Top

Smurfs: The Lost Village (a J!-ENT 4K Ultra HD Review)

July 2, 2017 by · Leave a Comment 

For those who enjoy the Smurfs and videophile/audiophile parents looking for an animated film that looks great in 4K Ultra HD, who also want to entertain their children or the entire family, you can’t go wrong with “Smurfs: The Lost Village”. Recommended for the entire family!

Images courtesy of © 2017 Columbia Pictures Industries, Inc. All Rights Reserved.


TITLE: Smurfs: Lost Village

DATE OF FILM RELEASE: 2017

DURATION: 90 Minutes

BLU-RAY INFORMATION: 2160p Ultra High Definition (1:85:1 aspect ratio), English Dolby Atmos (Dolby TrueHD 5.1 Compatible), English – Audio Description Track, Catalan, Cantonese, Mandarin, Danish, Dutch (Netherlands), finnish, French, German, Korean, Norwegian, Portuguese, Spanish, Swedish, Thai, Vietnamese 5.1 Dolby Digital, SUBTITLES: English, English SDH, French, Arabic, Cantonese, Chinese, Dutch, Finnish, French, German, Indonesian/Bahasa, Korean, Malay, Norwegian, Polish, Portuguese, Spanish, Swedish, Thai, Turkish, Vietnamese

COMPANY: Columbia Pictures/Sony Pictures Home Entertainment

RATED: PG (Some Mild Action and Rude Humor)

RELEASE DATE: July 11, 2017


Based on the Characters by Peyo

Directed by Kelly Asbury

Written by Stacey Harman, Pamela Ribbon

Producer: Mary Ellen Bauder, Jordan Kerner

Co-Producer: Veronique Culliford, Mandy Tankenson

Executive Producer: Raja Gosnell, Ben Waisbren

Co-Executive Producer: Ben Haber

Music by Christopher Lennertz

Edited by Bret Marnell

Casting by Mary Hidalgo

Production Design by Noelle Triaureau

Art Direction by Dean Gordon, Marcel Vignali


Starring:

Demi Lovato as Smurfette

Rainn Wilson as Gargamel

Joe Manganiello as Hefty Smurf

Jack McBrayer as Clumsy Smurf

Danny Pudi as Brainy Smurf

Mandy Patinkin as Papa Smurf

Dee Bradley Baker as Monty

Frank Welker as Azrael

Michelle Rodriguez as SmurfStorm

Ellie Kemper as SmurfBlossom

Julia Roberts as SmurfWillow

Ariel Winter as SmurfLily

Meghan Trainor as SmurfMelody

Bret Marnell as Snappy Bug

Brandon Jeffords as Cauldron

Kelly Asbury as Nosey Smurf

Jake Johnson as Grouchy Smurf

Gabrielle Iglesias as Jokey Smurf

Tituss Burgess as Vanity Smurf


In this fully animated, all-new take on the Smurfs, a mysterious map sets Smurfette and her best friends Brainy, Clumsy and Hefty on an exciting and thrilling race through the Forbidden Forest filled with magical creatures to find a mysterious lost village before the evil wizard Gargamel does. Embarking on a roller coaster journey full of action and danger, the Smurfs are on a course that leads to the discovery of THE biggest secret in Smurf history!


Back in the late ’50s, Belgian cartoonist Peyo created the comic strips featuring small blue fictional characters known as the Smurfs. A big success in France, the Smurfs would receive various adaptations.

The first were in Belgium via TV animated shorts that were created in 1961-1967, a few of the shorts would be featured in the 1965 in the black-and-white animation “Les Adventures des Schtroumpfs” and then followed by a 1976 animation titled “La Flûte à six schtroumpfs” (The Smurfs and the Magic Flute) which would receive an English version that would inspire more full-length Smurf animated films.

But in America, where the Smurfs gained its popularity is through the 1981 animated TV series which was nominated many times for a Daytime Emmy Award and won the “Outstanding Children’s Entertainment Series” for 1982-1983. The animated series would broadcast on television through 1989.

In 1997, producer Jordan Kerner has been trying to get a “Smurfs” film created but it wasn’t until 2002 when Peyo’s heirs accepted Kerner’s offer and people were able to get their first look at the film via leaked footage on the Internet in 2008.

And in 2011, the first live-action/CG Smurf film of a planned trilogy was released in theaters in 2011. The film which was budgeted for $110 million received lackadaisical reviews from film critics but the film was popular among the younger viewers and earned over $559 million in the box office ensuring the film as a success for Columbia Pictures which would ensure a sequel.

In 2013, “Smurfs 2” would go on to earn over $374 million in the box office, making it another success.

But wanting to create a full 3D CG animated film, the film series was rebooted (now no longer featuring the live action portion), this film (unrelated to the previous two films) is directed by Kelly Asbury (“Shrek 2”, “Gnomeo & Juliet”) and co-written by Stacey Harman (“The Goldbergs”) and Pamela Ribon (“Moana”, “Samantha Who?”, “Bears”) and the film would go on to make $194.7 million in the box office.

And now “Smurfs: The Lost Village” will be released on 4K Ultra HD, Blu-ray and DVD in July 2017.  The version I am reviewing is the 4K Ultra HD version which comes with the Blu-ray and an UltraViolet Digital Code.

