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The Bubble: THE HTF ADDICT 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.







THE BUBBLE

Studio: Kino
Product Release: November 18, 2014
Ratio: 2.50:1
Audio: DTS-HD MA Mono
Running Time: 91 minutes
Rating: NR


On A Scale 0-5

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


"What'll it be, gents?"


A charter airplane in flight. On board, a couple (Michael Cole and Deborah Walley)
expecting their first child, being transported to a hospital. It's raining. The storm
intensifies. A cool, confident pilot (Johnny Desmond) tries to keep everything under
control, but an emergency landing needs to be made. The plane lands on an empty
street, outside of a town that bears no name with people who don't quite seem to be
who they are and impenetrable wall that prevents escape.

At this point, you would expect Rod Sterling to step out of the shadows and tell you
that you have just entered "The Twilight Zone." In fact, watching The Bubble, one gets
the feeling that they are viewing an episode from the landmark television series, which
really makes for an interesting watch as strange events and circumstances unfold before
our eyes, as we wonder (along with our main characters) who or what is behind it.



Welcome to The Bubble, one of the most entertaining and enjoyable entries from the
golden era of 3D that I have had the pleasure of seeing in quite some time. If you just
happened to peek at my presentation ratings before delving into this review, you know
already that this is a very special release.

It's no secret that I am very finicky about this format and have my own standards as to
what makes an exceptional 3D presentation These films should have impressive levels
of depth that immerse the viewer into every frame, and if the story lends itself to it, the
inclusion of imagery that projects itself forward towards the viewer. It's not often that
a 3D release surfaces that accomplishes both these tasks so perfectly. I am very excited
to say that The Bubble is one of those rare releases that raises the bar on what makes
for the perfect 3D presentation.



The Bubble marked the introduction of a new format known as Space-Vision. Rather than
to attempt to explain it myself, I invite you to read the 3-D Film Archive's overview on this
format and the restoration of this film. What is interesting to note is how The Bubble was
promoted under this new technology...

For the first time in any theatre, scenes in colorful living dimensions will actually float right
off the screen into space and over your heads.

Having just finished watching The Bubble on Blu-ray, I would say that claim is only half
correct -- at least on Blu-ray. Certainly, The Bubble contains the most effective forward
projected imagery of any film from that era released to Blu-ray thus far. It's clearly evident
from the opening moments of the film, as we see the wing of an airplane projecting itself
directly out of the screen. It's the first of many "Oh Wow!" moments to come. For those of
you, like myself,who enjoy 3D pop-out, The Bubble takes every opportunity to pepper its
intriguing story with enough gimmickry that you'll be smiling from start to finish. One of my
favorite moments involves a hovering tray of beer (whose wires can be clearly seen). It's
plain silly fun to watch, and best of all, some of the film's best pop-outs extend farther into
the viewer's living room than usually expected, though very short of actually floating "over
your heads." When The Bubble played theatrically, the images allegedly did hover over the
first few rows of viewers. Gimmicks, aside, I loved the way the director used props to intensify
the 3D experience. For instance, check out how an overhead street lamp dominates the frame
in a scene outside of the town's hospital doors.



Before I talk about the audio and video quality of the transfer, I feel it's important to note
that getting these classic 3D films out to the public has not been an easy task. The major
studios have no interest in releasing them. We owe a huge amount of thanks to the efforts
of HTF residents Bob Furmanek and Greg Kintz, who have invested their own money into
restoring and pushing these titles out to market. If not for the collectors like yourselves
who have been supporting these releases, these titles would probably never see the light
of day.

As you would expect, the original 35mm film elements show their age with signs of
weathering. However, it's quite apparent that there has been a reasonable amount of
cleanup done on this film and that the elements were in better condition than Dragonfly Squadron.
In fact, after you watch the film, head on over to the supplements area for some comparisons
of what the print looked like before and after the restoration process. Detail is moderately
good throughout the presentation, as the image seems rather soft. I think close-ups tend to
look much sharper overall. The reason for this softness is due to the Space-Vision format.
It utilized a 35mm frame for the two images, with one stacked above the other. Therefore,
the resolution is not the same as a standard 4-perf frame. Grain structure is intact. Colors
look quite natural, and I was taken back by how brilliant whites appeared on my plasma
display. I was also very pleased at how well the 3D images were aligned. There are
usually ghosting problems that are inherent when dealing with extreme levels of forward
projection. This is one of the rare cases where the projection is executed perfectly without
any underlying crosstalk.



So, now into what appears to be a glowing review across the board, I am afraid that
it would be immoral of me not to bring up a small flaw in this transfer...

The film's audio, at times, is slightly out of sync. Is it noticeable? Now that I have
pointed it out, it should be. For those that haven't read this review, it might not be.
I have described this as a "small flaw." Some purists might make more out of the
situation than need be, but remember, this restoration was done on a shoestring
budget and I believe that perhaps this is a problem that could have been better
corrected had the funding been available. The problem exists only in a few brief
sections and for just some lines of dialogue. Otherwise, the mono DTS-HD MA track
shows no significant signs of wear. Dialogue and effects are clear and distinguishable.

The Bubble arrives on Blu-ray with both 3D and 2D features on a single disc. There
are some interesting included bonus features including a short, alternate opening of
the film; some demonstrations of the restoration effort (before and after); a gallery of
stills; screenplay excerpts of deleted scenes and an essay by restorationist Bob
Furmanek (which can be accessed via a computer BD Rom drive).

The last bonus feature I wanted to mention was the inclusion of two original trailers.
The first is from the film's original 1966 release. The second is from the film's reissue
during the 1970's where it was retitled, "The Fantastic Invasion of Planet Earth."
Obviously re-released as an attempt to ride on the success of "Star Wars," the film
was panned by critics and deemed a box-office failure.


