- Aspect Ratio: 2.40:1
- Video Codec: AVC/MPEG-4
- Resolution: 1080p/24
- Audio Codec: English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1, English Dolby 2.0 Descriptive Video Services, French Dolby Digital 5.1, Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1
- Subtitles: English SDH, French, Spanish
- Region: A
- Discs: 2 (1 Blu-ray + 1 DVD)
- Studio: Walt Disney Video
- Blu-ray Release Date: November 16, 2010
- List Price: $39.99
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)
Charles Dickens’ famous penny pinching, Christmas despising, bah-humbugging Scrooge is brought to life in a motion capture 3D-animated world with Jim Carrey as his voice. The story is well known, Scrooge is taken on a journey through his life by the ghosts of Christmases past, present, and yet to come (all voiced by Carrey) and as a result has a life changing experience that warms his cold heart.
It seems to me producer/director Robert Zemeckis is a bit infatuated with this whole motion-capture process of animation. In recent years he has done The Polar Express, Beowulf, and now A Christmas Carol all using this process. Personally, I admit upfront that I am no fan of this process. It still looks quite creepy to me — humans with vacant eyes. It worked to great effect animating Gollum in The Lord of the Rings, and to a certain extent it made Scrooge seem more “scroogie” in this film, but the motion capture process, coupled with a rather dull screenplay interpretation by Zemeckis leaves this version of A Christmas Carol feeling rather lifeless all around.
Disney has another winner here with a beautiful, perfect encoding of A Christmas Carol’s 2.40:1 digital source. The textures and details are so clear and crisp they look like you can reach into the screen and touch them. Shadow detail is well extended, colors are vibrant and compression or processing artifacts are not an issue.
The DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 mix is a fully surrounding and engaging one with the surround channels active much of the time with ambience and atmospheric sound effects as well as discrete sounds being panned through and around the room, off to the sides and so on. Low frequencies are deep, but not booming. High frequencies are smooth and airy and the dynamics sound natural. Dialogue is clean and intelligible as well.
The most fun supplements on here will be the Interactive Christmas Calendar, which will give you a new surprise everyday of December, as long as you are willing to put the disc in everyday, and the Behind the Carol: Full Motion Capture Experience picture-in-picture viewing mode that will let you watch the film while seeing the live actors in their full motion capture regalia acting out the scenes.
The supplements provided with this release are:
- Behind the Carol: The Full Motion Capture Experience
- Capturing Dickens: A Novel Retelling (1.78:1; 1080p/24; 0:14.43) 00 Take a peek behind the scenes at the production of A Christmas Carol.
- Countdown to Christmas Interactive Calendar
- On Set With Sammi (1.78:1; 1080p/24; 0:01.52)
- Deleted Scenes (1080p) — Six deleted scenes.
- Discover Blu-ray 3D with Timon and Pumbaa (1.78:1; 1080p/24; 0:04.23) — Although it sounds like it, this 3D promotional spot is in plain ol’ 2D. Perhaps if you purchase the 3D version of A Christmas Carol, you can see this promotional spot in 3D.
- DVD — Standard definition DVD of the film included as well.
The Definitive Word
Jim Carrey does a decent job voicing all the pivotal characters in this motion capture edition of A Christmas Carol, but the lifeless look of the characters and dull interpretation of Dickens’ writing means that this version of the holiday classic is more miss than hit, but still a good family film for the upcoming holiday season.
Additional Screen Captures: