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Studio: Paramount/Disney/Marvel
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Disc/Transfer Information: High Definition 1080p; Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 Widescreen; Region A (U.S.) Release Tested
Tested Audio Track: English DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1 (tested in 5.1 configuration)
Director: Joss Whedon
Starring Cast: Robert Downey Jr., Chris Evans, Mark Ruffalo, Chris Hemsworth, Scarlett Johansson, Jeremy Renner, Samuel L. Jackson

PLOT ANALYSIS:


This is going to be a preview kind of post for now, as I just picked up the “Target Exclusive” version of the most anticipated Blu-ray of the year (maybe longer…this is destined to out-sell The Dark Knight in high def numbers) and will be running it through its paces later tonight. For now, I will comment on the packaging and provide my “theatrical overview” which I posted when I first returned from the film in theaters on opening night…

I was going to get this at Best Buy, but then later found out about Target’s “special” packaging with an exclusive bonus disc…since Target was much closer to me than BB, I picked up their version of Avengers. Packaging is nice, with a raised-relief slipcover and “exclusive bonus” stickers slapped on it; artwork depicts all the main characters doing their things, with Downey Jr. holding his “powered” Iron Man hand up without helmet on. The Target package includes the Blu-ray, DVD and the exclusive Blu-ray bonus disc with “over 90 minutes of footage.” I am uncertain if Best Buy – or another outlet – was offering this with a metal packaging/case (steelbook style), but this variant seems nice enough for me. Further, I wish I didn’t already own all the Paramount-sanctioned Marvel films leading up to Avengers – that is, Iron Man, Iron Man 2, The Incredible Hulk, Thor and Captain America – because I would have really loved to get the Avengers Assemble box set which would have looked way cool on the shelf…

I’m very much looking forward to analyzing the audio and video on this disc, and like the fact that Whedon shot the film in a 1.78:1 ratio as these films play back on my rear projection display without any distracting letterboxing…and from my (too far) seating distance as it relates to my screen size, this is beneficial. While the audio track is in a 7.1 arrangement, I will be playing the soundtrack back in a 5.1 setup. I will return with my thoughts on the Blu-ray when I watch it this evening; in the meantime, here was my analysis after getting back from the theater:

Okay. Went to see this on opening night, as most of the U.S. did (last night), and have some thoughts about what was headlined as “one of the most influential and anticipated motion pictures perhaps since Titanic.”

First of all, the entire beginning was way too rushed – there was no explanation tying up the loose ends regarding Loki and Thor from the end of Thor, making Loki’s “arrival” on Earth a head-scratcher save for coming through the blue source of power from their home world; the notion of how Loki got there, what happened after Anthony Hopkins’ character saved Thor from falling into the vacuum of space like Loki did in the Thor film and other elements were hinted at in a brief conversation between Thor and Loki in The Avengers, but the entire opening sequence felt way too rushed and exploitation-heavy, making it feel as though Mr. Joss was simply in a big hurry to get all these characters to the screen without any detailed backstory time.

The next big problem was Mark Ruffalo as Bruce Banner – BIG, major mistake here. Not only can this guy not act, his performance here as Banner was as atrocious as Mr. Joss’ take on the legendary Marvel scientist searching for a way out of his gamma radiation problems. Ruffalo basically sleepwalks through his role as Banner, and the transformation scenes before he becomes Hulk did not include any glowing eyes a la the famous Bixby performances in the TV show, or even the semi-better motion picture version which featured Edward Norton. The CGI Hulk, once complete and in action, looked fine enough (much better than the joke that was Ang Lee’s variant) but Ruffalo’s transformation sequences were ridiculous, with him looking toward the rest of the Avengers at one point and saying “That’s my secret…I’m always angry…” while he suddenly transforms into the Hulk without really ripping out of any clothing. The entire “discovery of Banner” and hunting him down to get him into the Avengers fold was ridiculous and rushed too, really not touching on anything about Louis Leterrier’s
Incredible Hulk or the ending he set up with Norton’s Banner in a rain forest somewhere. It was like Mr. Joss simply took new direction with most of these characters, ignoring some ties that came before that were ultimately hinting at an Avengers project. We are lead to believe Banner has been monitored the entire time by SHIELD, knowing his whereabouts – something “General Ross” and the government could never seem to do effectively – and is simply “called on” through a setup, where Black Widow (Johansson) is sent to “persuade” him to meet with Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) because of the global threat posed by Loki. The whole thing didn’t enthrall me, and is not the way I would have done it – if you are going to do a sweeping character study like The Avengers, you need to do it right, even if the film takes four hours to do it (not taking into account studio budgetary constraints).

