DVD Review HTF REVIEW: Because Of Winn-Dixie

Discussion in 'DVD' started by Michael Osadciw, Jul 17, 2005.

  1. Michael Osadciw

    Michael Osadciw Screenwriter

    Jun 24, 2003
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    Real Name:
    Michael Osadciw


    Studio: 20th Century Fox
    Film Year: 2005

    U.S. Rating: PG
    Canadian Rating: G

    Film Length: 106 minutes
    Genre: Family/Comedy

    Aspect Ratio:[*] Side A: 1.33:1 fullscreen[*] Side B: 1.85:1 widescreen enhanced
    Colour/B&W: Colour

    Audio:[*] English Dolby Digital 5.1 surround[*] Spanish Dolby Digital 2.0 surround[*] French Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround
    Subtitles: English, Spanish
    Closed Captioned: Yes
    SLP: US $19.95

    Release Date: August 9, 2005.

    Film Rating: [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] / [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]

    Starring: AnnaSophia Robb (Opal), Jeff Daniels (Preacher), Cicely Tyson (Gloria), Dave Matthews (Otis), Eva Marie Saint (Miss Franny)

    Directed by: Wayne Wang
    Screenplay by: Joan Singleton
    Novel by: Kate DiCamillo

    Discover what happens when you go looking for a miracle and a miracle comes looking for you.[/i]

    It all happened because of Winn-Dixie.

    In a little town in Louisiana, a little girl named Opal is a new settler with her preacher father. The two of them have little to live on. The rent is being paid by donations to the church by a local citizen and they have little money to go around. For Opal, she needs more than a place to stay, she needs friends. In all of the time spent in this little town she’s felt like an outsider – that is until one day a dog changes her life.

    While grocery shopping for her father, she stumbles upon a troublesome and scruffy stray dog that is about to be put into the pound. She speaks out to her captors that it is her dog – a rather silly thing to do – but the dog responds to her when she calls it Winn-Dixie: the name of the supermarket she’s in.

    Taking Winn-Dixie home and having him accepted by her father proves to be the biggest challenge. To make matters worse, the man who owns their house also disagrees about this new pet. But after a few attempts of finding a new owner and pounding the dog, Opal cries out that Winn-Dixie is her only friend and it’s heartbreaking to have him taken away from her. Her father finally agrees. From her we see the silly times Opal and her preacher father have with this dog at home and at the church.

    But who would ever think that Winn-Dixie would unite Opal with other lonely townspeople? Indirectly, she's led to an old unmarried librarian who loves books, a pet store owner who’s had a criminal past, a hermit woman who’s known as the “town witch” by other children, and several other unlikely eccentric individuals.

    Winn-Dixie helps Opal make strong connections with these people. Since it seems the townspeople have lost their loving lustre, Opal becomes determined to connect the lives of all of her new friends by showing how special they really are with a little plan of her own.

    Based on the very popular novel by Kate DiCamillo, Because of Winn-Dixie is easily translated to a good children’s film. With the kind and soft-natured acting by veteran actors combined with the good directing of Wayne Wang, Because of Winn-Dixie is sure to become a classic children’s film.

    [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] / [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]

    Enhanced for widescreen televisions, this 1.85:1 picture is pleasing and free from artefacts. This bright film has colours that look very natural looking as people, houses, streets, and interiors all look well reproduced. The blue skies look unobstructed and endless. The picture looks so good it makes the sets look too clean! Contrast is excellent as well as black levels. For those of us who are picky, there is a minor amount of edge enhancement noticeable in scenes with contrast.

    [​IMG]AUDIO QUALITY [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] / [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]

    A few crickets chirping here and some other bugs buzzing there, that is the extent of most sound effects contained in all main channels throughout most of the film. The 5.1 soundtrack encoded in Dolby Digital is very modest. Dialogue is contained in the center channel and never extends beyond that even when the environment is changed that would suggest we’d hear a little more reverb in the room. All sounds of room change just surround the dialogue in the center channel only.

