Blu-ray Disc Review
Release Date: March 31, 2009
Starring: Owen Wilson (John Grogan), Jennifer Aniston (Jennifer Grogan), Eric Dane (Sebastian), Alan Arkin (Arni Klein)
Screenplay by: Scott Frank & Don Roos
Directed by: John Frankel
Heel the love
I’ll admit it: I didn’t have high hopes for this film. I’m not a dog person, especially big dogs. I don’t like it when other people’s dogs jump on me. I don’t like it when they slobber on me or try to lick my face especially after they’ve chewed on some other dog’s turd. I don’t like their fur all over the house and I especially don’t like the lingering smell they leave. Watching Marley & Me confirms that my opinions on this matter haven’t changed. A dog is an animal, and sometimes animals are best left outside (I can imagine the hate mail I’ll get now). But whatever your opinion of dogs is, they are beautiful creatures and man’s best friend. We give them names and personalities, and owners treat them as members of the family. An attachment to one’s dog can be just like living with the love of your life, and the death of one’s furry friend can be just as devastating for a family.
Marley & Me chronicles the story of the Grogans, a couple who brings a dog into their life shortly after their wedding. While this cute “clearance puppy” Marley is adorable in the beginning, the Grogans soon learn the challenges that come with pet ownership. Marley is soon labelled as the “world’s worst dog.” Yet, even during all of these challenges (especially when the Grogans begin raising a family), no matter how in the way Marley is or how much of a burden he is, the family still finds a way to love him for the years to come. This comedy is both entertaining and touching even for a no-dog-allowed guy like me.
This Blu-ray set includes an HD Blu-ray disc of the film, a standard DVD of the film, and a digital copy of the film. Fox seems to have everyone covered with this release! Annoying are the FIVE forced trailers and a promo when the disc is inserted: a digital copy promo in SD, and HD trailers of Night at the Museum II, Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs, Australia, Bride Wars, and Pink Panther II. Stop this madness!
VIDEO QUALITY: 4.5/5
Marley & Me looks good in HD. Image depth is very good, detail looks on par with other good HD releases. The shooting location of Hollywood Beach, FL looks sunny and vibrant, and just as beautiful as I remember it (I only know this because I there visiting just two weeks ago - I’m jealous of you residents enjoying the sun while I’m in the cold and gray skies) There is nothing in the image that seems out of the ordinary to me. It’s not a dark film by any means, so interiors come across adequately lit, black levels are very good giving the image nice contrast and depth. As a personal preference opinion, I don’t see the colours falling in the “natural” category as the whole film has that that slight pastel post-production look to it. Thankfully it doesn’t look completely airbrushed devoid of all detail. But then it is video, and filmmakers need to work within the video realm which has substantially less colours than both film and reality. The aspect ratio is 2.39:1.
AUDIO QUALITY: 3/5
Zzzzzzzzzz. Marley & Me has a standard 5.1 audio soundtrack encoded in DTS-HDMA. The lossless encoding is perfectly fine and I would choose nothing less than lossless no matter how unexciting the sound design…but, it’s the sound design that makes the movie that much enjoyable. There isn’t much to write about here. The center channel does most of the work so hopefully you’ve got a good center (everyone should – it’s the most important movie speaker!). Dialogue doesn’t sound out of place or aggressive. It’s spatial and polite in each scene. The stereo front channels get some music and small sound effects for ambience and the surround pair get the same but on a much lower scale. Don’t expect much hifi when listening to this soundtrack.
TACTILE FUN!!: 1/5 ZERO
TRANSDUCER ON/OFF?: ON
The LFE channel gives isn’t very active and adds a modest amount of bass for this film. I don’t believe the bass shaker enhanced my enjoyment of this film.
SPECIAL FEATURES: 2/5
Disc one includes both the original theatrical cut and the director’s cut. The commentaries available on the original two DVD can only be selected based on the version of the film you choose. On the theatrical cut we get:
IN THE END...
Marley & Me is a title pleasing to watch on Blu-ray both for its video quality and content. The audio may not be the most exciting to listen to, but the good spread of special features should more than make up for it. Recommended for all, not just dog lovers.
April 06, 2009.