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HTF BLU-RAY REVIEW: Kit Kittredge: An American Girl

Blu-ray Reviews

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#1 of 3 Cameron Yee

Cameron Yee

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Posted November 01 2008 - 01:23 PM

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Release Date: Available now (original release date October 28, 2008)
Studio: New Line Cinema
Packaging/Materials: Single-disc Blu-Ray case
Year: 2008
Rating: G
Running Time: 1h40m
MSRP: $35.99

MAIN FEATURESPECIAL FEATURES
Video1080p high definition 16x9 1.85:1 (closer to 1.78:1)May be in standard definition
AudioDolby Digital: English 5.1Audio standards my vary
SubtitlesEnglishNone


The Feature: 4/5
Ten-year old Kit Kittredge (Abigail Breslin) dreams of being a journalist but is growing up in times so troubled that she may have to put that dream on hold. The Great Depression has reached her home of Cincinnati and it's not long before her father (Chris Connolly) is forced to look for work elsewhere. Left to hold down the fort, Kit and her mom (Julia Ormond) make do with what they have and take in several boarders to make ends meet. When the Kittredge household becomes the next victim in a string of local robberies, all the adults suspect a couple juvenile hobos who have been helping around the house. But Kit is nothing if not clever and her fledgling investigative skills will come in handy proving her friends' innocence.

Inspired by a popular series of dolls, "Kit Kittredge: An American Girl" is a solid family film that will appeal to both children and adults. Breslin is suitably endearing in the title role and the supporting cast of boarders is entertaining. The film's direct, but still resonant, messages about integrity, perseverance and community more than make up for its few faults, namely some awkward pacing and unnecessary slapstick. Though "Kit Kittredge" is the only "American Girl" film to see a theatrical release so far, if future endeavors are done as well, the franchise will have a deservedly long and lasting lifespan.


Video Quality: 2.5/5
Though labeled as 1.85:1 the image fills the entirety of my 16x9 display. The picture is generally clean of physical blemishes, but contrast is often quite flat and black levels range from dull to crushed. Detail is adequate though the image can look rather soft at times. Color rendition is also quite variable - flesh tones tend to look too warm indoors while tending to look too cool outdoors. If an aged sepia effect has been applied, it is not implemented consistently or effectively enough to vindicate the shifting color cast. While grain structure is visible so is minor noise at times. I'm not sure what happened (or didn't happen) in the transfer process, but I'm curious to see if the DVD transfer is as problematic.


Audio Quality: 3.5/5
Though lacking a lossless or uncompressed audio track, the 640 kbps Dolby Digital audio track sounds suitably clean and detailed in this dialogue driven film. Surround activity mainly consists of support for dramatic cues in the score, with only occasional directional or ambient effects. Though there are no instances necessitating LFE, audio sounds sufficiently full in the lower frequencies.


Special Features: 1/5

Digital Copy: Available for Mac and Windows platforms.

American Girl Theatrical Trailers (56s): Three trailers for direct-to-video movies continuing the American Girl franchise.


Recap

The Feature: 4/5
Video Quality: 2.5/5
Audio Quality: 3.5/5
Special Features: 1/5
Overall Score (not an average): 2.5/5

A solid and endearing family film gets a problematic video transfer, acceptable audio treatment and a meager set of special features. Given the average treatment on Blu-Ray and the significant price difference between it and the DVD release, it may actually be a smarter choice to buy the DVD, which also has a few additional special features. It's just unfortunate that the film was not given its due on a format that could have handily shown it off.
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#2 of 3 Ken_McAlinden

Ken_McAlinden

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Posted November 03 2008 - 03:07 AM

Interesting. They actually prepared two brief featurettes and a small set of deleted scenes, but only made them available as downloadable WMV files on the SD DVD version. I would have thought that they would have enough space on a BD to make them available on disc like they did with the downloadable featurettes on the 2-disc I am Legend.

As for the video presentation. I am pretty sure it is supposed to look that way. They did not go overboard with the color filters, but they pushed the exposure a lot, especially on the interiors.

Regards,
Ken McAlinden
Livonia, MI USA

#3 of 3 Cameron Yee

Cameron Yee

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Posted November 04 2008 - 02:46 PM

Yes, the omission of those DVD features is curious.

The reviewer at High Def Digest saw the film theatrically and the BD's transfer differed considerably.
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