The Review at a Glance: (max score: 5 )
Audio/Video total rating:
( Max score: 100 )
Studio and Year: 20th Century Fox - 2008
MPAA Rating: PG
Feature running time: 115 Minutes
Disc Format: BD-50
Encoding: AVC (MPEG-4)
Video Aspect: 2.35:1
Audio Format(s): English DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio, Spanish/French/Portuguese Dolby Digital 5.1
Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish, Cantonese, Korean, Portuguese
Starring: Jennifer Aniston, Owen Wilson, Eric Dane, Alan Arkin
Directed by: David Frankel
Music by: Theodore Shapiro
Written by: Scott Frank & Don Roos based on the book by John Grogan
Region Code: A
Blu-ray Disc release Date: March 31, 2009
"Live and love with the world's worst dog"
Jennifer Aniston and Owen Wilson unleash huge laughs as John and Jenny Grogan, a young couple contemplating the decision to have a baby. Then came Marley...an adorable Labrador pup who flunks obedience school and quickly turns his new home into a disaster area. But as mischievous Marley sees the Grogans through the ups and downs of life and love, they ultimately realize that the world's worst dog truly brings out the best in them.
When Marley and me was in theaters I can recall seeing patrons leaving the multiplex in tears (some were literally sobbing). The film is based on the book by John Grogan and as most of us know story's about dogs tend to be tear jerkers and this one is no different. I wouldn't call it a sad movie though because it really celebrates how a rambunctious, lovable canine wreaks havoc on the lives of John and Jenny Grogan while simultaneously establishing an incredible bond of friendship and devotion that makes him and endearing member of their family. Nine times out of ten we as movie fans know how a film like this is going to end but it's what happens in between that provides the connection to the characters that makes it deeply moving. I experienced some of that here but not to the level that I expected. I think part of the reason is that I had heard about and seen the reactions that others had to the film. Second, Marley was such a terror that it was hard at times to believe that any sane person would put up with his antics. Lastly, I like Owen Wilson and own quite a few of his movies but I just didn't find the dramatic aspects of his performance to be engaging. It is important in a movie like this that you are able to enjoy the light, humorous moments and truly feel during the touching ones. This of course has to be felt though the characters. He had no trouble pulling off the comedic aspects but when it came down to an emotional connection that you can feel he just didn't move me. Eric Dane pretty much spent every scene posturing for the camera and the wonderful Alan Arkin didn't have enough of a part. Jennifer Aniston did a wonderful job. I really enjoyed her performance in this film. The film spans 14 years and follows the relationship between Marley and the Grogans. John is a newspaper columnist that ends up writing a popular weekly column that features stories about the couple's life with Marley. There are some memorable moments in the film. One features Kathleen Turner as a dog trainer who tries to wrangler Marley (priceless). Most of them portray his mischievous side with not enough said about his positive attributes. One scene involving an attack on the Grogan's neighbor was edited and the part where Marley tracks down and corners her assailant for the police was cut out (no idea why). Marley has his moments but he sees the Grogans at their best and worst but loves them unconditionally.
Twenty two dogs were used in the production. There was one primary dog named Clyde who portrayed Marley for most of the film and there were two others Rudy and Jonah used to fill in for him when other talents were needed. The awww (meaning cute) factor ran high quite often but watching the bonus features I could see where owning a dog of this size and energy could be lots of work and require even more patience. Marley and me is a fun and touching family film that can be enjoyed by all but will probably be better appreciated by dog lovers. It's easy to understand how a dog like Marley can come to mean so much to those who love him.
The rating is for Thematic material, some suggestive content and language.
AUDIO/VIDEO - By The Numbers:
REFERENCE = 92-100 / EXCELLENT = 83-91 / GOOD = 74-82 / AVERAGE = 65-73 / BELOW AVERAGE = under 65
**My audio/video ratings are based upon a comparative made against other high definition media/blu-ray disc.**
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)
- Low frequency extension:
- Surround Sound presentation:
- Dialogue Reproduction:
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)
- Black level/Shadow detail:
- Color reproduction:
Marley and me comes to Blu-ray Disc from Fox featuring 1080p AVC encoded video that has an average bitrate of 27 mbps and lossless DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio sound that has an average bitrate of 4 mbps.
This high definition video presentation looked great and boasted an extensive palette of rich, vibrant colors with deep eye popping primaries that jumped off of the screen. Fleshtones had a balmy quality and copper toned complexions that offered little variety. Elevated contrast added pop to colors and dynamic highlights to the sun drenched exterior sequences without completely white washing them. Resolution was excellent as images had crisp definition, revealing subtle delineation, and definitive long range visual acuity. Blacks were strong and depth of field in shadows and low lighting was appreciable. Sharpness fluctuated during a handful of shots but otherwise remained stable. I didn't notice any compression errors associated with the encoding and thought that this was a solid effort from Fox. The multi-channel lossless audio won't test the limits of your surround sound system but it capably delivered the elements present in this soundtrack. Dialogue was tonally rich with excellent room penetration and defining clarity. Dynamics were punchy and bass response was appropriate and provided extension of the main channels that predominantly came in support of the music score. The front channels handled the bulk of the audio and presented a wide two dimensional soundstage with the surrounds supplying ambience detail that added depth. I thought the mix mated very well with the source material and sounded great.
- (HD) 19 Deleted scenes with optional commentary
- (HD) Finding Marley - 8 minute featurette focuses on the dogs used to play Marley
- (HD) Breaking the golden rule - 8 minute featurette - The cast discusses what it was like working with the dogs
- (HD) On the set with Marley: A Dog of all trades - A look at things from Marley's point of view
- (HD) Animal adoption - 5 minute feature
- (HD) 5 minute Gag reel
- (HD) When not to pee - 2 minutes of outtakes with running director commentary
- Dog training trivia track - BonusView PiP interactive pop-up feature
- Bonus Disc - Standard definition DVD of Marley and me
- Digital Copy Bonus Disc - A standard definition version of the film that can be downloaded from a compatible PC to a portable playback device
I liked Marley and me. It isn't a perfect film but it succeeds where it counts as it portrays the bond of friendship, love, and devotion that can conjoin dogs and people. Its Blu-ray presentation from Fox is a good one and fans are sure to appreciate the pooch friendly bonus supplements which include Blu-ray Disc exclusives, a Digital Copy Bonus disc and the DVD. If you are a fan or a dog lover this set is worth adding to your collection. Otherwise I would recommend giving a rent.
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