3D Blu-ray Review A Turtle's Tale: Sammy's Adventures: THE HTF 3D ADDICT REVIEW

Ronald Epstein

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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.








A Turtle's Tale

Sammy's Adventures



Studio: Optimum Home Entertainment

Product Release: September 19, 2011

Ratio: 1.77:1

Audio: 5.1 DTS HD Master Audio

Running Time: 86 Minutes

Rating: G


3dsmall.jpg

ON A SCALE 0-5

Overall 3D Presentation Rating: 5

3D Separation: 5

3D In Yo' Face Factor: 5


A VISUAL 3D FEAST FOR THE EYES!



So, let me begin by stating what I would have said at the very end

of this review....A Turtle's Tale: Sammy's Adventures is visually,

the most remarkable 3D title available to those who can get it.  I

say this because it's not available in the United States, and if you

try to import it, a region-free 3D Blu-ray player will be your only

means of watching it.  A shame, as this is a disc that should be

packaged with every 3D display or player as a benchmark of how

great this format can look in the home.





But what we have here is something that is tremendously appealing

visually, but perhaps a little underwhelming in substance for adults.  

It's a very simplistic story about Sammy's (Yuri Lowenthal) adventures

over the course of several decades from hatchling to adult, as he

explores the seven seas discovering friends and finding the love of his

life, Shelly (Gemma Arteron).  Along the way Sammy and his friends

have many encounters with humans who either befriend them or pose

a danger to their environment.


Voiced by a mostly British cast, Sammy's Adventures sports amazing

animation, production value and pop-out 3D -- but gets anchored by a 

lame story and a continuous effort to push an environmental message

upon the viewer.  





The transfer itself looks spectacular allowing an amazing level of detail

to be brought out within the animation.  Many of the film's underwater

scenes provide a pallet of vivid, eye-popping colors that dazzle the

senses.  The overall level of sharpness not only brings out the tiniest

details of underwater sea life, but makes it seemingly realistic enough

that you can almost reach into it.


The 3D is obviously the selling point here, and I will tell you now that

no other film I have seen makes more use of pop-out gimmickry than

this one.  There are so many moments during this film where I caught

myself saying, "WOW," over and over again.  The undersea world

becomes a visual obstacle course as the camera weaves in and out

of coral and fish dart towards the viewer from every direction.  The

level of depth is very well pronounced as bubbles and debris seem

properly layered as they float between foreground and background.  


...but the real treat for home audiences will be watching the film's

characters come to life before their eyes.  The animation doesn't

merely poke itself out of the screen -- it moves itself off the screen

and directly in front of the viewer.  As Sammy and his friend Ray

(Anthony Anderson) enjoy a playful swim, the animators push the

limits of pop-out as one character attempts to lunge further forward

than the other into the face of the viewer.  Sea Horses and other

fish also exist in the empty space between display screen and

spectator, and I can only warn you now to watch out for a snapping

crab that gets a little too close to the viewer's nose for comfort.


I cannot stress enough how unbelievably well the 3D pop-out has

been rendered.  It's unlike anything you have seen before in the

home as Hollywood is doing everything it can not to do the things

that this film attempts.


There are small traces of ghosting to be seen here and there, along

the facial lines of Sammy, but it's very brief and seldom that one

catches it.



Unfortunately, the films 5.1 DTS HD-Master audio is rather lacking in

providing a totally immersive experience.  Very rarely did I hear any

sort of effect work being being thrown to the rears.  This is a very

front-heavy soundtrack with excellent stereo imaging. Vocals are

effectively spread across the center, left and right channel. Didn't notice

much LFE support here.  It seems there was very little effort into making

this a captivating soundtrack.


A Turtle's Tale: Sammy's Adventures is only available in the UK

as a 3-Disc (3D Blu-ray+Blu-Ray+DVD) combo or a slightly cheaper

single Blu-ray with both 3D and 2D on the same disc.  I went with the

cheaper combination. Once again I warn, if you import it to the U.S.

be certain you have a region-free blu-ray player.



CONCLUSION




Visually, A Turtles Tale: Sammy's Adventures is a wet dream for

anyone like myself who enjoys 3D pop-out that is exceptionally well

presented.  It's the kind of feature you might only expect to see at a theme

park as it's extremely rare these days that anybody is making these kind

of films anymore. In fact, I have only seen it done for mere seconds in the 

the IMAX Blu-ray, Under The Sea.  


