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3D Blu-ray Review Dolphin Tale: 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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DOLPHIN TALE


Studio: Warner Bros.

Product Release: December 20, 2011

Ratio: 1.85:1

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

Running Time: 113 Minutes

Rating: PG



3dsmall.jpg

ON A SCALE 0-5

Overall 3D Presentation Rating: 5

3D Separation: 5

3D In Yo' Face Factor: 2


A Real Fish Tale!


You know, I'm the kind of guy who likes my meat and potatoes.

I also like action movies with occasional science fiction thrown

into the mix.  Romantic comedies?  I don't have the time for them.

Movies about a dolphin?  Not something I thought I would ever

place into my Blu-ray player.....


But you know what?  Call me a softie if you must, but Dolphin

Tale is one of the most truly moving films I have seen in a long

time and I'm not ashamed to say, it tugged at my heartstrings.



Inspired by a true story, this is a film about a dolphin named

Winter who is found on a beach after being tangled in the ropes

of a crab trap.  Among the people who discover the helpless 

dolphin is a young, shy boy named Sawyer (Nathan Gamble)

who has been mostly withdrawn since his father left home many

years before and whose cousin Kyle (Austin Stowell), a champion

swimmer, has just left for tour in Afghanistan.


When Winter is rescued and brought to the Clearwater Marine 

Hospital, Sawyer is immediately drawn to the hospital staff which

includes a young girl named Hazel (Cozi Zuehlsdorff) and her

veterinarian father, Dr. Clay Haskett (Harry Connick, Jr.).  As

the young boy and Winter quickly connect with each other, his

Mother (Ashely Judd) is discovering her son becoming more

social as he realizes his dreams coming true.



Sadly, Winter's tail becomes infected and must be amputated 

leaving only a stump in her rear.  At the same time, Sawyers' cousin

Kyle, injured in war, returns home in a leg brace unwilling to face

his new future.  It is at the local VA hospital where Sawyer meets

Dr. McCarthy (Morgan Freeman), whose specializes in fitting amputees.

McCarthy agrees to fit Winter with a prosthetic device to help her swim

again.  However, with funding running out at the Marine Hospital, 

it looks as if Winter's own life hangs in balance.


Dolphin Tale works so wonderfully on so many levels.  At its heart,

it's the story of bonding between a boy and mammal.  At the same

time, the film gives real inspiration to individuals affected with 

physical disabilities -- many of whom we meet during the closing credits.   



This Blu-ray sports an immaculate transfer that shows off an

impressive amount of perfectly clean, razor-sharp detail both

above and below water.  Colors are solid and black levels look

acceptably rich.  The fact that 95% of the film is shot outdoors

and under well-lit underwater conditions makes it an especially

pleasing experience to watch in 3D thanks to its exceptional

level of depth.  It's a little hard to describe, but there is a sense

of "layering" where in-between the foreground and background

objects, rays of sunlight or splashes of water exist on their own

levels.  It doesn't just immerse the viewer into the story -- it 

makes the viewer feel part of the story.  All of it feels incredibly

natural and this is one the few times I have really appreciated

3D for what it's meant to be, sans the abundance gimmickry

that I usually crave.


Still, young ones should find themselves delighted with the

few 3D gimmicks that do exist here.  At the start of the film 

we are treated to some beautiful underwater ocean photography

featuring playful dolphins, fish and a sea turtle that seems to

float before our eyes.  Though the effect is not as dramatic as

Imax: Under The Sea, it still should garner "oohs" and "aahs"

from viewers old and young.  Not much else after that other

than the beak of a pelican that jabs itself outward from time 

to time.  I'm rather surprised to hear myself say this, but I am

happy that the filmmakers didn't push the envelope on gimmicks.

The basic level of depth the 3D provides makes this film a far

more engrossing and intimate experience for the viewer over

its 2D counterpart.  


And guess what?  Not one bit of ghosting to be seen anywhere,

including the few darker interior scenes.  



The 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio track is up to the task of 

providing a perfectly smooth, flawless sonic presentation.

Mark Isham's heartwarming score is conveyed across the

entire soundfield with amazing definition given to the strings

and woodwinds.  Though a tad on being front-heavy, there

is quite a bit of surround activity particularly in the underwater

scenes and poolside whistling of Winter.  Dialogue is always

clear and intelligible.  The dynamics of the soundtrack is perhaps

best demonstrated during a sequence involving a tropical storm

where viewers become suddenly enveloped in windswept rain

accented with powerful LFE bass.  In all, a very pleasing soundtrack.


Dolphin Tale arrives as a 3-disc combo package that includes

3D Blu-ray, 2D Blu-ray, DVD + Ultraviolet Digital Copy.  Ultraviolet

allows you to watch movies at home or on-the-go, using streaming

or permanently downloaded copies on devices such as smartphones,

PC's and in the near-future Internet connected Blu-ray players and

TVs.  The discs housing is enclosed in a lenticular cardboard sleeve.


Extras on the 2D Blu-ray disc include:


* Animated short about the legend of Rainbow Bridge,

narrated by Harry Connick, Jr.

* Behind-The-Scenes look at the Clearwater Marine Aquarium

in Florida

* See how the filmmakers created the underwater opening of the film

in 3D

* The true story of Winter's rescue and creating her prosthetic tail

* Ormie and the Cookie Jar animated short

* Additional Scene and Gag Reel



CONCLUSION



Dolphin Tale aptly fits the definition of perfect family entertainment.