In this latest film, we are introduced to the story of Smurfette, the only girl in the Smurf Village and how she was created by the wicked wizard Gargamel from a lump of clay.  Despite being created for the purpose of evil (as he in search of the Smurf village to steal all of their essences to become the most powerful wizard in the world), she was given a chance by Papa Smurf and became part of the village.

One day, Brainy Smurf is creating an invention that can determine one’s energy.  As Hefty Smurf was tested, the invention showed that his energy was strength and Brainy was able to extract that into a liquid.  But when tested on Smurfette, because she isn’t a true Smurf, she drew in energy and so the invention didn’t work on her.

As Smurfette, Brainy, Hefty and Clumsy Smurf go out for some playtime, while flying out with a leaf, a gust of wind carries her to the Forbidden Forest where she crashes.  Smurfette sees a smurf watching her and it runs off past the wall leading to the Forbidden Forest.

But when Smurfette tells the three of what she saw, she is grabbed by Gargamel’s vulture, Monty back to his lair.

This leads Brainy, Hefty and Clumsy to go on a rescue mission to save Smurfette and when they get her out to go to the village, they want to tell Papa Smurf about her discovery.  But when Papa Smurf forbids them and punishes them for going out there, the four sneak out to search if there is a “LostVillage”of Smurfs aside from theirs.


VIDEO:

“Smurfs: Lost Village” receives its first 4K Ultra HD release and this latest animation is fantastic.  Presented in 2160p (1:85:1 aspect ratio), it’s a different style compared to the previous two films which tries to add skin texturing but for the most part, the animation is done very well with great hair physics and for the most part, it’s an animation style that is respectful to Peyo’s original work and also for those who remember the animated series.   Meanwhile, environments are well-rendered with amazing detail.  The picture quality of this film is fantastic!

IMPORTANT TO KNOW: To watch 4K Ultra HD, you will need a 4K UHD TV with HDR and an Ultra HD Blu-ray Player + a high-speed HDMI 2.0A Cable.

AUDIO & SUBTITLES:

Audio quality is equally impressive. Presented in English Dolby Atmos (Dolby TrueHD 5.1 Compatible), English – Audio Description Track, Catalan, Cantonese, Mandarin, Danish, Dutch (Netherlands), Finnish, French, German, Korean, Norwegian, Portuguese, Spanish, Swedish, Thai, Vietnamese 5.1 Dolby Digital.

Considering that this animated film has a good number of action sequences, the lossless audio utilizes the surround channels.  Dialogue and music are crystal clear, while action sequences sound magnificent through the surround channels.

Subtitles are in English, English SDH, French, Arabic, Cantonese, Chinese, Dutch, Finnish, French, German, Indonesian/Bahasa, Korean, Malay, Norwegian, Polish, Portuguese, Spanish, Swedish, Thai, Turkish and Vietnamese.

SPECIAL FEATURES:

“Smurfs: The Lost village” on 4K Ultra HD comes with the following special features:

  • Emoji Sneak Peak – (2:04) A sneak peek for the upcoming “Emoji” film.
  • Filmmaker Commentary– Featuring audio commentary by director Kelly Asbury and Allan Hawkins (Animation Supervisor) and Brandon Jeffords (Head of Story).
  • Deleted Scenes – (7:35) Featuring four deleted scenes.
  • Kids at Heart! The Making of Smurfs: The Lost Village – (9:09) The making of “Smurfs: The Lost Village” and behind-the-scenes at Sony Pictures Animation.
  • The Lost Auditions – (4:07) Voice talents auditioning for other Smurf roles.
  • Demi Lovato Meets Smurfette – (:58) Smurfette interviews Demi Lovato.
  • Lost Village Dance Song  – (3:10) Featuring children dancing to the “Lost Village Dance Song”.
  • Smurfify Your Nails – (2:18) A featurette on how to smurfify nails.
  • Baker Smurf’s Mini Kitchen – (4:05)  A featurette featuring Baker Smurf narrating one preparing a baked dish.
  • Meghan Trainor “I’m a Lady Music Video”
  • Making the Song “You Will Always find Me In Your Heart” – (3:00) Christopher Lennertz discuss making the music for a certain scene.
  • The Sound of The Smurfs – (3:42) Kelly Asbury and Christopher Lennertz discuss the music for Smurfs: The Lost Village”.
  • Draw Your Favorite Smurfs – (7:40) How to draw various Smurf characters.
  • See More Smurfs! – (5:48) “Smurf” film trailers

EXTRAS:

“Smurfs: The Lost Village” comes with a slipcover, both the 4K Ultra HD and Blu-ray disc and an UltraViolet Digital HD code.


Having grown up with watching “Smurfs” on television and reading the comics, and since 2011, it was cool to watch the films alongside my young son who pretty much grew up not with the animated films but the two previous films.

And he were are now in 2017, we have an animated film which will no doubt entertain families but I feel it’s a film that is much easier for me, as an adult to watch, versus watching Smurf and human collaborations onscreen.

