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.
The Universe 3D
Product Release: January 11, 2011
Audio: DTS-HD MA 5.1
Running Time: 47 Minutes
ON A SCALE 0-5
Overall 3D Presentation Rating: 3
3D Separation: 3
3D In Yo' Face Factor: 2
As 3D technology slowly continues to make its
way into consumer homes we are starting to see
smaller video companies outside of the studio
circle begin to release their own content for the format.
One such company is NEW VIDEO who is about
to release The Universe: 7 Wonders of The Solar
System this upcoming January after making the
title available as a "Best Buy Exclusive" in December.
Originally produced for the A&E Television Network,
The Universe describes itself as an "exhilarating,
unprecedented 3D tour of the seven most amazing
wonders of our solar system."
Truth be, The Universe seems to be a hastily
thrown together documentary to take advantage
of the emerging format and consumers hungry
enough to buy anything on 3D for cheap.
The premise of this documentary is that you board
your very own personal spacecraft and taken on a
3D cosmic tour. I don't want to discuss everything
that this show covers for reasons I will unveil in a
moment. Some of the highlights of our journey
include a visit to the Saturn moon of Enceladus
where we watch geysers of water erupting into space.
We take a close look at the asteroid belt, what it is
comprised of, and how much of a danger it poses to
our planet based upon the myths Hollywood has
shown us. Along the way we are introduced to
scientists who offer their opinions on the topics
that are at hand.
All well and good, but it seems as if the entire
experience is badly executed.
The first problem is that they made the journey
into a hokey countdown show complete with the
kind of over-the-top, goofy narration you would expect
from this kind of fare. The second problem is that
the entire documentary is made up of cartoonish graphics
that look rather dated. So, with the exception of two
or three satellite photos there isn't any actual space
footage included here. What you get is a computer
graphic rendition of what scientists believe these
"wonders" look like.
The image quality and 3D rendering is perfectly fine.
There's a decent amount of separation within the computer
animation but one can't help but think that they took old
footage and upconverted it. The 3D actually looks far better
when it is focused on live-action such as scientists and
various nature footage.
Don't expect much "In Yo' Face" 3D despite the fact that
the show tries so hard to throw space debris at the screen.
Most all of it stays firmly within its own dimension. The
only truly interesting piece of footage in this entire documentary
consists of an actual 3D image taken from space of the Sun
which pokes itself out from the screen towards the viewer.
There are traces of ghosting to be seen here though nothing
persistant enough to ruin the 3D experience.
The Blu-ray features a robust 5.1 DTS soundtrack that
features clear narration supported by a bass-heavy
music soundtrack. The rears provide ambience for the
space effects which include asteroids that pass from front
to rear as well as wind noise. Nothing overly immersive
but just effective enough.
The Universe 7 Wonders of The Solar System made me
feel as cold and empty as space itself. Anyone expecting
impressive space footage will ultimately feel cheated by
this feeble production filled with outdated CGI effects and
only marginally impressive 3D.
Still, for $20, I think a purchase may be worthy for those
that have pre-teens who are interested in the solar system
and whom will certainly enjoy learning about it with the
enhancement of 3D.
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