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HTF REVIEW: Happy Feet



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#1 of 17 Ken_McAlinden

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Posted March 13 2007 - 05:52 AM

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Happy Feet

Directed By: George Miller

Starring: Elijah Wood, Robin Williams, Brittany Murphy, Nicole Kidman, Hugh Jackman, Hugo Weaving, E.G. Daily, and a motion captured Savion Glover

Ken McAlinden
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#2 of 17 Aaron Silverman

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Posted March 13 2007 - 07:02 AM

Thanks for the review, Ken! Yours is just about the most positive review I've read of this film, and you didn't even seem to think it was all that.

I can only assume that its two wonderful Oscar competitors cancelled each other out come voting time. Posted Image
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#3 of 17 Ken_McAlinden

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Posted March 13 2007 - 07:53 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Aaron Silverman
Thanks for the review, Ken! Yours is just about the most positive review I've read of this film, and you didn't even seem to think it was all that.

I can only assume that its two wonderful Oscar competitors cancelled each other out come voting time. Posted Image
After I write my reviews, I like to go back and see what other critics thought about the films. If you believe in the power of the "Tomatometer", "Happy Feet" was actually better reviewed than both "Monster House" and "Cars". If you actually read the reviews, it had a lot of modestly favorable reviews, but only a few raves. I actually thought "Cars", "A Scanner Darkly", "Flushed Away", and "Over the Hedge" were all better films than "Happy Feet". I did not see "Monster House".

Regards,
Ken McAlinden
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#4 of 17 Lord Dalek

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Posted March 13 2007 - 07:59 AM

384 Kbps? Weird...

#5 of 17 Ken_McAlinden

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Posted March 13 2007 - 08:03 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Joel Henderson
384 Kbps? Weird...
Perhaps since Prince worked on the film, the DVD authors wanted to party like it was 1999. At least we didn't get a snapper case. Posted Image

Regards,
Ken McAlinden
Livonia, MI USA

#6 of 17 Stephen_J_H

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Posted March 13 2007 - 08:37 AM

I think you answered your own question. Because all three 5.1 tracks are 384kbps, maybe space was an issue.
"My opinion is that (a) anyone who actually works in a video store and does not understand letterboxing has given up on life, and (b) any customer who prefers to have the sides of a movie hacked off should not be licensed to operate a video player."-- Roger Ebert

#7 of 17 Ken_McAlinden

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Posted March 13 2007 - 08:55 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Stephen_J_H
I think you answered your own question. Because all three 5.1 tracks are 384kbps, maybe space was an issue.
Providing the original theatrical soundtrack at 448kbps would only require an additional bit budget of 64kbps - hardly enough to break the bank. Warner's "Blood Diamond" has three 448kbps tracks and a 192kbps commentary track on one disc. That disc only has a trailer for an extra, but the movie is 35 minutes longer than "Happy Feet". All of "Happy Feet"'s extras combined are less than 35 minutes.

Regards,
Ken McAlinden
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#8 of 17 IanS

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Posted March 13 2007 - 01:51 PM

This is the movie that beat Bond at the box office in North America

#9 of 17 Colin Jacobson

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Posted March 13 2007 - 02:09 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by IanS
This is the movie that beat Bond at the box office in North America

Okay - and you point is...?
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#10 of 17 Matthew Clayton

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Posted March 13 2007 - 02:58 PM

It seems that the WB is lowering the DD 5.1 bit rate for their blockbuster hits, yet giving the bombs the 448 kps DD 5.1 track nowadays. But didn't The Departed have three full-fledged 448 kps DD 5.1 tracks (English, French and Spanish)? That was a modest hit for the WB...

I hope the WB maintains consistency with their further releases -- preferably give every one of their modern theatrical releases the highest bit rate DD 5.1 track allowed.

Although it won't be given a DVD release until December (let alone released until July), I hope the WB goes back to 448 kps for Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix -- the 384 kps track for Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire was disappointing in that it didn't sound quite as robust like the first three movies did, preferably due to the lower DD 5.1 bitrate.

#11 of 17 Yumbo

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Posted March 24 2007 - 07:32 AM

I found the picture quite horrible with mosquito noise EVERYWHERE.