Yes, this is the way 3D was supposed to be before Hollywood decided

that depth was more important than pop-out.  Yes, this is the best 3D

Blu-ray that you can get your hands on right now, though unfortunately,

the disc is coded for region B.


Buy this film for its visuals.  You will be stunned.  You will be amazed.  

Just be warned that all of it comes at the cost of a mostly lame story

that gets overly preachy at times. Most adults won't watch this more

than once, though I bet it will shamefully be shown off to friends who

want to be WOW'd.




Equipment


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

 
 
 

Steve Tannehill

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Thanks Ron. This one is in the queue. I also got the 1-disc version, as it includes 2D and 3D on the same disc. It's good to know that I'll be able to use the region mod kid on the Oppo again.
 

Ejanss

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It's become a sort of journey-to-Mecca proof of loyalty for Blu3D adopters to search out an import of the 3D disk, but for those with a PS3 who just want to satisfy curiosity for initiation's sake, the 3D version's already on Vudu.com for $6 rental.
It's a movie for looking at, not listening to (strange that we didn't make such a big fuss when the German director's "Fly Me to the Moon" hit theaters), but apart from exhibition, there's not much here for a second viewing. There's more pop-out than there is in your average recent Dreamworks movie, but given the choice, I'd rewatch a Dreamworks disk.
 

fxrh

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I'm glad you caught up with this one, Ron! I bought a region-free disc about a year ago from Yesasia, but my understanding is that it is currently unavailable.
I only recently got this disc back from my sister, who held onto it for several months, and since I have made some adjustments to my home theater 3D setup during that time, I think I'll check it out again... right now!
 

RolandL

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fxrh said:
I'm glad you caught up with this one, Ron! I bought a region-free disc about a year ago from Yesasia, but my understanding is that it is currently unavailable.
I only recently got this disc back from my sister, who held onto it for several months, and since I have made some adjustments to my home theater 3D setup during that time, I think I'll check it out again... right now!
If you don't have a region free player, ddhouse has it for $36.39 including shipping to the US.
 

Johnny Angell

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Why is this not being sold in the US? Seems like we've got a big children's market in this country. This review has gotten me interested.
 

bob kaplan

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i ordered this from a dealer that deals with Chinese (i THINK!!!) Blu rays.It has an alternate English track and plays fine on my PS3 and other SONY machine.....and every one is correct...there is real pop out...i think the place was DDDHouse.com. But i just checked there and it is not listed.
 

fxrh

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I thought I'd spend some time this evening/morning reading interviews with Ben Stassen, the Belgian director of SAMMY'S ADVENTURES and the prime mover of many IMAX 3D spectacles such as ENCOUNTERS IN THE THIRD DIMENSION, ALIEN ADVENTURE, and the controversial (at the time) HAUNTED CASTLE. (I would love to see these shorts on a compendium 3D Blu-ray. I have the old field-sequential 3Ds of these titles.) I just came across this interesting comment that Stassen made while working on SAMMY:
"Hollywood is making 2-1/2 D films, just using space to create a little depth. It’s halfbaked - the most timid form of 3D. They’re not using 3D as a revolutionary language. They’re not going far enough."
I suspect there are many forum members who would wholeheartedly agree with this assessment!
 
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Ronald Epstein

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Quote:
"Hollywood is making 2-1/2 D films, just using space to create a little depth. It’s halfbaked - the most timid form of 3D. They’re not using 3D as a revolutionary language. They’re not going far enough."

Sam,

There has been a few of us screaming about that since day one.

Hollywood is playing it waaaay to safe with 3D.

And, what's scary, is the attitude of manufacturer(s) who are working
on future technologies such as "glasses-free 3D." They feel that pop-out
isn't important and as such, from what I have seen, these displays will
not provide it.

Actually, I think the reason manufacturers are playing down pop-out
is because they can't do it with a glasses-free display. The glasses are
the one element needed for images to make that leap from screen forward.

...but the point is, Hollywood and manufacturers are going to continue
to dumb down the 3D format. Films like Sammy's Adventures will be
a rarity. They will only be seen in theme parks, not homes.
 

