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Brave Blu-ray 3D Review

  • Aspect Ratio: 2.39:1
  • Video Codec: AVC/MPEG-4 (2D)/MPEG-4 MVC (3D)
  • Resolution: 1080p/24 (23.976Hz)
  • Audio Codec: English Dolby TrueHD 7.1 (48kHz/24-bit), English Dolby Digital 5.1, English 2.0 Near Field Mix, French Dolby Digital Plus 7.1, French/Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1, English DVS 2.0 Dolby Digital
  • Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish, French
  • Region: ABC (Region-Free)
  • Rating: G
  • Run Time: 93 Mins
  • Discs: 5 (1 x Blu-ray 3D + 2 x Blu-ray + 1 x DVD
  • Digital Copies: 1 x iTunes Digital Copy
  • Studio: Disney-Pixar
  • Blu-ray Release Date: November 13, 2012
  • List Price: $49.99

Overall
[Rating:4.5/5]
The Film
[Rating:4.5/5]
Video Quality
HD: [Rating:5/5]
3D Effect: [Rating:4.5/5]
Audio Quality
[Rating:5/5]
Supplemental Materials
[Rating:4.5/5]

Click thumbnails for high-resolution 1920X1080p screen captures

(The below TheaterByte screen captures were taken directly from the Blu-ray Discs and losslessly compressed in the PNG format. There should be no loss of picture quality with this format. All screen captures should be regarded only as an approximation of the full capabilities of the Blu-ray format.

 

The Film

[Rating:4.5/5]

Brave-3D-BD_01

Brave is the newest film from famed Pixar Animation Studios, known for creating the Toy Story films. With this being their 13 feature, Brave marks Pixar’s 1st film with a female heroine at its helm. The story tells of Merida (Kelly Macdonald), a skilled archer and headstrong daughter of King Fergus (Billy Connolly) and Queen Elinor (Emma Thompson). Determined to carve her own path, Merida defies an age-old custom sacred to both her family and the people of her land, that being her having to chose her suitor after a series of skilled events. When her actions inadvertently unleash chaos in the kingdom, she must now use her skills and resources to undo a beastly curse before it’s too late. What results is yet another charming, funny, heartfelt effort from Pixar.

Akin to that of prior Pixar animated efforts, Brave marks another notch in the plus column for the team at Pixar. What works so well here is not necessarily the visuals, as they’re just as good as we’ve come to expect from Pixar (more on that below). Nor is it the voice acting (which is excellent), it’s the subtle tones to the film’s story. The connection between parents and their daughter, really the importance of family, highlights the plot of this one. It’s this little aspect that truly helps to make Brave one of the more enjoyable Pixar efforts in recent times. In all reality, Pixar is that rare studio that continues to churn out hit after hit (heck, even the somewhat disappointing Cars 2 is light years ahead of other studios’ efforts.)

Video Quality

HD: [Rating:5/5]

3D Effect: [Rating:4.5/5]

Brave-3D-BD_02

The film’s 2:39:1 framed, AVC MPEG-4 encoded 2D transfer is absolutely stunning, something we’ve come to expect from Pixar. Created completely digitally, this image is one of the best animated offerings of the year (and I hope this release does show up on a few ‘best of the year’ lists). Detail is excellent, particularly that of character close-ups (see screenshot #4). Colors pop, as the film’s palette features a wide variety of colors ranging from the bright forest greens, to the nasty, dark blacks of the witch’s home. Essentially, this transfer continues the winning ways of both Disney and Pixar in the animated Blu-ray category.

The film’s 3D presentation shares a similar aspect ratio, but is encoded at MPEG-4 MVC. Regardless of the different encodement, this 3D counterpart shares an equally strong presentation. Detail is excellent, as is the film’s clarity. Ghosting is minimal, only occasionally rearing its head, and the image has that top notch quality only Pixar can release. Items do pop off screen, mostly during the rain storms or the initial arrows zipping at us. While these little accents do help the 3D presentation, what made this transfer quite good is how it handled the story. During the film’s theatrical run, I recall feeling the 3D was rather bland, and lacked any punch. Such isn’t the case here as I found the 3D absorbing and quite effective, almost as if it made the film’s story just that much more important.

Choose the 2D or 3D offering and know this: whichever you do choose, prepare yourself for an all around excellent transfer from the folks at Disney/Pixar.

Audio Quality

[Rating:5/5]

Brave-3D-BD_03

Brave arrives with a Dolby TrueHD 7.1 offering, one of which is excellent. Dialogue is well reproduced via the center channel, with no instance of drop out or any real problem. Atmosphere, particularly during the thunderstorm or the skilled events, is fantastic offering up a solid 360-degree aural experience. LFE is deep at time giving us the kind of low-end that we might not expect from an animated offering. Panning between rears are invisible completing the kind of audio that we would want to throw into our players to please the little ones, but also the type we’d demo off to our friends. Excellent job here Disney/Pixar!