#12 of 17 Ken_McAlinden

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Posted March 26 2007 - 01:53 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Yumbo
I found the picture quite horrible with mosquito noise EVERYWHERE.
Hmmm? I didn't see it everywhere, but there was no shortage of it. The weird thing was that it seemed to go along with the high contrast edge ringing, and was present even around static objects. I called it "compression artifacts" in my review because that's what it looks like, but referring to it as "mosquito noise" is probably a better term since it seems to be as much or more pronounced in static shots when the object is not moving as it is around pans and movement.

Regards,
Ken McAlinden
Livonia, MI USA

#13 of 17 Stephen_J_H

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Posted March 26 2007 - 02:44 AM

Yet the raves go on and on for the HD DVD version. Conspiracy?
"My opinion is that (a) anyone who actually works in a video store and does not understand letterboxing has given up on life, and (b) any customer who prefers to have the sides of a movie hacked off should not be licensed to operate a video player."-- Roger Ebert

#14 of 17 Aaron Silverman

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Posted March 26 2007 - 05:41 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ken_McAlinden
After I write my reviews, I like to go back and see what other critics thought about the films. If you believe in the power of the "Tomatometer", "Happy Feet" was actually better reviewed than both "Monster House" and "Cars".

Well, I did believe in the power of the Tomatometer until you told me that. Posted Image Then again, I should probably see Happy Feet for myself first. Posted Image


Quote:
Originally Posted by Ken_McAlinden
I actually thought "Cars", "A Scanner Darkly", "Flushed Away", and "Over the Hedge" were all better films than "Happy Feet". I did not see "Monster House".

I haven't seen any of those others yet aside from Cars, which I think people will look back on more fondly than many critics did initially. They're all on my to-see list though.

If you have kids, or if you appreciate movies aimed at kids that aren't dumbed-down, then you should definitely check out Monster House. You can read my review of it in the Reviews Archive folder here. It's a shame that Sony didn't push it as hard as they could have (although the DVD is fabulous) -- it's the sort of thing that could have been a minor Halloween classic.
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#15 of 17 Stephen Orr

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Posted March 27 2007 - 11:35 PM

Passed on this at the theaters. It's on the way from Netflix right now.

#16 of 17 Jon Martin

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Posted March 28 2007 - 11:28 AM

Just watched this from Netflix.

I'll admit to not being the most techie guy around her, I watched it on a standard 37 inch Sony Wega, without even a surround sound system.

But, for those that watched this on low end systems, was it just me or did the film not look good? The picture quality felt washed out.

Compared to a lot of the recent computer animated films (like FLUSHED AWAY which looked great), I thought the transfer was pretty weak. And again, I don't even pick up on a lot of the technical complaints that get mentioned here.

As for the film, I also wasn't impressed. BUT, my 3 year old niece loved it in the theatre, and has already watched it a few times on DVD. So, it is probably more for kids.

#17 of 17 Jonny P

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Posted March 29 2007 - 01:07 AM

I watched this on a 37" Vizio LCD Widescreen TV that I purchased last week.

This was the third computer-animated movie that I had watched (after "Chicken Little" and "Cars") on the television using my Sony progressive scan DVD player from 2005 (not an upconvert player).

I, too, was "stunned" by how poor the "Happy Feet" transfer looked. There seemed to be quite a bit of what looked like "grain" in the image.

As the initial review pointed out, there seemed to be a lot of "noise" around objects -- especially the letters on the names on the opening credits.

Compared to both "Chicken Little" and "Cars," this was disappointing.

Obviously, standard definition DVDs aren't going to have the sharpness or resolution of the hi-def discs. Yet it has been my experience so far that computer-animated SD discs tend to look at least "smooth" even if 480p is a bit "soft" looking on an HD set.

For a while, I was convinced this movie had been transferred from film instead of from a digital source.

I thought this movie was "so-so" in theaters. I purchased it because I expected it to look great, and I wanted to see if I was missing something from theaters. I mean, it did win the Best Animated Picture at the Oscars, but for the life of me, I don't know why.

Anyhow...

I don't know if this regular DVD version was "dialed down" so that the Blu-Ray and HD-DVD releases would look significantly better to consumers or not.

I'd hope that studios aren't doing that.

"Happy Feet" didn't look like the DVD transfer of a movie released in 2007. Instead, it looked more like the transfer of a movie done several years ago when compression technologies weren't as good as in the past few years.

That's not to say that it is "horrid," but it is to say that it really isn't up to snuff.


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