Film Length: 101 minutes
Aspect Ratio: Side A: 16X9 Enhanced Widescreen (1.78:1), Side B: Full Frame 1.33:1
Audio: English 5.1 Dolby Digital
Subtitles: English SDH / French / Spanish
The Film – 1 ½ out of 5
I think Eddie Griffin’s character “Stanley”, as the director of “the movie within the movie”, was speaking for the whole cast of Beethoven’s Big Break when he says “Let’s just shoot this so I can put the final nail in the coffin of my career”. On one side, it’s hard for me to criticize a movie that’s basically intended for twelve-year-olds; however, since WALL-E has set the bar so high for children’s entertainment, it’s hard for me to not constructively criticize lazy writing and wasted talent.
Jonathan Silverman (Brighton Beach Memoirs) stars as Eddie, a struggling animal trainer and single dad who suddenly finds himself the personal wrangler for a large and lovable homeless St. Bernard and his puppies whose accidental movie "audition" impresses a movie producer (played by “Cheers’” Rhea Perlman) and catapults the dog to stardom. However, a trio of unscrupulous ne'er-do-wells (Joey Fatone, Stephen Tobolowsky, Oscar Nunez) kidnap the famous dog and hold him for ransom. Beethoven’s Big Break is the sixth installment in the sloppy St. Bernard franchise and without having seen installments two through five, I can still say with confidence that this franchise has worn out its welcome, as the movie’s best sight gags were recycled from the first film. None the less, a ten-year-old might enjoy this movie but having sat through this thing as an adult, I can’t give it a better rating than this, as it pained me to watch some great character actors slumming through this material. The only actor in the cast that seemed to be glad to be there is former ‘NSYNC’er Joey Fatone, who’s clearly happy to be working on ANY movie. Even "Dog Whisperer" Cesar Milan looked bored.
The Video – 4 out of 5
I’d have to say, despite what I felt about the movie itself, this transfer was great for a standard DVD. The blues, reds, yellows and greens popped off my television screen, despite the slightest use of edge enhancement and noise in the picture. Zero grain was evident and the image quality was sharp with deep blacks and great shadow detail for a standard DVD. Use of CGI was clearly evident with the lizard that Beethoven chases throughout the movie, but I’ll chalk that up to the direct-to-video budget.
The Audio / Sound – 3 out of 5
The 5.1 Dolby Digital soundtrack had a nice soundstage and was somewhat lively when it needed to be. The dialogue was free and clear of distortion and Robert Folk’s score was well balanced and complimented the action on screen. Most parents won’t be cranking up their home theater for this one so the best word to describe my auditory experience with Beethoven’s Big Break was “adequate”.
The Extra's – 2 ½ out of 5
Feature Commentary with Director Mike Elliott and stars Jonathan Silverman and Moises Arias (is anyone going to actually listen to this?)
Deleted Scenes (2:01) (non-anamorphic)
Gag Reel (10:39) (non-anamorphic)
How Did They Do That (8:49) (this was the most entertaining part of the whole DVD seeing the animal trainers work with the several St. Bernards they used as Beethoven) (non-anamorphic)
Moises Steals The Show (3:57) (this was the worst part of the DVD, watching this photogenically challenged kid mug for the camera and hearing all the stars saying how “great” he is.) (Non-anamorphic)
If you are an adult, this one’s a pass. There’s so many more DVD’s you should be watching over this one. If you have kids (or you are one), do yourself a favor and buy the original Beethoven, it’s much better.
Overall Score – 2 out of 5
Release Date: December 30, 2008
My DVD Collection: DVD Profiler, by Invelos Software, Inc.