Part of the entertaining factor of the original series is the adventures that the Smurfs are involved in and the various characters to work with.  While “Smurfs: The Lost Village” features primarily Smurfette, Brainy Smurf, Hefty Smurf and Clumsy Smurf, the film does a great job of incorporating other Smurfs but most importantly answers a question of what if there is a village of other Smurfs out there?

What if Smurfette wasn’t the only female Smurf around?

And sure enough, “Smurfs: The Lost Village” is quite fun to watch because we see another village but instead of all male, it’s all female.  And similar to Papa Smurf and his village of male smurfs, we see Mama Smurf and her village of female smurfs.  And needless to say, it makes for a fun, entertaining story.

As always, Gargamel is the primary antagonist.  Still trying to search for Smurfs to capture their essence in order to make him a powerful wizard.  Sure there is quite a bit of peril and rude humor (thanks to Gargamel) that raises the rating to PG but parents watching alongside their children need not worry at all.  It’s a great animated film that the entire family can enjoy!

As for the 4K Ultra HD presentation, animation is fantastic.  While much different compared to the previous two films, this time around, the animated film is much truer to Peyo’s work.  Especially for those who grew up watching the animated series.  Movements and hair physics to the way the characters move were well-animated and the detail of environments are full of detail.  In fact, this film looks absolutely vibrant in HD.

The lossless soundtrack is just as impressive.  Featuring crystal clear dialogue and music but also great use of the surround channels during the action sequences.  And last, there are a good number of special features included as well.

Overall, for those who enjoy the Smurfs and videophile/audiophile parents looking for an animated film that looks great in 4K Ultra HD, who also want to entertain their children or the entire family, you can’t go wrong with “Smurfs: The Lost Village”.  Recommended for the entire family!

 

Wreck-It Ralph: Ultimate Collector’s Edition (a J!-ENT Blu-ray Disc Review)

March 4, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

Enjoyable, hilarious and all out awesome!  “Wreck-It Ralph: Ultimate Collector’s Edition” is possibly one of the best animated film on Blu-ray 3D released so far.  Vibrant, colorful, wonderful PQ and lossless audio…a fantastic Blu-ray release!

Images courtesy of © 2012 Disney. All Rights Reserved.

TITLE: Wreck-It-Ralph: Ultimate Collector’s Edition

FILM RELEASE: 2012

DURATION: 101 Minutes

BLU-RAY DISC INFORMATION: 1080p High Definition, 2:39:1 aspect ratio, English 7.1 DTS-HDMA and DVS 2.0 Dolby Digital, French and Spanish 5.1 Dolby Digital Language Tracks Subtitles: English SDH, French and Spanish

COMPANY: Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment

RATED: PG (For Some Rude Humor and Mild Action/Violence)

Release Date: March 5, 2013

Directed by Rich Moore

Story by Rich Moore, Phil Johnston, Jim Reardon

Screenplay by Phil Johnston, Jennifer Lee

Additional Story Material by Sam J. Levine, John C. Reilly, Jared Stern

Produced by Clark Spencer

Executive Producer: John Lasseter

Associate Producer: Monica Lago-Kaytis

Music by Henry Jackman

Edited by Tim Mertens

Casting by Jamie Sparer Roberts

Art Direction by Ian Gooding

Featuring the voices of:

John C. Reilly as Ralph

Sarah Silverman as Vanellope

Jack McBrayer as Felix

Jane Lynch as Calhoun

Alan Tudyk as King Candy

Mindy Kailing as Taffyta Muttonfuudge

Joe Lo Truglio as Markowski

Ed O’Neill as Mr. Litwak

Dennis Haysbert as General Hologram

Edie McClurg as Mary

Adam Carolla as Wynnchel

Horatio Sanz as Duncan

Prepare for adventure when ‘the most original film in years’ (Bryan Erdy, CBS-TV) that thrilled audiences of all ages drops on Blu-ray! From Walt Disney Animation Studios comes a hilarious, arcade-game-hopping journey in Disney’s Wreck-It Ralph. For decades, Ralph has played the bad guy in his popular video game. In a bold move, he embarks on an action-packed adventure and sets out to prove to everyone that he is a true hero with a big heart. As he explores exciting new worlds, he teams up with some unlikely new friends including feisty misfit Vanellope von Schweetz. Then, when an evil enemy threatens their world, Ralph realizes he holds the fate of the entire arcade in his massive hands. Featuring an all-star voice cast and breakthrough bonus features that take you even deeper into the world of video games, Disney’s Wreck-It Ralph has something for every player.

In 2012, the 52nd animated feature in the Walt Disney Animated Classics series came out in theaters.

“Wreck-It Ralph” is film produced by Walt Disney Animation Studios and is directed by Rich Moore (“The Simpsons”, “Futurama”) and features a screenplay by Phil Johnson (“Cedar Rapids”, “A Thousand Words”) and Jennifer Lee.

Featuring an all-star cast as voice talent including John C. Reilly (“Step Brothers”, “The Aviator”, “Magnolia”), Sarah Silverman (“There’s Something About Mary”, “The School of Rock”), Jack McBrayer (“30 Rock”, “Forgetting Sarah Marshall”), Jane Lynch (“Glee”, “Role Models”, “The 40 Year Old Virgin”), Alan Tudyk (“I, Robot”, “Serenity”), Mindy Kailing (“The Office”, “The Mindy Project”), Joe Lo Truglio (“Superbad”, “Pineapple Express”), Ed O’Neill (“The Bone Collector”, “Married with Children”), Dennis Haysbert (“24”, “Heat”) and many more.