Supplemental Materials

[Rating:4.5/5]

Brave-3D-BD_04

The provided supplements are featured in High Definition:

  • La Luna – This short, shown before the film in theaters, runs 6:57 and tells the story of a boy and his father and grandfather bickering over the little things in life, all while attempting to reach the moon in hopes of bringing light into the darkness of the world.
  • The Legend of Mordu – This is a new short developed exclusively for this release. The short itself runs 6:51 and gives us a bit more insight into the legend of Mordu, specifically about the witch who transformed him.
  • Brave Old World – This runs 12:35 and looks into the production team visiting Scotland in preparation for the film. Director Brenda Chapman, as well as voice actor Emma Thompson speaks on the influence the native land had on the film.
  • Merida & Elinor – Running 8:24, the mother-daughter topic is discussed. Always a nice aspect is actually seeing the voice actors speak the roles. Also, we learn that the film’s relationship between Merida & Elinor is inspired by Brenda Chapman’s relationship with her own mother.
  • Bears – This one runs 6:10 and looks into the design and art of the bears.
  • Brawl in the Hall – Here we’re given a look into how the film’s main fight sequence was planned, via a feature that runs 5:29.
  • Wonder Moss – The technical aspects of the film, via Pixar’s Scotland artists, is detailed in 2:45.
  • Magic – This one runs 7:06 and looks into the different magic and lores discussed in the film. Again, Director Brenda Chapman, as well as film Supervisor Brian Larsen, speak on the influence of magic on the film.
  • Clan Pixar – The production crew and how they detailed the film’s Scottish themes, is discussed in 4:46.
  • Once Upon A Scene – This is a mix of deleted/alternate/extended scenes, mostly shown in storyboard format. The scenes themselves run 7:47 and feature a few insights by Brian Larsen.
  • Extended Scenes – Four Extended Scenes are shown. ‘Meet the Lords’ runs 3:20, ‘Triplets Distraction’ runs 3:20 as well, ‘The Ruins’ runs 4:20, and ‘Blockade’ runs 1:34. A nice aspect here is that most of the scenes feature minor changes, which are indicated by a little scissor icon.
  • Audio Commentary with Directors Marc Andrews & Brenda Chapman –
  • Alternate Opening – Entitled ‘Fergus & Mor’Du, this alternate opening runs 2:40. The opening itself, as Director Mark Andrews indicates, is one of the first scenes the crew developed.
  • Fallen Warriors – This is a montage of different deleted scenes. Due note that the scenes themselves (which run 2:08) are in various stages of completion.
  • Dirty Hairy People – The physical design of the Scot’s hair is discussed here in 3:33. Steve Pilcher, the film’s Production Designer, offers up a few thoughts on the design.
  • It is English….Sort of – The film’s various Scottish lines and dialect is discussed here in 3:50. This is a funny look into the differences of what some of the film’s word choices actually mean.
  • Angus – This one runs 3:25 and focuses on Merida’s friend, Angus.
  • The Tapestry – The subject of family unity is brought up via a feature that runs 3:56.
  • Promotional Pieces – 8 different promotional pieces are shown, ranging from earlier teaser pieces to the film’s final USA, Japan and UK Trailers.
  • Wee Gaffes – This is a collection of animated bloopers.
  • Renaissance Animation Man – This one looks into Director Mark Andrews love for the Scottish themes.
  • Art Gallery – A series of different pieces, ranging from Character, Color Keys, Development Art, Environments and Graphics, are shown.
  • DVD – A DVD of the film is included on a separate disc
  • Digital Copy – A Digital Copy of the film is included on a separate disc, playable on a wide range of devices including iTunes.

The Definitive Word

Overall:

[Rating:4.5/5]

Brave-3D-BD_05

There should be no real surprise that Disney/Pixar, on both the physical film quality/Blu-ray release, has yet another winner on their hands. Highly Recommended on all fronts, regardless of age.

Additional Screen Captures

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Purchase Brave on Blu-ray 3D Combo Pack at CD Universe

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Brave-3D-BD_07

Brave-3D-BD_08

Brave-3D-BD_09

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Purchase Brave on Blu-ray 3D Combo Pack at CD Universe

Brave

Shop for more Blu-ray titles on Amazon.com

Overall
[Rating:4.5/5]
The Film
[Rating:4.5/5]
Video Quality
HD: [Rating:5/5]
3D Effect: [Rating:4.5/5]
Audio Quality
[Rating:5/5]
Supplemental Materials
[Rating:4.5/5]

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12 COMMENTS

  1. But why oh why isn’t Brave in full widescreen!? :-( Would have made it so much better! 2:39:1 is, like always imo, crap for home use (where i watch most of my movies).

    I HATE black borders :-(

    And in animated movies i have a hard time understanding them.
    Even Titanic was remade to work in 3D AND 1:85:1! Looks fantastic..

