Despicable Me 3 Ultra HD Review

In the third installment of the highly popular film franchise, Gru meets his long-lost charming, cheerful, and more successful twin brother Dru who wants to team up with him for one last criminal heist.

The Review at a Glance:
(max score: 5 )

Film:

Extras:

Audio/UHD Video total rating:
( Max score: 100 )

90

Details:

Studio and Year: Universal – 2017
MPAA Rating: PG
Feature running time: 90 minutes
Genre: Family

Disc Format: BD-66
Encoding: HEVC HDR-10 @ 1000 NITS/Dolby Vision
Video Aspect: 2.40:1
Resolution: 2160p/24

Audio Format(s): English DTS:X/7.1 Master Audio, Spanish DTS 7.1 HR, French DTS 5.1
Subtitles: English SDH, French, Spanish
Starring: Steve Carrel, Kristin Wiig, Trey Parker, Miranda Cosgrove, Steve Coogan, Jenny Slate, Dana Grier, Julie Andrews
Directed by: Pierre Coffin & Kyle Balda
Music by: Heitor Pereira
Written by: Cinco Paul & Ken Daurio
Region Code: A,B,C

Blu-ray Disc release Date: December 5, 2017

“Oh Brother..”

My Take:

After he is fired from the Anti-Villain League for failing to take down Balthazar Bratt (Trey Parker, “South Park,” Team America: World Police), the latest evil mastermind to threaten humanity, Gru finds himself in the midst of a major identity crisis. But when a mysterious stranger shows up to inform Gru that he has a long-lost twin brother — a brother who desperately wishes to follow in his twin’s despicable footsteps — the former super-villain rediscovers just how good it feels to be bad.

I was taken with Despicable Me and really enjoyed the emotive nature of the story with respect to the connection between Gru and the girls. The animated depiction of the various characters was priceless and added to their appeal as well the story’s theme/components. It’s follow-up Despicable Me 2 was entertaining, but not quite to the level of the first. With Despicable Me 3 we are once again treated to a charming family adventure that strives to touch us as well as make us laugh. I think it mostly achieves its goal, providing humor on varying levels which both adults and kids can identify with. I don’t think that the narrative is as well rounded as the first film but it successfully incorporates enough slapstick, witty dialog, spirited adventure and family warmth to rate just a notch or two, below the original. The returning cast members are spot on of course and new comer Trey Parker (whose character steals the show) compliments the proceedings quite nicely.

Successful follow-ups to popular films can be difficult. I applaud screenwriter’s Cinco Paul and Ken Daurio as well as co-director’s Kyle Balda and Pierre Coffin on another solid effort that follows in the tradition of many of today’s popular animated films which make for great family entertainment.

Replay Value: 3.5 Stars

Parental Guide:

The rating is for rude humor and mild action.

AUDIO/VIDEO – By The Numbers:
REFERENCE = 92-100/EXCELLENT = 83-91/GOOD = 74-82/AVERAGE = 65-73/BELOW AVERAGE = under 65

**My audio/video ratings are based upon a comparative made against other high definition media/blu-ray disc.**

UHD Presentation(HDR-10): 94
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)

  • HDR: Dark Highlights:
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UHD Presentation (Dolby Vision): 96
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)

  • HDR: Dark Highlights:
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DTS:X Rating: 86
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)

  • Level of immersion: 
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Ultra HD Blu-ray has finally been released and eager enthusiasts are ready and willing to see what it has to offer. For those not familiar with the details regarding Ultra HD Blu-ray you can refer to my article that includes some pertinent data on the subject. Here is the link:

Ultra HD Blu-ray Has Come to online-shashki Forum Blu-ray Reviews

Despicable Me 3 comes to Ultra HD Blu-ray from Universal Pictures Home Entertainment featuring 2160pHEVC encoded video and lossless DTS:X/7.1 DTS Master Audio sound that has an average bitrate of 4.5 Mbps.