Then, there were the “issues” with Thor – as Loki is being transported as a prisoner of SHIELD in a plane, the god of thunder suddenly lands on one of the wings from the sky above, there to take Loki in himself. But this is ridiculous – what happened to the end of Thor when Chris Hemsworth’s character was talking to the gatekeeper about Earth being lost to them? Thor seemed more interested in knowing what became of Natalie Portman’s character at the end of that film, and yet
The Avengers sets up the arrival of Thor as merely flying out of the sky and landing on the wing of this SHIELD plane – but what happened in all the time before that on their home world? How did he find Loki so fast, after his brother was presumed killed or lost when he fell into the space vacuum at the end of the Thor film? Again, the whole thing felt rushed and not thorough – further, I had issues with Thor’s “strength” in The Avengers, or, seemingly, the lack thereof. The god of thunder basically has his rear end handed to him in not only the fight with Iron Man, but by Hulk (okay, that was acceptable) and some others throughout the film – not to say Thor doesn’t get his licks in, because he does (smashing Hulk with his hammer multiple times, kicking Stark’s tail a bit in their fight), but something seemed “different” about this Thor in The Avengers that made him seem less of a complete bad-butt like in his own film.

As for Captain America? I thought he was one of the coolest in this film – his new costume devised by SHIELD looked great, Chris Evans was awesome in the role once again, and he kicked some rear ends on his own, first in his hand to hand combat with Loki in Germany, and then as one of the Avengers against Loki’s assembled alien army. Also, the sequence when Thor tries to come down on his shield with his hammer and learns the painful way how powerful Cap’s shield really is, was really cool. I didn’t have any issues with Cap in this.

That leaves Iron Man, Hawkeye, Black Widow, Nick Fury and Stellan Skarsgard’s character – what was ultimately wrong with Robert Downey Jr.’s Tony Stark/Iron Man performance in this? It seemed something was just “off” about his performance too, perhaps stemming from the lack of direction by Jon Favreau; I don’t know what it was, but Downey’s performance didn’t scream “Iron Man” like in his own films, and the whole Stark Tower in New York City thing again felt rushed and not explained enough. Suddenly, Stark has his own building in Manhattan (not that he couldn’t afford to build one fast) complete with a robotic suit up/suit off mechanism like in his California digs, and this just felt like a convenient setup by the filmmakers to tie in the culminating alien battle at the end which takes place in New York. There was a great deal of comedic banter between all the characters, of course again led by Downey’s sarcastic approach as the playboy billionaire, and that was refreshing, but there was something I just didn’t find awe-inspiring about the film as a whole, especially the beginning sequences.

Agent Barton (Hawkeye) played by Jeremy Renner and Agent Romanoff (Black Widow/Scarlett Johansson) get a lot of screen time here, and that was refreshing – Hawkeye in particular gets to kick some tail as he confidently shoots our alien visitors with laser guided arrows, plucking them off one at a time. There’s a subplot regarding Loki and his “enslaving” of Hawkeye and Dr. Selvig (Skarsgard) early on, but their spell is later broken and Hawkeye joins up as an Avenger to take on Loki’s evil army towards the end.

Then, there was the whole problem regarding the science of the film’s plot – most of the screen time is spent exploring the ways in which Banner, Stark and Fury can get together and close the portal Loki has opened, allowing his alien race he has hired to destroy Earth to come through, but at times the science they’re dabbling in gets so thick and convoluted, it’s difficult to follow what they’re talking about or what’s going on. We understand Banner is a scientist that has experimented with gamma radiation – supposedly what Loki’s blue-hued weapon is emitting in areas – but it’s suggested here that he is also some expert in the technology Stark has been dabbling in; the whole thing got confusing and off-putting after awhile.

We do get to see, finally, Nick Fury (Sam Jackson) in some gun-toiling action, which was cool, and the final sequence that finds our heroes in a duel in downtown New York with the race Loki has brought to Earth was definitely worth waiting for. CGI Hulk, in particular, was entertaining and sometimes awe-inspiring as he jumps around New York City, destroying it but smashing every single alien being in his way – including that huge snake-like thing we see in the trailers. Very cool. Then there was also the moment Stark puts Captain America in charge of telling them what they should all do as the aliens attack in NYC, and Cap gives them their positions and says to Hulk, “And Hulk – SMASH!” while the big green beastie smiles. That was definitely cool. But that also lends the question about Banner’s ability to control his alter ego, as hinted at in the comics and previous films – Ruffalo’s first transformation in
The Avengers indicates he has no control over the Hulk, as he becomes the green monster and goes after Johansson’s Black Widow, trying to kill her. Later on, when he transforms to join the team in fighting Loki and his army, it’s clear he can control the monster as he quickly transforms into him, reacting to Cap’s instructions of “SMASH!” and being able to tell exactly who the enemy is. This was a bit confusing to me.