  2. Hello Brandon, I got the Brave 2D pack (not the 5 disc 3D pack) and i had a problem with the audio. the disc picked the Dolby TruHD 5.1 mix over the 7.1, my player can pass this fine (the 7.1 when the disc is programmed for it in certain instances) and it transmits through the TV well. but is there a problem with my TV in that it cant use the channels for the track to work? is there an audio sync problem for this title that i am not aware of, my player tricked the 2D disc into thinking its the DVD copy running 5.1 audio anyway. the last disc i had do this was the Oz the Great and Powerful disc where the DVD thought it was a Dolby Tru HD 7.1 disc and it picked the 2.0 track and was playing back on a PS2. are all of disneys discs programmed to pick the 5.1 in 2D, or do i go future proof the 3Ds from this studio?

      • What kind of audio gear are you using? Do you even have a 7.1 setup? Are you playing the audio through your TV? If you’re playing through the TV, it may be forcing you to the 2.0 selection, because, obviously, the TV cannot support multichannel. It has to do with the HDMI handshaking telling the Blu-ray player what kind of audio the playback equipment can or cannot support.

        • The 2D TV is setup using SRS TruSurround 5.1, yes to question 2. is the player or the TV forcing me to 5.1, or both? no, the DVD is equipped for Dolby 2.0.

          a 2D TV can’t do multichannel which is what MA and DTHD need to work right? meaning the support off the back speakers. a 3D TV is able to do multi-channel for everything that is either DTS-MA or Dolby Tru HD or the sounds as listed on the front of the player if i am correct.

          The TV the player dictates (3D) can do multichannel correct?

          so the TV’s HDMI handshaking is telling the Blu-Ray 3D player (Samsung 3D FM 59) what kind of sound the playback equipment can and can’t have right?

          so for this title, do i need to hook up back speakers to go multichannel conventionally or do i need to sell the unit and get a TV which can support multichannel (which is what the discs with the DTS-MA Dolby-Tru HD, DTS-HD sound mixes need apparently). is it possible to do such hookup for what the disc says its sound mixed in on a 2D unit (Disney defines this as a traditional television, as stated on the DVD copy for this title in setup for the said copy)? hope this answers it.

          • Brandon the force back on the Audio for the 2D disc is to the DVD’s audio which is 5.1 (not Dolby 2.0, which is the DVD’s default audio.)

          • Disney defines the DVD’s audio as Dolby 2.0 for traditional TV’s. (2D). the DVD copy has the prompt where the 5.1 can be selected. it specifically even says on setup for the DVD only, it must be selected under what is Dolby 2.0? for the 2D Blu-Ray if i select multichannel will it go back on itself to 5.1 due to the TV’s audio board?

          • Did a playtest in Dolby TruHD 7.1 which the 2D disk is mastered for, the result i found is it cranked up my SRS TruSurround 5.1 audio system (Surround EX Setup) and turned it very loud. it worked in DTHD well and all was clear, but as you said im not equipped for multichannel since the handshake thing is still there. it increased the power to my system, the system i have was still there but louder (is that normal and does it mean the disc is supposed to operate like that?)

          • I’m guessing that what’s happening is you are being forced to the 2.0 because the SRS 5.1 is having an issue with the advanced audio codecs.What SRS surround does is decode 5.1 into 2.0 that can be played through a 2-channel, stereo TV, but it was meant for the old 5.1 formats, like Dolby Digital and DTS. While TrueHD 5.1 usually has a companion Dolby Digital track and DTS-HD has a core DTS track, the SRS may not be equipped to detect that, or their may be a simple incompatibility in the HDMI hardware handshaking that’s not allowing the Blu-ray Player to pass the core or companion, legacy codecs. It happens, HDMI is flaky sometimes, especially with older equipment

          • wow, i did not know that. my TV is 2-channel Stereo with older 5.1 formats like Dolby Digital and DTS in standard definition audio.

            the 2D disc for Brave picked the Dolby TruHD 5.1 and i do not know for the 2D only pack if the Blu-Ray has an accompanying Dolby Digital track or not with the TruHD feed.

            The SRS i do not believe is equipped to detect that, and i think it could be the handshaking as well not allowing the Blu-Ray 3D player to pass the core or companion legacy codecs. my TV is older equipment which makes HDMI flaky. is it possible to hook a speaker system that does 7.1 channels to a SRS TruSurround 5.1 system, or do i need a TV that passes it?

          • Hello again, I learned it requires a $700 external speaker system if used on a conventional or traditional TV. I will be subject to my sound system forever, or cranking up the juice on the Surround EX system that i have (SRS TruSurround 5.1).

          • happy new year Brandon, the 2D disc is smart enough to detect the SRS and its presence. the maximize your home theater tool detected the SRS and basically gave a choice of either the Surround EX programmed into it by default, or the multichannel. i picked multichannel and it came out very loud. it gave me a manual audio test to do, i did it and it got loud.

            if the disc is smart enough to detect it being there, does that mean i can’t use the multichannel (7.1) from this distributor unless it is the sole option alone, or do i still have the SRS to contend with since it was meant for older Dolby Systems?

            if i use a 7.1 from Disney, the SRS detects its presence and it picks 5.1 which as you said mixes back to 2.0

            i am a rookie when it comes to much of Blu-Ray/3D (you taught me the other side of the spectrum, thank you for teaching it over the last year) and audio codecs.

            how do i understand audio codecs and how they work?

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