The film received positive reviews from film critics and would be successful in the box office earning over $435 million (the film was budgeted at $165 million) and was nominated for a Golden Globe Award and Academy Award for “Best Animated Feature” and won an Annie Award for “Best Animated Feature”.

And now “Wreck-It Ralph: Ultimate Collector’s Edition” featuring the Blu-ray, Blu-ray 3D, DVD and Digital Copy will be released in March 2013.

“Wreck-It Ralph” begins with the Litwak’s Arcade closing up for the night.  The video game characters are seen leaving their video game and head home or travel to visit friends from other video games.

We are introduced to Ralph (featuring the voice of John C. Reilly), the villain of the game “Fix-It Felix, Jr.”.  Ralph wrecks a building and Felix, Jr. (voiced by Jack McBrayer), with his magic hammer, fixes it all up.

But for Ralph, as much as he enjoys his role in the video game, Felix, Jr. receives all the credit and is often celebrated, while he goes home to a junk yard and just watches Felix, Jr. getting noticed all the time.

Ralph explains to his support group of video game villains/antagonists that he wishes that he could be a good guy, but his fellow antagonists in the support group are worried that Ralph is turning “Turbo”.

One day, as Ralph is watching Felix, Jr.’s building from afar, he notices that he is having a 30th anniversary party and is shocked why he wasn’t invited.

Ralph decides to crash the party and Felix, Jr. allows him to show up and eat some cake.  But other Nicelanders at the party are not thrilled that he is there because he causes nothing but trouble and breaks things.  But Ralph tells them that he wants to be a good guy but no one believes him,  They tell him to leave because Felix, Jr. is going to be presented with a medal.

Ralph vows he will get a medal but no one pays him any mind.

As Ralph goes to the pub, he is told that he may be able to find a medal at the lost and found but while he is looking, he sees a hysteric soldier complaining about finding cybugs for a medal.  This automatically catches Ralph’s attention and when the soldier accidentally runs into a wall and knocks himself out, Ralph takes the soldiers uniform and dresses up as a soldier and enters the “Hero’s Duty” video game.

Ralph meets Sergeant Calhoun (voiced by Jane Lynch) who gets the soldiers ready for their upcoming battle.  And as the soldiers fight against the Cy-Bugs, Ralph decides to climb the game’s central beacon to collect his medal, so he can show the Felix, Jr. and the Nicelanders that he received a medal.  But Ralph ends up hatching a Cy-Bug and it clings to Ralph and activates a space craft and both escapee from the “Hero’s Duty” video game and ends up flying to the “Sugar Rush” video game and runs into a girl named Vannelope von Schweetz (voiced by Sarah Silverman), a girl who takes his medal and plans to use it for her upcoming race.  Ralph tries to chase after her in order to get the medal back.

Meanwhile, back at the “Fix-It Felix, Jr.” video game, at the arcade, a teenage girl tries to play “Fix-It Felix, Jr.” but without Ralph back in the video game, there is no villain and so, Litwak puts a malfunction sign to the game and this causes Felix, Jr. and the Nicelanders major concern as a malfunctioning game that is quite old and it could be the end of their game.

So, Felix, Jr. goes to look for Ralph and meets with Sgt. Calhoun to find out that Ralph has led a Cy-bug to another video game.

This causes Sgt. Calhoun great concern because Cy-Bug’s can replicate and infect other video games and take over the game.  We see her back story comes to show that her fiance was killed in a video game when she didn’t check on Cy-Bugs before her wedding.

Feeling the need to stop them, she is determined in going to “Sugar Rush” to kill the Cy-Bug and Felix, Jr. decides to accompany her.

Meanwhile, on “Sugar Rush”, as Vanellope uses the medal to purchase a new race vehicle.  As Vanellope plans to compete, the racers at “Sugar Rush” refuse to allow her to race, claiming that she is not part of their game and that she is nothing but a glitch/mistake and is not supposed to exist.

Ralph finds out that she lives by herself and realizes like him, no one wants to be around her.  So, the two become good friends and Ralph is determined in seeing Vanellope win the race and prove to the others that she is real and that she is a winner.

But when King Candy is determined that a glitch should not win the race, so he hack’s the “Sugar Rush” code to get Ralph’s medal and warning him that if Vanellope wins the race, it will be disastrous not just for “Sugar Rush” but can end up killing Vanellope as she was never meant to be part of the game and that is why she is glitching.  It could also cause problems to his own video game.

But with Vanellope’s heart set on winning the race with the car that she and Ralph had built… Will Ralph help Vanellope win the race or will he sabotage it?  And what will happen to the game he belongs to, now that he’s not in it?

VIDEO:

“Wreck-It Ralph: Ultimate Collector’s Edition” is a film that looks incredible on Blu-ray.  Because of the way each video game setting is created, their is wonderful depth in the 3D presentation.  I have to say that this film is one of the better looking animated films in 3D.