Tom Hiddleston was fantastic again as Loki, and the humorous exchange between him and some characters brought added relief to the dialogue, such as when Stark calls him “Reindeer Games” in an early fight scene between him, Loki and Cap (in reference to Loki’s horns of his costume) plus the line every fan was waiting for when Loki confronts Stark and proclaims “I have an army…” and Stark spits out “We have a Hulk…” Fantastic and goose bump-inducing.

If you haven’t seen
The Avengers yet, don’t leave before ALL the credits are done rolling – we have teasers for what appears to be yet another attempt at bringing these characters back together again (it seems another alien race has been called upon to destroy and enslave Earth, even after the defeated alien leader of the ones that came on Loki’s behalf warns of human strength) as well as what I feel was a pointless gathering of the heroes in a final comedic scene. You’ll see what I’m talking about.

There was also the issue of all the team members going their separate ways at the very end, which was again not tied up very well, and ends up feeling rushed to make the running time; Stark is seen driving off with Banner in one of Banner’s exotic cars, while Thor is charged with taking Loki back to their home world for punishment (which again begs the problem…if Loki is the mischievous god of magic and can do anything to disguise himself, how is it he is allowing Thor to just “arrest” him? And where exactly do they go?) and Cap zooms off on a motorcycle (fitting)…but has Banner suddenly fallen off General Ross’ radar now, no longer a fugitive of the U.S. army? Where is the connection between all of the Marvel films up to this point and their conclusions that have teased the Avengers initiative? The whole timeline doesn’t make sense; remember at the end of Louis Leterrier’s
Incredible Hulk, Stark (Downey) finds Ross (William Hurt) sitting in a bar and tells him they’re “putting a team together”? Well, where does that fit in within the Avengers story? At the end of some of the Marvel films, it’s as if characters like Stark don’t know about Nick Fury’s Avengers initiative, while some films hint at the fact that he does – like in the aforementioned Hulk picture. Why this inconsistency?

It was also nice to see the latest uncut international trailers of
Amazing Spider-Man and Dark Knight Rises before Avengers, promising to be one exciting summer at the theater, especially for comic fans. The fight sequences between Peter Parker and Lizard and Bruce Wayne and Bane look especially awesome. Of course, I’ll be buying Avengers on Blu, but I wasn’t really knocked out by it as I thought I would be. Of all the issues, though, Mark Ruffalo’s Banner was simply the worst decision made in the history of comic adaptation casting next to using Topher Grace as “Venom” in Spider-Man 3.

VIDEO QUALITY ANALYSIS:

Okay -- before we get to the raw video quality on this disc, let me say that my brand-new copy of Avengers made my Oppo BD player lock up from the very beginning, and this was concerning...I put the disc in, sat in my usual spot, closed the tray and waited as it loaded...the language selector screen came up, which was an unusual touch, and from there, the player locked, forcing me to press STOP on the Oppo's remote, and then PLAY again. Normally, when a disc locks up on me with this player, I need to actually power down the deck and then power up again, but this required me to merely press STOP and then PLAY...very weird. I will try it again tonight and see if the results were repeatable.

The 1.85:1 transfer's image quality on display here was rock-solid from beginning to end -- at no point did I detect any visual imperfections such as noise or (in my view) film grain. Fleshtones were spot-on without a hint of oversaturation, colors of the characters' costumes and uniforms were perfectly rendered and represented (i.e. the blue of Cap's suit, the red and gold of Iron Man's) and closeup detail elements such as facial hair were close to eye-popping in nature. An excellent effort here by Disney in conjunction with Paramount and Marvel in bringing the most anticipated motion picture event of the last couple of years to home video in high definition.

One thing that did concern me, though: I asked my wife what she thought of the video quality as we watched it, and she normally still raves about our Sony SXRD's smooth, filmlike characteristics that render images in a more realistic fashion compared, to say, LCD displays -- she admitted that she could only imagine what Avengers would look like on a new LED set, like the 70" Sharp we've been eyeing, as she didn't think the colors on this Blu-ray, and other elements, really "jumped out" at her nor did the whole image in general wow her...she said it sure looked clean and good, but something could have definitely been "amped up"...of course, this lead to my explanation of how our display is adjusted in a more accurate picture mode to represent the filmmakers' intent, as usual, and that Captain America's blue uniform isn't supposed to be glowing a "neon" blue, but I must admit...perhaps this is an excuse to finally upgrade to a more modern display technology. If I only had the cash...

