November 15, 2007 by Marshal Rosenthal
Poor Victor. He’s always been too shy to have a living breathing girlfriend. Well his luck is abut to change - just not in the way he expects.
Tim Burton might be a little bit “Grimm,” but a fairy tale he sure knows how to unfold. Continuing the use of puppets ala “Nightmare Before Christmas” is inspired, even if the use of digital technologies allows for such things as smoke and aspects of lighting to be created more freely. It’s the tangible element of the characters that aids in their being more real and appealing and, while perhaps dating this reviewer, can allow the audience to better identify with non-human actors in a very human way that CG is unable to duplicate. Besides, this is a fun tale of unrequited love, murder and confusion - filled with characters both living and dead that dominate the screen. And accompanied with music that doesn’t drip sugary sweet or overstay its welcome.
The unsung heros of this film are the backgrounds, which are just as potent as the characters. The colors vary widely from the black and white above ground to the garishness found where the living do not tread. And there’s no comparison really to the DVD because there’s just so much to see that now you can see - from the subtle shading to the minute attention to detail and even the texture discernible on the characters - all of this is now visible throughout. Plus the sheer density of the blacks and whites astound and contributes to creating an even more powerful story, aided by a sharpness that works in harmony rather than taking center stage.
As to sound, the added center rear channel of the Dolby surround EX gets a bit of a workout and in general the Dolby Digital works just fine, thank you very much. The film is ripe with dialogue that is always kept positioned up front. The overall effect of the audio helps to keep the mood flowing - the surround is there but fairly subtle in its execution for the most part.
As is the case with most of Burton’s films, the extras serve a good purpose in allowing you to glimpse as if from the side of the camera: things like behind the scenes look at shooting and how the puppets are animated, etc. It’s interesting stuff but similarly to that found on the DVD and in standard resolution as well.
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Disc Specs and Credits
Format reviewed: Blu-ray
Disc Size: N/A
Aspect ratio: 1080p, 1.85:1
Audio: Dolby Digital 5.1 EX
Director: Tim Burton, Mike Johnson
Screenwriter: John August and Caroline Thompson
Starring: Johnny Depp, Helena Bonham Carter, Emily Watson, Tracey Ullman, Paul Whitehouse, Joanna Lumley, Albert Finney, Richard E. Grant, Christopher Lee, Michael Gough, Jane Horrocks, Enn Reitel, Deep Roy, Danny Elfman, Stephen Ballantyne
Studio: Warner Home Video
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