3D Blu-ray Review The Young and Prodigious T.S. Spivet: 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.





The Young and Prodigious
T.S. SPIVET


Studio: Gaumont
Product Release: June 4, 2014
Ratio: 2.4:1
Audio: DTS-HD MA 5.1
Running Time: 105 minutes
Rating: N/A


On A Scale 0-5

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



It needs to be continually stated that American filmmakers and manufacturers
have ruined 3D. Not only are studios continuing to release films that limit the
"immersive experience," but manufacturers are gearing up to introduce glasses-free
displays that will ensure that any illusion of "pop-out" is completely removed.

There's no sudden transition going on here. I think there was a fleeting moment
during the resurgence of 3D around 2008 when filmmakers actually cared about
tapping into the third dimension. However, as is usually the case, the studios saw
the format simply as a means of a money-making trend, and as thus, the industry
has become littered with post-converted 3D fare that thrive on depth while providing
audiences with absolutely no bang for their buck.

It's very rare when a 3D release garners a certain amount of "buzz" within the online
community. If I hadn't been halfway paying attention, I might have missed T.S. Spivet
altogether. As far as I am aware, the film was never released theatrically here in the
United States. There's no domestic Blu-ray release either. The first time I became
aware of this film was through its extensive discussion on our forum. Slowly but surely,
the Blu-ray was being imported, discovered and praised by more HTF members each and
every week. It was only a matter of time before my arm was twisted and I dropped
$45 to have this title shipped to my home.

Suffice to say, it was the best $45 I have ever spent on a single title sight unseen.



The film is based upon Reif Larson's novel, Selected Works of T.S. Spivet, which
is filled with illustrations and text about a brilliant 12 year-old who journeys from his
home in Montana across the United States in order to accept a prestigious award
from the Smithsonian. Director Jean Pierre (Amelie) took that story and crafted
it into a film that is rather quirky, yet wonderfully playful, with amazing visuals that
make for the best live-action 3D film I have seen to date.

T.S. Spivet should be the poster child for everything 3D Hollywood filmmakers
should be striving for. It's a project that was conceived and shot specifically for the
format. Director Jean Pierre uses extensive depth of field to bring out the immense
beauty of the American landscape. His camera is always carefully positioned so that
with every changing scene, something is introduced into the frame that tickles the viewer's
senses. Rarely do I see a film with this level of sharpness and detail that it makes one
feel as if they are witnessing this story through an open window rather than their display.
There is such an immense amount of color pop within the lush green landscape of Montana,
its red barns and blue skies as well as the gorgeous fall foliage that can be seen during
train travel. One may not notice how inky the black levels are until the scenes that take
place later in the film during the awards presentation. From start to finish, this transfer
remains strikingly crisp -- none of which is lost when donning 3D eyewear.



So allow me to get to the best part of watching T.S. Spivet -- and I understand this is
a topic that is going to make Hollywood filmmakers and even some members of this forum
a bit uncomfortable. The movie is loaded with pop-out. In fact, there doesn't seem to be
many moments within the film's entire running length where something animate or inanimate
isn't projecting itself outward. I could talk about some of the most memorable moments in the
film that include a sword lunging itself forward, or a hissing rattlesnake who is about to strike --
but it's really the little things such as illustrated overlays that place themselves squarely
between the film's action and the viewer itself that make the biggest impression. Unfortunately,
some of the best pop-out effects (such as an egg on a parachute) do exhibit some ghosting
difficulties as they move themselves aggressively forward towards the audience.

Even the naysayers should be impressed by how well the "gimmickry" works in this film,
probably for the fact that the story never takes itself seriously, ultimately allowing the
director freedom to exploit is as much as possible. These days, its unimaginable to have
a film exploit 3D so perfectly to the extent that you feel as if you have just witnessed
something extraordinary. I was absolutely stunned and delighted at the same time. So
rarely do I find myself entertained in this manner. The worst thing I could say about
T.S. Spivet is that....it eventually ended.



The Blu-ray features a 5.1 DTS-HD soundtrack that is engaging throughout. Heavy
emphasis is put upon the rear channels that provide the perfect amount of ambience for
the film's changing locales. During the Montana scenes, the rears come alive with the
sounds of the countryside that include birds, insects and snorting horses. Later, Spivet's
train ride is augmented by the constant sounds of wheels rolling over the tracks. During
a visit to the Smithsonian the surrounding channels do an effective job of immersing the
viewer by providing a very "eerie" echo from inside the museum. In all, this is quite an
enveloping audible experience.

This is an English film with American actors. There are no subtitles to worry about.




T.S. Spivet arrives as an immensely bulky packaged set, one that many may opt to
put atop their shelf rather than try to integrate within. There are 5 discs total in this set:
3D Blu-ray Feature, 2D Blu-ray Feature, DVD Feature, Supplemental Blu-ray Disc,
Supplemental DVD Disc. Menus are in French, but thankfully (at quick glance) not the
supplemental material which is in English with French subtitles.




The packaging is a mixture of French and English (though mostly in French). Included
within this set is a rather thick 160-page storybook. Though the book is in French, the
storyboard illustrations speak for themselves in any language.

At the moment, T.S. Spivet can only be obtained by importing it from a few companies
outside of the United States that including Amazon.fr. This will prove to be costly not
only because of the import, but also due to the fact that this the box is heavy.

Now would be a good time to point out that these discs are region B locked, so if you
live in the United States, the only way to see this presentation is with a Blu-ray player
that has been modified.



