards

    I have set on what this format should provide to its audience. The

    "In yo' face" factor is through the roof here as the film certainly

    succeeds at exploiting the format by throwing everything it can 

    towards the viewer.  The intent is certainly evident within the film's

    initial first frames as we watch a woodlouse's antenna's poking

    itself forward. From that point on, viewers should expect to be

    bombarded with objects that include a retractable measuring tape,

    a hurled-yo-yo, spilled molecular balls and a fallen flashlight (to

    name just a few).   While some may consider the amount of effort

    given to these thrown effects as "cheesy," I think it works perfectly

    for a film that doesn't seem to take itself very seriously.



    So here's the problem:  Journey to the Center of the Earth suffers

    from looking dated as far as what the 3D technology should look

    like.  Sure, we are only talking about a film that is a few years old,

    but for some reason, the quality of the 3D presentation falls just

    short of being as incredible as it should.  Overall depth level is good,

    but I felt it could have been a bit better. The film's intended 3D effect 

    work doesn't quite pack its intended punch.  For instance, most of

    the more prominently projected objects lose their effectiveness due

    to a slight amount of double-imaging as it moves closer to the viewer.

    Even intentions to have objects seemingly dance before your face, 

    such as blown giant dandelion seeds, don't come off as effectively 

    as they should. 


    There are traces of ghosting to be seen now and then, but outside of 

    the protruding effect work, I didn't find it to be a constant problem.


    Perhaps the problem lies in the overall murky look of the film which

    is something that I am certain is intentional rather than a transfer

    problem.  The outdoor scenes look wonderfully crisp, but once the

    journey goes inside the cave, towards the center of the Earth, images

    become rather subdued and cloudy resulting in a slight loss of detail.

    The film's most climatic fast-paced action sequences that involve a

    mine car or dinosaur chase, have a slightly smeared look to it.  In all,

    I am rather disappointed that with all the effort put into creating the

    film's beautiful cavernous world, its clarity is somewhat dulled.



    The real show stealer here is the film's DTS-HD MA soundtrack which

    is perfect in all respects.  This is a powerful, boomy audio presentation

    with enough LFE activity to shake the entire floor during the film's seismic

    events and action sequences (particularly a dinosaur chase).  Viewers will

    find themselves completely immersed in the ambient activity that is

    delegated to the rear channels where the subtle nuances of the underworld

    (such as various drips and creaks) are effectively conveyed.  


    Journey to the Center of the Earth arrives as a single 3D/2D Blu-ray

    disc housed in lenticular packaging.  In addition to commentary by 

    Brendan Fraser and Director Eric Brevig, there are 20 minutes of

    family-friendly special features that include How to make a dinosaur

    droolA World Within our Own that looks at historical theories about

    what lies below our planet's crust; Being Josh which profiles 12-year-old

    costar Josh Hutcherson.  The disc also comes with an $8 coupon off

    the admission of Journey 2 The Mysterious Island which opens in 

    theaters this February.




    CONCLUSION



    I have such a love/hate relationship with this 3D Blu-ray release of

    Journey to the Center of the Earth.  I had never watched this film

    previously, had low expectations going in, and it turned out that I 

    enjoyed watching this onscreen adventure more than any other 3D

    film in recent memory.  It really captures that essence of being on

    a theme park ride, placed in the middle of the action, with all this neat

    stuff being thrown towards you.  For me, it's exactly what 3D is all

    about.


    The problem is that based on the film's low-budget effects, dulled

    look and 3D technology that was about to be improved upon by

    James Cameron, the film falls just short of being as tremendous

    as I had hoped.


    Still, somehow, Journey to the Center of the Earth gets placed on

    my list of "must purchase" Blu-ray releases.  If you are buying into 

    the format for that 3D WOW factor, this just happens to be a film that

    delivers it.  This makes for a perfect family film whose 3D gimmickry

    will induce screams of joy from the kids.  What more could you ask for?



    Images are for illustrative purpose only not representative of the picture quality of this disc. 


    Equipment


    LG 60PX950 THX Certified 3D display

    Oppo BDP-93 3D Blu-ray Player

    Denon 3808CI Receiver

    Atlantic Technology H-PAS AT-1 fronts, 4400 center; 4200 rear speakers

    SV Sound Subwoofer

     

     
  2. SpenceJT

    SpenceJT Second Unit

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    Can't wait for this one! Just gave away my anaglyph blu-ray, and am hoping that the BD 3D will have less ghosting. Specifically the scene where the emerald is dropped onto the floor, where the view of the rock falling, had serious ghosting issues. Can you comment on this?
    I can't wait to bring home and view for myself!
    Another great review!
    Regards
    Spence
     
  3. Ronald Epstein

    Ronald Epstein Administrator
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    Spence,

    Because you paid me a compliment in your review I went
    back to my Blu-ray player and popped in the movie to look
    at that specific scene -- just so I can get you the answer you
    wanted.