And as the Blu-ray 3D is quite impressive, the Blu-ray is also fantastic with its vibrant colors and its overall color palette.  Colors and detail are incredible, especially to see various video game characters animated and some with metallic to shiny textures, the animation for this film is fantastic.  You can see the detail on the character’s skin tones to the textures of Sugar Rush, such as sugared candy hills, the textures of Ralph’s clothing and more.

And with a film with so much color, you would think that with pinks and reds, you would see banding.  This is not the case with “Wreck-It Ralph”, this is a pristine looking film in HD and definitely one of the better, modern animated films on Blu-ray.

AUDIO & SUBTITLES:

“Wreck-It Ralph: Ultimate Collector’s Edition” is presented in English 7.1 DTS-HD Master Audio and DVS 2.0 Dolby Digital.    Let me just say that this is one of the most immersive soundtracks I have heard for an animated film.  The surround channels are heavily utilized during the action sequences, may it be the racers in “Sugar Rush” or the soldiers taking on the Cy-Bugs.  There is great use of directional, cross-panning sound and thunderous LFE that the film is immersive.

Dialogue is crystal clear and understandable, as with the musical score by Henry Jackman to the “Sugar Rush” song by AKB48.   One of the best sounding animated films on Blu-ray!

Subtitles are in English SDH, French and Spanish.

SPECIAL FEATURES:

“Wreck-It-Ralph: Ultimate Collector’s Edition” come with the following special features:

  • Paperman: Theatrical Short – (6:34) For those who watched the film in the theater (in 3D or 2D), “Paperman” is a theatrical short and a love story about a man who sees the woman he fell in love at first sight and tries to get her attention at a building across from his, by throwing paper airplanes.  The short is featured in both 3D and 2D.
  • Bit by Bit: Creating the Worlds of Wreck-It Ralph – (16:40) A featurette with director Rich Moore, Producer Clark Spencer and the “Wreck-It Ralph” crew discussing the development, design and animation of the film.
  • Alternate and Deleted Scenes – (15:26)  Featuring a total of four deleted and alternate scenes (all are not fully-rendered but featured via animated sketches) with optional commentary from director Rich Moore, co-writers Phil Johnston and Jim Reardon.
  • Video Game Commercials – (2:39) Promotional commercials for “Wreck-It Ralph” for “Fix-It Felix Jr.”, “Sugar Rush”, “Hero’s Duty” and “Fix It Felix Hammer”.
  • Disney Intermission – (9:23) Whenever you pause “Wreck-It Ralph”, comedian and “The Nerdist”, “Talking Dead” and “Attack of the Show” host Chris Hardwick, discusses the video game references and Easter eggs featured in the film.

EXTRAS:

“Wreck-It Ralph: Ultimate Collector’s Edition” comes with a lenticular slipcover case and the Ultimate Collector’s Edition comes with a Blu-ray, Blu-ray 3D, DVD (presented in 2:39:1 aspect ratio, English 5.1 and DVS 2.0 Dolby Digital, Spanish and French 5.1 Dolby Digital Language Tracks) and digital Copy, which works with iTunes and Windows Media Player.

When I first watched “Wreck-It Ralph” in the theater and then watching it again on Blu-ray 3D/Blu-ray, there were so many things about this animated film that I loved.

For one, it dealt with video games and featured video game character cameos throughout the film, it also featured a song from Japan’s AKB48 but for the most part, the story was clever about characters having the ability to cross over to other video games (when an arcade is closed for the day).

While not as deep or emotional compared to a Disney/Pixar film such as “Toy Story 3” or “Up”, the film is exciting, full of imagination, humorous and so much fun thanks  to its characters, character situations and for the most part, there are lessons to be learned from this film.

For one, it’s protagonist Ralph is a video game antagonist but he’s a guy with a good heart, but because he’s different from everyone else, people from his own video game, try to distance themselves from him.  Vanellope is also in the same situation, but it’s how these two people viewed as different, find each other and become good friends despite the challenges they each face in their video game life.

You also have the strong female soldier Sgt. Calhoun which is a pretty cool female character to be seen on an animated film.  She kicks butt but yet we learn that she is not a perfect video game character as she is trying to move past the death of her fiance (who was killed by Cy-Bugs because she failed to check the perimeter).  And then you have Felix, Jr., the hero of the old school “Fix-It Felix Jr.” video games with a magic hammer that can fix things and also a major crush towards Sgt. Calhoun.

The voice acting of “Wreck-It Ralph” also benefits from having talents such as John C. Reilly, Sarah Silverman, Jack McBrayer and Jane Lynch in the main characters roles.  But you also have other talent such as Mindy Kailing, Joe Lo Truglio, Alan Tudyk, Ed O’Neill, Dennis Haysbert and many others as voice talent for the film.

As for the Blu-ray release, I have to say that this is one of the best, if not the best animated film to be presented in Blu-ray 3D.  Also, the Blu-ray itself features a colorful and vibrant scenery and full of detail.  Picture quality alone is fantastic and as for the lossless audio, definitely one of the better, immersive animated films on Blu-ray.  Solid PQ and AQ really makes this film worth owning in HD but if there was only one thing that I wished was on the Blu-ray release was more special features.  From the “Sugar Rush” video by AKB48 shown on YouTube on the “Wreck-It Ralph” channel, audio commentary or even more special features would have been nice.