AUDIO QUALITY ANALYSIS:

From the very beginning, what I noticed about The Avengers' 7.1 DTS-HD Master Audio track (in English, running in a 5.1 configuration in my room) was its walloping, crushing waves of deep bass -- I know Mike from our site here in his official review said the lack of really, really deep LFE was something worth noting in this mix, but to be honest, I didn't sense it. My sub was shaking our walls and rattling things like mad during the heavy action setpieces -- and that is with the new Auralex SubDude platform I recently installed which has been squelching just about all resonance -- and there was a heft and weight to this track that truly has to be experienced as it's difficult to put into words. What I did note, though, was the lean use of surround activity -- now, this could be due to the "dumbing down" effect my system inevitably does to the 7.1 soundscape because it's forced into a 5.1 arrangement, so some information may be getting lost back there, but I did note a distinct "easy-on-the-rear-effects" characteristic that included some missed opportunities in the sonic landscape. Let me explain: During the final New York City battle between Loki's army and Nick Fury's special team, the audio is wildly frantic and explosive from all channels, with the sounds of lasers from the invading aliens, Iron Man's weapons, Captain America's shield, Hawkeye's laser-guided arrows and more bombarding from every angle...however, I noted that during some passages, the movement of alien craft or other elements that could/should have been placed into the rears to complete a realistic front-to-back effect just didn't happen, leaving the resulting action up front with no surround channel follow-through. This happened more than a few times on my system.

Dialogue also appeared quite low until I brought the master volume of my system up beyond a certain point; it was nowhere near as "hushed" or "subdued" as on Paramount's Blu-ray release of Captain America (also in DTD-HD MA 7.1), but it wasn't overtly forceful. Otherwise, though, this was a kick-tail track, with, as I mentioned, a heft and presence that was quite formidable, ample bone-crushing bass (especially during sequences such as when Thor is throwing his hammer around or fighting with Banner/Hulk and/or Iron Man) and a final setpiece sequence in New York City that was nail-biting and breathtaking in sonic scale. That last scene really makes you feel like you're there with our Avengers if you have your rig cranked up; the only issue, as I mentioned, was a strange lack of surround follow-through in certain areas.

SUMMARY:

Without question, a must-own for the collection, regardless if it was not as “perfect” as some us fanatics had hoped. Watching it again at home, the first time since the theater experience of course, I "got" a lot more of what was going on in the story, and enjoyed the film a little more. I still hold to the fact that I wouldn't have cast Ruffalo as Banner, and there were still some issues, in my opinion, with Downey Jr.'s Stark character in this in terms of the "convenient" arrival of his Stark Tower in downtown New York, but I did like the experience a tad more than theatrically, and that usually never happens in my home theater.

Thanks all, for reading, and please discuss The Avengers on Blu-ray...I would love to hear your feedback!
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 · (Edited)
Re: OSAGE'S AVENGERS TARGET EXCLUSIVE 2-DISC COMBO PACK PREVIEW (Blu-ray; Paramount/Marvel)

updated elements made to review.
 

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Re: OSAGE'S AVENGERS TARGET EXCLUSIVE 2-DISC COMBO PACK PREVIEW (Blu-ray; Paramount/Marvel)

Watched this yet again last night to further analyze the audio and video; my feelings on the video remain, that Disney/Paramount in conjunction with Marvel Studios has presented Avengers on Blu-ray Disc in a rock-solid, clean 1080p transfer ripe with detail and accurate color renditions. With regard to the disc's 7.1 DTS-HD Master Audio English track, I still submit that something seems a bit "off" with regard to the surround information -- specific cues I recalled from last night's viewing include a sequence where a fighter jet flies aggressively by the SHIELD heli-carrier craft, and while the angle of the scene suggests the jet should roar off into the right surround channel, the effect is shot off into the left surround channel...I found that a bit weird, but I suppose the argument can be made that the plane banked towards the left at the last second, yet was simply out of the visual scope of that particular shot...it could have also been the fact that I was running this 7.1 mix in 5.1, and some ambient information got lost somewhere. Another cue worth noting in the audio revolved around a sequence involving Stark as Iron Man (Downey Jr.) as he is attempting to make repairs to SHIELD's heli-carrier in his suit...the sequence depicts Stark's suit using the red guided lasers to weld an area of the craft, and in the scene, the audio cue should have really ripped around the listener towards the surround channels, suggesting the lasers are cutting behind the primary listening spot as Stark moves them in a straight line...yet in this scene, there was a distinct lack of followthrough with regard to the laser effects in the back channels. Again -- this could have been my system "collapasing" the 7.1 mix into 5.1 and some of that information simply got lost somewhere being that my room doesn't have the provisions for the back surround channels...

I'd like to know if anyone else who has picked up Avengers on Blu-ray and has run it through its paces noticed these issues, as well.

