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3D Blu-ray Reviews

Wreck-It-Ralph: THE HTF 3D ADDICT REVIEW



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#1 of 1 OFFLINE   Ronald Epstein

Ronald Epstein

    Studio Mogul



  • 41,094 posts
  • Join Date: Jul 03 1997

Posted February 18 2013 - 12:18 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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WRECK-IT RALPH



Studio: Walt Disney

Product Release: March 5, 2013

Ratio: 2.39:1

Audio: 7.1 DTS-HD Master Audio. English, French and Spanish 5.1 Dolby Digital

Running Time: 101 Minutes

Rating: PG



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ON A SCALE 0-5

Overall 3D Presentation Rating: 5

3D Separation: 5

3D In Yo' Face Factor: 3



I think it's rather safe to say that for the 60 individuals who

attended the 2012 Home Theater Forum Meet last October, there's

a very special place for Wreck-It-Ralph in all our hearts. Our group

had the privilege of being one of the first audiences to preview the

film weeks ahead of theatrical release during our visit to the Walt

Disney Animation Studios in Burbank.  It's one thing to be invited to

a premier like this, but when you get to screen it with the film's producer,

Clark Spencer, it takes the experience to an entirely new level.


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The praise I have for this film doesn't come on the heels of being

included in a screening.  Wreck-It-Ralph stands well on its own merits,

as it is the most ambitious animated project to date from Walt Disney Studios.

The film gives tribute to the world of video gaming and it includes more than

180 animated characters throughout.  Anyone familiar with the history of video

gaming will recognize their favorite characters, many of which whom Disney

had to license to include in the film.  Attempting to stay as authentic as possible,

many of the original actors were used to voice their characters.

 

I urge all of you reading this review, before even attempting to watch this film,

to read the transcript from Clark Spencer's introduction to the Home Theater

Forum group.  It gives a wonderful overview of the visual styles used to

design the different worlds of Wreck-It Ralph. It's the kind of primer that gives

real appreciation to how the animators move us from a simple 8-bit animated

world to that of the modern digital age.  In fact, it was a real challenge for

Disney's team to work in 8-bit, as it went against the grain of everything they

knew about designing fluent and realistic animation.


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Wreck-It-Ralph is the villain in this story (voiced by John C. Reilly) who by

day carries out his arcade programmed duties of wrecking a lone building

filled with inhabitants only to have Fix-It Felix (Jack McBrayer) come to the

rescue as he mends the wreckage with his magic hammer.  At night, as the

arcades close and the video gamers go home, we watch as characters come

to life, traveling home after a day's work to their individual worlds through a

power strip known as Game Central Station.


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Unfortunate for Ralph, his "bad guy" trademark stays with him after hours as

neighbors endlessly celebrate the heroics of Fix-It Felix.  Ralph is not the only

discontent character in the gaming world, which we discover through the

"Bad-anon" villain support group that he attends each evening with the likes

of Neff, Zangief, Satan, Clyde, Bowser and Dr. Robotnik (to name a few).

Humiliated of his profession, and in an effort to shed his negative image, Ralph

decides to break the rules and sneak into other arcade games in hopes of

winning a medal which he feels will bring him the respect he deserves. The

arcade games turn out to be Hero's Duty, a first-person shooter game where

Ralph helps Sergeant Calhoun (Jane Lynch) defeat Cyber bugs -and- Sugar Rush,

a kart racing game where he happens upon the "glitchy" Vanellope Von Schweetz

(Sarah Silverman).


Having just given you the total premise for the film, it would not be in anyone's

best interest to tell you anything further about the plot, but rest assured, this is

a perfectly executed, engaging story with real heart and plenty of humor.


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Wreck-It-Ralph is a marvel to watch on the home screen with its bold visuals

that are brought out in amazing, sharp detail.  Colors are exceptionally vivid and

black levels are astonishingly dark, which you'll constantly notice in Penelope's

candy-soaked hair.  I can't say enough about how breathtaking this film looks

in high definition.


However, the real treat here is the 3D presentation.  Do objects come flying

out of the screen?  No.  In fact, despite a few fingers and guns that protrude

forward, there is absolutely no gimmickry to be found here.  And you know,

usually my reviews are "make or break" solely upon the level of pop-out that

exists.


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For once, I'm taking a step back here as I found the need to look at a film

like this from an entirely different perspective.  Wreck-It-Ralph succeeds at being

one of the very best 3D animated films because of the way the extra dimensionality

breathes new life into its worlds to the point where you find yourself so engrossed

in the story, that you totally forget that you are wearing eyewear.  The Disney

animation team must have gone completely amok, letting their imaginations run

wild, as they created the world of Sugar Rush with its vines of laughing taffy,

pools of exploding mementos and tree branches made of candy cane. As the

camera shifts the viewer through and above this land filled with confections,

it's truly an awe-inspiring experience thanks to the added level of depth which

adds a sensational amount of realism to what is being viewed.  I couldn't help but

think how less involving this movie would be for me if I were watching it in 2D.

For that reason alone, I rank Wreck-It-Ralph as the best animated 3D experience

I have enjoyed to date.


The 7.1 DTS-HD MA soundtrack (downconverted to 5.1 on my system) is as

superb as you would expect.  The intensity of the aural experience is ever-changing

as you go from composer Henry Jackman's catchy 8-bit electronic themes that

represent the retro 80's arcade games to the more highly orchestrated variations

that represent the worlds of Hero's Duty and Sugar Rush.  Things become immensely

involving once entering Hero's Duty, with a detailed sound design that brings every

channel in the room to life with sound effects, music and dialogue that come together

so perfectly that the viewer is hurdled into its environment.


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Wreck-It-Ralph arrives as a 4-Disc Combo Pack that features a 3D Blu-ray Feature

+ Bonus Disc, a 2D Blu-ray Feature +Bonus Disc, a DVD Feature +Bonus Disc and

an additional Digital Copy of Feature Film Disc.  The Blu-ray case is sleeved in

cardboard lenticular packaging.


As usual, Disney includes a wealth of extras on these discs that no doubt all of

you will take the time to explore -- but I must urge that you give the included

theatrical short, Paperman, a watch.  It's a marvelous black-and-white short that

will surely capture your heart, and hopefully, an Oscar for which it is nominated for.



CONCLUSION



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You will be very surprised to find that I am placing Wreck-It-Ralph at the very top

of my list of the best 3D animated title currently available as of this date.  Nearly void

of the kind of gimmickry that usually places a film at the top of my list, Wreck-It-Ralph

is deserving of its recognition for its fresh concept, perfectly executed storytelling,

and superlative animation that is perfectly enhanced in 3D.  The Blu-ray is an outstanding

experience in every way and should not be passed up.



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




 

Ronald J Epstein
Home Theater Forum co-owner

 

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