Finding Neverland (Blu-ray) (2004)

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Released 6-Oct-2011

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Drama Main Menu Introduction
Main Menu Audio & Animation
More…-Movie Showcase
Featurette-Behind The Scenes-The Magic Of Finding Neverland
Featurette-Creating Neverland
Featurette-On The Red Carpet
Deleted Scenes-With Optional Filmmakers' Commentary
Outtakes
Rating Rated PG
Year Of Production 2004
Running Time 104:00
RSDL / Flipper Dual Layered Cast & Crew
Start Up Language Select Then Menu
Region Coding 2,4 Directed By Marc Forster
Studio
Distributor

Roadshow Home Entertainment
Starring Johnny Depp
Kate Winslet
Julie Christie
Radha Mitchell
Dustin Hoffman
Freddie Highmore
Joe Prospero
Nick Roud
Luke Spill
Ian Hart
Kelly Macdonald
Mackenzie Crook
Eileen Essel
Case Standard Blu-ray
RPI $19.95 Music Jan A.P. Kaczmarek


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Linear PCM 96/24 5.1 (4608Kb/s)
Italian dts 5.1 (1536Kb/s)
German dts 5.1 (1536Kb/s)
Spanish dts 5.1 (1536Kb/s)
English Dolby Digital 5.1 (640Kb/s)
Italian Dolby Digital 5.1 (640Kb/s)
German Dolby Digital 5.1 (640Kb/s)
Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1 (640Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 2.35:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 1080p
Original Aspect Ratio 2.35:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English
English for the Hearing Impaired
Italian
German
Spanish
Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

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

Plot Synopsis

     Finding Neverland was released in cinemas in 2004. The home video release occurred the following year. Our review of the DVD of Finding Neverland can be found here . The film has been available on Blu-ray for some time. The previous Blu-ray release was not submitted to the site for review. As sometimes happens, Walt Disney Studios home entertainment has sold this catalogue title (a Miramax release) to Roadshow Home Entertainment who have now issued it for your viewing pleasure.

     What's the difference between this and release and the previous Disney release? The answer is nothing - it has the same video transfer and suite of extras. The key difference is simply the fact that it has been released at a sub-$20 price point. Therefore, if you already have this Blu-ray in the collection look away. If not, read on…

     Finding Neverland was a huge success upon its release in 2004. Trading on the meteoric rise of its leads - Johnny Depp graduating from independent star to box office megastar with the 2003 launch of the Pirates of the Caribbean series and Kate Winslet experiencing both box office success in Titanic and a flurry of awards for her roles in Iris and Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. The result is a film which is elevated by the star wattage and superlative acting of its leads, as well as careful direction (Marc Forster), into a superior tearjerker.

     The story of Finding Neverland is slight, dealing with the life and loves, mainly loves, of J.M.Barrie, the creator of Peter Pan. As played by Depp, Barrie is a man both adorably flighty and irritatingly childish. The film takes us to the crossroads of his life both in terms of the opening of the stage production of Peter Pan and the collapse of his marriage to Mrs Barrie (Radha Mitchell), and his fall into love with widow Sylvia Davies (Kate Winslet). As good as the leads are it is perhaps the performance from child actor Freddie Highmore (later to be seen with Depp in the Willie Wonka movie) as Peter that really generates emotional depth.

     The film was nominated for seven Oscars including Best Picture and Best Actor bringing home only one - the best original music score. It was a huge success at the box office and should be a part of any good Blu-ray collection.

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Transfer Quality

Video

     Finding Neverland is presented on Blu-ray in the original aspect ratio of 2.35:1.

     At the outset I should say that this film was one of the early movies presented on Blu-ray. It uses the now pretty much defunct MPEG-2 format. That is not to say that it is in some way inherently defective. The difference is largely one which affects the amount of content that can be present on the Blu-ray before compression issues arise. Some great transfers like Blackhawk Down were presented in this format. For the keen eyed this transfer perhaps lacks the sharpness of some MPEG-4 or VC-1 transfers. Still, it is an improvement over the DVD of the film and is never disappointing.

     The colours are vibrant and well handled, particularly in the fantasy sequences. The skin tones are accurate. The blacks are deep and the shadows well defined.

     There is a batch of subtitle options on offer : English, English for the Hearing Impaired, Italian, German, Spanish.

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

Audio

     As with the DVD release there are five audio tracks on offer. The advantage of the High Definition format is that each track has been beefed up. They are: English LPCM running at 4608 Kb/s Dolby Digital 5.1 (640 Kb/s), German DTS 5.1 (1509 Kb/s) Dolby Digital 5.1 (640 kKb/s), Italian DTS 5.1 (1509 Kb/s) Dolby Digital 5.1 (640 Kb/s), Spanish DTS 5.1(1509 Kb/s) Dolby Digital 5.1 (640 Kb/s).

     This is not exactly a film that trades off its sonic fireworks yet there is a pleasing warmth and depth to the soundtrack. The surrounds and subwoofer are not heavily engaged, however this is a reflection of the film rather than the transfer.

     Dialogue is clear and easy to understand. There are no technical defects with the sound.

     The Oscar winning score from Jan A. P. Kazmarek is perfect for the film, conveying whimsy, emotion and heartbreak in equal measure.

     Overall, an effective sonic transfer.

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

Extras

     Fans hoping for an extra magical experience in the transition from DVD to Blu-ray will be disappointed. The features described in the DVD review are all present bar one - the commentary track by director Marc Forster and producer Richard Gladstein has been whisked away to Neverland. Bear in mind, however, that this was also the case for the previous Disney release of the Blu-ray.

     The DVD features included are:

     The extras are brief and more of an EPK nature.

     Are there any HD extras? Only one. Entitled Movie Showcase this is really a reflection of the early history of this transfer. It allows you to play a series of Wow Factor moments from the film to show off your home theatre system to your friends. Except that your friends probably have Avatar or Inception to show off. A curiosity.

R4 vs R1

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

    This lacks the commentary track of the Region A Blu-ray.

Summary

     Finding Neverland was a big hit upon its release and furthered the reputation of Johnny Depp as a maturing heartthrob. The film is sentimental without being cloying. If you had held off buying it waiting for the price to come down then now is your chance!

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Trevor Darge (read my bio)
Saturday, November 19, 2011
Review Equipment
DVDCambridge 650BD (All Regions), using HDMI output
DisplaySony VPL-VW80 Projector on 110" Screen. Calibrated with 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 81 7.1
SpeakersAaron ATS-5 7.1

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