Additionally -- when I played the disc again last night, it didn't lock up my Oppo Blu-ray player like on Tuesday when I first opened the disc. Weird.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Re: OSAGE'S AVENGERS TARGET EXCLUSIVE 2-DISC COMBO PACK PREVIEW (Blu-ray; Paramount/Marvel)

Has anyone seen this on Blu yet?

I'm curious to know if anyone has experienced the player lockup before the menu loading as I did on my Oppo BDP-83...
 

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Re: OSAGE'S AVENGERS TARGET EXCLUSIVE 2-DISC COMBO PACK PREVIEW (Blu-ray; Paramount/Marvel)

Didn't experience lock-up on my Oppo BDP-80, which is pretty much like the 83 but without the better video processing (I use an outboard processor).

The video quality was fine, but not up there with recent reference quality transfers, like Fincher's 'Girl With The Dragon Tattoo'. Part of that might be due to the cameras (Arri Alexa, 2.8K resolution) used on 'Avengers'; by comparison, Fincher used Red Epic cameras (5K resolution) when shooting GWTDT. Also, the 3D version of 'Avengers' is a bit sharper than the 2D version, as can be seen on this screenshot comparison (wait for the image to load, mouse-over to compare, note Captain America's hair).

Audio was also nothing spectacular compared to some other 7.1 mixes, neither in low bass extension nor surround activity. On another forum, someone posted a frequency response measurement of the bass (below 200Hz), where you can clearly see that it drops off rapidly below 30Hz. That doesn't look natural, more like a filter.

On my 7.1 set-up, the Rear speakers are about 8 feet behind me and the Side speakers are slightly forward of my listening position. This really highlights rear-vs-side separation in the surround field and allows me to isolate sounds in the surround-back channels when I want to. There wasn't much going on back there in this movie and it sometimes felt like there was a sonic hole behind me. The Rear speakers would wake up for certain scenes, but weren't used as consistently as in 'Transformers 3', where the surround-back channels were as active as the surround channels (seamless circle of sound around you).

I also felt that the mix missed opportunities to use the surround field to better establish location. On the 'Act of Valor' BD, there is a mission prep scene that takes place at a military base. The entire scene is indoors, but way in the background you hear planes taking off, vehicles driving by, etc. The subtle use of sounds around and above you continuously establishes that you're on a military base, even if you never see it visually. In 'Avengers', no such use in (for example) the scene in India where Natasha finds Banner. The audio starts off fine, with various local sounds in the surround channels, but disappears the moment the camera goes inside an open shack. No subtle sounds of the shanty town in the back ground, no distant dialogue in foreign language (locals are seen sitting outside, near the shack), etc. Not necessary, but would have been nice.

Finally, one quick quip about the packaging. The 4-disc set came in a 2-disc case, with 2 discs on each spindle (the read side of 3D disc rubbing against the label side of the 2D disc). Really? Come on Disney, the film made 1.5 billion (with a B) dollars at the box office alone, don't cheap out on the packaging for home video.

Despite those misgivings, still worth buying. I enjoyed this movie too much not to own it. Certain moments still get a laugh out of me: the shot with Hulk and Thor during the final battle, the scene with Hulk and Loki at the end, the part with Hulk and... well, you get the idea. And my fave laugh, at the Shwarma restaurant after the end titles.
 

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Re: OSAGE'S AVENGERS TARGET EXCLUSIVE 2-DISC COMBO PACK PREVIEW (Blu-ray; Paramount/Marvel)

Hey, 'durani!

Thanks for the reply.

Didn't experience lock-up on my Oppo BDP-80, which is pretty much like the 83 but without the better video processing (I use an outboard processor).
Right -- I recall the BDP-80; was kind of a stop-gap before the '93 came out, wasn't it? And yes, I recall it didn't boast the Anchor Bay chipset...

As I noted in follow-up posts since the original review, the problem only happened the first time I unpacked and watched the disc. Thankfully, it hasn't happened again. However, my BDP-83 has been giving me some issues with lockups on discs' startup menus, and I am up to date on firmware implementation and versions.

The video quality was fine, but not up there with recent reference quality transfers, like Fincher's 'Girl With The Dragon Tattoo'. Part of that might be due to the cameras (Arri Alexa, 2.8K resolution) used on 'Avengers'; by comparison, Fincher used Red Epic cameras (5K resolution) when shooting GWTDT. Also, the 3D version of 'Avengers' is a bit sharper than the 2D version, as can be seen on this screenshot comparison (wait for the image to load, mouse-over to compare, note Captain America's hair).
Interesting; I actually didn't see Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, but I take your word on the transfer quality. Indeed, there was something missing from The Avengers 1080p Blu-ray transfer (at least for Region A) that I can't quite put my finger on...it was ripe with detail and accurate color in many sequences, but then falls a bit flat and DVD-like in others (the opening sequence with Sam Jackson in the SHIELD headquarters just before Loki arrives is a good example of the "falling a bit flat" theory; this scene in particular just looked a bit soft-ish and could have used more visual punch). All in all, though, I don't think this was a poor Blu-ray transfer. Just a bit disappointing given the sheer anticipation and popularity of this title.

