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.
Europe's Most Wanted
Product Release: October 16, 2012
Audio: English 7.1 Dolby TrueHD; French and Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1
Running Time: 93 Minutes
ON A SCALE 0-5
Overall 3D Presentation Rating: 5
3D Separation: 5
3D In Yo' Face Factor: 5
A Hi-Voltage 3D Spectacle! One of the best!
A year ago, I was one of the few people online recommending
3D Blu-ray releases to those that would take the time to read
my reviews. These days, there are so many new titles in
circulation that I have to hand pick which ones I have time to
watch and review. Let me just say up front that Madagascar 3
Europe's Most Wanted was not on my list. We had not received
a screener from the studio, and based on reviews I had read
during the theatrical release, there seemed to be somewhat of
a negative "buzz" about this film.
It was actually the members of HTF who had seen this 3D
release in their homes that urged me to purchase and watch
this film. Having just completed doing so, I find myself filled
with an immense amount of excitement for what I have just
seen and what I am about to write.
So, let me say up front that this is the first Madagascar film
I have actually brought myself to watch. Fortunately, it's rather
easy to become acquainted with the story and its characters
having no prior knowledge of the films that preceded this.
Alex the Lion (Ben Stiller), Marty the Zebra (Chris Rock),
Melman the Giraffe (David Schwimmer) and Gloria the Hippo
(Jada Pinkett Smith) are trying to find their way home to
the Big Apple. Traveling through Europe and being chased
by a ruthless animal control officer named Captain Chantel
DuBois (Frances McDormand), the gang finds perfect cover
while hiding out with a troupe of Circus performers.
What I found to be the absolute achievement of this film
is that it manages to entertain with the most minimal storyline.
For its entire 93 minute run, Madagascar 3 is nothing more
than a high-voltage blur of slapstick and silliness. Take all
that and add a barrage of effects that are constantly being
catapulted toward the audience. Instead of trying to figure it
all out, I just appreciated the fact that I was able to sit through
this movie with such a huge smile on my face.
The real "magic" of this film lies in its highly creative animation
and spectacular vibrant, neon-colored imagery that is completely
unrestrained through the ultra-sharp hi-def transfer. Even wearing
eyewear, I never felt that what I was watching was compromised
in any way. The film looks gorgeously pristine and for the moment,
it stands as of the most stunning 3D animated transfers I have
yet to see.
As for the 3D, well, here is where this disc elevates itself to
an entirely new level. For those of you who enjoy 3D in your
face, be prepared to watch a feature-length's worth of pop-out.
From beginning to finish, Madagascar 3 is all about effects that
float before the viewer's face including feathers, fireworks, flying
fish and bananas (to name just a few). Even when the props take
a break, we still get treated to a giraffe's mouth, a hippo's nose
or an elephant trunk poking itself forward. Never once does the
viewer lose sense of the dimensionality.
The animators have created a wonderful sense of depth and
then explore it from as many angles as possible. One of my
favorite moments is watching Stefano the Seal hanging from
on a cliffside after a cannonball stint that goes horribly wrong.
As the camera looks straight down the side of the cliff, you get
a spectacular sense of the character's fear of being so high up.
However, the most memorable sequence in the film involves a
high-speed chase across the streets of Monte Carlo, which
translated in 3D in an array of angles, is so frantic and dizzying
that you almost feel your heart pounding once its all over.
I found ghosting to be only a minor issue. It was visible in
only a few random seconds of character outlines. Certainly
not a huge concern in the scope of things.
Sound does not disappoint either. The film's lossless Dolby
TrueHD 7.1 soundtrack downconverted to 5.1 on my system,
did an excellent job of immersing me in the action. The sound
design feels very spacial with effects and voices carefully placed
across the entire soundscape. Rarely a moment where you
didn't hear something "whirring" or "whooshing" past you, and
the film's more climatic sequences get deep LFE support. All of
these elements are presented to the viewer with spectacular
Madagascar 3 Europe's Most Wanted arrives as a 3-Disc
Blu-Ray 3D+Blu-Ray+DVD+Digital Copy package. The standard
Blu-ray and DVD contain what looks to be a wealth of extras
that I will not be going into in this review. The 3D Blu-ray
includes a 3D trailer of Rise of the Guardians.
A huge round of thanks to the group of HTF members that
managed to twist my arm and persuade me into purchasing this
3D Blu-ray. Thanks to them, I have discovered what I feel presently
ranks as one of the all-time best animated 3D titles available. In
fact, Madagascar 3 Europe's Most Wanted has managed to
topple Megamind and Despicable Me from their long-standing
top-ranking positions. That says much about just how sensational
the film's 3D experience is.
At the time of posting this review, Amazon is selling this brand-new
release for just under $20. That's an amazing price for this package,
and I urge anyone with a 3D display not to hesitate a minute more in
making a purchase. As of today, Madagascar 3 has become the top
animated disc on my recommendation list.
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