CONCLUSION



To date, The Bubble is the most appealing golden age classic for anyone looking
for the best visual bang for the buck. With its eye-popping thrills an intriguing story,
this is a Blu-ray release that receives my highest recommendation.



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

Equipment

Samsung PN64F8500 display professionally 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
 

EddieLarkin

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Bob, can you confirm the source of the sync issues mentioned here? With this being a Kino release I'm very worried this is another flub caused by them. If on the other hand they are present on the film elements then they don't even count as sync issues as far as I'm concerned.
 

Bob Furmanek

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Nick; there were some film-related issues with damage on the original 35mm optical track negative and we had to rely on an alternate - and less than ideal - audio source for those sections. (Please see the restoration section in our article to understand the state of the elements when we found them.)

Unfortunately, the audio sync in the replacement sections was not perfect and we tried to correct it the best we could with our miniscule budget. In some cases, it required multiple audio edits every 10 to 15 seconds.

In total, there are a few lines of dialogue that are slightly off sync, maybe thirty seconds worth in the entire 91 minute feature: once in the opening scene on the plane and another in the hospital room.

The advance only covered 1/8th of our total budget and the rest came out of pocket. Our goal was primarily focused on the picture and 3-D presentation. I'm not trying to make excuses but we did the very best we could with very little money!
 

Bob Furmanek

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Thanks for understanding.

For the most part, original elements on 3-D features have not been handled well over the past several decades. They were considered useless and of little value.

Just once, I'd love to tackle a 3-D restoration with unlimited resources to address every single issue. That would be wonderful!

In theaters, the Space-Vision projection filters ate up light and compromised clarity. Not to mention the severe cropping of the original image.

I've seen this film many times over the past 38 years. It has never before looked this good.
 

Matt Hough

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I had no hesitation ordering the disc from Amazon (using the HTF link natch!) especially after it turned up reduced in price an extra $2. Can't wait to experience this gem for myself! I'm sure I'll be back here with comments of my own once I've seen it.
 

SFMike

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Thanks for the review Ron! Haven't seen this film since it opened and I'm really looking forward to slipping it into my blu-ray 3D player.
 

Jobla

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November 18th will be a really fun day for me, with the following discs expected:THE BUBBLECOME BACK TO THE FIVE AND DIME, JIMMY DEAN, JIMMY DEANED WOOD'S DIRTY MOVIESI was also expecting Mario Bava's THE GIRL WHO KNEW TOO MUCH, but it has been delayed in the UK.
 

Ejanss

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Jobla said:
November 18th will be a really fun day for me, with the following discs expected:THE BUBBLECOME BACK TO THE FIVE AND DIME, JIMMY DEAN, JIMMY DEANED WOOD'S DIRTY MOVIESI was also expecting Mario Bava's THE GIRL WHO KNEW TOO MUCH, but it has been delayed in the UK.
Darn, that's the 18th I already have Kiki's Delivery Service, Avengers '67 and the new Playstation Hatsune Miku game already preordered, I may just have to rent. :(

But I'm still curious to see "Space-Vision" restored, and find out just what the heck was in that weird movie our theater trailered before that first showing of Star Wars, thirty-five years ago. :wacko:
 

Persianimmortal

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I've added this to the next batch of discs I have coming from Amazon. Eagerly anticipating some classic 3D goodness :)

The audio sync issue is unfortunate, but if it's only around 30 seconds in total out of 91 minutes it's a negligible issue in my opinion.
 

Bob Furmanek

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It's always very special hearing from the people that created the work which you have restored.

I just got a beautiful, heartfelt message from Michael Cole. He was 21 when he starred in THE BUBBLE.

"This is very exciting and very emotional...It brings back a lot of good memories..I'm very happy. Thank you."

 

Mark Cappelletty

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Hey Ron, do you have a preorder link for this? I'd just as soon have you guys be the ones to get a couple of bucks back from this.
 

Jobla

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Mark, I used to own a record store, and I had a copy of that Tijuana Picnic LP cover up on my wall, along with other album oddities such as Mack Vickery's "Live At The Alabama Women's Prison." I only had the Tijuana Picnic outer jacket, but every week someone would ask to buy it. I refused to sell it, however, until I finally closed the store for good.Sorry to have hijacked this thread, but it's great fun to see that album cover as your avatar.
 

Ronald Epstein

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Mark Cappelletty said:
Hey Ron, do you have a preorder link for this? I'd just as soon have you guys be the ones to get a couple of bucks back from this.
Thank you, Mark!!!!

The link below will take you directly to the product on Amazon. If you are using an adblocker you will not see link.
 
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Mark Cappelletty

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Jobla said:
Mark, I used to own a record store, and I had a copy of that Tijuana Picnic LP cover up on my wall, along with other album oddities such as Mack Vickery's "Live At The Alabama Women's Prison." I only had the Tijuana Picnic outer jacket, but every week someone would ask to buy it. I refused to sell it, however, until I finally closed the store for good.Sorry to have hijacked this thread, but it's great fun to see that album cover as your avatar.
Ha! Thanks-- I have the record and, predictably, the cover is the best thing about it. I also have the great Col. Sanders Christmas record.
 

Jobla

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May I ask what is on the Col. Sanders Christmas album? Don't think I ever saw that one. My wall was taken up with albums like "Rona Barrett Sings Hollywood's Greatest Hits," country albums by Joey Bishop and Clint Eastwood respectively, Tammy Wynette's "Your Good Girl Is About To Go Bad," and other such ephemera.
 

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