3D Blu-ray Review ANT-MAN: 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.







ANT-MAN


Studio: Walt Disney
Product Release: December 8, 2015
Ratio: 1.85:1
Audio: DTS-HDMA 7.1
Running Time: 117 minutes
Rating: PG-13


On A Scale 0-5

Overall 3D Presentation Rating: 5
3D Separation: 5
3D In Yo' Face Factor: 1


When was the last time you felt a sense of thrill while sitting in front of your home theater? Yeah, there's that one movie with Dinosaurs. There's also that other movie featuring a bunch of Hobbits going to battle. But, really, when was the last time you cheered and laughed at a movie that left you feeling energetic after the credits began to roll? Been awhile...right? Well, have I got a Blu-ray to recommend...

ANT-MAN could be easily overlooked -- not just for the size of this Marvel Super Hero, but among the mass of other similar titles that have been churned out over the past few years. However, make no mistake about it, this is one of Marvel's best efforts to date. Additionally, though not the best 3D release, it is one of the most immersive and enjoyable films I have recently seen in that format. Ready? Let's get started...



By all rights, Scott Lang (Paul Rudd) should be leading a successful life. However, with a masters of Electrical Engineering in hand, he has reduced been to a petty thief, finding himself in and out of jail. Scott yearns to change his life around, and as a precondition set by his ex-wife (Judy Greer), if he gets himself a steady job and stays out of trouble, he will be allowed to reconnect with his daughter, Cassie. Easier said than done. In order to earn a little extra cash, Lang agrees to do one last heist and breaks into the home of Dr. Hank Pym (Michael Douglas), where he finds a remarkable piece of hidden research that is about to change his life.

By keeping vague on the particulars of this story, I am not going to ruin any of the twists that are in store for viewers. I am only going to say that the filmmakers have taken a very small character and truly elevated it to Super Hero status thanks to the film's blending of action, humor and terrific sci-fi effects. More importantly, this one of the more 'human" stories in the Marvel Character Universe, thanks in part to its expert casting. Both Rudd and Douglas deliver memorable performances as flawed personalities looking for some sort of redemption. I particularly enjoyed watching Michael Douglas take on the role of a father figure who becomes a mentor to Paul Rudd's character and brings some heart-tugging scenes to the film as he attempts to protect his formula and daughter from the clutches of an evil former associate, Darren Cross (Corey Stoll).



The mere fact that an actor like Michael Douglas would agree to be part of this film speaks volumes about how popular these Marvel Comic films have become. And really, this is equally as much a Douglas effort as it is Ruud. In fact, I would go as far as saying that this is one of the best Michael Douglas films I have seen, and it is his performance that gives ANT-MAN its stability.



Assigning an overall rating to the 3D presentation was a little difficult. This is an effort unconverted in post production. As I pointed out at the top of my review, ANT-MAN is not the best 3D title you can buy. I usually rate pop-out effects very high, and this film has just about none. However, for those that enjoy an immersive experience, this is one of the absolute best of that league, which is why I gave ANT-MAN the best overall score. The filmmakers have presented a playing field that is infinite in scope. Depth is the most important factor in this presentation and every scene has a limitless feel to it. This is very important in emphasizing Ant-Man's shrunken size against the larger world that surrounds him. Take, for instance, our hero being shrunken inside a bathtub, which extends itself seemingly endlessly within frame. As turbulent water is introduced, depth provides perfect scale and distance, immersing the viewer to the point that he/she feels shrunken themselves. This a level of engrossment that I don't often encounter in this format, and I was very surprised that, combined with remarkable cinematography and CGI work, ANT-MAN provides an absorbing, heart-pounding 3D experience that cannot be duplicated in 2D.

Crosstalk was mostly absent. The only time I sensed any presence of ghosting was on the disc menu overlay as I pressed the PLAY button. Other than that, there was none to be seen.