Audio was also nothing spectacular compared to some other 7.1 mixes, neither in low bass extension nor surround activity. On another forum, someone posted a frequency response measurement of the bass (below 200Hz), where you can clearly see that it drops off rapidly below 30Hz. That doesn't look natural, more like a filter.
I agree, as I noted in the review and subsequent followup posts, about the surround activity and lack of utter involvement in the rear soundstage -- however, you are not the first to have an issue with the low bass extension/LFE usage on this Master Audio track yet I didn't experience that. From the first wallop of LFE -- which comes when "Nick Fury" and "Agent Barton" if I recall correctly are traveling down the elevator in one of the opening sequences...this scene is accompanied by a bang of deep bass at one point -- I thought this track boasted a heavy, brooding bass weight to it that was more than satisfying. And I don't even have what would be considered a decent sub! :unbelievable:

From the thuds of Thor's hammer to the wallops of deep LFE from Hulk's smashing, I didn't detect a lack of bass here -- though, admittingly, the bass wasn't quite as deep, of course, as wall-rattlers like the DTS track of War of the Worlds (DVD) or even other Blu-ray releases like Incredible Hulk or even Paramount's own Iron Man 2 which I thought was a standout.

On my 7.1 set-up, the Rear speakers are about 8 feet behind me and the Side speakers are slightly forward of my listening position. This really highlights rear-vs-side separation in the surround field and allows me to isolate sounds in the surround-back channels when I want to. There wasn't much going on back there in this movie and it sometimes felt like there was a sonic hole behind me.
I TOTALLY experienced the "sonic hole" as well, and that was with a 5.1 arrangement, not 7.1 like yours...:rolleyesno:

The Rear speakers would wake up for certain scenes, but weren't used as consistently as in 'Transformers 3', where the surround-back channels were as active as the surround channels (seamless circle of sound around you).
I didn't see it, but I have been hearing incredible things about Transformers 3's audio track. In Avengers, though, I too experienced a lack of total surround immersion -- yet, I have been discussing with others on other forums that it is possible, due to my 5.1 arrangement, something from these 7.1 tracks could be getting "lost" when the track is "collapsed" for 5.1 playback. Others have reported a lack of sheer volume output when playing 7.1 tracks on a 5.1 setup, as well as this "empty rear fill" phenomenon...:huh:

I also felt that the mix missed opportunities to use the surround field to better establish location. On the 'Act of Valor' BD, there is a mission prep scene that takes place at a military base. The entire scene is indoors, but way in the background you hear planes taking off, vehicles driving by, etc. The subtle use of sounds around and above you continuously establishes that you're on a military base, even if you never see it visually. In 'Avengers', no such use in (for example) the scene in India where Natasha finds Banner. The audio starts off fine, with various local sounds in the surround channels, but disappears the moment the camera goes inside an open shack. No subtle sounds of the shanty town in the back ground, no distant dialogue in foreign language (locals are seen sitting outside, near the shack), etc. Not necessary, but would have been nice.
I TOTALLY agree, as reported -- and while I didn't take notice of that early Banner sequence (I will rewatch that and listen for it now that you mentioned it), I did notice these "missed opportunities" in other areas I cited, such as when the jet fighter zooms to the rear during an exterior SHIELD heli-carrier sequence (this should have been accompanied by directional cue fill-in but the plane seems to fly into the "incorrect" channel, in a directional sense) and during key scenes when the final New York battle sequence is taking place.

Finally, one quick quip about the packaging. The 4-disc set came in a 2-disc case, with 2 discs on each spindle (the read side of 3D disc rubbing against the label side of the 2D disc). Really? Come on Disney, the film made 1.5 billion (with a B) dollars at the box office alone, don't cheap out on the packaging for home video.
I have been reading about this packaging mishap on the four-disc version; the Target-exclusive variant which I purchased didn't have such issues, but the "exclusive" extra disc they attached to the back of the inner case makes slipping the cover over the case extremely annoying. :sarcastic:

Despite those misgivings, still worth buying. I enjoyed this movie too much not to own it. Certain moments still get a laugh out of me: the shot with Hulk and Thor during the final battle, the scene with Hulk and Loki at the end, the part with Hulk and... well, you get the idea. And my fave laugh, at the Shwarma restaurant after the end titles.
I agree wholeheartedly. However, I was one that didn't care for the "Shwarma" post-credits sequence as I thought this got way too hokey and cheesy in some respects; I realize Whedon was going for some comedic relief here -- and the comedy thoughout, as you mentioned, was fantastically realized -- but I didn't care for it given the huge cache this film carried. I thought, and it's only my opinion, instead there should have been some kind of a reference made in a post-credit sequence to perhaps Clark Gregg's character (Agent Coulson) being taken back to Thor's home world where he is somehow, magically, brought back to life...it was really sad when he was killed.

