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Blu-ray: THE ILLUSIONIST (2010)

Sony isn't new to conjuring up magical transfers to Blu-ray and THE ILLUSIONIST is no exception. This 1080p presentation exquisitely captures Sylvain Chomet's moody animated ode to French comedian extraordinare Jacques Tati. The flawless visual dimension of this title gives the animation added depth and nuance. For instance, the fog and smoke effects come off natural, not smudges moving across the screen. The digital color palette, while muted, is crisp and clean. One can see the lines of the original hand-drawn artwork clearly. I found no digital anomalies at all in the release. It's pretty much perfect.

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Read my review of THE ILLUSIONIST.

Sony isn't new to conjuring up magical transfers to Blu-ray and THE ILLUSIONIST is no exception. This 1080p presentation exquisitely captures Sylvain Chomet's moody animated ode to French comedian extraordinaire Jacques Tati. The flawless visual dimension of this title gives the animation added depth and nuance. For instance, the fog and smoke effects come off natural, not smudges moving across the screen. The digital color palette, while muted, is crisp and clean. One can see the lines of the original hand-drawn artwork clearly. I found no digital anomalies at all in the release. It's pretty much perfect.

The performance doesn't falter in the DTS-HD MA 5.1 lossless soundtrack either. With so  little dialogue, the soundscape relies heavily on sound effects and music to communicate its story. The sound mix is never bombastic, which is the nature of the film, but it's filled with nuance. Rain seems to surround us. Traffic whizzes across the soundscape. Crowd scenes represent the size of the audience whether it's full of crazed teens or just a few spectators trying to enjoy the illusionist's act. What little dialogue there is is clear and presented exactly as it was meant to be, whether it's supposed to be understood or just there to work with the environment. The dialogue, effects and music are woven together perfectly with one never overpowering the most important element of the moment. The quality of the sound matches that of the picture wonderfully.

However, the disc does not dazzle when it comes to the special features. While the Making Of doc is cute to have no dialogue, it's rather light weight because of it. It wouldn't be so bad if it weren't really the only special feature on the disc. Animation fans will find the few line tests and before and after side-by-side scenes interesting, but nothing more special than an old card trick. Where is the interview with Chomet talking about conjuring the style of Tati, or a mini-doc on Tati's work? This is certainly a film that cries out for a fan to want to know the story of how it came to be that an animator would use the magic of animation to bring to life an un-produced script from a cinema icon nearly 30 years after his death.

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Rick DeMott
Animation World Network
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