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.
Disney's A Christmas Carol
Studio: Walt Disney
Product Release: November 16, 2010
Audio: English 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio, French & Spanish Dolby 5.1
Running Time: 96 Minutes
ON A SCALE 0-5
Overall 3D Presentation Rating: 5
3D Separation: 5
3D In Yo' Face Factor: 3
EVEN SCROOGE WOULD BE PROUD OF THIS
The first thing I thought last year when Disney's A
Christmas Carol hit the screen was "Do we really need
yet another retelling of this story?"
It's easy to give Robert Zemeckis a break on selecting
this material for his capture performance animation. What
he has created a is a very faithful retelling of the story that
takes place in a very lifelike animated world that is greatly
enhanced by 3D technology.
I sit and wonder who Zemeckis was making this film for.
Under the Disney banner, you would think that this would
be a "family-friendly" film. However, this retelling is very
dark with very disturbing imagery and dialogue that comes
directly out of the book. For me this was the downfall of
the film. I could sit here and appreciate the fact that the
director didn't pander to young audiences but at the same
time I found that the film comes off as being somewhat
dull with very little emotion. It's a wonderfully animated
film but I get the feeling that I'll be sticking with the more
uplifting classic versions for years to come.
Disney has struck gold with their first 3D digital release.
When you combine such wonderfully detailed animation
with 3D technology that really conveys a sense of depth
you have the perfect disc to demo to your family and friends.
There are wonderful 3D moments to savor here such as
the falling snow that often comes within inches of your
face. The most bizarre sequence in the film is when
Scrooge shrinks in size. I really disliked the fact that
the filmmakers went in this direction but I can see why....
it provides some of the best 3D moments in the film due
to its varying height perspectives.
Alas, the transfer is not perfect. There is ghosting here,
and I think I have figured it all out. For me, I find ghosting
in any dark scene that is lit by ambient light. Pretty much
every 3D transfer I have seen suffers from this problem.
Some worse than others.
In the first 10 minutes as various characters assemble
in Scrooge's darkened shop lit only by candlelight, you can
see varying amounts of ghosting. Take a look at the dance
sequence of Christmas Past at the 41 minute mark where
the camera pulls into Scrooge and Belle. Belle's facial
features are clearly doubled. The home of Bob Cratchit,
also very dark, provides ghosting problems. Look when
Tiny Tim raises his cup and exclaims, "God Bless us all!"
You can see that the cup looks doubled. When the Ghost
of Christmas Future brings Scrooge back to the Cratchit
home and we watch a heartbroken Bob climbing the stairs
you can see ghosting. Fortunately, these ghosting issues
are far more minimal than what I saw on The Polar Express.
I wouldn't say that there is much "In You' Face" moments
here, but the animation does make good use of having
objects protrude the screen without seeming like its going
for the gimmick. Objects like snow, flame embers and
pointing fingers seemingly drift out of the display screen.
Presented in DTS-HD 5.1, I found the audio to be very
immersive featuring the score of Alan Silvestri combined
with a swirling amount of effect noises that cross every
channel such as the laughter of ghosts, the "whooshing"
of wind or the clapping of thunder. There is an incredible
amount of bass to be heard here. Turn the audio up as
Marley approaches from outside Scrooge's bed chamber.
I advise the same for when the Ghost of Christmas
Present opens the floor of Scrooge's living room and
begins shifting the house in different directions. You can
really feel the floors shake.
The film comes packaged in a wonderful lenticular slipcase.
You know, I should never have gone with a
number rating system. There is already arguments as
to why I would give a top-rating of "5" to a 3D transfer
that has ghosting problems.
The reason is because this format is still in its infancy
and either the hardware or the studios can't get all the
kinks out that cause problems like ghosting. So, sometimes
I have to put something that can't be easily be solved to
the side and look at the bigger picture.
I am ranking Disney's A Christmas Carol as one of the
best 3D transfers that is currently available despite its
minor flaws. It may not be nearly the best telling of the
Dickens classic, but it certainly will be something that
you'll put in your Blu-ray player time and time again when
showing off your new system to family and friends.
LG 60PX950 THX Certified 3D display
LG BX580 3D Blu-ray Player
Denon 3808CI Receiver
Atlantic Technology H-PAS AT-1 fronts, 4400 center; 4200 rear speakers
SV Sound Subwoofer