Cooked to perfection
My review copy of the Blu-ray release of Ratatouille arrived this morning from DVD Pacific.
It goes without saying that my expectation were very, very high for this release. Pixar have put out some of the best-looking standard definition DVD releases ever, with their UK edition of The Incredibles being one of the few titles that I actually consider to be as close to “as good as it gets”. Okay, so Finding Nemo ain’t so hot in comparison, but they’ve never put out anything that’s less than “very good”.
Anyway, I wasn’t disappointed. If there is a single flaw in Ratatouille’s transfer, I can’t see it. According to writer/director Brad Bird, it was handled by a Pixar technician named Rick Sayre, who also supervised The Incredibles’ DVD transfer, and it looks sublime from start to finish. There is a lot of difficult material here, particularly running water, fur and various spices, but the encoder never seems to slip up once, and, while the visual look of Ratatouille doesn’t quite have the crispness of Sony’s Open Season (it was intentionally given a slightly softer, “warmer” sheen), I know which film I’d rather watch. For those who crave sharpness above all else, Pixar’s Cars, released at the same time as Ratatouille and being delivered to the HMS Whimsy shortly, could easily become the new HD disc of choice (at least judging by the trailer on the Ratatouille DVD, which is a little over-compressed but beyond criticism in terms of detail).
That said, for me, by far the most striking aspect of this BD (barring the “Depending on your player, this disc may take up to three minutes to start” disclaimer at the start) was the trailer that played before the film, showing brief high definition clips of Peter Pan, The Jungle Book, The Lion King and Pocahontas. Disney, why must you keep us waiting so?