Granted, I  know I’m spoiled to expecting a lot from Disney animated films on Blu-ray as Disney tends to deliver.  And while there are a good number of special features in this “Ultimate Collector’s Edition” of “Wreck-It Ralph”, I was hoping to see many more and kind of takes it away from being a 5-star Blu-ray release.

Overall, Enjoyable, hilarious and all out awesome!  “Wreck-It Ralph: Ultimate Collector’s Edition” is possibly one of the best animated film on Blu-ray 3D released so far.  Vibrant, colorful, wonderful PQ and lossless audio…a fantastic Blu-ray release!

30 ROCK – Season 3 (a J!-ENT DVD Review)

September 17, 2009 by · Leave a Comment 

“Absolutely fantastic!  Fans of ’30 Rock’, the third season is another witty, hilarious and highly entertaining season.  And to make things even more better,  the third season of ’30 ROCK’ on DVD is full of special features  including seven audio commentary and many special features.  A solid release that is highly recommended!”

Images courtesy of © 2009 Universal Studios. All Rights Reserved.

DVD TITLE: 30 ROCK – SEASON 3

DURATION: 8 hrs. and 6 minutes (22 episodes on 3 Discs)

DVD INFORMATION: English Dolby Digital 5.1, English SDH, Anamorphic Widescreen 1:78:1

COMPANY: Universal Studios Home Entertainment

RATED: NOT RATED

RELEASE DATE:  September 22, 2009

Created by Tina Fey

Directed by Don Scardino, Gail Mancuso, Beth McCarthy-Miller, Scott Ellis

Written by Tina Fey, Robert Carlock, Jack Burditt, John Riggi, Matt Hubbard, Kay Cannon, Ron Weiner, Jon Pollack, Tami Sagher, Donald Glover

Executive Producer: Tina Fey, Jerry Kupfer, Matt Hubbard, Lorne Michaels, David Miner, Jeff Richmond, Jack Burditt, Robert Carlock, Marci Klein, John Riggi

Producer: Don Scardino, Alec Baldwin

Co-Producer: Irene Burns, Diana Schmidt

Associate Prodcuer: Shannon Fogarty

Consulting Producer: Jon Pollack

Music by Jeff Richmond

Cinematography by Matthew Clark

Edited by Ken Eluto and Meg Reticker

Casting by Jennifer McNamara

Production Design by Keith Raywood, Teresa Mastropierro

Art Direction by Peter Baran

Set Decoration by Jennifer Greenberg

Costume Design by Tom Broecker

Starring:

Tina Fey as Liz Lemon

Tracy Morgan as Tracy Jordan

Jane Krakowski as Jenna Maroney

Jack McBrayer as Kenneth Parcell

Scott Adsit as Pet Hornbeger

Judah Friedlander as Frank Rossitano

Alec Baldwin as Jack Donaghy

Katrina Bowden as Cerie

Keith Powell as Toofer

Maulik Pancholy as Jonathan

Kevin Brown as Dot Com

Grizz Chapman as Grizz

Lonny Ross as Josh Girard

John Lutz as Lutz

Alan Alda as Milton Green

Nancy O’Dell as herself

Paula Pell as Paula Hornberger

Donald Glover as Gay Kid

Tracie Jules as Gerhardt’s Friend

Bobbb’e J. Thompson as Tracy Jr.

Kay Cannon as Human Table

Brian Stack as Howard Jorgensen

Steve Buscemi as Lenny Wosniak

Todd Buonopane as Jeffrey Weinerslav

Jon Hamm as Dr. Drew Baird

Sue Galloway as Sue

Sherri Shepherd as Angie Jordan

Rip Torn as Don Geiss

Chris Parnell as Dr. Leo Spacerman

Dean Winters as Dennis Duffy

Salma Hayek as Elisa

Elaine Stritch as Colleen Donaghy

Meredith Vieira as Herself

Jennifer Aniston as Claire Harper

Re-enjoy the complete third season of the Primetime Emmy® and Golden Globe® Award-winning comedy 30 Rock, hailed by The New York Times as “its third season” and by The Sun as a “comedy… shown on NBC… [which is a] network.” Primetime Emmy®, Golden Globe® and SAG® Award winner (and show creator) Tina Fey and Primetime Emmy®, Golden Globe® and SAG® Award winner Alec Baldwin star as corporate executive Jack Donaghy and TV writer Liz Lemon (reverse respectively). Together, Jack and Liz manage the workplace chaos with no help from Liz’s loose-cannon stars Tracy Jordan and Jenna Maroney (Tracy Morgan and Jane Krakowski) and hapless NBC page Kenneth Parcell (Jack McBrayer). The end result is topless break-dancing, professional tetherball, geriatric kidnapping, bird murder, sexual espionage, Appalachian witchcraft, patricide, gay lion tattoos and important life lessons learned from Sasquatches. Join in the behind-the-scenes fun with lots of exclusive content and all 22 episodes of the acclaimed third season of 30 Rock from executive producer Lorne Michaels (Hot Rod).

