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Firebreather Blu-ray Review

  • Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
  • Video Codec: VC-1
  • Resolution: 1080p/24
  • Audio Codec: English Dolby TrueHD 5.1
  • Subtitles: English SDH
  • Region: AB
  • Rating: TV-PG
  • Discs: 1
  • Studio: Cartoon Network
  • Blu-ray Release Date: March 22, 2011
  • List Price: $28.99

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BestBuy.com:
Firebreather - Widescreen

Purchase Firebreather on Blu-ray at CD Universe

Firebreather - Firebreather

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Overall
[Rating:3/5]
The Film
[Rating:3.5/5]

Video Quality
[Rating:3/5]

Audio Quality
[Rating:4.5/5]

Supplemental Materials
[Rating:2.5/5]

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)

The Film

[Rating:3.5/5]

The Cartoon Network’s first original CGI-animated movie Firebreather is based on the series of comic books by Phil Hester and Andy Kuhn. One might expect a spectacular-looking feature, considering this is the Cartoon Network, but don’t get too excited. After all, we are talking about a basic cable network TV budget here, and it shows in the animation. The characters have a jerkiness to their motion and there isn’t much in the way of fine detail either. Hair on heads is all just one blob of what looks like goo. In fact, they might have been better off sticking to the hand-drawn medium, as evidenced by the animation tests provided as extras on this disc. That actually looks really good, heavily stylized, and closer to what fans of the comics might have expected visually.

With that being said, for a Cartoon Network feature, Firebreather delivers the goods story wise. It’s certainly fun to watch, energetic, and aurally entertaining. It’s colorful, explosive, and does what it promises – delivers an action-packed adventure.

The story follows 16-year-old Duncan (Summerland; So Little Time), a seemingly normal high school teenager, only he also happens to be half Kaiju. Those are giant, dragon-like creatures that are bent on destroying the planet. He has slightly orange skin, barely visible scales, can breathe fire, has trouble making friends, and he’s awkward around girls. He also has a father (Kevin Michael Richardson; The Cleveland Show) who is the king of the Kaiju, but none of the kids at school know his secret; that’s about to change.

His father appears at a party while Duncan is trying to woo his dream girl Jenna (Amy Davidson; 8 Simple Rules) and whisks him away. It seems Duncan must become his father’s heir and rule over the Kaiju, but he won’t give in easily. From that point on, he has a never ending challenge by other Kaiju to his authority and he must also be the one to step between the Kaiju and his world to save humanity form destruction by these ravaging beasts.

The series also stars Dana Delaney (Desperate Housewives) as Duncan’s mom. The kids should love it and I’m sure it will also attract some folks from the fringes of the anime fan base as well.

Video Quality

[Rating:3/5]

Firebreather is one of the worst looking CG-animated Blu-ray transfers I have seen since the format was launched. The VC-1 encodement shows lots of aliasing around the animation, posterization, color banding, and some video noise.

Audio Quality

[Rating:4.5/5]

As much as the image quality is disappointing, the audio is good. The TrueHD 5.1 mix is aggressive right from the beginning, with the surround channels active straight through the movie and lots of atmospheric sounds and ambience to tie the mix all together. Discrete effects are panned throughout the room, low frequencies are resounding and highs are smooth.

Supplemental Materials

[Rating:2.5/5]

All of the supplements offer a look at the visual evolution and style of Firebreather.

  • Deleted Scene (1.78:1; 1080p/24)
  • 2D Animation Test (1.78:1; 1080p/24)
  • Animatics (1.78:1; 1080p/24):
    • Duncan Goes to School
    • Parkour Chase
    • Duncan Asks Jenna to the Dance
    • Kaiju Attack
  • Visual Development (1080p):
    • Firebreather, The Comic
    • Character Designs for 2D
    • Character Designs for CGI

The Definitive Word

Overall:

[Rating:3/5]

Firebreather works well for a Cartoon Network feature, especially if you don’t go in expecting to see animation on the level of a Pixar or Dreamworks feature film. It’s colorful and has great action with superb sound. Even if the Blu-ray transfer is a letdown for this sort of film, this may well be worth getting if you like animation in the action/fantasy/sci-fi genre.

Additional Screen Captures

[amazon-product align=”right”]B004GZZGXG[/amazon-product]

BestBuy.com:
Firebreather - Widescreen

Purchase Firebreather on Blu-ray at CD Universe

Firebreather - Firebreather

Shop for more Blu-ray titles at Amazon.com

Overall
[Rating:3/5]
The Film
[Rating:3.5/5]

Video Quality
[Rating:3/5]

Audio Quality
[Rating:4.5/5]

Supplemental Materials
[Rating:2.5/5]

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