Thanks for the chat on Avengers!
 

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Re: OSAGE'S AVENGERS TARGET EXCLUSIVE 2-DISC COMBO PACK PREVIEW (Blu-ray; Paramount/Marvel)

Also...

I have to mention...I find it really annoying when teasers and trailers suggest certain sequences or dialogue exchanges that don't actually make it into the final cut of the film, or are taken completely "out of context" for the trailers...

Example: In the case of Avengers, the sequence in which Stark makes a reference to Thor's "mean swing" after their clash suggested, in the trailer, a different kind of "energy" when Stark slaps Thor's muscular arm as compared to how that scene actually went down in the film (in the film itself, Stark says "No hard feelings, point break, you got a mean swing..." This wasn't nearly as effective as the way he addresses this dialogue in the teaser trailers we saw IMO). Then, there was the part in the teasers when Nick Fury leans over the rail of the heli-carrier command bridge and states "Gentlemen...you're up," suggesting to me the whole team was about to show off their skills or enter battle, together, against Loki's army in New York -- instead, in the final cut of the film, Fury actually says this to Steve Rogers before he suits up and drops down to fight Loki in Germany. The line actually goes "Cap...you're up." I don't know; I didn't care for that.

There was also the "we're a time bomb" line from Ruffalo that was out of context a bit when comparing the trailer and the actual film and some other random moments. Just something I observed.
 

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Re: OSAGE'S AVENGERS TARGET EXCLUSIVE 2-DISC COMBO PACK PREVIEW (Blu-ray; Paramount/Marvel)

Thanx for the detailed reply.
I recall the BDP-80; was kind of a stop-gap before the '93 came out, wasn't it? And yes, I recall it didn't boast the Anchor Bay chipset...
It was a stripped down version of the BDP-83, without the fancy scaler (still had the one built into the MediaTek chip), so it could be used more as a BD transport (audio and video processing done outboard). Since I already had a video processor, I opted to save $210 over buying the BDP-83.
I didn't detect a lack of bass here -- though, admittingly, the bass wasn't quite as deep...
Right, it wasn't lacking in amount (how loud the bass was) but in extension (how deep the bass went). I just think the measurement graph looks weird; there's no way that's a natural roll-off below 30Hz. The steep drop has all the earmarks of a filter, but why would they do that?
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Re: OSAGE'S AVENGERS TARGET EXCLUSIVE 2-DISC COMBO PACK PREVIEW (Blu-ray; Paramount/Marvel)

Thanx for the detailed reply. It was a stripped down version of the BDP-83, without the fancy scaler (still had the one built into the MediaTek chip), so it could be used more as a BD transport (audio and video processing done outboard). Since I already had a video processor, I opted to save $210 over buying the BDP-83.
Indeed; I recall its specs. I, for one, needed the upscaling capabilities of the Anchor Bay chip inside the '83 for my still-relevant DVD collection...:D

Right, it wasn't lacking in amount (how loud the bass was) but in extension (how deep the bass went). I just think the measurement graph looks weird; there's no way that's a natural roll-off below 30Hz. The steep drop has all the earmarks of a filter, but why would they do that?
Interesting; I felt the extension was pretty deep actually on my particular system...in fact, I watched the disc yet again last night after doing a routine system check diagnostic (well, tried to...I got about up to the point where Fury puts Loki in the "cage" aboard the heli-carrier before going to bed) and felt the bass was there in deep, impactful wallops...

At any rate, it sure wasn't shallow in LFE, I guess we can agree on! :T
 

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Re: OSAGE'S AVENGERS TARGET EXCLUSIVE 2-DISC COMBO PACK PREVIEW (Blu-ray; Paramount/Marvel)

Interesting; I felt the extension was pretty deep actually on my particular system.
That is interesting. Since the measurements right off the disc show almost no bass below 30Hz, I wonder where you got the deep extension from.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Re: OSAGE'S AVENGERS TARGET EXCLUSIVE 2-DISC COMBO PACK PREVIEW (Blu-ray; Paramount/Marvel)

That is interesting. Since the measurements right off the disc show almost no bass below 30Hz, I wonder where you got the deep extension from.
Don't know if it was from Loki's home world or some strange laser beam from my neighbor's garage, but my system exhibited deep wallops of LFE waves throughout; sometimes, at the end of the day, I just don't go by a graph, but by how my system sounds and how I'm immersed (or not) in the track. :T
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 · (Edited)
Re: OSAGE'S AVENGERS TARGET EXCLUSIVE 2-DISC COMBO PACK PREVIEW (Blu-ray; Paramount/Marvel)

UPDATE:

I threw in Avengers again last night after I did a full system diagnostic on my setup (making sure every setting was absolutely correct in my AVR, Blu-ray player and display) and wanted to add a couple of thoughts...

