Death of the Megabeasts (2009)

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Released 2-Dec-2009

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Documentary Main Menu Audio
Featurette-Making Of
Rating Rated G
Year Of Production 2009
Running Time 92:53 (Case: 106)
RSDL / Flipper RSDL (61:03) Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 1,2,3,4,5,6 Directed By Franco di Chiera
Studio
Distributor
SBS
Madman Entertainment
Starring Franco di Chiera
John McCourt
Deanna Abbott
Josh Abdullah
Gerard Ashwin
Tarlia Bennett
Heath Bergersen
Justine Graham
Robert Graham
Trevor Jamieson
Glen Moore
Bronwyn Newland
Glen Ridley
Case Amaray-Transparent
RPI ? Music Ash Gibson Greig


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.85:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.85:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures Yes
Subtitles English (Burned In) Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

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

Plot Synopsis

Most people will have heard of a Tyrannosaurus Rex or a Brontosaurus but how many people in Australia have heard of our own 'megafauna' such as the Diprotodon (Giant Wombat) or Procoptodon (Giant Kangaroo). I certainly was not really aware of them until this DVD arrived for review. These species lived in Australia until much more recent times than the Dinosaurs roamed the earth, dying out less than 60,000 years ago. This documentary recreates those and other species using CGI, in a similar way to Walking with Dinosaurs. The focus of the documentary is a scientific investigation into why these huge beasts died out when they did. Rather than present this in a dry, scientific manner the documentary presents it like a 'true crime' documentary with a voiceover, dramatic music and the revealing of clues. This makes the show very watchable especially when combined with the CGI recreations. My two young boys (5 & 7) were fascinated by this show.

This is a quality production with much effort involved in finding appropriate locations to shoot backgrounds relevant to the era, quality CGI work and an interesting and engaging approach to the subject matter. This version of the documentary is longer than when it was shown on television, running over 1.5 hours. The show is a co-production between SBS, a French TV network and National Geographic Channel. It was nominated for an AFI award for visual effects.

Recommended

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Transfer Quality

Video

The video quality is very good.

The feature is presented in 1.85:1 16x9 enhanced widescreen. I believe this would be the original aspect ratio.

The picture was clear and sharp throughout. Shadow detail was good.

The colour was very good with no issues to report.

Artefacts included some mild MPEG compression artefacts during fast motion and some occasional edge enhancement.

There are no subtitle streams however yellow subtitles are burned in for foreign languages.

The layer change occurs at 61:03 and was not overly noticeable during playback.


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

Audio

    The audio is very good.

    This DVD contains an English Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack encoded at 448 Kb/s.

    Dialogue was clear and easy to understand.

    The music is suitable dramatic and tension building, adding significantly to the atmosphere.

    The surround speakers were well used for megabeast noises and atmosphere.

    The subwoofer added bass to megabeast noises and the music.

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

Extras

    

Menu

The menu is still and simple but includes music.

Resurrecting the Megabeasts (9:07)

A short making of featurette that covers the technical aspects of fitting the CGI into real environments, motion capture approaches and some discussion of locations and other factors. Worth watching.

R4 vs R1

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

The local release is all region and seems to be the only choice currently.

Summary

    An interesting and entertaining documentary about Australia's prehistoric Megabeasts.

    The video quality is very good.

    The audio quality is very good.

    One extra.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Daniel Bruce (Do you need a bio break?)
Wednesday, February 24, 2010
Review Equipment
DVDSony DVP-NS708H upscaling to 1080p, using HDMI output
DisplayLG Scarlet 42LG61YD 106cm Full HD LCD. Calibrated with Ultimate DVD Platinum. 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 VSX-511
SpeakersMonitor Audio Bronze 2 (Front), Bronze Centre & Bronze FX (Rears) + Sony SAW2500M Subwoofer

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