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Wednesday, August 23, 2023

4K Digital Review: The Little Mermaid (2023)

 


In 1989, the animated film, The Little Mermaid, began the Disney Renaissance. Disney returned to its storytelling roots and used Broadway-style music to propel the story forward. Now in 2023, Disney has brought the film into live-action. Is it one of the best remakes to date? Let's take a look.

The Little Mermaid centers around a young and spirited mermaid named Ariel (Halle Bailey) who is fascinated by the human world and falls for a young prince that she saves from a shipwreck. While mermaids are forbidden to interact with humans, Ariel disobeys her father King Triton's (Javier Bardem) orders and makes a deal with sea witch Ursula (Melissa McCarthy) to allow Ariel to walk on land for three days in exchange for her voice. Ariel must share true-loves kiss with Prince Eric (Jonah Hauer-King) within those three days if she wants to remain a human or transform back into a mermaid and belong to Ursula forever.

Melissa and Javier are fantastic in their roles. Melissa clearly had a great time being Ursula. Jonah did a great job in the expanded role of Prince Eric. He is a fully realized character with dreams and goals and gets his own song too. His chemistry with Halle is a strong point here as well. But the star here is Halle. Her performance is every bit of worthy of being a Disney Princess. Her vocals and emotional range make you truly understand what Ariel is going through.


Video:

The 4K HDR Dolby Vision video is prestine. There are times the CG looks too CG but the underwater scenes are magical. The details are all sharp and clean. The skin tones, hair, clothing material details, rockwork, shipwreck details and more are all beautiful and bring both land and sea to life. Another excellent transfer by Disney. 


Audio:

The 5.1 Dolby Atmos soundtrack is wonderful though the audio levels are very much on the quieter end of the scale. Dialogue is front and center while environmental effects fill the surround channels. The score and the songs really shine and surround you. 


Bonus Features*

  • Sing Along Version  Sing along with your favorite songs while watching the movie with on-screen lyrics.
  • Hotter Under The Water – Discover how director Rob Marshall and his team brought the story of The Little Mermaid to life with this documentary in five chapters:
    • A Tale Of The Bottomless Blue - Join Rob Marshall on the set of one of the most ambitious and challenging films he's ever directed.
    • I Know Something’s Starting Right Now - Join cast members Halle Bailey, Melissa McCarthy, Jonah Hauer-King and more and learn how they were cast in the film and what it was like to bring director Rob Marshall's vision to life.
    • Down Where It’s Wetter - Dip your toes into the virtual ocean and learn about how the breathtaking underwater world was created with visual effects, imagination and a lot of talented artists.
    • Explore That Shore Up Above - From Prince Eric’s castle to the beach, explore the above-the-sea locations and the elaborate production design behind them.
    • Do What The Music Say - Discover how legendary composer Alan Menken teamed up with Lin- Manuel Miranda to write new songs to accompany the original classics

 

  • Song Breakdowns
    • Wild Unchartered Waters - Prince Eric, played by Jonah Hauer-King, gets his own song, written by Alan Menken and Lin-Manuel Miranda. Go behind the song, from the writing to the recording, to the filming on a practical ship.
    • Under the Sea - Get a first-hand look at how professional dancers helped bring director Rob Marshall's vision to life as they stood in for the various animated sea creatures that sing and dance in this showstopping number.
    • Kiss The Girl - Float along and get a frog's-eye view of the beautiful set built to film the live-action version of this classic song.
    • Poor Unfortunate Souls - Join Melissa McCarthy (Ursula) as she takes us on the journey of making her character's signature song.

  • Featurettes
    • The Scuttlebutt On Sidekicks – Dive in and meet Sebastian, Flounder and Scuttle, who not only have their own song, "The Scuttlebutt," but also fresh looks as they work hard to make sure Ariel and Eric kiss before Ursula's deadline.
    • Passing The Dinglehopper – Ariel met Ariel when Halle Bailey worked with Jodi Benson — the voice of Ariel in the original animated movie — who appears in a clever cameo in the live-action film..
    • Bloopers - Laugh along with the cast as they have the time of their lives making The Little Mermaid.
Conclusion:

The Little Mermaid retains the heart and soul of the animated original. The video and audio are wonderful to make you feel as if you are part of this world. The bonus features are also wonderful and help to understand this take on the animated film. A definite addition to your collection. The digital version is available now. The 4K UHD, Blu-Ray and DVD version will be available on September 19th.