First of all, I neglected to mention this in the original review, but interestingly, this is the first Paramount/Marvel release of a superhero title (even though Disney was involved here too, taking over the Marvel Studios empire) which opened with "reversed studio mentions" -- what do I mean by that? Every Marvel-sanctioned film based on one of their characters -- and not just ones from Paramount, but also from Columbia/Sony and 20th Century Fox -- includes an opening studio sequence that puts the authoring studio and their logo first (i.e. Paramount's stars and mountains) to be followed by the flipping page images accompanying the Marvel logo. In Avengers, the sequence was reversed (and I noted this in the theater to my wife who couldn't believe I would catch something so ridiculously non-monumental), with the Marvel logo coming FIRST, and then the Paramount anniversary logo with the running stars following...

Just a mention...

Also -- there was a moment in the Blu-ray's video transfer that I don't think I originally pointed out that jumped out at me yet again last night, and I don't know if this was a fault of the transfer itself, Paramount/Disney's engineers or a problem with the original film stock source. In the sequence in which Nick Fury (Sam Jackson) is talking to Steve Rogers (Chris Evans) in the gym to brief him about Loki and the stolen superweapon, there comes a moment when Evans is looking at the SHIELD file and in the background, the contrast or picture seems to "pulsate" brighter and then a bit darker, and then it does it again for a brief moment after that -- did anyone else notice this? I'm wondering if it's just a Blu-ray, and not a DVD, thing...
 

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Re: OSAGE'S AVENGERS TARGET EXCLUSIVE 2-DISC COMBO PACK PREVIEW (Blu-ray; Paramount/Marvel)

I guess I did not watch it close enough to see some of the things mentioned here. Maybe that is a good thing, I am not sure, I would worry that some of these things may detract from my enjoyment of the movie.
If something happens that is a gross issue and it really sticks out, then it could be quite a drag. However, when we think of how much that goes into the making of a 2 hour movie, how many years, zillions of man hours, I guess I can forgive some things.
I am glad you gents go into such depth, it is quite the learning experience.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Absolutely agreed, Jack; and I only mentioned these things as mere observations...not to say the studios "did something wrong" per se...

Absolutely no big deal either way -- the "pulsating contrast issue" I mentioned was super brief, mere seconds, and didn't distract from anything as a whole, at all. I was just pointing it out because it jumped out at me last night (I actually didn't get a chance to get through the whole disc).

Thank you for the kind comment about my work, though; it's members like you that make it worth the effort, as we can engage in friendly, opinion-oriented discussions. :T
 

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Youre welcome. I see some issues in these movies on disc, but you know, I am shocked that there are not more issues considering how many discs are pressed, how little time and effort some manufacturers put into their products etc. In some ways a trip to the local theater is more of a downer anymore as one never really knows what kind of presentation they may be in for, how many cell phones will ring, how many inconsiderate folks will be talking and on and on.
I am really thankful that movies at home have come so far and while my screen is not big enough to engulf me like the screens of old at the movie palaces did, I can really sit down, turn it up and get lost for a period of time.

I do like reading the posts because it makes for being able to see more than one view, more than one take on a movie, and occasionally answers those pesky questions that David Lynch seems to sneak into all his films. Maybe even some day we can actually define what Kubrick was thinking back in 1968 when he released his masterpiece. :ponder:
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Couldn't agree more, Jack. :bigsmile:
 

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I think the video quality was great, but I don't think the audio was all that for being 7.1. The dark knight and the dark knight rises are 5.1 and I think they sound way better!! What do you think Osage?
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Sorry for the delay in getting back to this thread, and all the others; we recently had a tragedy in our lives in which our beloved Black Lab/Aussie Shepherd had to be put to sleep due to medical complications...it really, really threw us for a loop because we were utterly devoted to this canine, who had a plethora of issues ranging from seizures due to a brain tumor (which ultimately killed him) to diabetic complications, intestinal problems, panchriatitis, IBS and much more. He was taking no less than 26 or so pills a day to keep his conditions under control, which was working for some time, but he couldn't hold on any longer and lost the battle with his tumor...

I will get back to everyone's comments in my review threads as soon as I can; thank you.
 
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