CONCLUSION




It doesn't surprise me that 3D continues to be dumbed down here in the United
States, and once again, the very best titles that can be bought have to be imported.
It's rather sad that this is the second time in the past year or more that I have placed
a 3D release at the very top of our recommended list, and it cannot be enjoyed by
most people who reside within the United States.

If you have a modified 3D Blu-ray player, I would highly implore you to consider
purchasing this release. Be aware I make that recommendation not yet certain if
T.S. Spivet will ever make its way to the United States.

With all the cookie-cutter 3D Blu-ray releases that make it to store shelves, one
could easily blink and miss a film like T.S. Spivet. I'm here to make sure you take
a second look. For in a world filled with Hollywood post-conversions, it's rare that
we get something so thoroughly refreshing to the senses as T.S. Spivet.

A personal note of thanks to all you HTF members that have raved about this
release and urged me to purchase it.

Images are for illustrative purpose only and 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
 

Reed Grele

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I knew you'd like it. And I totally concur with your "triple nickel" review! :)

(P.S., And happily, no ghosting at all on my Sharp 30k projector.)
 

Paul Hillenbrand

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Robert Crawford said:
Ron,

A big part of this cast isn't American. Wonderful review, but I doubt I'll buy it.
Never would have thought an international cast from the great Montana accents. Curious as to how many in the cast are not American = (U.S., Canadian, French-Canadian)? I know the Mother was English actress: Helena Bonham Carter.
Also assuming the French director filmed in French-speaking Quebec and used the French-Canadian countryside for Montana landscape atmosphere.
 

FoxyMulder

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I think this is going to come out in the USA but will be the censored version as seen in the UK, i don't think you can get away with the words used in this film for a PG-13 although you never know, thus the French edition is the only way so far to see it uncut.

Looking forward to viewing it sometime in August, i think my DLP projector will have zero ghosting on this title.

I gotta say Ron that you hit the nail squarely on the head with your opinions on Hollywood and 3D, i so agree.
 

Ronald Epstein

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I think this is going to come out in the USA but will be the censored version as seen in the UK, i don't think you can get away with the words used in this film for a PG-13 although you never know, thus the French edition is the only way so far to see it uncut.
I don't think the language will garner it anything above a PG-13 rating.

The word in question is not used to describe a sexual act. It certainly
is worthy of a PG-13, though I am a bit concerned that the word being
used more than once might be a problem.
 

FoxyMulder

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Ronald Epstein said:
I don't think the language will garner it anything above a PG-13 rating.

The word in question is not used to describe a sexual act. It certainly
is worthy of a PG-13, though I am a bit concerned that the word being
used more than once might be a problem.
The Weinstein's also like to re-edit films ( sometimes ) and i think they have it for later this year.

Is the 3D in Spivet better than that seen in Hugo. ?

I still haven't watched Hugo yet but it looked okay and checking out scenes in both i thought they shared some qualities.
 

Paul Hillenbrand

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FoxyMulder said:
Is the 3D in Spivet better than that seen in Hugo. ?
My personal opinion is a Yes. Love how Ron put it: "His camera is always carefully positioned so that
with every changing scene, something is introduced into the frame that tickles the viewer's
senses." Hugo is good, but not to that extent. This is the 3D bar to beat.
 
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michael deakin

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The only 3d scene that really impressed me was the potato cod fish scene from Under the Sea. Are there any moments like that in this film.
 
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bruceames

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Glad you liked it so much. What's nice about this movie is that the cinematography really gives the 3D a chance to show its stuff and there's a lot a bright scenes (which is good for 3D). Also, unlike Hugo, it doesn't feel like a kid's movie and is a really excellent film that would fit right in Criterion's library. It's one of those movies where the combo of 3D awesomeness and movie goodness gives it a lot of replay value.

I also think they will censor this in the U.S. release, since a lot of kids will be watching it and they won't feel the complaint level will justify keeping the bad words in there (well at least the mf word).
 

Ronald Epstein

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The only 3d scene that really impressed me was the potato cod fish scene from Under the Sea. Are there any moments like that in this film.
Hi Micheal. Unfortunately, you'll probably never see anything that pronounced in
any film again.
The only other time I have seen it is in A Turtles Tale: Sammy's Adventures
 

Paul Hillenbrand

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There are a number of filmmakers out there that believe 3D should be shot using 3D cameras. A recent example of this is Amelie director Jean-Pierre Jeunet. His latest film, The Young and Prodigious T.S. Spivet, has been shot natively in 3D and he has strong words about badly post produced efforts."I think Hollywood is killing 3D," he said at the 3D Creative Summit in London back in March, pointing a finger at the World War Z and explaining that fast action just doesn't suit the 3D format
Close encounters of the 3D kind: the resurgence of post-converted 3DIn Depth Native 3D vs post converted 3D: the results may surprise
 

Chuck Anstey

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That article is also a little disingenuous with the ratio of real 3D to fake 3D. All the fake 3D were tent pole live action movies. Very few real 3D were live action tent poles. The rest were CGI or much lesser known films. Hollywood and the directors still prefer the conversion process.
 

Josh Steinberg

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"Gravity" and "Titanic" come the closest for me. And that's probably because "Gravity" was something like 90% CGI, and because they took over a year on "Titanic" with Cameron approving each shot.
 

FoxyMulder

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Anyone seen Piranha, that's a conversion, i checked out several moments, it looks pretty good, plan on watching later this year.
 
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bruceames

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I thought Titanic was especially good in the first half, with outstanding depth of field in the interior shots, but the 2nd half it wasn't as good and seemed more like the conversion that it was.
 

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