Battle for Terra appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 2.35:1 on this Blu-Ray Disc. Computer-animated movies usually look great on Blu-ray, and Terra usually followed that trend.
Don’t expect it to match up with the best-looking Pixar flicks, though. Sharpness became the film’s only slightly weak link. While most of Terra demonstrated very nice clarity and delineation, a few mildly soft images appeared. That was a relative observation, though, as the movie was a little ill-defined only when compared with the excellence of other CG films. No issues with jagged edges or shimmering occurred, and edge enhancement was absent. Source flaws also failed to pop up, as the presentation came free from defects.
Colors seemed pleasing. The flick usually went with a green earthy tone, though some reds also appeared during more dramatic scene. The hues were always full and vivid. Blacks came across as dark and tight, while shadows offered good clarity and delineation. Overall, this was a fine transfer; it just wasn’t quite as good as I expected.
Similar thoughts greeted the PCM 5.1 soundtrack of Terra. The soundfield opened up matters in a pleasing manner. Throughout the film, plenty of material emerged from the side and rear speakers, especially during action scenes. Ships and firepower swarmed around the room and created a good sense of place. The only negative came from some slightly speaker-specific material, as the elements didn’t always blend terribly well. Still, the scenes usually fared nicely, and the track added pizzazz to the adventure.
Audio quality was also good, though I thought the mix went a bit bass-happy. Low-end response tended to be somewhat too heavy and it could overwhelm the other elements at times. Otherwise, this was a satisfying track. Speech was natural and concise, and music showed good vivacity. Effects may’ve come with too much bass, but they were still clean and powerful. I thought the track just narrowly fell below “A”-level standards.
When we head to the disc’s extras, we begin with an audio commentary from director Aristomenis Tsirbas, screenwriter Evan Spiliotpoulos and editor Jim May. All three sit together for this running, screen-specific chat. They discuss cast and performances, music and editing, budget and production challenges, the project’s origins and development, character and visual design, and a few other production issues.
Despite the presence of a fair amount of happy talk, the commentary usually proves to be interesting and informative. The participants cover a good array of subjects, and they do so in an involving manner. We get a nice look at the flick in this enjoyable chat.
A quick promotional piece comes to us via The Making of Battle for Terra. It runs four minutes, 44 seconds and includes notes from Spiliotopoulos, Tsirbas, visual effects artist Greg Domain, character animator Kevin Koch, and actor Evan Rachel Wood. We get quick notes about the story, visual effects, cast, and cinematography/animation. Given its brevity, “Making” offers a passable overview. However, it’s just too short to be anything particularly useful.
Four Deleted Scenes fill a total of six minutes, 57 seconds. We get “Forbidden Hobby” (2:12), “Some Creepy Weird Thing” (1:38), “Snow Monster!” (1:46) and “Maria’s Call to Action” (1:11). “Hobby” and “Creepy” actually do a decent job of expanding the sense that Terra is a rather rigid society; more of that might’ve helped balance out the hippie utopia it resembles in the final flick. “Monster” throws in some generic action, while “Action” further digs into human resistance. Neither adds much.
We get a short glimpse at animation stages with the 23-second From Storyboard to Final Render: Mala Sneaks Around. It breaks the screen into four quadrants so we can compare storyboards, animatics, early animation and final render all at once. It’s a good way to check out the various parts of the process.
Another clip focuses on planning work. Animatics: Mala’s Escape goes for two minutes, 14 seconds as it shows Tsirbas’s early work on the film. It allows us to compare the animatics to the final film. Once again, it provides a good way to see a planning stage of animation.
A Production Design still gallery presents 18 sketches. These show different concepts for various characters, creatures and settings. Add to that some text to inform us about the elements and this becomes a nice collection.
Finally, Aristomenis Tsirbas: Pulling the Strings runs one minute, 28 seconds. It shows Tsirbas as an animated character who tells us what animation means to him and who thanks all the others who helped make Terra a reality. The cartoon Tsirbas looks an awful lot like a Muppet, and this is kind of an odd piece.
An ad opens the disc, as we get a clip for Next Avengers: Heroes of Tomorrow. Under Also from Lionsgate, we find this same promo along with one for Terra. Is it just me or is it odd that we get a trailer for Terra on the Terra DVD and it’s placed under “Also from…”?
As a sci-fi action flick, Battle for Terra had potential to excite and delight. Unfortunately, it simply bores. It combines dull characters, a flat story and weak animation to become a thoroughly uninspiring film. The Blu-ray gives us very good picture and audio along with a collection of supplements highlighted by an interesting commentary. While I can’t complain about the Blu-ray itself, the movie disappoints.