The Nut Job - Blu-ray Review - Home Theater Forum and Systems -

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post #1 of 3 Old 04-22-14, 12:12 AM Thread Starter
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The Nut Job - Blu-ray Review

Title: The Nut Job


HTS Overall Score:76

The world of animated studios has risen over the years to where there are a TON of great animated movies. Unfortunately, “The Nut Job” isn’t one of those greats. Universal is always hit and miss with their animated titles, for every “Coraline” or “Paranorman”, we have a “Nut Job” or two. The film isn’t a bad film, but it just sits so perilously on the fence that it just sort of fades into obscurity. Mixing a decent voice cast together with a mediocre script has its definite ups, and also its definite downs. What made this one a bit unique was that it was basically a heist flick, within a heist flick. We have the humans doing their obligatory bank heist, but we also get the great addition of having the animals try their own heist OF the bank robber’s nuts. I had to admit that I was a bit intrigued and looked forward to this one a bit more than I did “Free Birds”, which also had a similar trailer feel to it. Sadly it didn’t live up to my hopes, but thankfully didn’t turn out as bad as “Free Birds”.

It’s nearing winter time for a park full of furry creatures and there’s not enough food in stock. Their leader, Raccoon (Liam Neeson), sends out his best and brightest (or maybe NOT so brightest) hero, Grayson (Brendan Fraser) and his second in command Andy (Katherine Heigl) the squirrels out to look for nuts. When things go horribly awry with the interference of the park pest, Surly (Will Arnett) and the entire stores of nuts destroyed in the process something is done that has never been done before. Surly is officially banished from the park and sent to fend for himself in the great city. Accompanied only by his rather dimwitted friend, Buddy, Surly now has to a self-serving ingrate on his own and learn to survive. As fate would have it, Surly stumbles upon the score of a lifetime, a fully stocked nut shop near the park. Only thing is, the nut shop is just a front for a group of bank robbers, who are trying to dig a tunnel under the bank next door and replace all the bags of money with bags of nuts.

Surly lets his greedy side fully out and tries to devise a plan with Buddy to get all those nuts out and thus be set for ages. As brilliant as his plan is, the only hiccup is that he really can’t do it alone. Agreeing to split the nuts 50/50 with the park he reluctantly teams up with Andy and several other park members to sneak the nuts out from under the human’s collective noses. Unbeknownst to Surly, Raccoon and the other members have decided to double cross him and give the selfish rodent his just desserts. With the addition of a pug named Precious (Maya Rudolph), the team has to race against time to sneak out the nuts, without getting caught by the bank robbers AND have Surly learn a few life lessons along the way.

As I mentioned earlier, the film isn’t a bad watch at all. I had a few chuckles throughout, but it tends to play it rather by the numbers and it becomes pretty obvious what the next move is before it’s made. Surly learns some life lessons, the evil Raccoon gets what’s coming to him and the humans are doofuses from the get go. Even some of the jokes tend to fall a bit flat when we have to try and chuckle at Brendan Frasier being a pompous windbag as Grayson and even the obligatory fart joke. What really makes the movie rise up from total turd to watchable entertainment is the wide variety of voice talents they had on screen. With everyone from Jeff Dunham, Gabriel Iglesias, down to Maya Rudolph, Will Arnett and the amazing Liam Neeson, there is more than enough star power to try and top each other with their own unique adaptations of the character. I mean, when Liam Neeson is in a movie it’s automatically better, although the inclusion of Katherine Heigl is usually a downer. I had my laughs, and I had my fair share of groaners, but the passable script was just that, passable. There wasn’t anything really awful about the movie, but it didn’t try too hard and stuck to the standard tropes that we’ve had for decades in children’s cartoons, so it never really reached the potential that it COULD have had.

The voice actors really do try and bring this one up, and I applaud them for their effort, but the film skates by and unfortunately falls prey to all the clichés Hollywood has at its fingertips. My nieces and wife were decently entertained, but even they failed to raise more than a “meh, that was decent” reaction to the film.


Rated PG for mild action and rude humor

As you guessed it, Universal Studios is 2 for 2 with their video scores. “The Nut Job” may not be a home run plot wise, but it certainly shines in the video department. Animated movies have enormous potential for being “WOW!” type presentations and this one is no slouch. The colorful landscape is just awash with rich and luscious shades of the rainbow. The reds, blues, greens, purples and every other color in the gambit are given equal aplomb, from the bright and cheery park, to the deep and dark dinginess of a rat infested ally way. There’s a bit of color banding going on in a few scenes, but I had to really look for it and only noticed it once or twice. Detail is simple jaw dropping, with every hair and piece of fur digital rendered to absolute perfection. Darks are beautifully inky and the only real complaint, besides the banding, was that a few seems seemed to lack a bit of sharpness that would have pushed it over the top into 5/5 rating level. Thankfully the film is given a healthy bitrate and besides those instances of color banding there are no digital anomalies to report.

The 5.1 DTS-HD MA track isn’t quite as immersive and stellar as I would have hoped for. It’s what I like to call a bit “light in the loafers”. It does its job well, but lacks that depth and pizazz that pushes it in the realm of excellence. The dialogue is nice and clean, locked to the center, but every once in a while it seems to get lost in the crowd of sounds. The dynamic ranges is solid as explosions and rumbles vibrate the walls, while the echoing whisper in an underground tunnel is appropriately soft. The surrounds are used, and used well, but for some reason don’t feel as immersive as it could. The thuds and crashes and musical numbers all come through nice and distinct, but the level of usage just doesn’t pull you in. The LFE is solid, but nothing write home about, as nuts go thudding down the street, or an explosion shakes the walls we get a VERY impressive wallop, but that thick low end that gives a movie it’s “weight” just wasn’t there and the remainder of the film was a bit lacking in the lower frequencies. Basically, a very decent track that begged for more.


• Animated Shorts
• Deleted Scenes
• Storyboards
• The Great Nut Heist
• End Credits Sequence


“The Nut Job” isn’t going to be remembered very well. Or rather, if it’s remembered at all. As passable children’s comedy it does a fairly decent job, but really it’s not more than a once off type of movie. I didn’t really feel one way or the other about it, and really that’s its main flaw. The fact that it wasn’t good enough, or bad enough of a film to really be remembered. With all modern CGI movies the video is stellar and we have some decent audio, so if you’re inclined to check it out it’s not a waste of an evening. I’d honestly recommend a rental though, and not a blind buy.

Additional Information:

Starring: Will Arnett, Brendan Fraser, Liam Neeson
Directed by: Peter Lepeniotis
Written by: Lorne Cameron, Peter Lepeniotis
Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1 AVC
Audio: English: DTS-HD MA 5.1
Studio: Universal Studios
Rated: PG
Runtime: 99 minutes
Blu-ray Release Date: April 15th, 2014

Buy The Nut Job Blu-ray on Amazon

Recommendation: Rental

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post #2 of 3 Old 04-23-14, 04:06 AM
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Thanks again for another good and important review. I was contemplating buying this movie sight unseen, I guess I'll just hit up the red box instead.
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post #3 of 3 Old 04-23-14, 09:06 AM
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Re: The Nut Job - Blu-ray Review

Redbox indeed! It seems like a cheap remake of "Over the Hedge" which IMHO was a superior movie...that still hasn't made it to BD yet
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bluray , job , nut , review

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