    Hate to tell you this....

    The point in which the diamond falls out of the backpack
    is badly ghosted. The image is definitely doubled with the
    white diamond in front and a yellow shadow tracing of that
    diamond behind it.
     
  4. SpenceJT

    SpenceJT Second Unit

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    LOL! "Diamond" (not emerald... which was either how it looked through the colored lenses, or how I remember it). Thanks for checking - I had hoped that it was a result of the anaglyph process on my old CRT RPTV, and that it would look fantastic on the LaserVue.
    ...I'm still getting this title, as I am a whore for 3D. ;-)
    Thanks for checking Ron! Wish there were more titles for you to review. With any luck 2012 will pick up for you!
    Regards,
    Spence
     
  5. Ronald Epstein

    Ronald Epstein Administrator
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    Spence,

    I am probably going to be doing less and less reviews. Finding
    hard to put thoughts to paper. I do it as an amateur and the job
    would much better done by our team of reviewers who now have
    3D displays.
     
  6. Johnny Angell

    Johnny Angell Played With Dinosaurs Member

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    You got the message across. This movie is a guilty pleasure despite it's shortcomings. When I watched it in the theater, I thought it was a "poor man's Indiana Jones." Yet, I saw it twice in the theater and own the 2D blu-ray.
    "No one gets dibs on the mountain guide."
     
  7. Johnny Angell

    Johnny Angell Played With Dinosaurs Member

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    Holy crap, Amazon wants $33 for this movie. Guess I'll be waiting a while for this one. And they wonder why more people aren't buying into 3D.
     
  8. dmiller68

    dmiller68 Supporting Actor

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    Yeah, I wait until they drop under $30 unless it is one I really want or pick it up off ebay.



     
  9. Adam Gregorich

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    and Best Buy is $43. Thats waaay too much for a deep catalog title. Not sure what WB was thinking.
     
  10. Paul Tilburgs

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    Deep catalog title? YOu are joking, surely: the movie is only 3 years old...
     
  11. Jose.P

    Jose.P Auditioning

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    That's too bad I really enjoy your reviews, especially the wow factor section. I'm sure a lot of members will agree. I think your reviews are some of the best I've read.
     
  12. SpenceJT

    SpenceJT Second Unit

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    double-wholly crap - Best Buy has it priced at just over $40!!! I'm kind of in shock by this given it wasn't a "blockbuster" of a movie! WTH!!!
     
  13. Ronald Epstein

    Ronald Epstein Administrator
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    The really sad thing about the 3D Blu-ray format is that
    studios are charging a huge premium for content.

    That can't be helping drive sales.

    Meanwhile, I am certain it doesn't cost them much more
    (if anything) to manufacture 3D discs over their 2D counterpart.
     
  14. dmiller68

    dmiller68 Supporting Actor

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    I can understand a small premium because they are usually including the 3D as a seperate disc. However, it does seem that the $10 or more is a little steap. You can buy the 2D version of this movie for $9.99 but the 3D version is $31.99. The 3D version is just an extra disk for 3D, no digital copy, UV nothing... At most this should be a $19.99 movie.
     
  15. Adam Gregorich

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    True, it just seems like so much longer :) especialy since its had multiple BD releases. I agree with David. It should be a $19.99 release and we all would have probably bought it for that.
     
  16. Matt Hough

    Matt Hough Executive Producer
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    Right. Much as I'd like to have a "real" 3D release of it, I'm not biting until the price comes down. If it doesn't, then I won't have it and will make do with the 2D/anaglyph 3D that I already have.
     
  17. Geo Gabor

    Geo Gabor Stunt Coordinator

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    A question, if I may...
    Is the audio on the 2D version that is included also in DTS-HD? I don't have 3D capabilities (yet) on my system, but would appreciate an upgrade in audio over the previously-released 2D version, which only had compressed audio.
    Thanks!
     
  18. Ronald Epstein

    Ronald Epstein Administrator
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    Geo, According to the specs on the box I believe both
    tracks are DTS-HD.
     
  19. Geo Gabor

    Geo Gabor Stunt Coordinator

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    Thanks for the info, Ron! I'll be picking this up when the price drops a bit. Who knows - maybe it'll inspire me to get a 3D setup at some point in the future!
     
  20. Ronald Epstein

    Ronald Epstein Administrator
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    Yeah, Geo, you are future-proofing your purchase.
     

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