In fact, it's been a long time since I can remember watching anything

as wonderfully inspiring as this film.  The 3D does an amazing

job of making the viewer feel part of the action without resorting 

to a barrage of gimmickry.  In fact, I am going to be placing this

film somewhere on my list of the best 3D titles currently available. 


 

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

 
 

HiDefBear

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How refreshing to find a reviewer who loves 3D and doesn't dismiss it outright. I can't tell you how many times I've run I've seen reviews that seem to base most of their judgment on whether the movie was converted to 3D or was native. Thanks much. This review alone made me join the forum.
 

Ronald Epstein

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Scott,


Welcome.


Very taken back by your comments. Thank you.


I think you will this forum to be a very unique experience

than what is available elsewhere.

We are very respectful of opinions here, everyone is on

a first-name basis, and I think we have the most personable

group of members you will find anywhere.


Look forward to hearing more from you about your home

theater experiences.
 

nandolima

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Nando Lima
Hi! I'm very new to all of this 3D thing, just bought a TV, Onkyo home theater, and am loving it! I'm glad I found your reviews on Google when I was about to (blindly) buy my first 3D Bluray! Decided to go with Despicable Me and couldn't be more happy, the experience is amazing! I have a question, on your reviews, if, for example, the in yo face factor is low, does it mean it has little in yo face factor or that the in yo face moments are not so good? And what do you think this list was based on? http://www.empireonline.com/promotions/20-best-3d-films Thank you so much for your reviews, they are brilliant! I was excited to find someone that likes those in yo face moments as much as I do! Became a member just for this! Oh, and will you review My Bloody Valentine? Watched it last week and would love to hear your thoughts about it! And LAST QUESTION, when something is coming out of the TV, I feel like there's some annoying ghosting the closer it gets, I feel like my TV is not capable of the whole effect, even though I've never seen how it looks on another one. For example, in the ladder scene at the Despicable Me credits, it's all PERFECT until the ping pong part, the little guy being hit doesn't seem to be sharp and getting close so much, and I feel like it should, at least the scene implies that. So, am I just asking for too much or is my TV a problem? I have a LG LW5700 and was playing it with Playstation 3. (Oh, there's another doubt, I get the feeling that when watching a movie throught USB, there's less ghosting and the overall 3D effect is better than when I'm playing something on PS3. Maybe I have to change the settings at it, don't know.). SORRY for all the questions! Don't hate me already, I am a fan!
 

Ronald Epstein

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I am really thrilled to see all these new members

with 3D displays. I hope you get as much enjoyment

from the format as I have.

A low number next to a "In Yo Face" factor simply

means that there isn't much of it being used. It's not

based on the quality, but rather the frequency.


MY BLOODY VALENTINE? You know, generally

I only review what the studios decide to send, but I

will give careful consideration to possibly purchasing

the disc over the next few weeks.


As for the problems with ghosting, I would be interested

to learn what brand/model display you ended up purchasing.

I think some displays handle ghosting better than others.

My LG tends to show a little bit of ghosting that I think the

Panasonic models might be able to smooth over better. I
have never been able to fully discern whether ghosting is

a display or transfer issue. I would guess a transfer issue

in most cases since many reviewers seem to agree with
my findings on ghosting issues.


That's a very interesting list you sent me. Many of the

titles I have reviewed and appear on my own Top 15 List.

Thanks for sending that my way.
 

nandolima

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Ronald Epstein said:
I am really thrilled to see all these new members with 3D displays.  I hope you get as much enjoyment from the format as I have.  A low number next to a "In Yo Face" factor simply means that there isn't much of it being used.  It's not based on the quality, but rather the frequency. MY BLOODY VALENTINE?  You know, generally I only review what the studios decide to send, but I will give careful consideration to possibly purchasing the disc over the next few weeks. As for the problems with ghosting, I would be interested to learn what brand/model display you ended up purchasing. I think some displays handle ghosting better than others. My LG tends to show a little bit of ghosting that I think the Panasonic models might be able to smooth over better. I  have never been able to fully discern whether ghosting is a display or transfer issue.  I would guess a transfer issue in most cases since many reviewers seem to agree with  my findings on ghosting issues.
Thanks for the welcome and the fast answer! I have a LW5700 55" from LG! And I guess I agree with the fact that it is not a display problem! I feel like I get a better result playing movies through USB than Playstation 3! Looking forward to get more reviews! Thanks again!
 

Matt Hough

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Originally Posted by nandolima


Thanks for the welcome and the fast answer! I have a LW5700 55" from LG!
And I guess I agree with the fact that it is not a display problem!
I feel like I get a better result playing movies through USB than Playstation 3!
Looking forward to get more reviews!
Thanks again!

I rewatched The Green Hornet (not a great movie or with particularly great 3D) using my PS3 as the 3D Blu-ray player (I have two others that I routinely use for reviews), and it's a perfectly fine 3D player, the picture equal to the Samsung 3D player I used the first time I watched it. I just recently got a new receiver that allows 3D HDMI streams, so I wanted to try the PS3 out as a 3D machine, and it was just fine. Sony has also now programmed the firmware to handle DTS-HD MA for audio with 3D, too (still can't do Dolby TrueHD with 3D yet), so I wouldn't downplay the PS3 as a 3D machine.
 

Colin Jacobson

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Just finished watching the Blu-ray - 2D! - and mostly agree with Ron's comments about the movie. I expected it to be cheesy and schmaltzy - and it could be - but it was usually warm and charming. It's better than average family fare...
 

Ronald Epstein

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Colin,


Yeah....right?

I would have normally passed on this kind of fare,

but I am really happy I was forced into reviewing it

as I found the experience quite rewarding.
 

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