War of the Worlds: Goliath (Blu-ray Review)

War of the Worlds Goliath - www.whysoblu.comIn a parallel universe, World War One is imminent as we follow the gripping story of human resistance fighters who march to battle against the second invasion of the Martians. In 1899, the Earth was attacked by ruthless invaders from the planet Mars. The Martians 80 ft tall, heat-ray spewing, Tripod battle machines laid waste to the planet, but the invaders ultimately fell prey to Earth s tiny bacteria. Fifteen years later, Man has rebuilt his shattered world, in large part by utilizing captured Martian technology. Equipped with giant, steam-powered Tripod battle machines, the international rapid reaction force, is Mankind s first line of defense against the return of the rapacious Martian invaders. And return the Martians do. The rematch finds the multinational battle squad tripod Goliath on the front-lines of a vicious interplanetary offensive. 

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War of the Worlds: Goliath is the latest (or the first?) of recently releases animation material featuring traditional animation merged with computer-generated imagery. The Goliath in the title may throw off viewers in thinking that the film is a sequel to the base material. It really isn’t. In fact, it’s more a remaining “alter verse” type of film. The year is 1899 and the alien invaders have laid waste to world before finally being defeated by the humans and their microscopic bacteria. Fast forward 15 years to 1914 and Earth is basically Star Trek now in that they’ve harvested the alien technology and become a mesh of retro-steampunk-culture. Even the great Dr. Tesla makes an appearance, which was a neat tough.

Earth’s mightiest heroes have teamed up and are now called “Goliath.” The elder military leaders know that the war of 1899 was only a precursor of what was inevitably to follow. The aliens had 15 years to prepare another attack – this time with even more advanced technology than before. It was only a matter of time before they came back to finish what they started.

Going into War of the Worlds: Goliath, I did not know what to expect. What drew me to the film were the cover art and the character designs. They had a cool Don Bluth touch to them that I really liked. It also reminded me of that box-office bomb of 1999 called Titan A.E., which was also produced by Bluth. I thought to myself why not? I’m really glad I did. War of the Worlds: Goliath is an action packed science fiction adventure, with equal amounts of intensity, and proper comedic timing. What’s also impressive about the film is that it’s about 80% traditionally animated. It’s been a long time since I’ve seen an animation feature with actual animation as opposed to computer-generated overload.

The film is also rated PG-13 and for good reason. When people die, and they do die in droves, you see them disintegrate before your eyes, so be warned if there are any children present. Goliath is not necessarily a kid’s tale. I’m a casual fan of steampunk and think the filmmakers did a great job combing the past with what is essentially is the start of WWI with aliens. The good guys fly biplanes, blimps, tanks, all powered with laser technology. The Martians do counter that with their tripods, tentacles, lasers, and eventual flying saucers. The tone is kept familiar while looking innovative. The Goliath forces retaliate to the tripods by creating giant mechs to even the score.

War of the Worlds: Goliath comes with a 2-D and 3-D version of the film and I was only able to view the 2-D version, so I cannot comment on the 3-D version at all. The 2-D version looked awesome but there will be several instances of where you can obviously see what was computer generated and what was traditionally animated. It’s not a big deal, but I suspect there’s a more flawless presentation in the 3-D version. War of the Worlds: Goliath was very entertaining and I hope this studio continues with their little franchise, because it has a lot of positive things going for it. Oh, and before I forget, I should mention that Goliath features the voice talents of Adrian Paul and Adam Baldwin. They do good jobs in their respective roles.

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Encoding: AVC MPEG-4 (MVC 3-D version)

Resolution: 1080p

Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1

Clarity/Detail: War of the Worlds: Goliath looks surprisingly clean and clear even when there are scenes of CGI mixed in with traditional animation the Blu-ray handles these two disciplines really well. Nothing overpowers the other and they tend to work together very well. I won’t say seamless due to the obviousness of he CGI on the 2-D version of the film.

Depth: The depth was striking and I’m sure even more so in the 3-D version but we only reviewed the 2-d one and it was pretty adequate with the exception of the tripods and their tentacles. I could always tell that they CGI’d them, which made them standout in their surroundings.