“30 Rock”, the NBC sitcom that has the most Emmy Awards (22) for a single year for a comedy series.  An award-winning series that is critically acclaimed series that in its first and second year, despite being a series that critics raved about, the series has had its challenge due to its low viewership.

Fortunately, NBC has supported this series and greenlighted a fourth season because “30 ROCK” is unique and one of those rare delights that is on network television.  Humorous, entertaining but literally, just a fantastic comedy that has solid writing and a talented cast.

30 Rock is the shortened address of where NBC Studios is located in New York City, ala 30 Rockefeller Plaza.  The show revolves around the crew and the cast of the live sketch comedy “The Girlie Show” which is written by head writer Liz Lemon (Tina Fey, “Saturday Night Live”, “Baby Mama”, “Mean Girls”) and stars actress Jenna Maroney (Jane Krakowski, “Ally McBeal”).  But Liz’s boss, Jack Donaghy (Alec Baldwin, “Knots Landing”, “Beetlejuice”, “Pearl Harbor”) decides to add comedian Tracy Jordan (Tracy Morgan, “Saturday Night Live”, “Scare Tactics”) to spice up the show and rename it “TGS with Tracy Jordan”.

The show focuses on what goes behind-the-scenes of the creation of the show and what is going on in the personal lives of several of the main characters (primarily focusing on the lives of Liz Lemon and Jack Donaghy) and focuses on relationships and the unique friendship that Jack and Liz tend to develop, while the two deal with their own love life but also their interaction with the writers of TGS and the NBC Page Kenneth Parcell (Jack MacBrayer, “Forgetting Sarah Marshall”, “Arrested Development”).

“30 ROCK – Season 3” features 22 episodes on three discs.  Included are (spoilerless summaries):

DISC: 1

  • EPISODE 37 – DO-OVER – Liz wants to adopt but must must please the adoption evaluator (guest star Megan Mullally, “Will & Grace”).  Meanwhile, Jack returns and wants his job back.
  • EPISODE 38 – BELIEVE IN THE STARS – During a flight back from Chicago, Liz tells her life to Oprah Winfrey.  Meanwhile, Tracy and Jenna try to outdo each other on who has the worst life.
  • EPISODE 39 – THE ONE WITH THE CAST OF NIGHT COURT – Liz and Jenna’s friend Claire (guest star Jennifer Aniston, “Friends”, “Marley & Me”, “Office Space”) comes to visit and falls for Jack.  Meanwhile, Kenneth is depressed and Tracy tries to make him happy by reuniting the cast of “Night Court” (guest star Harry Anderson, Charles Robinson and Markie Post).
  • EPISODE 40 – GAVIN VOLURE – Businessman Gavin Volure (Steve Martin) falls for Liz.  But Gavin has a big secret.
  • EPISODE 41 – REUNION – Liz is convinced by Jack to go to her high school reunion and realizes how her fellow high school mates really feel about her.
  • EPISODE 42 – CHRISTMAS SPECIAL – Liz takes pat in a charity to help underprivileged kids.  Meanwhile, Jack’s mother (Elaine Stritch) comes to visit and it stresses him out.
  • EPISODE 43 – SENORA MACHO SOLO – Liz wants a child so bad that she mistakes a little person (Peter Dinklage) as a young boy.  Meanwhile, Jack starts to fall for his mother’s nurse Elisha (guest star Salma Hayek, “Ugly Betty”, “Traffic”, “Fools Rush In”).
  • EPISODE 44 – FLU SHOT – Liz fights for the TGS staff to get flu shots but only a few shots are available.  Who will get them?  Meanwhile, Jack and Elisha want to spend more time with each other.

DISC 2:

  • EPISODE 45 – Retreat to Move Forward – With the corporate retreat coming up, Jack makes Liz accompany him.
  • EPISODE 46 – Generalissimo – Jack wants to get closer to Elisha but her mother despises him because a Spanish soap opera villain named Generalissimo looks exactly like him.
  • EPISODE 47 – St. Valentine’s Day – Liz goes on a date with Drew and Jack goes to church with Elisha.
  • EPISODE 48 – Larry King – Tracy has an interview on “Larry King Live” and gives out bad financial advise to viewers.
  • EPISODE 49 – Goodbye, My Friend – Liz becomes friends with a pregnant teenager working at the donut shop.
  • EPISODE 50 – The Fun Cooker – Liz has to go to jury duty and without her to lead, the TGS staff goes nuts without her.
  • EPISODE 51 – The Bubble – Liz starts to learn that her boyfriend Drew is living in a bubble and not familiar with reality.
  • EPISODE 52 – Apollo, Apollo – Liz’s ex-boyfriend Dennis returns and Jack plans his perfect 50th birthday.