    Sound effects are also very channel-specific. When things are tipped over when the dog is running around, sounds bounce from left channel to center channel to right channel with no panning of sounds in between. Thus, the lack of phantom imaging is disappointing.

    The only real exciting moments in the soundtrack is during the thunderstorm in Chapter 12 and all channels are utilized for this. This was also the first time I noticed the LFE kick on. Thunder claps can be heard in all channels but the sounds of rain are a little subdued with preference given towards dialogue.

    The contemporary music soundtrack complements the relaxed nature of the film. It sounds acceptable in quality and it occasionaly wraps a bit of instrumental ambience into the surrounds.


    You’ll find the special features split over the two sides of this DVD:

    SIDE A:

    Five screen-specific audio commentaries by AnnaSophia Robb are selectable by your remote as a “play all” or individual option. There’s just over 12 minutes of commentary from her as she recalls her time filming these scenes.

    You’ll also find a behind-the-scenes featurette that is just under five minutes. It shows interviews of the dog trainers, the actors, as well as the director and how they worked around the sets with the dogs. It’s a very quick and simple featurette that makes it easy for kids to digest.

    SIDE B:

    On the widescreen side you will find the commentary that adults may be more interested in; a full-length commentary from Jeff Daniels and producer Trevor Albot. They discuss the story, the translation of novel to film as well as their time on the set. It’s a calm commentary because both of them seem very relaxed. Even though this is a full length commentary, there are times when these guys are quiet…they aren’t the chattiest of people during commentaries, but they say what they have to say.

    Also on this side is about a two minute gag reel as well as a three minute featurette titled ”Diamond in the Ruff” Dog Training. Some of the things we see here are repeated from the featurette on Side A of this disc and there is also new information about the dogs used in this film.

    Also, don't forget to check out the music soundtrack promo clip too.


    Even though I’ve never read the novel, I must say the presentation of the story as a film successfully contains the emotions and feelings of the characters that are probably evident in the novel. Children will learn the themes of loneliness and the importance of creating and strengthening friendships. While it was Because of Winn-Dixie that seemingly different people were united, it’s ultimately up to those people to leave their loneliness behind and keep their friendships strong.

    Michael Osadciw
  2. Jefferson

    Jefferson Supporting Actor

    Apr 23, 2002
    Likes Received:
    Nice review, thanks.
    I missed this in the theater, although i did read the book, and my bookstore has sold more copies of the book than you can imagine.
    This is a modern classic.
  3. Greg_S_H

    Greg_S_H Executive Producer

    May 9, 2001
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    North Texas
    Real Name:
    I missed it in the theater, but will check it out on DVD.
  4. TonyD

    TonyD Who do we think I am?

    Dec 1, 1999
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    Disney World and Universal Florida
    Real Name:
    Tony D.
    i really enjoyed the movie.
    but, for a kids/family movie i thought the middle act was
    amazingly downbeat and depressing.

    there is something that bothered me about the movie, and more movies all the time.

    it's becoming hard to tell what is real in live action movies.
    recently the bizzarre baby that seemed mostly cgi's in meet the fockers and now in winn-dixie many of the dogs actions and facial features seemed to be cgi, and it just looked creepy.

    even Annasophia Robb looked creepy.
    i never saw her before so i dont know if her eyes always look
    like they did in this movie.
    the didnt look real.
    they looked like a special effect to me.

    anyway, if enough people find out about winn-dixie it
    could become a classic on home video.
  5. TonyD

    TonyD Who do we think I am?

    Dec 1, 1999
    Likes Received:
    Disney World and Universal Florida
    Real Name:
    Tony D.
    someone sent me an email and asked me about this movie.
    the email i tried to respond to doesnt work so here is my response.

    there isnt any scenes of animals being abused.
    there some scenes of winn dixie being afraid of lighting, but i think
    you will like how the movie ends.
    - Hide quoted text -

    On 8/12/05, Randall G wrote:
    > Hello TonyD:
    > I read your comment on 'Because of Winn-Dixie' and...wondered.....I tend to avoid animal movies because there are almost ALWAYS scenes of the animal in trouble, or being abused, etc.......is this one going to bother me, or can I check it out?

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