Black Levels: Black levels were nice and deep and I did notice any crush, which is odd for animation since animation is usually littered with crush and other anomalies.

Color Reproduction: Color levels were okay and I only noticed a few hints of banding here and there. The plasma rays, laser beams, and other assorted weaponry and their rays really popped.

Flesh Tones: N/A

Noise/Artifacts: I only noticed a few instances of noise but nothing too intrusive.


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Audio Format(s): DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1

Subtitles: English, Spanish, Chinese, Bahasa Malaysia

Dynamics: This science fiction romp on Blu-ray does pull out all the stops all things considered. At times you’ll have some quiet moments of reflection before the Martians start destroying everything in there way along with the good guys bringing out the heavy artillery and doing some damage to the attackers. This is handled incredibly well by the lossless soundtrack on the Blu-ray.

Low Frequency Extension: The subwoofer kicked up a notch especially during the stomping of the tripods as they destroyed everything in their path. It was tight and never sounded distorted.

Surround Sound Presentation: The surround sound channels worked overtime on this release. Rockets, gunfire, plasma rays, etc., literally “swooshed” overhead and it was glorious.

Dialogue Reproduction: Dialogue was clean, crisp, and every other character had an accent due to everyone coming together against the Martians. This was cool in that the Blu-ray reproduced everyone’s vocal tonality perfectly.

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War of the Worlds: Goliath has plentiful extras that include a full-length commentary, behind the scenes featurette, profiles, and a full feature presentation of the film in storyboards.

  • Audio Commentary by Director-Producer Joe Pearson and Writer-Producer Dan Abramowitz – The commentary track is an all informative track, which means that it tends to get a bit dry but for those that want to learn more about the mythos established then they would have a good time with the commentary track.
  • Stories Before the War: (St. Petersburg, HD, 3:38) (The Oath, HD, 8:41) – A set of motion comics that act as prequel of sorts that expand on some characters that appear in the main feature.
  • The Movie in Storyboards – The feature film presented with starboards. The storyboards are presented in a pop-up window in the style of picture-in-picture. (HD, 1:28:20)
  • Meet Our Voice Actors – This special feature gives a mini-bio about the actors that voice the characters of the film in static-screen mode.
  • The Art of War: War Machine Blueprints & Production Gallery – Use your remote to navigate through the blueprints that describe the technology and weapons used in the film. A production gallery is also featured showcasing the artwork of War of the Worlds: Goliath. 
  • Trailer – The theatrical trailer of War of the Worlds: Goliath presented in high definition. (HD, 2:27)
  • The Lovers  This is a deleted scenes of a love scenes that was ultimately cut from the finished film but you get to see the storyboards and what finished animation there was in addition to the actors doing their voice work for the scene. It’s an amusing piece. So that’s how they do a love scene in animation! 😉 (HD, 2:10)
  • The Making of War of the Worlds: Goliath – This one is a bit puzzling but I was not able to play the feature on my U.S. region A PlayStation 3. I understand it’s 24 minutes long and showcases what went into the making of the film, but I was unable to access the feature on my main player. I did not try it on my region free player, though. I don’t know it’s encoded in PAL or not.

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War of the Worlds: Goliath was a surprisingly awesome little animated flick that I had a great time watching. I’m really glad that they used more traditional animated techniques than CGI. It gave it an almost throwback feel to the film and pulled me in. The Blu-ray itself has above average video and near-reference audio quality. The special features are also top notch. Just the full-length storyboarded version of the film is worth the price of the film alone. How cool is that? Anyways, I sure hope they make more of these installments that take place in this alternate reality. War of the Worlds: Goliath was a blast!

Order War of the Worlds: Goliath on Blu-ray!

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Gerard Iribe is a writer/reviewer for Why So Blu?. He has also reviewed for other sites like DVD Talk, Project-Blu, and CHUD, but Why So Blu? is where the heart is. You can follow his incoherency on Twitter: @giribe

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