For its presentation in Ultra HD Despicable Me 3 is rendered from a 2K DI and up-converted to 4K. This is a great looking Ultra HD presentation that makes the most of the film’s digitally sourced imagery. In terms of resolution the differences are apparent as there is a noticeably finer texture in the minutia especially in the characteristics/physical makeup of the characters. To a lesser degree this also applied to backgrounds which emphasized depth of field. The image has lots of pop as the expanded color gamut and emboldened dynamic range draw out the broad, oversaturated chromatic palate, and use of contrast. Whites are gradational and bright and the monochromatic grays, blues and black featured in the sequences with limited lighting, are multi-staged and dimensional in appearance. As good as Despicable Me 3 looks in 1080p, the Ultra HD rendering, while not heads and shoulders above it, enhances its attributes, making for a visually engaging and sparkling video presentation.

Dolby Vision vs HDR-10:

I recently added the TCL 55P607 UHD Dolby Vision HDR flat panel to my review system. This was to enable me to compare the visual quality of titles that contained the Dolby Vision metadata versus its HDR-10 counterpart on the same disc. All titles are first watched via my JVC front projector. I then select specific scenes which are watched on the TCL, first via HDR-10 then via Dolby Vision. The TCL isn’t among the top tier flat panels with DV, however it came recommended by online-shashki Forum Senior Editor Mark Henninger, and calibrates/performs extremely well for a set at its price point.

* The cumulative A/V score will still be based upon the HDR-10 rating, with the DV rating serving as informational only for now.*

Comparing the DV and HDR-10 presentations for Despicable Me 3, I found the HDR to be close, but felt that the DV rendering edged out the HDR-10. Much of this came when comparing the same scenes, and finding that the rendering of visible details in blacks/shadows provided improved interstitial layers, resulting in seemingly better delineation. In terms of the rendition of color and the application of high dynamic range I didn’t see enough of a difference to warrant a rating separation. All in all, each presentation looked great, with my preference leaning toward DV.

In listening to the DTS:X surround mix I found it to be of the moderately active variety that makes steady use of the platform. Its use of audio objects placed above is a mix of atmospherics, music and discrete sound effects. This is done very well and creates a tangible level of immersion that coincides with the onscreen events nicely. The mix effectively places effects/sounds within the soundstage which place you within the scene, in turn, adding an enriching element that heightens the feeling of immersion. While this isn’t what I would regard as an aggressive DTS:X mix I enjoyed the balance of atmosphere combined with discrete object placement. I think that it complimented the source material and made for an entertaining listening experience.

Blu-ray Video:

Video: 100
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)

  • Resolution/Clarity:
  • Black Level/Shadow Detail:
  • Color Reproduction:
  • Fleshtones:
  • Compression:

Audio: 90
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)

  • Dynamics: 
  • Low frequency effects: 
  • Surround Sound presentation: 
  • Clarity/Detail: 
  • Dialog Reproduction: 
  • Low frequency extension * (non-rated element): [img] [/img]

Despicable Me 3 comes to Blu-ray Disc from Universal Pictures Home Entertainment featuring 1080p AVC encoded video that has an average bitrate of 29 Mbps and lossless DTS:X/7.1 DTS Master Audio sound that has an average bitrate of 4.5 Mbps.

This is a reference quality video presentation that boasts vivacious colors that are rich in saturation and bold in depth. Detail is superlative as the video has definitive three-dimensional quality with crisp texture and excellent fine articulation. Contrast is strong and well balanced so that whites are crisp and colors pop without distortion or loss of detail. Blacks are deep with excellent dynamic and enriching gradational highlights. This is a beautiful and pristine quality digital transfer that sparkles on Blu-ray.

