The Art of Racing in the Rain Blu-ray Review

Through his bond with his owner, aspiring Formula One race car driver Denny, golden retriever Enzo learns that the techniques needed on the racetrack can also be used to successfully navigate the journey of life. Check out Ralph Potts’ Blu-ray review of The Art of Racing in the Rain, from 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment.

The Review at a Glance:
(max score: 5 )

Film:

Extras:

Audio/Video total rating:
( Max score: 100 )

86

Details:

Studio and Year: 20th Century Fox – 2019
MPAA Rating: PG
Feature running time: 109 minutes
Genre: Family

Disc Format: BD-50
Encoding: AVC
Video Aspect: 1.85:1
Resolution: 1080p/24

Audio Format(s): English DTS-HD 7.1 Master Audio, Spanish/French Dolby Digital 5.1
Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish, French
Starring: Milo Ventimiglia, Amanda Seyfried, Kathy Baker, Martin Donovan, Gary Cole, Kevin Costner
Directed by: Simon Curtis
Music by: Dustin O’Halloran, Volker Bertelmann
Written by: Mark Bomback – based on the novel by Garth Stein
Region Code: A

Release Date: November 5, 2019

“Based on the Novel”

Synopsis:

“Denny Swift is a Formula One race car driver who understands that the techniques needed on the racetrack can also be used to successfully navigate everyday life. Besides his career, Denny has three loves of his life — his beautiful wife, their young daughter and his best friend, Enzo, a loving Golden Retriever with a big enough heart for them all.” – 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment.

My Take:

Based on the best-selling novel by Garth Stein, The Art of Racing in the Rain is a heart-warming tale narrated by a witty and philosophical dog named Enzo (voiced by Kevin Costner). Through his unique insight into the human condition, Enzo helps his owners — race car driver Denny Swift (Milo Ventimiglia), his wife Eve (Amanda Seyfried) and daughter Zoe (Ryan Kiera Armstrong) — navigate life with a refreshing perspective on friendship, family and unconditional love.

I haven’t read Garth Stein’s book but, that didn’t prevent me from wanting to see what this film had to offer. It’s not the first film to feature a story as seen through the perspectives of a pet, particularly a dog so I was hoping it would tweak the narrative and offer something different. While I believe that the plot’s strength lies in the relationship between Denny and Enzo, the story quickly gets bogged down with overtly dramatic overtones clearly aimed at striking at the heart of viewers sentimentality. The moments that connect the audience to Denny and Enzo are overshadowed and the focus shifts to needless themes that feel out of place and in some cases make little sense.

Luckily, the standout moments are very decent with the film’s wrap up being a touching one that does evoke emotion. The dogs that portray Enzo, particularly the 2-year-old golden retriever used for most of the film, steal each and every scene. Milo Ventimiglia does a solid job, along with the remaining members of the supporting cast. Despite its somewhat manipulative underpinnings The Art of Racing in the Rain has its heart in the right place, with an emotional center that animal lovers will easily appreciate.

Replay Value:

Parental Guide:

The rating is for thematic material.

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.**

Audio: 80
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)

  • Dynamics: 
  • Low frequency effects: 
  • Surround Sound presentation: 
  • Clarity/Detail: 
  • Dialog Reproduction: 
  • DSU/DTS Neural:X Rating * (non-rated element): NA

Video: 92
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)

  • Resolution/Clarity: 
  • Black Level/Shadow Detail: 
  • Color Reproduction: 
  • Fleshtones:
  • Compression: 

The Art of Racing in the Rain comes to Blu-ray Disc from 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment featuring 1080p AVC encoded video and lossless DTS-HD 7.1 Master Audio sound.

This is an excellent video presentation that seems a perfect match for the source material. Colors are deeply saturated with eye pleasing vitality and delineated depth. Images are resolute, with stable sharpness, crisp detail and appreciable subtle refinement. Certain scenes appear better resolved than others although I suspect this is related to the photography. Contrast is dynamic without being overpowering and blacks are respectable in depth with discernible detail visible in low lighting and shadows. I didn’t see any signs of video related artifacts and thought that in general video quality was excellent.

This is essentially a dialog driven film however there are aspects of the presentation that make effective use of the rear channels to expand the soundstage. Dialogue is crystal clear with discerning vocal description and refined texture. The mix relies heavily upon the front three channels. Separation, imaging and directional spacing are excellent as the mix of dialogue, music and recorded sounds are clearly articulated. The LFE channel is used primarily for subtle impact and for upper bass frequencies associated with the film’s music.

Bonus Features:

  • ○ A Journey to Screen
    ○ Directing the Art
    ○ Enzo Cam
    ○ Behind the Wheel
    ○ The Dog Stays in the Picture
    ○ Enzo’s First Ride
    ● Audio Commentary by Director Simon Curtis
  • Digital Copy

Final Thoughts:

Based on the best-selling novel by Garth Stein, The Art of Racing in the Rain is a contrived, thematically muddled and, occasionally heartwarming tale, that could be hit or miss with audiences. It comes to Blu-ray from 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment featuring solid technical merits, mated with a fair supplemental package that offers insights from the cast/crew. The art of Racing in the Rain is worth checking out especially for those that generally enjoyed its subject matter.

 

Ralph Potts
AVS Forum Blu-ray Reviews

Reference Review System:

JVC DLA-RS2000 4K Ultra High Definition Front Projector
(Calibrated with Calman 5 & C6-HDR Meter from Spectracal)
Stewart Filmscreen – Studiotek 130 G3 100” 16×9 Screen
Carada Masquerade Electronic Horizontal Masking System
Marantz AV7704 Audio/Video Processor
Emotiva XPA-7 Gen 3 Seven Channel Amplifier
Emotiva XPA-11 Gen 3 Amplifier
Panasonic DP-UB820 Ultra HD Blu-ray Player
System Controller: Apple iPad/iRule Pro HD Universal Remote Control
Canton “Ergo” and Canton In-Ceiling Series Speakers
SVS Ultra Surrounds (Gloss Finish in Bipolar Configuration)
Dual SVS PC4000 Cylinder Subwoofers
Panamax M5400-PM Power Conditioner/Surge Protector
Wireworld, Better Cables (Silver Serpent) – Audio/Video/Speaker Cabling
AC Infinity Aircom T8 Component Cooling Systems