The Review at a Glance: (max score: 5 )
Audio/Video total rating:
( Max score: 100 )
Studio and Year: Sony Pictures - 2009
MPAA Rating: G
Feature running time: 93 minutes
Disc Format: BD-25
Encoding: AVC (MPEG-4)
Video Aspect: 1.85:1
Audio Format(s): English DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio
Subtitles: English, English SDH
Starring: Richard Gere, Joan Allen, Sarah Roemer, Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa, Erick Avari, Jason Alexander
Directed by: Lasse Hallstrom
Music by: Jan A.P. Kaczmarek
Written by: Stephen P. Lindsey
Region Code: A
Blu-ray Disc release Date: March 9, 2010
"A true story of faith, devotion, and undying love"
HACHI: A DOG’S TALE, a film based on one of the most treasured and heartwarming true stories ever told. Richard Gere stars as Professor Parker Wilson, a distinguished scholar who discovers a lost Akita puppy on his way home from work. Despite initial objections from Wilson’s wife, Cate (Joan Allen), Hachi endears himself into the Wilson family and grows to be Parker's loyal companion. As their bond grows deeper, a beautiful relationship unfolds embodying the true spirit of family and loyalty, while inspiring the hearts of an entire town.
I generally tend to enjoy films based on real life human interest stories. The fact that this one involves the subject of a man and his loyal four legged companion makes it all the more attractive. Hachi (pronounced HA-CHEE) is an Akita puppy, originally from Japan that through a series of unusual circumstances winds up landing on the platform of an American train station in a small community where he is found by college professor Parker Wilson. Parker attempts to locate the owner with no luck and takes the lost puppy home with the intention of keeping him for the night and turning him over to the authorities the following day. Parker’s wife Cate is emphatic in her opposition to the puppy’s presence fearing that although stated otherwise, Parker will want to keep the dog. Over the few days following the two become close and Cate sees the handwriting on the wall and acquiesces. The puppy has a collar around his neck with a symbol on it that Parker learns means Hachi (Hachiko the number 8) in Japanese. Over the next two years the two develop an unbreakable bond as Hachi becomes a member of the Wilson family. Separation from Parker becomes problematic as Hachi regularly jumps or digs under the fence in an attempt to follow Parker on his way to the train station every morning. Parker initially takes Hachi back home and secures him inside the yard but Hachi’s persistence is unrelenting. Parker decides to let Hachi follow him to the train station and prior to leaving directs him to go back home, which he does. Upon Parker’s return that evening at 5:00PM he discovers that Hachi has returned and is waiting for him outside the station exit. This ritual becomes part of the daily routine and is familiar to the people in town. The enduring relationship between Parker and Hachi grows not only in their hearts but among those closest to them. The indomitable love between a man and his dog is tested when tragedy strikes. No one expected the incredible display of courage and devotion that follows in this heartwarming story.
You don’t have to be an animal lover to find this film touching but I suspect it will make it more emotive. I purposefully left details about the story vague as I don’t want to spoil it. This film doesn’t have an over developed plot or deep characters but that really isn’t its intent. It intends to convey the relationship between Parker and Hachi and their incredible devotion to one another. The fact that this is based on a true story makes it all the more special. The cast is relatively small with the primary focus being on Gere Allen and Hachi. Supporting roles fall to Alexander, Romer, Tagawa, and Avari. I didn’t find that anyone appreciably stood out but as a whole contributed to the film’s appeal. I think that the animals that portray Hachi are the real stars and provide for the movie’s best moments. My wife and I watched Hachi: A dog’s tale together and were both touched by it. It’s an enjoyable dramatic film based upon an incredible true story of faith, devotion and undying love between a man and his dog.
This film is appropriate for all audiences.
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:
Hachi: A dog’s tale comes to Blu-ray Disc from Sony Pictures featuring 1080p AVC encoded video that has an average bitrate of 24 mbps and lossless DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio sound that has an average bitrate of 2.7 mbps.
The audio/video presentation delivered very good overall quality. Images exhibited clean lines, crisp detail and warm flesh tones. Sharpness was not as acute as the best I have seen on Blu-ray disc but it never looked soft or dull. Colors looked natural with ample saturation and vivid textures. Black levels were above average and shadow delineation revealed good visible detail in backgrounds during low light sequences and within dark areas of the picture. I would describe the video as being in the middle of the pack and perfectly acceptable for the format. The lossless audio presentation was essentially the same in that it wasn’t exemplary but sounded just fine. Dialogue was well articulated with clear tonal distinction. Dynamic range was never really tested by the film’s elements however the variety of sounds within the track had ample depth. Surround activity was limited to light spatial dimension that occasionally broadened the soundfield and seamlessly bridged the space between the front and rear sound stages. This is a dialogue driven film that doesn’t require extensive use of the surround platform. In that regard it does a commendable job and sounds great.
- (HD) A bond of loyalty - The making of Hachi: A dog’s tale – 17 minute featurette
- (HD) Previews: Planet 51, Open season 3, Cloudy with a chance of meatballs, Open season 2, Water horse: Legend of the deep, Facing giants
- BD-Live enabled
Hachi: A dog’s tale is a drama based upon the incredible true story of love, devotion and indomitable loyalty between a Japanese Akita named Hachi and his owner Professor Parker Wilson. It is an inspirational tale that begs repeating and makes for a touching film that the whole family can enjoy. Its debut on Blu-ray disc from Sony features solid audio/video quality but only includes a generic making of documentary (which is worth watching if you enjoyed the film). Hachi: A dog’s tale makes for a great family film on movie night and is definitely worth checking out.
AVS Forum Blu-ray Reviews
Reference Review System:
JVC DLA-RS20 1080p High Definition Front Projector (Calibrated by Jeff Meier)
Stewart Filmscreen - Studiotek 130 G3 100” 16x9 Screen
Anthem AVM50v THX Ultra 2 Preamp/Video Processor
Sherbourn Technologies - 7/200 Seven Channel Amplifier
Oppo BDP-83 Universal disc/Blu-ray Player (HDMI Audio/Video)
Toshiba HD-XA2 HD DVD Player (HDMI Audio/Video)
Sony Playstation 3 Blu-ray disc Player (HDMI Audio/Video)
Oppo 970HD universal disc DVD Player (480i HDMI)
Philips TSU9400 Pro Series Touch Panel Remote Control
Canton "Ergo" Series speakers
Axiom Audio QS8 Quadpolar speakers
SV Sound PB-13 Ultra (Rosenut finish)
APC AV S15BLK Power Conditioner/Surge Protector
Furman SPR-20i Stable Power Regulator
Wireworld, VizionWare, Audioquest, Best Deal Cables - Audio/Video/Speaker Cabling
Cool Components - CP-CP102 cooling package