The 7.1 DTS Master Audio (DTS:X core) soundtrack makes effective use of the surround platform and offers detail rich sonic clarity, and crystalline dialog reproduction. This mix doesn’t bombard you with aggressive surround sound. It applies it when appropriate and combines discretely placed directional cues with supporting ambience that fills the listening area nicely. The front and rear sound field never collide but work in unison to render the soundtrack’s elements. Dynamic range and bass response is appropriate, adding thematic emphasis and resonating punch when called upon. This is a solid audio presentation that mates well with the source material.

Bonus Features:

  • Disc 1: Despicable Me 3 Ultra HD Blu-ray
  • Disc 2: Despicable Me 3 Blu-ray
    • All-New Mini Movie — The Secret Life of Kyle
    • Minion Moments — Watch the Minions cause more hilarious mayhem with Gru
    • Deleted Scene — With intro by Dana Gaier, the voice of Edith
    • Character Profiles — The inside scoop on the most popular characters, from the actors who play them
    • The Making of Despicable Me 3 — A behind-the-scenes look at the making of the movie
    • Developing Dru — Behind the scenes character development of Dru
    • The AVL Files — Through the lens of the Anti-Villain League’s hi-tech database, this ultra secret, interactive surveillance briefing showcases all of the agency’s amazing creations and top agents
    • Freedonia Visitors Guide — Welcome to Freedonia! See all that the town has to offer with this interactive map. From its world class cheese, to its beautiful coastline, Freedonia has it all!
    • Despicable Me TV — Tune in for some fabulous fun with these Despicable Me 3 infomercials. Includes “Balthazar Bratt Action Figure,” “Bad Boy Bod by Balthazar Bratt” and “Agnes’ Super Cute, Incredibly Amazing Toy Sale.”
    • “Doowit” Sing-Along — Sing along with Pharrell Williams as the Minions plot their escape from prison
    • “Yellow Light” Music Video — Official music video by Pharrell Williams
    • Minion Mugshots — The Minions add to the long list of celebrity mugshots in their very own “rogues gallery.”
    • Wanted Posters — Have you seen these Minions wanted for various crimes?
  • Digital HD Copy

Final Thoughts:

Despicable Me 3 is the third installment in the highest-grossing animated film franchise of all time. Its storytelling isn’t quite as polished as the original film, but like its predecessor, many of the right chords are struck with the results being an entertaining film that can be enjoyed by the whole family. It comes to Blu-ray in this Ultra HD Blu-ray Combo Pack from Universal Pictures Home Entertainment featuring excellent Ultra HD quality, sparkling high definition video, gratifying lossless surround sound, including a solid DTS:X mix, and a fan friendly assortment of extras that are worth exploring if you enjoyed the film. Despicable Me 3 is pitch perfect family entertainment that comes recommended on Blu-ray.

Ralph Potts
online-shashki Forum Blu-ray Reviews

Reference Review System:

JVC DLA-RS500 3D/4K Ready High Definition Front Projector
(Calibrated with Calman 5 & C6-HDR Meter from Spectracal)
Stewart Filmscreen – Studiotek 130 G3 100” 16×9 Screen
Carada Masquerade Electronic Horizontal Masking System
Marantz AV7704 Audio/Video Processor
Sherbourn Technologies – 7/200 Seven Channel Amplifier
B&K Reference 200.7 Series 2 Seven Channel Amplifier
Oppo UDP-203 Ultra HD Blu-ray Player
Sony Playstation 3 Blu-ray disc Player
System Controller: Apple iPad/iRule Pro HD Universal Remote Control
Canton “Ergo” and Canton In-Ceiling Series Speakers
SVS Ultra Surrounds (Gloss Finish in Bipolar Configuration)
SVS PB-13 Ultra (Rosenut finish)
SVS SB-13 Ultra (Piano Gloss finish)
Panamax M5400-PM Power Conditioner/Surge Protector
Wireworld, Better Cables (Silver Serpent) – Audio/Video/Speaker Cabling
AC Infinity Aircom T8 Component Cooling Systems