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3D Blu-ray Reviews

Gnomeo & Juliet: The HTF 3D ADDICT REVIEW



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#1 of 1 OFFLINE   Ronald Epstein

Ronald Epstein

    Studio Mogul



  • 42,699 posts
  • Join Date: Jul 03 1997

Posted May 11 2011 - 11:41 PM




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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.






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GNOMEO & JULIET 3D



Studio: Touchstone

Product Release: May 24, 2011

Ratio: 1.85:1

Audio: DTS-HD MA 7.1, English and 5.1 DDS French

Running Time: 84 Minutes

Rating: G


3dsmall.jpg

ON A SCALE 0-5

Overall 3D Presentation Rating: 3

3D Separation: 3

3D In Yo' Face Factor: 3



This 3D Blu-ray kicks some grass!



Shakespear's Romeo and Juliet and has become a

timeless classic, and certainly one of the author's most

popular plays.  It has been re-imagined many times for

stage and screen, most notably in 1961 for West Side

Story.  Now, once again, the tragic love story has been

re-imagined by the folks at Touchstone animation in

this newest film, Gnomeo and Juliet.



Gnomeo and Juliet was actually the brainchild of

Elton John, who served as Executive Producer on

this film.  It is my understanding he spent the last

decade developing this children's re-telling with the

idea of using Gnomes for the subject matter of this film.

Personally, I think it was a brilliant idea as these

highly-underrated garden sculptures have gone mostly

unnoticed with, uhm, the exception of the more infamous

Traveling Gnome that has been roaming around with

Travelocity for all these years.  Sir Elton John and the

animators certainly had a wide playing field before them

and they take every advantage of  throwing in as many

ceramic and garden puns as possible, though most of the

humor that flies over kids heads will bring a smile to adults.  


The Montagues and Caputlets are represented as feuding

neighbors living in a London suburb, each with a gardened

backyard filled with a variety of adorable gnomes who have

taken on the lead characters of the Shakespearean play.

These feuding Gnomes are represented as blue and red,

segregated into separate gardens divided by a huge wall.



The blue-painted Gnomeo (voiced by James McAvoy) falls

in love with the red-painted Juliet (Emily Blunt) and both

must find a way to continue their relationship despite

the escalating feud between the two families.  Juliet's cousin

Tybalt (Jason Staham) is faithfully represented as the

main antagonist in the story, a hot-headed gnome who is

bent on destroying Gnomeo and the rest of the blue gnomes.


Gnomeo and Juliet takes the source material, follows

it mostly through, but takes a few added liberties to give

the tragedy a happy ending -- all with the blessings of

Shakespeare himself (Patrick Stewart).  After all, this is

a children's film where tragedy should be turned to happiness.



I have to be honest, I wasn't expecting much from this film

going into it, as I believe it only had modest success at

the Box-Office and was released to home video almost
immediately.  And though nothing about this film leads me

to believe it will be a memorable classic, I did manage to

have a fun time watching it.  You'll instantly appreciate the

cast of voices here from the likes of Maggie Smith, Michael

Caine,  Ozzy Osbourne, Dolly Parton and Hulk Hogan.


The clincher in really appreciating this film was its near

faultless viewing experience. This is a first-rate Blu-ray 

and perhaps one of the best looking animated transfers

in recent memory.   Firstly, the transfer is exceptionally sharp

and well detailed.  This allows for the film's brilliant array

of colors within the gnomes garden world to vibrantly saturate

the screen.  In fact, this is perhaps the most chroma-enriched

animation that I have seen.



Yet, despite the immaculate transfer, the 3D is only...well...

adequate.  I haven't been able to find out if the film was rendered

specifically for 3D or upconverted in post, but the end result is

just average.  There is definitely noticeable separation and at

times you get that nice cardboard cut-out look (for those like

myself who prefer that kind of thing).  I felt as if the animators

could have made better use of placing their characters behind

objects that would lend to a greater perception of depth.  Another

failing I found was that most all the 3D effects stay within the

confines of the screen with the exception of a few poke-outs that

include sticks, weed killer gun and a flamingo's beak.  There

are some overhead shots above rooftops that give a spectacular

sense of depth but used only sporatically.  There are some lost

opportunities with falling flower petals and dandelion seeds that

would have looked spectacular floating before the viewer's eyes,

but yet, never reach out beyond the display.   That's not to say

that Gnomeo and Juliet is a total disappointment in 3D.  I felt it's

use of the format definitely enhanced the viewing experience --

it's just not anything anyone's going to display as demo material.

It really disappoints me that when dealing with animation, you have

the ability to do some really cool 3D rendering and in the end, you

are not providing the audience with any "Wow" factor.   


Fortunately many of the scenes that take place under the veil

of darkness do not suffer any ghosting issues.  In fact, ghosting

is practically nonexistent here.



Gnomeo and Juliet features the music of Elton John whose

notable pieces of music are peppered throughout the film either

as instrumental or original recordings.  There is also at least

one new song featured by Elton and his long-time collaborator

Bernie Taupin, though I have to admit it's pretty forgettable.  Still,

for Elton fans, the film plays like a "greatest hits" tribute with songs

such as  Saturday Night’s Alright For Fighting,  Don’t Go Breaking

My  Heart, Rocket Man and Your Song


Featured on this disc is a 7.1 DTS-HD soundtrack that was

downconverted to 5.1 on my system.  There is excellent stereo

imaging to be found here and I was quite taken back by the

surround's ability to bring out the tiniest nuances in the effect

sounds.  I mean, you can hear the crack of every branch as

the little gnomes race across the yard.  Unfortunately, the one

complaint I have is that the audio lacks "punch."  I mean, here

is a film filled with instrumental and pop score and it sort of

comes across as bland.   For my personal tastes, I would

have wanted a little more LFE activity to give a little more kick

to the music. Otherwise, this is an active soundtrack certain

to embrace the viewer.


Gnomeo and Juliet arrives in a 3-disc Blu-ray 3D, Blu-ray,

DVD/Digital Copy.  The added content appears on the standard

Blu-ray disc and includes 2 alternate endings, deleted and

alternate scenes and a featurette. 



CONCLUSION



Though it will never be considered an animated classic,

Gnomeo and Juliet succeeds as being a cleverly enjoyable

family film.   The 3D is just average, and it's disheartening

that the animators didn't make better use of the props for

the format.  Still, when considering the price difference between

the standard Blu-ray and 3D Blu-ray, the latter is positively

worth purchasing.  Bravo to Disney for doing such a wonderful

job on this transfer as it doesn't get much more beautiful than this.




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 3311CI Receiver

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

SV Sound Subwoofer

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Ronald J Epstein
Home Theater Forum co-owner

 

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