The Big Year Blu-ray Review
- Aspect Ratio: 2:35:1
- Video Codec: AVC/MPEG-4
- Resolution: 1080p/24 (23.976Hz)
- Audio Codec: English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1, Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1, French Dolby Digital 5.1
- Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish
- Region: A (Region-Locked)
- Rating: PG
- Run Time: 100 Mins.
- Discs: 2 (1 x Blu-ray + 1 x DVD)
- Studio: 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment
- Blu-ray Release Date: January 31st, 2012
- List Price: $39.99
Click thumbnails for high-resolution 1920X1080p screen captures
(All Blu-rayDefinition.com screen captures are lightly compressed with lossy JPEG at 100% quality setting and are meant as a general representation of the content. They do not fully reveal the capabilities of the Blu-ray format)
The Big Year, based on a true story, tells of a competition between three different men, that being the race to see who can spot the most bird species in a given calendar year. Current champion Kenny Bostick (Owen Wilson), an independent contractor, leads the race while Stu Preissler (Steve Martin), an almost retired CEO and Brad Harris (Jack Black), a recently divorced man with nothing going for him, are on his trail. Now, according to the back of the box there’s supposed to be a ton of laughs found here. Perhaps I was watching the wrong movie as Big Year is far from funny. I’s almost embarrassing that Martin, Black and Wilson decided to even involve themselves in this.
Does Hollywood really want to know why people criticize it? Movies like The Big Year are the reason why people lambast it, why people laugh at Hollywood. I can’t even begin to imagine someone at 20th Century Fox sat in a boardroom, heard the pitch for this film and, somehow, thought people would A) pay to see this or B) actually like this. The fact that someone thought this would make a good movie isn’t the saddest part. More that Martin, Black, and Wilson would agree to star in Year.
I’ll admit Steve Martin used to be the go to guy (akin to Jim Carrey) for comedy, but has since fallen off. Jack Black, well, Jack Black can make a good film (I’ve always liked Shallow Hal). Owen Wilson — I’m mixed on him as he isn’t the worst actor, but has made many questionable career decisions. Most notable is agreeing to make this, especially coming off of his career performance in Midnight in Paris. I guess, in the end, a paycheck is a paycheck….right?
The 2:35:1 framed, AVC MPEG-4 encoded transfer is acceptable, but not great. The issue here is the manner in which the film was shot. Whether it be director of photography Lawrence Sher’s eye or the stylistic decisions of director David Frankel, The Big Year fails to really impress. Clarity is questionable throughout, detail is lackluster and colors, while solid for the most part, lack that pop that we’ve come to expect from not only day-and-date titles but also from Fox. There is a rather heavy coat of grain throughout, which can lead to detail loss. Items like contrast levels and flesh tones tend to have a more glossy, fake look to them instead of real, natural look and feel. This makes me question if scrubbing tools like DNR may have been used. Whatever the real reason, I just didn’t think much of this transfer.
The film’s provided DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track offers up a rather standard aural experience. Being a comedy driven film, dialogue is well reproduced throughout via the center channel. There are a few instances of surround activity thanks in part to either the film’s score or the varying locales used. Items like birds chirping offer up a few discrete surround effects. Outside of this, the DTS-HD track is very subdued and doesn’t really offer much else that can truly make it something great. All in all, this is a decent effort from Fox.
The included supplements are presented in HD.
- The Big Migration – Running 18:28, this is your run-of-the-mill making of as the cast and crew show us their journey across America.
- Deleted Scenes – A total of 17:37 worth of yawning inducing deleted scenes.
- Gag Reel – Somewhat funny 5:58 worth of gags.
- Trailer – The film’s trailer (1:47) is shown.
The Definitive Word
The Big Year just isn’t a well made film. The acting felt forced and the dialogue is boring. FOX’s Blu-ray really isn’t that much better either, which I found surprising. I’d say give this a rent if you’re interested. Otherwise, skip this.
Additional Screen Captures