RolandL

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bob kaplan said:
i ordered this from a dealer that deals with Chinese (i THINK!!!) Blu rays.It has an alternate English track and plays fine on my PS3 and other SONY machine.....and every one is correct...there is real pop out...i think the place was DDDHouse.com. But i just checked there and it is not listed.
It still is available at ddhouse
 

RolandL

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fxrh said:
I thought I'd spend some time this evening/morning reading interviews with Ben Stassen, the Belgian director of SAMMY'S ADVENTURES and the prime mover of many IMAX 3D spectacles such as ENCOUNTERS IN THE THIRD DIMENSION, ALIEN ADVENTURE, and the controversial (at the time) HAUNTED CASTLE. (I would love to see these shorts on a compendium 3D Blu-ray. I have the old field-sequential 3Ds of these titles.) I just came across this interesting comment that Stassen made while working on SAMMY:
"Hollywood is making 2-1/2 D films, just using space to create a little depth. It’s halfbaked - the most timid form of 3D. They’re not using 3D as a revolutionary language. They’re not going far enough."
I suspect there are many forum members who would wholeheartedly agree with this assessment!
I know my cable system Comcast has a free 3-D channel and free 3-D movies on demand with ENCOUNTERS IN THE THIRD DIMENSION, ALIEN ADVENTURE, and HAUNTED CASTLE being shown.
 

Douglas R

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Ronald Epstein said:
Sam,
There has been a few of us screaming about that since day one.
Hollywood is playing it waaaay to safe with 3D.
I think the studios are playing it safe because they want 3D films to be mainstream and not be accused of just being a gimmick - although personally I'm with you in preferring 3D to be used actively. I suspect "A Turtle's Tale" is not going to be my sort of film but your enthusiasm about the pop-out 3D effects has made me order it. :)
 

fxrh

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Charles Maesschalck said:
Why was Haunted Castle controversial?
HAUNTED CASTLE was originally developed for screening at IMAX theaters, following the successful leads of ENCOUNTER IN THE THIRD DIMENSION and ALIEN ADVENTURE. The IMAX corporation requested that theaters not show the picture. It was deemed too morbid compared to typical IMAX fare. Most theaters screened it anyway.
 

RolandL

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Ronald Epstein said:
Sam,
There has been a few of us screaming about that since day one.
Hollywood is playing it waaaay to safe with 3D.
And, what's scary, is the attitude of manufacturer(s) who are working
on future technologies such as "glasses-free 3D."  They feel that pop-out
isn't important and as such, from what I have seen, these displays will
not provide it.
Actually, I think the reason manufacturers are playing down pop-out 
is because they can't do it with a glasses-free display.  The glasses are
the one element needed for images to make that leap from screen forward.
...but the point is, Hollywood and manufacturers are going to continue
to dumb down the 3D format.  Films like Sammy's Adventures will be
a rarity.  They will only be seen in theme parks, not homes.
I don't think it's because of the glasses-free displays. The display we saw at Dolby was pretty bad and about six inches thick. This one is even worse. Until they can make the 3-D work no matter what angle you are looking at, and the price the same as the glasses required displays, these glasses-free displays will not be a factor. The cost of 3-D glasses are not a factor with passive displays as they usually come with a dozen or more of them. Samsung has a promotion this week where you get free with your 3-D TV purchase, a 3-D blu-ray player and 10 pairs of active glasses (six with the free Blu-ray player promotion and the TV box usually has two to four pairs). You can also purchase the glasses for $19.99 each.
 

Johnny Angell

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Both BB and Amazon have offered that promotion in the past. I just looked at the TV I recently purchased, the Samsung 55" ES7100. Currently Amazon wants $1800 for it with a choice of a 22" TV or a $200 Amazon gift card. When I bought my TV I had a choice of a $400 gift card or (and I'm kinda vaguely remembering here) a TV, the blu-ray player with glasses. I took the gift card.
These things are fluid. 1-2 weeks ago, Amazon didn't stock my TV and I thought maybe they weren't going to sell that model anymore.
 

Charles Smith

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I shall look forward to experiencing this pop-out experience on Reed's 120-inch screen!
 

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