has an average rating of 8.3 on IMDb
1080p in AVC MPEG-4 on a 50gb disc
DTS-HD 5.1 MA / PCM 2.0 Stereo
includes the short “Harvie Krumpet“
– 92 minutes
– IFC Films (MPI)
This uses 24.0GB for the movie out of 29.8GB total.
Street Date: June 15th, 2010
Overall Verdict – An Emotional Recommendation
The Movie Itself is Written, Directed, and Artistically Designed by Adam Elliot (“Harvie Krumpet“).
The movie revolves around the pen-pal friendship between Mary (voiced by Bethany Whitmore, and later the adult character is voiced by Toni Collette), a young outsider girl in Australia, and Max (voiced by Philip Seymour Hoffman), a middle-aged, over-weight man living in New York City. It may come across as odd how two such souls could even cross paths, but by all odds, they are each in need of a friend. Mary‘s childhood is not exactly golden, being raised by her Sherry-drinking mother (voiced by Renée Geyer), and her father who works in a factory attaching strings to bags of tea. The young girl has a large brown birthmark on her forehead, and is teased for her appearance, amongst other things. One day while accompanying her mother to the post office, the presence of a New York phone book intrigues Mary with several thoughts to ponder regarding these people who live so far away, and at random, she selects a name and address, and writes this lottery-picked person a letter. Mary tells about herself, her pet rooster, her dream to marry a man named Earl Grey, and many other little details about her life, and asks a few questions as well.
Receiving the unexpected letter, Max‘s nerves are first wrecked, which is a typical situation for him being a man of unstable mental reserve, however, he returns a letter to the little girl in another hemisphere, answering her young questions as he sees fit, and talks about his own life, such as the large number of jobs he has had, and his great distaste for wastefulness and people who litter. Max‘s letter of return is nearly intercepted by Mary‘s mother, as even in her drunken state, sees it as only inappropriate for a middle-aged man to be writing letters to her very young daughter. However, Mary‘s pet rooster intervenes, and Mary finds a way to secretly continue her long-distance friendship.
Mary inspires further anxiety in Max with more inquiries, though it is sincerely not her intent to cause so much trouble for her only friend. Mary has offered more personal information about her life, and seeks advice from her pen-pal in New York City on how to handle the bullying she has to deal with everyday at school. Max, again, recollects himself, and offers her the best advice he can; which actually ends up being very useful to Mary. With more and more talk over the years between the two, all of their faults and personal issues, though leave them feeling left out of the real world, are what bind them closer as friends, no matter their age, location, or any other prejudice topic.
In closing, this film stands out with its own exact brand of greatness, with simply an emotional storyline, and a strong one at that. If you have seen the Director’s animated short, “Harvie Krumpet” (which, if you haven’t, it is a supplement on this release), you will notice a number of similarities throughout the runtime of the movie. Though the film is without a doubt emotional in context (which I will talk about more below) it has a lighter side to its mildly dark nature, as Writer/Director Adam Elliot‘s hilarious social satire strikes as just the right moments, not taking away from the depth each scenarios brings, and also keeping the story from feeling too gloomy.
All of the voices that carry out the acting performances are pure excellence, from not only those of the characters, but also the narration by Barry Humphries. There is a lot of heart and character-study here, and the story can conjure emotions at the drop of a pin with so many sad “faults” possessed by the characters. On that note, the themes and general content of this “Not Rated” film are really not for young children, as had this film been issued a rating, it would be safe to assume PG-13 at the lightest; in other words, do not be fooled by the fact that it is a stop-motion animated film, an artistic style that you may be familiar with in more family-friendly ways, whereas the emotional topics this film brings-on simply require maturity to comprehend. Overall, both the comedic and dramatic elements of this film have depth and soul, and the movie itself well-worth a “5 Star Rating“.
Video Quality on this release is in full 1080p using the AVC MPEG-4 codec on a BD-50 (50 gigabyte dual-layered Blu-ray Disc) in the 1.66:1 aspect ratio. This stop-motion animated film has several qualities to the uniqueness of its style. First of all, the intricately designed sets and props have their own unusual feel, with a blocky and disorderly look to the symmetrical designs of the buildings and such; a somewhat messy style that is the intention of the art design by Adam Elliot. All of these artistically muddled details stand out in Hi-Def, along with the various textures of said sets and props, with more than generous detail to the eye. Having used a 22 megapixel camera to capture the frames of this stop-motion animated movie, very little definition could have been left behind as one can only imagine.
Another branch of these film’s particular approach is the color palette itself; two different clay-created worlds, that of Mary, and that of Max, rely on the hues of sepia-tones, and mono-tones, respectively. These palettes created solely by the materials used to create the characters and their surroundings are occasionally disrupted by a few small recurrent subjects that consist of more vibrant colors; for example, the red pom-pom Mary sends to Max, which he wears upon his Yamaka, the red lipstick adorned by Mary‘s mother. The contrast of these rare vibrant colors stands out greatly, especially amongst this otherwise absent-of-color visual portrayal’s very solid black level; a piece of the video presentation that is of course always important, but even more so in a special case such as this.
There are simply no flaws to report regarding this release’s video quality, as it easily earns a “5 Star Rating” for an amazingly detailed Hi-Def performance.
Audio Quality on this release is presented in DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio and Linear PCM 2.0 Stereo. The DTS track definitely offers some “roar” from the soundscape at times, primarily from the presentation of the score. With robust classical building the energy of the film on several occasions through out the release’s runtime, the front and rear channels are filled quite nicely, and there is moderate use of the subwoofer as well. Coinciding with the fairly somber content of the film, the audio track otherwise remains a bit more gentle, conveying most audible elements from the front channels, but not leaving out use of rear channels to demonstrate environmental sound effects. It is always important to take into consideration that in the case of animated films, no matter their style, every ounce of foley you are hearing had to be created for the film in a more intricate manner than a film shot with real actors on a set; as far as what this release’s audio track proves to offer in the department of realistic and admirable effort, it is not by all means a let down, with fitting bump, thuds, and clanks appropriately placed through out, and delivered from the soundscape without any flaws. The dialogue proves to require no volume adjustments, in both the forms of narration and the spoken words delivered by the characters. Overall, the audio track sets the mood of the film properly, and the performance from the 5.1 setup earns itself a “4.5 Star Rating” for a smart mixture of sound/foley, and an impressive and balanced presentation of the score.
Bonus materials are presented in Standard Definition, using Linear PCM 2.0 Stereo.
- “U.S. Trailer” (2:25)
- “International Trailer” (2:09)
- “Making Of” (15:48)
- “Behind the Scenes” (8:15)
- “Alternate Scenes” (2:01) includes 2 scenes.
- “Casting Call” (1:37) is basically the casted actors reading through for the voice-over roles.
- “‘Harvie Krumpet‘ Short Film” (22:03) is the 2003 animated short film by Adam Elliot; definitely worth a watch before the feature “Mary and Max“.
- “Commentary With Writer-Director Adam Elliot“
Overall, the bonus materials here are not the largest amount of content ever seen obviously, but the inclusion of the short film, and a “behind the scenes” look at a production of this nature are definite pluses for fans.
Blu-ray Disc packaging:
NOTE: The full-sized 1920×1080 files are in a .PNG file format and uncompressed. Please bear with the slow loading times, keep in mind these files are at least 1MB (1 megabyte) in size each.