The overall image presentation is flawless, as to be expected. Fine detail is remarkable throughout the live action and effect sequences. This high definition transfer delivers exceptional laboratory whites, warm containment room blues, and the rich, warm colors of Dr. Prym's study. This is a bright, robust, sharply detailed offering with strong black levels and absolutely no anomalies.



ANT-MAN features an equally astounding 7.1 DTS-HDMA mix that elevates the level of immersion to new heights. The fronts, surrounds and subwoofer unite to place the viewer smack-dab in the middle most bizarre sonic situations. Ever been inside a vacuum? How about locked within a briefcase thrown from a helicopter, as it hurdles towards earth? All of these effects are perfectly executed with astounding presence and flying cross-channel pans. From a tidal-wave of bathtub water to the deep growls of a.....mouse....all of the effects are well pronounced. The high-octane action sequences are perfectly balanced so that they don't drown out the dialogue. In all, this mix is about as good as it gets.

ANT-MAN arrives in a 2-disc package that includes separate 3D and 2D Blu-ray releases as well as Digital HD. Extras include Deleted and Extended scenes, Audio Commentary by director Peyton Reed and actor Paul Rudd. There are also the standard "making of" features that look into the making of the film.



CONCLUSION





On paper, ANT-MAN could have looked like a complete dud. However, on screen, the movie seamlessly combines action and comedy in producing the most surprisingly enjoyable action-hero film since Guardians of the Galaxy. I was particularly deeply moved by Micheal Douglas's performance. He owns this film!

As a 3D presentation, ANT-MAN is demo material. The visual artists team have taken the Honey I Shrunk The Kids approach, elevating it to today's special-effects standards. The result is a viewing experience filled with infinite depth that brings its miniature world to life. It's rather amazing that such a tiny Super Hero provides for immense, immersive entertainment. It's worth a blind purchase and the perfect, fun watch for the entire family.

This Blu-ray will be placed on my Top 30 list in the near future.


Images are for illustrative purpose only not representative of the picture quality of this disc.

Equipment

Sony HW55ES Front Projector calibrated by Gregg Loewen, Lion AV
Oppo BDP-93 3D Blu-ray Player
Denon 3311CI Receiver
Atlantic Technology H-PAS AT-1 fronts, 4400 center; 4200 rear side and back speakers
SV Sound Subwoofer
 

Robert Crawford

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I loved it when I viewed it in 3-D this summer. However, a couple of hours before my viewing, I had a cortisone shot in my right knee. Well, half way into the movie, my knee then the rest of my leg started aching as the medicine started going through my body and by the time the movie ended, I could barely get down the theater stairs and into my SUV. Needless to say, my viewing experience was compromised with a throbbing pain that was the worst I experienced this summer through two different leg surgeries, so I can't wait to revisit this film without that distraction. :)


Lesson learned, you ever get a cortisone shot, especially in your knee, rest and take it easy the first 12-24 hours before moving around on it.
 

Reed Grele

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While the movie is quite enjoyable (I've watched it twice already), and the 3D (depth only) is well done, it could have been so much better if only it had been filmed in real 3D, and utilized more "In Yo' Face" moments.


It's still a mystery to me why so many "3D" films these days are so conservative in their bringing objects to the fore, and beyond.


Ron, perhaps it might be a good idea to someday have 2 Top (whatever #) 3D lists. One for real 3D, and one for conversions. I always groan slightly when I see a "2.5D" film rewarded by being given honors on the top 30 list of 3D titles.
 

Brett_B

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Reed Grele said:
Ron, perhaps it might be a good idea to someday have 2 Top (whatever #) 3D lists. One for real 3D, and one for conversions. I always groan slightly when I see a "2.5D" film rewarded by being given honors on the top 30 list of 3D titles.
Based on this comment I just assumed that some of the movies that were converted in post production turned out better than some shot in 3D from the beginning.


I could be wrong in my interpretation.
 

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