Studio and Year: 20th Century Fox – 2011
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Feature running time: 120 minutes
Genre: Drama
Disc Format: BD-50
Encoding: AVC (MPEG-4)
Video Aspect: 2.35:1
Resolution: 1080p/24
Audio Format(s): English DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio, Spanish/French Dolby Digital 5.1
Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish
Starring: Reese Witherspoon, Robert Pattinson, Christophe Waltz, Hal Holbrook
Directed by: Francis Lawrence
Music by: James Newton Howard
Written by: Richard LaGravenese based on the novel by Sara Gruen
Region Code: A
Blu-ray Disc release Date: November 1, 2011

[singlepic id=39 w=214 h=317 float=left]Synopsis (courtesy of imdb.com):
Academy Award winners Reese Witherspoon and Christoph Waltz join Robert Pattinson (The Twilight Saga) for this epic tale of forbidden love based on Sara Gruen’s acclaimed best seller. Against all odds, a veterinary student (Pattinson) and a beautiful circus performer from a bygone era (Witherspoon), meet and fall in love through their shared compassion for a special elephant. But their secret romance incurs the wrath of her dangerously volatile husband (Waltz).

My Take:
Having read the novel and loved it, I eagerly awaited its arrival on blu-ray to see how well the film adaptation would hold up. My mother took me to the circus when I was around 5 years old and she insisted that the circus was something that every child should experience. She was absolutely right and I loved it. At the very least, the storyline brings back great memory of watching the circus with my mother a long long time ago.

This is a blu-ray with a solid high definition presentation that is indicative of a newer release film. Image details such as crisp edges, defining sharpness, and depth that enhances dimension is quite a showcase in my theatre room.  However shadow details are not always as detailed as I remembered watching at the Mann’s THX Chinese Theatre in Hollywood although colours are beautifully rendered with revealing delineation and tonal warmth. The long range shots of the earth toned colors of the rolling hills and countryside look amazingly filmlike without any hint of over-processing that tend to plague newer movies.

The surround sound design features definitive front channel separation and opulent clarity. Steering and imaging across the left, right and center channels is quite good.  If your front speakers are not properly set up, you will hear detached steering from one speaker to the next.  The surround channels effectively add spatial ambience, directional pans and discrete sound placement. Dynamics and the occasional yet well placed LFE truly test the clarity of your room’s bass response. The combination between the two truly enhances the movie’s active segments and results in a subtle yet proper surround sound experience.

Equipment used for this review:

Anthem MRX-700 receiver
DSPeaker 8033s Anti Mode subwoofer room EQ
Grandviewscreen 96” 21:9 matte-white 1.0-gain screen
PSB Century 300i (front and surround speakers)
PSB Image C5 (centre speaker)
PSB Subseries 300 (subwoofer)
Panasonic PT-AE4000U projector
Pioneer BDP-LX55 BD player
Ultralink Ambiance MKII speaker wires
Viewing room is as per THX and SMPTE recommendation with 45-degree Field of View

Audio: 9/10
Video: 8/10
Storyline: 7/10