DISC 3:

  • EPISODE 53 – Cutbacks – With corporate budget cuts, the TGS crew worry about who will get fired.
  • EPISODE 54 – Jackie Jormp-Jomp – With what happened in the last episode, Liz must learn to live her new life without TGS.
  • EPISODE 55 – The Ones – With Jack thinking of taking the next step with Elisha, he goes to Tracy to learn about married life.
  • EPISODE 56 – The Natural Order – Tracy and Liz experience something unique.   Meanwhile, Jenna adopts a pet Gibbon.
  • EPISODE 57 – Mamma Mia – Liz and Tracy convince Jack to search for his real father.  Meanwhile, Tracy finds out that he may have an illegitimate child.
  • EPISODE 58 – Kidney Now! – Jack’s father (Alan Alda) is going through major health problems, meanwhile Liz starts to get fame as a relationship expert.

VIDEO & AUDIO:

“30 ROCK – SEASON 3” is presented in Anamorphic Widescreen 1:78:1.  The television series is shot via single camera and has that drama series style of quality.  But for the most part, the show is anamorphic widescreen and picture quality is satisfactory for what you would expect from television on DVD.

As for audio, audio is presented in English Dolby Digital 5.1.  For home theater owners with a receiver, the audio is front and channel driven with the dialogue being clear and understandable and the opening theme song coming quite lively.  But for the most part, the audio is satisfactory for a comedy.  Personally, I had my receiver set at stereo on all channels as my primary selection and preference in hearing the series.

Subtitles are presented in English SDH.

SPECIAL FEATURES:

“30 ROCK – Season 3” includes quite a number of special features:

DISC 1:

  • Flu Shot Episode Commentary with Tina Fey & Jeff Richmond

DISC 2:

  • Goodbye, My Friend Commentary with Judah Friedlander & John Lutz
  • The Bubble Commentary with Jon Hamm & Jack McBrayer
  • Apollo, Apollo Commentary with Jack Burditt & Robert Carlock

DISC 3:

  • The Ones Commentary with Jane Krakowski & Jack McBrayer
  • Mamma Mia Commentary with Alan Alda
  • Kidney Now! Commentary with Tina Fey & Jeff Richmond
  • Behind-the-Scenes with the Muppets– (3:10) Tina Fey gives commentary about the Muppets being used on the show and designed after the cast.  Behind-the-scenes footage of how the Muppets are being used.
  • 1-900-OKFace – (1:09) The embarrassing commercial of Liz Lemon’s first and only acting role as Bijou.
  • Kidney Now! Table Read – (31:26) The table read for the show with video on the top of the cast going through their scripts and the actual script being shown on the bottom.
  • Making of “He Needs a Kidney” – (12:23) The Making of Kidney! Now.  A featurette about the final episode of Season 3 which shows how music would become instrumental in this episode.
  • Behind-the-Scenes Photo Gallery – (2:06) A photo montage of the crew and cast of “30 Rock”.
  • Alec Baldwin’s SNL Monologue – (4:50) The opening monologue for Alec Baldwin’s appearance on “Saturday Night Live” with Jack McBrayer.
  • Tracy Jordan’s Rant – (2:08) Tracy Jordan going off on the camera operator.
  • Award Acceptance Speeches – Featuring award acceptance speeches for “Emmy’s – Outstanding Lead Actress – Comedy Series” (1:19), “Emmy’s – Outstanding Lead Actor – Comedy Series” (1:05) and “Golden Globes – Best Television Series – Musical or Comedy” (1:18).

I absolutely love “30 ROCK”.  The third season showed no signs of slowdown and every episode, you just want to laugh because the characters are hilarious but most of all, the writing is just top notch.  And all 22 episodes in the third season does not disappoint at all.

With the second season DVD release from last year, the show was really facing major challenges as the Writers Guild Strike really cut down on the episodes and no one knew if NBC was going to cancel the show but they gave it some time and next thing you know, the show won many awards.  The fact that the show has been nominated for 22 awards in 2009 alone is a testament of how people respect the show’s writing and its talent.  As mentioned earlier in my review, “30 ROCK” is one of those rare and unique shows on television and everything manages to work perfectly.

I’ve watched Season 3 on television and I couldn’t wait to watch the episodes again, that’s how much I really enjoy this series.  It’s witty, fun and comedy that is highly entertaining!  In fact, as for favorite episodes, there is just so many.  From finding out who Liz Lemon was talking to on the plane ride in the episode “Believe in the Stars”, to see the reuniting of the “Night Court” characters and also see Jennifer Aniston’s “Claire” getting into mischief in “The One with the Cast of Night Court”, Kenneth going on a date with a blind staffer with Tracy’s help in “St. Valentine’s Day”, Jack seeing a duplicate of himself on the Spanish soap opera in “Generalissimo” or Liz and Jack visiting Liz’s high school reunion in the episode titled “Reunion”.  There are just too many fantastic episodes from this third season, that I can’t see any fan being disappointed.

As for the DVD release of “30 ROCK – Season 3”, this DVD is literally a solid release.  Not only do you get all 22 episodes, 7 audio commentary (and the good news is that they give a variety of talent, even guest stars a chance to take part in the audio commentary) but you also get a good number of other special features that really round out this wonderful DVD release.  Overall, the show is wonderful and the only thing I can hope for is that Universal considers releasing “30 Rock” on Blu-ray via High Definition.

But there is nothing negative I can say about this release.   It’s a solid release and fans of the series will definitely get their money’s worth!  “30 ROCK – Season 3” is highly recommended.

Bottom