The Nut Job (Blu-ray Review)

Nut-JobGet your head out of the gutter, pervert!  This is a kids movie!  The Nut Job was a little animated feature that came out in the behemoth of “soon to be classics” release month of January.  It hopped over its budget but didn’t really make a massive intake like a lot of animated gems do nowadays.  Whatever your thoughts, its apparently getting a sequel aimed for the year 2016 in its stronghold month of January.  Universal brings this family friendly affair to Blu-ray on April 15 making for a quick quick turnaround.  I’ll be reviewing the regular Blu-ray combo release of the film, but there is a 3D version coming out the same day if that’s your cup of tea.


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Surly and his silent rat friend are the sorta guys that are out on their own.  While a park of animals is running low on their supply of food, Surly goes out and fends for himself taking well more than he could need.  He butts heads with the village animals that have tried punishing him repeatedly.  When his antics wind up getting the entire supply and the tree they store it in destroyed, Surly is banished from the park.  But, to his wonderment he stumbles upon a peanut shop.  Little does he know that this shop is also a front for a couple mobsters trying to rob the bank across the street.  While they’re attempting to pull of a heist, Surly’s got one of his own as he tries to extract the nuts from the shop.

I found The Nut Job to be a bit enjoyable, even if this one falls on the “more for the kids” side of modern animated features.  Its a pretty looking film with some fun creatures.  I was more taken with the mobster/bank robbers as it kind of reminded me of days long gone.  They are sort of akin to an animation time in the vein of 101 Dalmations, and their side of the story kind of acts like that type.  The story with the main squirrels/animals isn’t all too much and kind of repeatedly hammers the same theme in over and over as well as similar scenarios, but I wasn’t too bothered by that.

The voice talent here is pretty solid with everyone but Katherine Heigl seemingly having fun with their roles.  I don’t know what it is with that woman, but when I despise her even the form of an animated squirrel…somethings up right?  Her crummy attitude just seeps through in her role.  Yes, her character is very straight-laced, but you can just feel and hear the lack of enthusiasm in her voice.  Luckily, players like Will Arnett, Maya Rudolph and Brendan Fraser are having a blast in their respective roles.   And to add gravitas Liam Neeson appears in his first of two animated character roles this year.

The Nut Job is some solid throwaway entertainment.  Kids will definitely get more of a kick from it than adults for sure.  They might still be entertained by something of likes of “Gangnam Style” which features prominently at a few points in this movie (and they treat it like its something super fresh).  Its got some groovy animation and did make me nostalgic for some older animations of the past.  Nothing to rush to, but it’s not an awful way to kill an hour and a half.

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Encoding: MPEG-4 AVC

Resolution: 1080p

Aspect Ratio: 1:85.1

Clarity/Detail:  This is a perfect image.  Extreme detail with noticeable textures everywhere.  Very sharp and incredibly clean picture.

Depth:  There’s some terrific 3 dimensional looking scenes that I’m sure will pop in the 3D edition.  There’s many scene of falling, riding through water and through a tunnel that impress.

Black Levels:  Terrific black levels.  Rich and varied.  Shading looks great and nothing is ever too hidden in deep blacks.

Color Reproduction:  Colors were incredible striking and bold.  They leap right off the screen.  The whole spectrum of it.

Flesh Tones:  N/A

Noise/Artifacts:  Did not witness a thing.

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Audio Format(s): English 5.1 DTS-HD MA

Subtitles: English SDH, French, Spanish

Dynamics: For middle of the road animated feature, this track sure enhanced it.  Every sound effect was clear and distinct.  A lot of play between channels and perfect levels for dialogue score and effects.

Low Frequency Extension: There was some great inventive use of the subwoofer.  From engines, to explosions, to doors closing it was terrific.  There were many different levels of intensity on display here.

Surround Sound Presentation: Traffic, digging and all sorts of sounds come from the rear speakers as well as ambient noise and score.

Dialogue Reproduction:  Dialogue is loud, clean and crisp.

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In addition, the Blu-ray comes with a DVD copy and Digital copy of the film.

Deleted Scenes (HD, 5:20) – This is moreso extended scenes than deleted ones.  There are 6 of them.

Storyboards (HD, 2:42) – Storyboards from various moments in the film.

The Great Nut Heist (HD, 2:06) – A very EPK type clip with Will Arnett talking about the film mixed with scenes from the movie and video of actors recording their dialogue.

Animated Shorts

  • Surly Squirrel (HD, 10:52) – This feels like previsualization demo-style animation, but is a full short story based around Surly and a robber.
  • Nuts & Robbers (HD, 4:22) – Another short featuring little woods creatures stopping a robber.  This one is in full animation.  Feels like a pitch to a studio to see if a feature film is worth it.

End Credits Sequence (HD, 3:45) – This is just the end credits “Gangnam Style” dance sequence.  Exact same as if you were watching the film.

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Universal brings the average, but enjoyable, Nut Job (haha) to Blu-ray with a spectacular presentation and some solid extras.  This is a more family-oriented affair leaning heavily toward the kids side of things, but hey, they get there’s too.  If you’re looking for something new or something beside the typical Pixar/Dreamworks wheelhouse for your kids I think you’ll find a solid pickup here.  The little ones will sure give it the replay value when you probably will only watch it once.  Or hey, if you’re that lowly Katherine Heigl fan out there, this is one for your collection!



Writer/Reviewer, lifelong obsessive film nerd. As eager to educate in the world of film as I am to learn. An avid lover of horror, schlock and trash, Brandon hosts the Cult Cinema Cavalcade podcast on the Creative Zombie Studios Network (www.cultcinemacavalcade.com) You can also find more essays on his blog Naptown Nerd (naptownnerd.blogspot.com).

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