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3D Blu-ray Review Bolt: THE HTF 3D ADDICT REVIEW (1 Viewer)

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.





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BOLT


Studio: Walt Disney

Product Release: November 8, 2011

Ratio: 1.78:1

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

Running Time: 96 Minutes

Rating: G



3dsmall.jpg

ON A SCALE 0-5

Overall 3D Presentation Rating: 4

3D Separation: 3

3D In Yo' Face Factor: 3



Bolt (John Travolta) is an amazing super-hero dog who week

after week protects his owner, Penny (Miley Cyrus) from the

clutches of the evil villain Dr. Calico (Malcom McDowell).  The

one thing Bolt doesn't know is that the world he thinks is real

is actually a Hollywood television set.  When the action is over,

Bolt and Penny return to their trailer under the watchful eye of

the show's director (James Lipton).


bolt3d2.jpg



When the delusional Bolt thinks Penny has been kidnapped, he

escapes the set, accidently gets packed in a box with styrofoam

peanuts, and is shipped to New York. It is there that he meets

up with Mittens (Susie Essman) a female alley cat, that he assumes

to be involved with Penny's disappearance.  The two work their way

back to Hollywood with the help of an over-excited hamster named

Rino (Mark Walton).


Producer John Lasseter, the visionary of Pixar, brought his expertise

to Walt Disney studios, pushing the boundaries of CG animation with

the film's perfectly drawn city landscapes. It was the goal of the

animators to give the their computer generated artistry the look and

feel of a classic hand-painted film.  It's obvious that careful attention

was given in emphasizing the characteristics of Bolt's breed right

down to faithfully reproducing body gestures and expressions.  


bolt3d1.jpg


The animation is astounding to watch, particularly the first 10

minutes of the film which boasts one of the best animated chase

scenes I have ever witnessed.  The immaculate transfer provides

clarity that allows the mesmerizing animation to show off its intricate 

level of detail -- most noteworthy in Bolt's fur.  Colors look terrific,

and black levels are solid. Not a hint of noise compression or artifacts

to be found anywhere.


Bolt was the second Disney film conceived for the 3D format.  Thanks

to the film's smooth, distortion-free image, viewers will immediately

find themselves immersed into Bolt's world which is greatly enhanced

by its level of depth.  One immediately senses the distance between 

objects placed near and far.  The film is rendered so well in 3D that its

added dimensionality makes for a highly pleasing visual experience.


bolt3d3.jpg


While the animators were very reserved about throwing any effects

out at the audience, there's enough subtle gimmickry at work here

to keep even the most finicky people like myself satisfied.  Check

out how Bolt's nose or the electrified fingers of a henchman poke

themselves outwards at the audience.  A more elaborate effect

involves a ladder of a train that thrusts itself forward.  Objects like

styrofoam peanuts or dirt that gets kicked up, provide some interesting

eye-candy that remain within the confines of the screen.   


Bolt was originally a 3D exclusive release attached to Sony

hardware in 2008. Unfortunately, the 3D Blu-ray is hampered by the

fact that it seems to be the same same original transfer from that

time period.  The same problems that plagued Monsters vs. Aliens

seem to be inherent here as well.  There is a considerable amount

of ghosting, existing within darker scenes such as inside the TV

control room or on the studio soundstage where you can see doubling

of images tracing the outlines of the characters.   The ghosting is

even more evident in sequences where objects are popping out towards

the audience which greatly ruins the intended effect.  If you want to

see a perfect example of how bad the crosstalk can be, take a look

at the image doubling within a crane hook used in one of the film's

action sequences.


bolt3d5.jpg


One of the real appeals of this Blu-ray lies within its 5.1 DTS-HD

surround track.  I would advise everyone to nail everything down in

their theater prior to playback.  There is an immense amount of bass

here that underlines the film's action sequences.  From explosions to

low-flying helicopters, be prepared to feel the action like you never

have before. This is a real powerhouse of a soundtrack that makes

an oncoming freight train seem like....well....the real thing.   Additionally,

the lossless track provides a dynamic 360-degree soundfield with 

well-placed effect work throughout the surround channels.  This is

a demo-worthy soundtrack to impress family and friends with.


Bolt arrives as a 4-disc set that includes 3D Blu-ray, 2D Blu-ray,

DVD and Digital Copy.  It comes housed in a lenticular cardboard

sleeve.  Extra features include the animated short film, Super Rhino;

A music video performed by Miley Cyrus and John Travolta;  

Featurettes on the designing of the film, the cast of voices and

a new breed of directors.  There are also art galleries, games and

deleted scenes.



CONCLUSION


bolt3d4.jpg


I found Bolt to be an absolutely heartwarming, enjoyable

cross-country adventure that benefits from its amazing animation

enhanced with 3D depth.  Though released under the Walt Disney

banner, it has the look and feel of a Pixar release.  


Ghosting issues aside, this is an excellent 3D Blu-ray release

that the entire family will enjoy.


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


 

SpenceJT

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Great review Ron! November is really going to hurt! I'm purchasing upgrades for; Bolt Chicken Little Meet the Robinsons http://www.hometheaterforum.com/t/315830/bolt-the-htf-3d-addict-review#
 

Steve Tannehill

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Thanks for the review. I went ahead and ordered all four of the Disney November releases, and am most interested in Meet The Robinsons, which I saw theatrically in 3D. I believe Chicken Little was the first Disney animated film conceived for 3D, not Bolt.
 

Ronald Epstein

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Hi Steve!


Actually, if you look across the Internet for the answer

to that question, you get a mixed bag of results.


For example:


http://www.cgsociety.org/index.php/CGSFeatures/CGSFeatureSpecial/disney_and_bolt_bolt_ahead


"While Bolt was Disney’s first film to be released in stereoscopic 3D from the outset...."


http://www.timeout.com/film/reviews/86121/bolt.html


"Disney’s first 3D animation, made under new head John Lasseter, is a likeable..."



However, this link clearly supports your claim, along with the fact that Chicken Little was made 3 years earlier:


http://dizfanatic.com/DizTech004.aspx


"What was Disney’s first digital 3D film? It came before Up, before Bolt, and even before Meet the Robinsons. Actually, the first Disney Digital 3D movie was released in 2005, and it was Chicken Little."



So, you can see why my research resulted in results

that were somewhat confusing and misleading.


I'll amend the review to indicate this was not the first.

Thanks for pointing that out.
 

Ronald Epstein

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Spence (and all),


Doing a lot of traveling over the next week.


May only be able to review 2 of the 4 titles, though

Matt Hough will also be covering the same releases.


Which should be the next title I look at? I am rather

unfamiliar with ROBINSONS, G-FORCE and CHICKEN
LITTLE.
 

SpenceJT

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Ronald Epstein said:
Spence (and all),
Doing a lot of traveling over the next week. May only be able to review 2 of the 4 titles, though Matt Hough will also be covering the same releases. Which should be the next title I look at?  I am rather unfamiliar with ROBINSONS, G-FORCE and CHICKEN LITTLE.
If I had a preference, in order of interest; Meet the Robinsons Chicken Little G-Force (which I had seen in 3D at a theater)
 

Adam Gregorich

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I think of all of those you would enjoy Robinsons most Ron. Thanks for the review of Bolt. I haven't seen this in 3D yet, but the first two chapters on my 2D Blu-ray are my favorite demo clips for showing off the theater. The bass level and amount of surround activity is amazing.
 

Phoebus

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Robinsons has a lot of charm, and a bit of interesting bite, too. I confess I found some of the characters very charismatic to watch, movements wise - nicely done. Very different species to Bolt, tho.. and mad as a box of frr.. erm..
 

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