i, Robot—20th Century Fox (Blu-ray)
Will Smith is getting the high definition treatment these next few weeks. We are seeing a couple releases from Fox and last year's blockbuster from Warner here soon. Good thing his movies are fun. i, Robot was the first big budget film for director Alex Proyas (Dark City) and an above average summer blockbuster for Smith. The creators did a bang up job with the special effects, but at times I thought they were a bit heavy handed with the environments. I'm still glad this one has finally made its way to Blu-ray as it was one of my favorite demonstration titles on the short lived D-Theater format.
I had really high expectations for this one. As I mentioned before I used this as a reference when it was released on D-Theater and it was by far one of the best looking titles on that format. Thankfully Fox doesn't disappoint a bit with this AVC encode. The image is absolutely gorgeous from beginning to end with some of the best fine detail on the format to date. Close-ups are razor sharp and extremely dimensional and may even be a tad better than what we saw with the D-Theater release. I know I saw less line twitter with the CG effects this time around, which helped fine detail. If I had a complaint it would be the inconsistency in blending CG and live action at times. Some of the backdrops look a tad washed out at times and the artificial lighting can be a bit distracting. Depth of image is fantastic and some of the cityscapes really push the envelope for image depth. Contrast is superb, especially in the opening sequence and will separate the weak from the strong when it comes to display capabilities. I'm pretty sure I'll be using this one for a few more years as one of the best visual references out there.
The D-Theater release had a strong DTS soundtrack on it but this new DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack may go just a tad farther in terms of refinement. Bass definition is definitely more controlled and the spatial quality of the mix is a tad better. This is an aggressive soundtrack and exactly what you'd expect from a big budget summer action film. Lots of cool sound design, lots of bass and lots of action. All of the elements are balanced perfectly and imaging is excellent across the entire soundstage.
Fox has done some pretty cool tricks with this release. This is not a profile 1.1 title but it pushes the envelope in terms of supplements and how they are accessed. All of the features are accessed using the color coded buttons on your remote. From here you can check out behind the scenes features including interviews, production design features and deleted scenes. Another button offers feature commentaries, another a trivia track and the last gives you an advanced search option similar to some other Fox titles. Fox did a great job here and I was surprised how intuitive this navigation system was.
One of the best A/V presentations and a fun film to boot makes this a no brainer. Kudos to Fox on a spectacular release and a slick extras package. Highly recommended!