Blu-ray Disc Review
Release Date: November 25, 2008.
Starring: Eddie Murphy (Dave Ming Cheng), Elizabeth Banks (Gina Morrison), Austyn Myers (Josh Morrison), Gabrielle Union (No. 3 – Cultural Officer), Scott Caan (Officer Dooley)
Written by: Rob Greenberg & Bill Corbett
Directed by: Brian Robbins
I really wanted to hate this movie before I watched it. After all, the TV spots and the theatrical trailer showed me another Eddie Murphy dud was coming to land in our living rooms. Murphy walking about on Earth as a space ship? Little men inside of his head? The idea seemed silly and the previews were just plain weird. But after watching the movie, I now feel like the odd man out. It seems that all film reviews I read are tearing this film apart just as I thought I would have. I must admit: even though the story was silly and the CGI was rather cheap looking, I liked Meet Dave. It’s not a groundbreaking comedy by any means; some of the ideas are new but I think many of the gags have been borrowed from elsewhere. Star Trek: The Next Generation seems to be the biggest influence of all as the little men inside of Eddie Murphy’s head are dressed and positioned about the controls just like the television series. Their mission: to drain all of the water from earth to save their dying planet. Not quite the same mission as the Enterprise…
The film begins with the orb from the other planet (set to drain earth’s water) being knocked off course by a satellite. Schoolboy Josh Morrison, who lives with this widowed mother Gina, finds it as it crashes through his Manhattan bedroom window. In hopes of finding this now-lost item, the little people from a distant planet crash land into Earth as a fill-sized man with an image of their captain (Eddie Murphy). With the little people inside of this spaceship, they are to integrate themselves in society to accomplish their mission. They don’t understand the human race at all and look at it analytically. But the more time they spend on Earth and in the presence of Gina, the captain, as well as several others on the space ship become sympathetic of humans and begin to adopt the “loose” culture on board of their spacecraft. We see some hilarious faces from Eddie Murphy as the spaceship (remember Bowfinger) while greeting humans for the first time, learning how to cross the street, dance, competing in a hot dog eating contest (and excreting those hot dogs). All the while the members inside the spaceship are experiencing a cultural corruption of the hilarious kind. In all, I found Meet Dave to be a funny family comedy.
VIDEO QUALITY: 3/5
Properly framed at 1.85:1, Meet Dave doesn’t look so good. I’m sure it is true to the film image it was taken from, but in general, I wasn’t a fan of the final look of the film. Images are quite warm from the start casting a mild “forever sunset” look upon the image. I found colours to be muted and at times a bit unnatural. When Dave and Josh take a walk through Central Park, the trees took on that warm green look that was occasionally splashed with yellow. I’m not a New Yorker, but it’s certainly not even close to what I saw as I walked through the park this summer. But I don’t expect it to be either. I just question why decisions are made to make the film look this way during postproduction. What look was the director after? I’m not sure, but I didn’t find it entirely pleasing. Distant details appeared to be slightly plugged up unless they are closely zoomed in (like the side of Dave’s head). Despite white levels being just a bit hot and black levels ok, I found the image to be mildly dim. Film grain is shown naturally and there is a bit more noticed than I normally see, but the image (thankfully) doesn’t appear to be noise reduced and then pumped with enhancement making it feel smooth and natural just as I’d see it in the theater.
AUDIO QUALITY: 3.5/5
No surprise here. Comedies rarely have engaging soundtracks that completely immerse the viewer. Meet Dave has a simple soundtrack that is expected. There are some mildly engaging moments when the surrounds kick to life, but for the most part this soundtrack is front heavy. The front sound stage is wide and contains many off-stage effects such as the sounds of New York City or the movement inside the “spaceship”. The music is well recorded and quite dynamic making the soundtrack breathe beyond the foley and ADR. Dialogue is integrated nicely and rarely sounds forward or heavy. It carries the ambiance of the environment well making it a pleasing listening experience. The audio encodes are both lossless DTS-HDMA and lossless Dolby Digital 5.1. I’m not sure why the latter is needed since the DTS codec has a lossy bitstream for legacy decoders.
TACTILE FUN!!: 2/5
TRANSDUCER ON/OFF?: ON
A few ruble effects in the LFE helped make Meet Dave a more enjoying audio experience. Whether crash landing on Earth, trying to speak for the first time, or trying on some bass-shaking headphones, your seat will be rumbling on!
SPECIAL FEATURES: 2/5
In order of appearance, the disc offers crew profiles (HD). A feature specifically for DVD/BD, it lets you see a minute or two bio of crew members we see in Eddie Murphy’s head. They’ll talk to you about their position on the spaceship as well as other info.
Next is a two and three-quarter minute gag reel (HD) as well as four deleted scenes, also in HD. The deleted scenes are scene trimmings that could have stayed in the film. Adding up to two and a half minutes, I felt they added more to the film than it could have taken away. An alternate ending is also viewable.
The remaining features clock in at about an hour and ten minutes. The first is The Making of Meet Dave (HD) and is the most informative about the production of the film, and of course, about Eddie Murphy. The people involved are obviously proud of their accomplishment, or were told to keep the comments positive. J All around the material is presented in a positive and exciting way so that kids can enjoy watching a making-of piece without finding it confusing or beyond their comprehension. The remaining featurettes: Fox Movie Channel Presents Life After Film School with Director Brian Robbins, Fox Movie Channel Presents Making a Scene, and Fox Movie Channel Presents World Premier (SD 480i) answer questions from the director, discuss the special effects, and show the Hollywood premier.
IN THE END...
Meet Dave is a mixture of both the strange and the humorous. While the idea isn’t so far fetched for a family movie, the way it’s brought to screen is bizarre but I can’t help to laugh. That was probably what the writers were intending. Although, if I thought it was bizarre, I could only imagine what would go on inside of a few kids’ heads. I were five years old again I might find Eddie Murphy a bit frightening with his wide eyes and in his white suit. He plays an inanimate object so well I’d confuse him for a life-sized action figure. I think film reviewers are being too harsh on this movie; they are viewing through the eyes of an adult rather than in the mind of a child. Meet Dave is certainly worth a family rental.
November 30, 2008.