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Water for Elephants (+ Digital Copy) [Blu-ray]

Water for Elephants (+ Digital Copy) [Blu-ray]
Studio: Fox
List Price: $39.99
Street Price:
Amazon.com: $17.44
Release Date: Nov 1, 2011
Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
Running Time: 120 minutes

4.1 Stars (out of 5)

Synopsis

In this captivating Depression-era melodrama, impetuous veterinary student Jacob Jankowski (Robert Pattinson) joins a celebrated circus as an animal caretaker but faces a wrenching dilemma when he's transfixed by angelic married performer Marlena (Reese Witherspoon). An affinity for elephants brings together the young pair, but the warmth between them sends Marlena's cruel husband, animal trainer August (Christoph Waltz), into a frightening fury.

Starring:

Reese Witherspoon, Robert Pattinson, Christoph Waltz, Paul Schneider, Jim Norton, Hal Holbrook, Mark Povinelli, Richard Brake, Stephen Taylor

Director:

Francis Lawrence

Blu-ray Release Date:

November 1, 2011

Subtitles:

English SDH, Spanish

Rating

Overall rating weighted as follows:

Audio 40%, Video 40%, Special Features 20%, Movie - its just our opinion so take it with a grain of salt

Audio 3.4 Stars (out of 5)

Dolby and DTS Demo Discs used as basis for comparison

● Subwoofer – 2.0 Stars

● Dialog – 5.0 Stars

● Surround Effects – 2.5 Stars

● Dynamic Range – 4.0 Stars

English: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1, Spanish: Dolby Digital 5.1, French: Dolby Digital 5.1

This film is mostly a melodramatic love story, so don’t expect too much action in the audio department. However, dialog is handled superbly and never gets lost under the big top. The DTS-HD mix does a good job of panning a few things across the room. The circus train utilizes the full sound stage with track rumbles, chug chugging engine, and of course the sharp whistle. Except for the train the audio performance is a little flat. However, during the climax it opens up a little with sounds of roaring lions and crowds of running screaming people. The subwoofer isn’t used much, even though there were a few times it could have featured a few good rumbles. I do have to admit there was a scene that had a magical sparkle sound (I don’t know how else to describe it), it was so clean and filled the room with circus magic that I had to listen to it a few times.

Video 4.8 Stars (out of 5)

Spears & Munsil Benchmark Blu-ray Edition used as basis for comparison

● Color Accuracy - 4.5 Stars

● Shadow detail – 4.5 Stars

● Clarity – 5.0 Stars

● Skin tones – 5.0 Stars

● Compression – 5.0 Stars

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC, Resolution: 1080p, Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1, Original Aspect Ratio: 2.39:1

Water for Elephants looks really pretty on Blu-ray. The warm colors make the circus come alive with vibrant hues and lush tapestries. The film is filled with color, from the elaborate train reminiscent of Dumbo to the bright red coat of the ringleader, there’s always something interesting or beautiful to see. Clarity is clean enough to see beard stubble on the faces, marvel at the ornate work on the costumes, and seeing how long elephant hairs can get. Some dark scenes lose a little detail in the shadows, but show no signs of compression problems.

Bonus Features 4.0 Stars (out of 5)

● Feature Film

● Special Features

○ Robert Pattinson Spotlight

○ Feature Performer Reese Witherspoon

○ The Traveling Show: From Page to Screen

○ Working Without A Net – The Visual Effects of Water for Elephants

○ The Star Attraction

○ Raising the Tent

○ Secrets of the Big Top

○ Audio Commentary with Director Francis Lawrence and Writer Richard LaGravenese

● Theatrical Trailer

● Live Extras

○ Exclusive: Stars of the Circus

○ Blu-ray Highlight: The Traveling Show: From Page to Screen

○ Theatrical Trailer

○ Live Lookup

● Digital Copy

Movie – 3.5 Stars (out of 5)

Review

If you have any love for the circus you should check this movie out. If you are expecting a romantic love story, you might want to think twice. Robert Pattinson is a decent actor, he just lacks the charisma to convincingly pull off the romantic passion this movie requires. It’s nice to see him act a little differently than he does in the Twilight movies, but he still has a moody melancholy tone that makes this love story a little depressing. However, Christoph Waltz saves the movie with is calculating wicked calm that easily informs you that he’s the star of the film.

I have never been a big fan of circuses (I’m scared of clowns), but I did find this film’s depiction of a circus in the depression quite interesting. They did a great job of capturing the magic, rareness, cruelty, and dangers of the big top life. Speaking of cruelty, if you are member of PETA this film might be hard to watch because of its honest depiction of unethical treatment of animals. The movie doesn’t stop there, it also shows horrible treatment to humans as well. The depression wasn’t kind to anyone, and people would put up with anything for a hot meal and a warm bed. Overall, the movie was enjoyable. If I watch it again it won’t be for the love story, the circus itself is the definite ringleader in this movie.

Posted by The HT Guys, November 30, 2011 7:39 AM

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About The HT Guys

The HT Guys, Ara Derderian and Braden Russell, are Engineers who formerly worked for the Advanced Digital Systems Group (ADSG) of Sony Pictures Entertainment. ADSG was the R&D unit of the sound department producing products for movie theaters and movie studios.

Two of the products they worked on include the DCP-1000 and DADR-5000. The DCP is a digital cinema processor used in movie theaters around the world. The DADR-5000 is a disk-based audio dubber used on Hollywood sound stages.

ADSG was awarded a Technical Academy Award by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences in 2000 for the development of the DADR-5000. Ara holds three patents for his development work in Digital Cinema and Digital Audio Recording.

Every week they put together a podcast about High Definition TV and Home Theater. Each episode brings news from the A/V world, helpful product reviews and insights and help in demystifying and simplifying HDTV and home theater.