Young and Prodigious T.S. Spivet, The (Blu-ray 3D) (2013)

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Released 11-Mar-2015

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Comedy / Drama Featurette-Adapting the Novel (4.10)
Featurette-Creating a 3D Movie (3.16)
Featurette-Finding T.S. (4.02)
Featurette-Making Up the Spivet Family (3.43)
Theatrical Trailer
Rating ?
Year Of Production 2013
Running Time 105:00
RSDL / Flipper Dual Layered Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 2,4 Directed By Jean-Pierre Jeunet

Madman Entertainment
Starring Kyle Catlett
Helene Bonham Carter
Callum Keith Rennie
Judy Davis
Dominique Pinon

Case Standard Blu-ray
RPI ? Music Denis Sanacore

Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English DTS HD Master Audio 5.1
English Linear PCM 96/24 2.0
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 2.35:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 1080p
Original Aspect Ratio 2.35:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles None Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

     The Young and Prodigious T.S. Spivet is a French/Canadian co-production and the latest directorial work from Jean-Pierre Jeunet (Amelie) . Based on the successful debut novel The Selected Works of T.S. Spivet by Reif Larsen it is a road movie about a young genius who crosses the USA to receive an auspicious award. It was not a success at the box office which is a pity for despite a few flaws it is an entertaining movie, particularly in the 3-D version.

     T.S. Spivet (newcomer Kyle Catlett ) is a 10-year-old scientific genius living on a remote ranch in Montana. His mother (Helene Bonham Carter) is an obsessed entomologist, hunting for mysterious bugs. His father (Callum Keith Rennie) is an old school cowboy - even T.S. can't work out how they got together. There is a distance between the couple and yet moments of great tenderness. His sister is a typical teenage girl who wishes she did not live on a remote ranch. A family tragedy makes things at home even more difficult.

     When T.S. attends a lecture describing the Holy Grail of science as being a perpetual motion machine he takes it upon himself to build such a device... and he does. When he gets a call from the Smithsonian Institute in Washington DC offering him a prestigious award he decides not to tell his parents and to hitch a ride on the railways to get to the Capitol. The film records his picaresque journey.

     The Young and Prodigious T.S. Spivet is essentially a kids movie however there are some surprisingly adult themes about loss and regret. The book was notable for having numerous illustrations in the margins and across the pages hence the decision to film the movie in 3-D was inspired. T.S.'s drawings and ideas come to life floating in front of the viewer in vivid 3-D.

     The film plays out in three distinct parts. The first is on the ranch where we meet the family, the second the journey by rail to Washington and the third the challenges facing young T.S. when he meets the head of the Smithsonian Institute (Judy Davis) who has her own distinct agenda when she meets the young genius. I'm sure the Smithsonian Institute must have scratched their heads looking at this movie - after all, when was the last time that this venerable institution found themselves as the antagonist when it came to scientific knowledge?

     As said, the film has much to recommend it. Newcomer Kyle Catlett does a pretty good job of being clever and anxious at the same time and the always reliable Bonham Carter plays the obsessed somewhat distant scientist well. For fans of director Jean-Pierre Jeunet there is always the opportunity to see his favourite actor Dominique Pinon play a small role. However, for a kid’s movie the film feels long for its hundred and five minutes and is quite dark emotionally at points. For some reason Jeunet in his script felt it necessary to include two strong profanities at the end of the film which give it an M rating.

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Transfer Quality


     The Young and Prodigious T.S. Spivet was shot on high-definition digital video and comes to Blu-ray in the correct aspect ratio - 2.35:1. In the extra features which accompany this release the director and cinematographer Thomas Hardmeier talk about the decision made to film this movie in 3-D. Jeunet points out that few movies are actually shot with 3-D in mind. This is a film with 3-D firmly in mind. Whilst the 3-D is used to give depth to many scenes it is also invaluable in conveying the style of the book. T.S.'s thoughts, drawings, calculations and desires are often floating around his head in a way which is effective in its use of 3-D and also visually appealing.

     Irrespective of the format, and this disc features both a standard 2-D version and the 3-D version, the film is crisp and clear. Colours are strong and bright throughout although some of the environments in which T.S. finds himself are fairly limited in their colour palette. The fields of the farm meet the blue sky and the train yards at night.

    Flesh tones are accurate.

    There are no subtitles.

Video Ratings Summary
Shadow Detail
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts


     The Young and Prodigious T.S. Spivet features two soundtracks, both in English. One is a DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track and the other an LPCM 2.0 track. Both are excellent.

     The surround sound track makes good use of the surrounds giving spatial depth to the scenes, particularly those on the rail lines. The subwoofer is used to good effect throughout.

     Dialogue is clear and easy to understand throughout, which is fortunate given the absence of subtitles.

     The score, by Denis Sanacore is a perfect accompaniment to the film.

    An excellent sonic experience.

Audio Ratings Summary
Audio Sync
Surround Channel Use


     There are a selection of brief extras on the Blu-ray.

     Though brief, the extras are actually quite interesting and fun. As well as the interview footage with the director and cast there is some on set footage which is quite entertaining. Worth a watch.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

    There is a French 5 Disc version which includes a wealth of extra material, in particular an audio commentary track. It has not been released in Region A yet. Buy the local version unless you are a serious Spivet fan.


    The Young and Prodigious T.S. Spivet is one of the best 3-D films, with the particular aesthetic of director Jean-Pierre Jeunet perfectly suiting the film. The whole visual experience is excellent with the colours and images leaping off the screen. The sound quality is also excellent and there are some short but interesting featurettes.

Ratings (out of 5)


© Trevor Darge (read my bio)
Saturday, April 11, 2015
Review Equipment
DVDCambridge Audio 752BD All Region Blu-ray, using HDMI output
DisplayJVC DLX 700 with 4K e-shift on 140" Screen. Calibrated with Video Essentials/Digital Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 1080p.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Ultimate DVD Platinum.
AmplificationPioneer SC -LX 78K 9.2 Channel
SpeakersAaron ATS-5 7.1

Other Reviews NONE
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