Blu-ray: JAMES AND THE GIANT PEACH (1996)
Henry Selick's children's film is dark in both its tone and look. That is translated over into the new 1080p release from Disney. The color palette is muted, so one doesn't get the pop that animation often brings to Blu-ray. The images don't have the same depth as other animated films on Blu-ray do as well. I believe this is certainly more to do with the source than the transfer. Just looking at the standard definition trailer you can see a huge improvement. The picture is much clearer than the murky DVD transfer. There is noise throughout, especially in the live-action sequences, but no artifacting or banding. I'm not convinced this is the best the film could look, but it's the best available for home viewing to date by far.
The DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 provides for a nice immersive experience. The scene where the peach rolls away stood out for me. The LFE channel boomed as the giant fruit broke free and started to move. As James and the bugs are flung around inside the peach, the audio gave a good sense of forward movement as objects crash in the foreground and roll toward the back speakers. The dialogue is clear and balanced well with the Randy Newman score.
The special features, however, are no improvement over the DVD. The DVD making of doc really puts the promotional in promotional featurette. It only provides basic information about the production. Very weak sauce… and it's too short too. Additionally from the DVD is the awful looking "Good News" music video and a standard-def trailer. The only new feature to the Blu-ray is a "Spike the Aunts" Interactive Game. It's entertaining for about one play at best and the design looks slapped together.