Featured In Issue 142, September 2009

WSR Score5
Basic Information on new release titles is posted as soon as titles are announced. Once reviewed, additional data is added to the database.
Universal Studios Home Entertainment
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Thematic elements, scary images, some language and suggestive humor
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Single Side, Dual Layer (BD-50)
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Not Indicated
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(THX® Digitally Mastered):
Henry Selick
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DTS HD Lossless 5.1, DTS 5.1
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Eleven-year-old Coraline Jones (voiced by Fanning) has just moved with her parents (Hatcher & Hodgman) to a new home in Oregon. With no friends, and her parents distracted by work, the feisty and adventurous Coraline sets out to find some excitement in her isolated new environment. She is befriended—or, as she sees it, pestered—by a local boy close to her age, Wybie Lovat (Bailey Jr.) and visits her older neighbors, eccentric British actresses Miss Sink and Miss Forcible (Saunders & French), as well as the arguably even more eccentric Russian, Mr. Bobinsky (McShane). Just as she's beginning to think her new home is utterly uninteresting, she uncovers a secret door, which leads to a parallel existence much like her own life—but much better. The adults, including the solicitous Other Mother (Hatcher) welcome her warmly. And Coraline gets far more attention there—even from the mysterious Cat (David). She begins to think that this Other World might be where she truly belongs. But when her wondrously off-kilter, fantastical visit turns dangerous, Coraline must summon all her resourcefulness, determination, and courage to get back home—and save her real family. Based on the book by Neil Gaiman. (Gary Reber)

Disc One includes the 2-D and 3-D version, with four pairs of glasses. Special features include commentary with Director Henry Selick and Composer Bruno Coulais; three featurettes: The Making Of Coraline (HD 35:53), Voicing The Characters (HD 10:46), and Creepy Coraline (HD 05:03); six deleted scenes (HD 08:37); BD-Live interactivity; and U-Control.

The 1080p VC-1 picture in 3D is impressively presented with captivating characters. Viewed through the provided red/green anaglyph glasses, the depth of field is enhanced, but the color palette is faded and seriously deficient, as is the case with color-coded anaglyph 3-D presentations. This is the lowest-quality 3D and does not reflect the potential for the format now in standards discussion. Once home, 3D will be able to duplicate the digital theatrical formats, then the imagery will be outstanding. Technologically advanced 3D will likely embrace the spatial compression and 2D + Metadata methods (see Issue 138, January/February 2009 for an article on 3-D technology). These have the potential to deliver 3-D quality to the home that rivals RealD and IMAX® in theatres. The 2-D version of this animated film is nicely rendered with excellent contrast, deep blacks, and superb animated shadow delineation. Colors appear perfectly natural, with warm and vibrant hues, for an impressive natural look without exaggeration. This is the preferred version to really appreciate the creative artistry of the animation. Resolution also is excellent and reveals fine textures. While not 3D, dimensionality is excellent. At some point, hopefully, in the very near future, this film will be released in either the spatial compression format (such as SENSIO) or the uncompressed 2D + Metadata format, which then will exhibit accurate color fidelity. Nevertheless, the 3-D version is impressive and is sure to please. (Gary Reber)

The DTS-HD Master Audio™ 5.1-channel soundtrack is beautifully recorded, with superb fidelity. Foley sound effects are perfectly rendered, with impressive low-level clarity and definition. The music score is fantastic, with a wide and deep soundstage and revealing instrumental timbre that is impressive. The ADR is excellent and delivers convincing dialogue spatial integration. Atmospheric sound effects enhance the mood and provide dimension and dynamic character, even impressive phantom center back surround imaging and height sensation. Surround envelopment is holosonic®, with aggressive localized soundfield delineation. Bass extension sounds perfectly natural and at times extends to below 25 Hz in the .1 LFE channel. Pans and surround localizations are heard throughout and enhance the dimensionality of the experience. The D-BOX® Motion Code™ encoding is mostly non-active, but when engaged, the movement experience perfectly complements and enhances the viewing of this film, especially during the ending scenes. (Gary Reber)