Nut Job, The (Blu-ray) (2014)

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Released 1-Apr-2015

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Animation Deleted Scenes
Short Film
Rating Rated PG
Year Of Production 2014
Running Time 85:37
RSDL / Flipper No/No Cast & Crew
Start Up Ads Then Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Peter Lepeniotis
Studio
Distributor

Roadshow Home Entertainment
Starring Will Arnett
Brendan Fraser
Liam Neeson
Katherine Heigl
Jeff Dunham
Gabriel Iglesias


Case ?
RPI ? Music None Given


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English DTS HD Master Audio 5.1
English Descriptive Audio Dolby Digital 2.0
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.78:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 1080p
Original Aspect Ratio 1.78:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English for the Hearing Impaired Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

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Plot Synopsis

     Animated children's films are so regularly released these days that many fly under the wire. This one, The Nut Job, was released theatrically in the US and many other countries as an independent film but not here in Australia. It was directed by Peter Lepeniotis, an animator and director from Canada. He worked as an animator on Toy Story 2 back in 1999 but his main credit since then is the 2005 short that this new film is based on, Surly Squirrel, which is also included on this Blu-ray. He has managed to gather a quality voice cast for this film including Will Arnett, Brendan Fraser, Liam Neeson, Katherine Heigl plus some comedians like Jeff Dunham and Gabriel Iglesias. It has a different style of storyline to most animated fare, with a self-serving lead character, battling against others worse than himself. These ingredients might have made for a better film than this but unfortunately the result is hard to engage with, lacking personality and wit. It is not terrible but ends up being somewhat entertaining rather than memorable.

     The story is set around a park in an urban environment and focuses on the animals who live in the park. The main character is a rebel, Surly Squirrel (voiced by Will Arnett) who doesn't go along with the all-for-one, one-for-all society ascribed to by the rest of the animals in the park. He looks after himself, searching for food and hanging out with Buddy, a rat. He treats Buddy badly and really only cares for himself. His initial plan is to steal some nuts from a peanut cart, however two other squirrels, the dopey but revered Grayson (Brendan Fraser) and the actually heroic Andie (Katherine Heigl) try to get there first to provide food for all the animals in the park. The park animals are organised by Raccoon (Liam Neeson) who seems benevolent but may have more plans than he lets on. The raid on the nut cart does not go well but the squirrels find out that there is a nearby nut store which is being used as a front for crime figures planning to raid the local bank. Andie reluctantly agrees to cooperate with Surly and they try to steal the nuts together. No-one is being completely open with their intent and the story follows both the nut raid and the bank raid to conclusion.

     This film is certainly technically competent with quality animation and sound, however the story and characters are lacking in engagement for the audience. It is diverting and does not outstay its welcome but it is nowhere near the top pantheon of animated features despite trying to do something different from a storyline perspective. It was successful enough to launch the production of a sequel which is due in 2016. Despite the cast, the voice acting lacks personality and much of the fun and joy of the original (see extras) is lost in this feature length remake. It is released at a budget price point so might be worth a look if your kids are attracted to the characters.

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Transfer Quality

Video

     This transfer is excellent with great colour, sharpness and lack of artefacts. The quick movement and bright colours are well represented on this Blu-ray which makes for a good looking presentation with no issues to report.

     There are subtitles available in English for the Hearing Impaired. They were clear and easy to read.



Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

     The main audio on this Blu-ray is a DTS HD-MA 5.1 track in English, plus an Audio Descriptive track in Dolby Digital 2.0. This is a good quality Blu-ray sound transfer without setting the world on fire. There is nice atmosphere, surround effects and appropriate use of the subwoofer. The music is good without standing out and the soundtrack does an all-round good job of presenting the film for home viewing.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

     The extras are decent with the highlight being the original short.

Menu

     The menu included music and scenes from the film.

Deleted Scenes (5:01)

     A set of fully animated, mostly extended scenes, some of which are an improvement on those in the film. Worth a look.

Surly Squirrel (10:38)

     This is spelt incorrectly on the menu and on the back cover (of the test cover I got anyway). This is the original short which has quite ordinary animation but is significantly funnier and more engaging. It is in HD but it doesn't help much considering the quality of animation. The film looks better but entertains less. Definitely worth seeing as an interesting comparison.

R4 vs R1

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

    The US Region A Blu-ray has another short, Nuts & Robbers, some featurettes and some storyboards. So a win to Region A then.

Summary

    An ordinary animated film that lacks personality and engagement for the audience.

    The video quality is excellent.

    The audio quality is good.

    The extras are decent with the original short the highlight.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Daniel Bruce (Do you need a bio break?)
Thursday, April 16, 2015
Review Equipment
DVDSONY BDP-S760 Blu-ray, using HDMI output
DisplaySharp LC52LE820X Quattron 52" Full HD LED-LCD TV . Calibrated with Ultimate DVD Platinum. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 1080p.
Audio DecoderBuilt into amplifier. Calibrated with Ultimate DVD Platinum.
AmplificationMarantz SR5005
SpeakersMonitor Audio Bronze 2 (Front), Bronze Centre & Bronze FX (Rears) + Sony SAW2500M Subwoofer

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