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The Official 2010 FIFA World Cup Film Blu-ray 3D Review

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Quick Take: The U.S. squad is nearly nonexistent but many incredible goals and finishes make up for it.

The 2010 FIFA World Cup made waves this past summer when several of the games were broadcast entirely in 3D to launch ESPN’s 3D channel. The broadcast was a landmark event for 3D adoption into homes then and now the World Cup’s official film becomes the first sporting event available on the new Blu-ray 3D format.

Running a brisk 64 minutes and only viewable in 3D, The Official 2010 FIFA World Cup Film intersperses several large international news agency press member retrospective interviews with a chronological progression through the tournament’s round robin stage, elimination rounds and the finals. There is a slight bias towards African teams being they were the host country and Uruguay coach Diego Maradona eating up the spotlight, big topics in the media when the World Cup originally aired. The film still manages to hit all the high notes including spending a sizable chunk of time on Ghana’s amazing run and their agonizing elimination defeat to Uruguay in a penalty kick shootout.

The Official 2010 FIFA World Cup Film was not created for North American audiences so this Blu-ray 3D release might irk the American soccer fans most likely to pick it up. The U.S. team was involved in multiple thrilling matches yet is relegated to a brief single mention and 5-second clip of the goal that kept their advancing into the elimination round alive. An “unofficial” version of this film with more emphasis on the U.S. team’s run would have been more appropriate for a stateside release.

3D Presentation

Up until this FIFA release my Blu-ray 3D viewing has been primarily CGI-animated films designed for 3D. FIFA marks my second foray into live-action 3D on Blu-ray (Clash of the Titans being the first) and it is intriguing enough for me to want to see more. When the action is slowed down and the camera pulled back the 3D effect is at its best. Some of the fast-moving attacking sequences are harder to make out in 3D, a problem more with the technology then the disc, but there are no severe ghosting issues to worry about.

Not all of FIFA is presented in 3D as all the exterior stadium blimp shots, of which there are many, play strictly in 2D. The documentary-style footage shot in the streets of South Africa is in 3D however and looks great. Out on the pitch there’s varying degrees of 3D use with stationary shots down the bench with the stands behind looking layered and artificial. The action on the field does benefit from 3D and is a great example of why the powers behind the technology are so keen on sports helping drive adoption.

For audio, Sony offers not only an English 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio mix but an equally boisterous and spacious German option as well. I find the more international flavor cooked into the World Cup presentation the better so giving the German mix with English subtitles turned on a try is highly recommended. Your ears will be mostly focused on the vuvuzelas pouring through the surrounds anyways.

Beyond the Feature

No bonus features are listed on the back of The Official 2010 FIFA World Cup Film’s case yet the main menu clearly includes a “bonus features” selection. Inside are a couple Trailers for Sony’s Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs and Open Season on Blu-ray 3D. I would have liked to see a short featurette talking about the technology and logistics in filming select matches in 3D.

The Official 2010 FIFA World Cup Film would be purchased exclusively by soccer fanatics on any other format. In this inaugural year of Blu-ray 3D with few titles to choose from, early format adopters starving for 3D material to feed their expensive 3D gear rigs will strongly consider stepping outside their comfort zone and into the world’s most watched sporting event. Once inside they’ll find an entertaining hour’s worth of soccer highlights and some decent 3D that enhances the ride.

– Dan Bradley

Shop for The Official 2010 FIFA World Cup Film on Blu-ray 3D for a discounted price at Amazon.com.

SCORE: 4.0 out of 5

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