*This movie was provided by Walt Disney Home Entertainment for the sole purpose of review. The review is entirely my opinion.*

Sunday, August 6, 2023

4K Digital Review: Guardians of The Galaxy Vol. 3



Guardians of The Galaxy Vol. 3 is the send off for this current team and sets up the future of not only the Guardians of The Galaxy but the ever expanding Marvel Cinematic Universe. James Gunn leaves the franchise as he heads off to help Warner Brothers and their DC movies but gets to end the trilogy the way that he wanted to. 

We start with a flashback to Rocket and his transformation by the High Evolutionary (Chukwudi Iwuji). We get numerous flashbacks to Rocket's past as we get into the actual story of the movie where we find Rocket being mortally wounded by Adam Warlock (Will Poulter). Starlord (Chris Pratt) and the rest of the team spring into action to save Rocket. 

As we get through one action sequence after another we learn more about Rocket's past and the other traumas that the rest of the team have been going through. We also get undertones of acceptance and kindness, themes so very relevant and important today. The combination of laughs and sadness will lead to some of the biggest laughs and the most tears in the entire MCU. 

All the character performances are top-notch and the soundtrack is once again perfect. Guardians is the best MCU film to date. Thank you to James Gunn and his entire team for these amazing films and characters. This third films gets everything right.    


Video:

Guardians of The Galaxy Vol. 3 is presented in a stunning 4K UHD transfer from a film originally shot on Red cameras that have the capability of shooting in 8K resolution. The colors and the details really shine. Skin tones and textures such as cloth look amazing. The blending of live action and CG is nearly flawless. Another solid transfer from Disney and Marvel.



Audio:

The Dolby Atmos track is beautiful. Dialogue is crystal clear even during quieter dialogue moments when the various channels are filled with ambient sounds. There are some wonderful panning moments and numerous other well designed effects. Just another solid audio track from Disney and Marvel.



Bonus Features:

FEATURETTES

·        The Imperfect, Perfect Family - View the evolution of the Guardians through the cast and crew’s passion for each other and the entire franchise. Join this tight knit “found family” as they leave behind a legacy and recount their best memories wrapping up this epic trilogy’s final film.

·        Creating Rocket Raccoon – Director James Gunn talks about bringing Rocket to life and how personal the character is to him. Uncover BTS footage, the research and development of the visual effects process, and the inspiration for Rocket through conversations with cast and crew.

 

DELETED SCENES

·        A Bit Much – Adam Warlock explains to Ayesha what he plans to do with the Guardians.

·        A Lending Hand  Peter lends a hand to an injured humanimal on Counter-Earth and shows he means no harm.

·        Drax's Analogies and Metaphors - Drax gives Peter some interesting life analogies and metaphors.

            ·        The Perfect Society – The High Evolutionary reveals his mission to perfect the universe.

·        The Search for 89P13 – Behemoth brings not-so-good news to The High Evolutionary.

·        Annoyed Peter – Peter gets annoyed while altering the shield.

·   A Burning Escape – Peter runs back to grab his music player before escaping a blazing inferno on the ArĂȘte.

·        Knowhere After the Battle – The High Evolutionary is brought back to Knowhere and locked up while Kraglin recruits Adam Warlock.

 

GAG REEL

·        Take a look at some of the fun outtakes on set with the cast and crew of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3

 


DIRECTOR’S COMMENTARY


·        Watch the film with audio commentary by director James Gunn. 


Conclusion:


An epic ending as well as a new beginning for the Guardians of The Galaxy. A wonderful send-off to the team we have grown to love and care about and yet there is hope of further adventures with a new team of guardians. A wealth of fun bonus features and some great insight from James Gunn himself make this an easy to recommend addition to your collection.


The digital, 4K UDH, blu-ray and DVD versions are available now.


*The digital copy was provided by Walt Disney Home Entertainment for the purpose of review and the review is entirely my own opinion*