Sgt. Stubby: An American Hero appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 1.85:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. Though not one of the best-looking animated transfers I’ve seen, the image usually seemed solid.
Sharpness was the only minor weak link. While the majority of the picture seemed concise and accurate, some wide shots displayed a smidgen of softness.
The picture never became especially ill-defined, but it just looked vaguely off on occasion. Still, those instances were modest.
I noticed no issues with jagged edges or moiré effects, and the movie didn’t demonstrate any edge haloes. Print flaws remained absent, so this was the kind of fresh, clean image one would expect from a modern animated flick.
With its period setting, the flick boasted a somewhat restricted palette. Actually, Hero opted for an emphasis on teal and amber, though not to a ridiculous degree. The hues seemed well-rendered.
Blacks were deep and dense, and shadows looked clear and well-displayed. Only the slight softness kept this one from “A”-level consideration.
One notable issue arose from the film’s Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack: it’s a Blu-ray with a Dolby Digital soundtrack. No 2018 Blu-ray should come with lossy audio, so the disc lost points right off the bat.
With a combat setting, the soundscape opened up well at times, though perhaps not as often as one might anticipate. A lot of the movie went with quieter scenes, so the action kicked in only occasionally.
When it did, though, the soundfield worked nicely. Various battle elements cropped up in logical locations and moved around the room in a natural manner.
Audio quality seemed fine, with speech that appeared natural and concise. Music was fairly rich and full as well.
Effects showed good reproduction, with accurate elements and deep low-end. This was a generally positive track, but the lack of lossless audio remained a problem.
Three featurettes appear, and we start with The Making of a Hero. It runs 14 minutes, 32 seconds and offers info from writer/director Richard Lanni, head of story Eric Bergeron, set designer Thomas Lepyne, storyboard editor Celine Kelepikis, animation directors Marc-Andre Baron and Philippe Zerounian, composer Patrick Doyle, modeling artist Anne-Sophie Baeza, layout artist Kelly Ginet, actor/2D sequence director Jordan Beck, rigging supervisor Julien Bagory, foley artist Alistair Watson, groom supervisor Luis Cadavid, and actors Logan Lerman and Helena Bonham Carter.
“Hero” examines the film’s art and animation, visual design, cast and performances, audio and music. “Hero” offers a better than average show and it gives us a pretty good look at various domains.
Animating History fills two minutes, 26 seconds with an image montage. It mixes concept art with rough animation to create a decent array of visuals, though it’d work better if it came with narration.
Finally, Real to Reel goes for five minutes, 21 seconds and features Lanni, Beck, Lerman, Bergeron, Carter, Doyle and assistant art director Yann Boyer. They tell us about the true story behind Hero. This ends up as a pretty superficial view of the subject matter.
The disc ends with a Historical Image Gallery. It presents a two-minute, 34-second montage of photos and film footage accompanied by narration. A very “kid-friendly” overview of WWI, it seems forgettable.
Taken from an inspirational true story, Sgt. Stubby: An American Hero comes with the potential to create an engaging film. However, it lacks consistency and becomes an erratic take on its subject matter. The Blu-ray brings generally strong picture with acceptable audio and a smattering of supplements. Though not a poor movie, Hero never quite connects.