Dinosaurs Alive! [IMAX] Blu-ray 3D Review
- Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
- Video Codec: AVC/MPEG-4 (2D); MVC Full HD 3D
- Resolution: 1080p/24
- Audio Codec: English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1, French DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1, Spanish DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1
- Subtitles: N/A
- Rating: Not Rated
- Region: ABC (Region-Free)
- Discs: 1
- Studio: Image Entertainment
- Blu-ray Release Date: November 2, 2010
- List Price: $24.98
Click thumbnails for high-resolution 1920X1080p screen captures
(Screen captures are lightly compressed with lossy JPEG thus are meant as a general representation of the content and do not fully reveal the capabilities of the Blu-ray format)
Editor’s Note: Portions of this review not specific to this release were previously published as our Dinosaurs Alive! [IMAX] Blu-ray Review.
When it comes to IMAX demonstration films, one has to expect that they are going to be short on deep scientific exploration and long on fantastic sound and images. Dinosaurs Alive! is no exception to this rule. The 40-minute documentary film does not offer anything new in the way of information on dinosaur studies, but its easy language and numerous CG animated images of dinosaurs brought to life is meant to offer a fun exploration of this branch of scientific exploration for families and their young ones.
The film focuses mainly on a 1920′s expedition in the Mongolian desert and a modern dig in New Mexico and it offers many beautiful vistas of red cliffs and desert sands. Interspersed in the live footage are the CG animated sequences of the dinosaurs. Unfortunately, these sequences are underused, so younger children may lose interest and the animation is at a rudimentary level as well.
Actor Michael Douglas narrates and imparts as much drama as he can to the material. Ultimately, however, Dinosaurs Alive! feels more lifeless than alive. There are more riveting IMAX exhibition films out there for certain. This one struggles to hold one’s interest.
Another IMAX Blu-ray release, another brilliant video encoding from the folks at Big Picture DVD and Image Entertainment. This Blu-ray 3D release of the title has been re-encoded in MPEG-4 from the previous 2D-only release’s VC-1. It’s framed at the same 1.78:1 aspect ratio and maintains its 1080p/24 resolution. Since I’ve reviewed the 2D Blu-ray release previously, I’ll only briefly mention that the new encoding looks every bit as good as the earlier release. This review will focus on the 3D aspects of the re-release.
The CG sequences show the same amount of amazing clarity as they do in 2D and there is good depth of field imparted with the 3D effect. There does seem to be a bit more crosstalk/ghosting in the live action sequences on this title that I have seen in other 3D titles, particularly from IMAX/Image, but it’s impossible to pin down if it is from the content or display, so I won’t penalize the transfer for that. Outside of the menu and the opening sequence, there isn’t much “pop-out” going on here, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. I will say, however, that on one of the desert scenes, I could have sworn a fly flew by my face, but then realized it was the TV, not in the room.
To go along with the eye candy that is the video transfer, Dinosaurs Alive! has been provided with a big, reference quality English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1soundtrack. Michael Douglas’ narration is full and clear in the center channel, foley effects encompass the user in a complete 360° soundfield, and there are good dynamics. When need be, low frequencies are quite resonant. Everything is held together by a nice amount of ambience panned throughout the soundstage.
French and Spanish DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 options are also available.
The supplements on Dinosaurs Alive! 3D fall in line with the standard for these IMAX releases that we have seen so far from Image Entertainment. Everything here is brought over from the 2D release minus the Trivia quiz, which s left off of this release. There is not much compelling, not even on the BD-Live connection.
The supplements provided with this release are:
- The Making of Dinosaurs Alive (1.78:1; 1080i/60; 0:26.41)
- Meet the Creatures
- Trailers (HD)
- BD-Live: More IMAX trailers and an HDTV setup guide.
The Definitive Word
While Dinosaurs Alive! 3D certainly offers typically reference material for your home theatre system, the content it offers it less than satisfying. When IMAX documentaries move into this sort of territory, they begin to compete with some of the best nature documentarians out there, like the BBC releases, and this falls far short of anything like that. Still, it offers brilliant eye candy with marvelous sound and that is what IMAX is all about, so if you’re looking to extend your 3D catalogue, this is by all means a solid title to add to it.
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