Babies follow the first year of four different babies from around the planet. From the moment they take their first breath to their first steps. All babies are from four distinct cultures and lifestyles to reflect their different yet similar growing patterns. The film allows the viewers to take a look at two babies from two rural areas: Bayar from Bayanchandmani, Mongolia, and Pinjao from Opuwo, Namibia. The two remaining babies are from two urban areas: Hattie from San Francisco, California, USA, and Mari from Tokyo, Japan.
The film directed by Thomas Balmès, Babies does nothing more than celebrate human life with over joyous imagery of newborns. The film is very simple and yet is captivating at times. While most of the imagery used is about babies through their early days, there is no depth in the film; there isn’t another other than just imagery and cute babies. Certainly Balmès accomplished his main goal, to captivate and entertain a crown with the most simplistic set of footage. While there is no dialogue, one can appreciate the beautiful imagery being displayed.
The film sort of feels like one of those wallpaper videos with no insights just a bunch of different videos of things that are sure to keep people’s attention. Babies isn’t a movie that is meant to be over analyzed nor does it have subjects that need a deeper look. Babies is just meant to watch as the filmmakers follow each baby throughout one year and that’s it. Some will like it some will not, it really is up to your taste.
Babies arrive on Blu-ray with a 1080p VC-1 encode framed at 1.85:1. Babies isn’t exactly a great looking film, but it fits perfectly to the way the filmmakers intended it to look. Colors are strong and well reproduced throughout. Scenes from Africa tend to look a tad bit warm. Black levels aren’t very consistent, sometimes the look very inky and other times they look washed out. Detailing is good all around, but the transfer does suffer a few setbacks. Certain scenes feature a soft image, others have some debris during darker scenes, and some others have some ringing. All these issues are minor and don’t shouldn’t impact the film in a negative way. Some will appreciate it some will don’t. Babies look decent on Blu-ray.
Babies arrive on Blu-ray with a 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio lossless track. The track is fairly simple and while it won’t put your sound system to work it will definitely leave you satisfied. Everything baby related was crisp and clean and not to mention well prioritized. From the crying to toy rattling, every sound was heard cleanly without a problem. Voices in the background by the parents didn’t receive much support and can sound muffled. The score comes through the entire soundfield and sounds fantastic. The score takes full advantage of tracks’ simple design and gives the viewers a much more engrossing experience. The track handles everything without a problem.
Three Years Later – This is a brief look at the visit from director Thomas Balmès to the kids he used for his documentary.
Babies Sweepstakes Winners – A few shorts are shown of babies doing funny things.
Given all the good reviews from critics prior to the Blu-ray release I was expecting something more than what was offered. True, the film is not as bad, but it certainly could have been better. Take Babies for what it is a beautiful look at the early stages of life. The Blu-ray comes with a decent video quality and a unexpected good audio transfer. The supplements are lack luster and could of benefited from something more. I recommend at least a rental.