Marley & Me, 3-Disc Bad Dog Edition, Blu-ray, (2009 originally released 2008)
Starring: Jennifer Anniston, Owen Wilson, Eric Dane, Alan Arkin
Director: David Frankel
Studio: Fox Home Entertainment 2257494 [Release date: Mar. 31, 09]
Video: 2.35:1 anamorphic/enhanced for 16:9 color 1080p HD
Audio: DTS HD Master Audio 5.1; French, Spanish, Portuguese DD 5.1
Extras: Featurettes, Deleted Scenes, Audio Commentary, Gag Reel, Trivia Track, DVD Disc, Digital Copy
Subtitles: English, Spanish, Cantonese, Mandarin, Portuguese, Korean
Feature Length: 115 minutes
Marley & Me was one of those films that fools you going into the theater; thinking it was going to be a non-stop yuckfest filled with canine hijinks, I carted the entire extended family, kids and all, to the movies over the Christmas holidays. And while there was no shortage of doggie-induced hilarity – without giving too much away – there was a significant shortage of Kleenex in the theater; the lady sitting next to me sobbed and boo-hooed uncontrollably throughout most of the third act. And the movie itself wasn’t nearly as kid-friendly as I would have believed from the marketing campaign; based on the autobiographical book written by John Grogan, it’s more of a narrative of Grogan’s coming to grips with life and love, all while accompanied by a cuddly, if somewhat troublemaking pooch, and ever-so-thinly veiled as a comedy. Although I truly enjoyed the film, I couldn’t help but feel that I’d been totally hoodwinked, and I really felt guilty for making the kids sit through a movie that was in reality geared much more towards adults.
Marley & Me is an exceptionally good looking movie; in fact, I thought it looked every bit as good on Blu-ray as it did on the big screen, with excellent contrast, deep blacks and a bright, beautiful color palette. It looked every bit as good as I would have expected a movie of this recent vintage to look – the transfer was rock solid. I wasn’t nearly as overwhelmed with the film’s soundtrack, however, but for a mostly dialogue-driven film, it was more than adequate. Your subwoofer won’t get any kind of serious workout, but the sound design is well-engineered to meet the film’s needs.
The Blu-ray package arrived as the 3-disc “Bad Dog Edition,” and that essentially equates to the following: disc one contains the Blu-ray presentation of the film, along with all the bonus features; disc two contains a standard DVD disc of the feature film, and disc three contains a digital copy of the film which you can load onto your computer or personal portable. The package contains a fairly substantial complement of bonus featurettes, along with an enlightening audio commentary with director David Frankel, a gag reel and a trivia track.
Although a truly emotional roller coaster of a movie, Marley & Me contains enough virtues to greatly outweigh any outrage of conceit I might have felt at the box office. And the action wasn’t anything nearly as egregious as we had to endure with the whole “Beethoven” franchise. While I’m still not absolutely certain that the kids will totally get it, the laugh quotient is sufficiently high to pretty easily assist them in gaining an appreciation for the film. Highly recommended.
— Tom Gibbs