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Old Dogs – 3-Disc Combo Pack (a J!-ENT Blu-ray Disc Review)

March 4, 2010 by  



If you enjoyed films like “Three Men and a Baby”, leave it to John Travolta and Robin Williams to take care of 7-year-old kids and provide laughs for the entire family.  If you enjoyed Walt Becker’s “Wild Hogs”, you’ll more than likely enjoy his latest film “Old Dogs”.

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TITLE: Old Dogs – 3-Disc Combo Pack

DURATION: 88 Minutes

BLU-RAY DISC INFORMATION: 1080p High Definition (1:85:1), AVC@33MBPS, English 5.1 DTS-HD MA (48 kHz/24-bit), French, Spanish 5.1 Dolby Digital, Subtitles: English SDH, French and Spanish Subtitles

COMPANY: Tapestry Films/Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment

RATED: PG (For Some Mild Rude Humor)

RELEASE DATE: March 9, 2010

Directed by Walt Becker

Written by David Diamond, David Weissman

Executive Producer: Garrett Grant

Producer: Peter Abrams, Robert L. Levy, Andrew Panay

Cinematography by Jeffrey L. Kimball

Music by John Debney

Edited by Ryan Folsey, Tom Lewis

Casting by Kathleen Chopin, Anne McCarthy, Jay Scully

Production Design by David Gropman

Art Direction by Peter Rogness

Set Decoration by Ellen Christiansen

Costume Design by Joseph G. Aulisi

Starring:

John Travolta as Charlie

Robin Williams as Dan

Kelly Preston as Vicki

Conner Rayburn as Zach

Ella Bleu Travolta as Emily

Lori Loughlin as Amanda

Seth Green as Ralph White

Bernie Mac as Jimmy Lunchbox

Matt Dillon as Barry

Ann-Margret as Martha

Rita Wilson as Jenna

Amy Sedaris as Jenna

Dan (Robin Williams) and his best friend and business partner Charlie (John Travolta) are on the verge of the biggest deal in the history of their sports marketing firm when their lives are turned upside down by a surprise visit from Dan’s ex-wife Vicki (Kelly Preston). Vicki has big news for Dan—their ever-so-brief liaison produced twins Zach (Conner Rayburn) and Emily (Ella Bleu Travolta), now seven-years-old and in need of a dad to keep an eye on them for two weeks. With only high-living playboy Charlie for support, Dan’s bumbling attempts at “on the job training” in fatherhood result in a series of disastrously funny exploits that lead him to a new understanding of what really mattersin life. Featuring an extraordinary cast of comedy purebreds including Seth Green, Matt Dillon and Lori Loughlin, Old Dogs will have audiences rolling over and begging for more.

John Travolta and Robin Williams have been friends for decades but have never worked together on film.  That was until the release of the film “Old Dogs” directed by Walt Becker (“Wild Hogs”, “Van Wilder”) and features a screenplay by David Diamond (“Minutemen”, “The Family Man”) and David Weissman (“Minutemen”, “Evolution”, “Family Man”).  The film features cinematography from Jeffrey L. Kimball (“Mission: Impossible II”, “Star Trek: Nemesis”, “Hostage”) and music composed by John Debney (“Aliens in the Attic”, “Evan Almight”, “Iron Man 2”) and would feature many talent including Kelly Preston, Lori Loughlin, Bernie Mac, Seth Green, Matt Dillon, Ann-Margret, Rita Wilson, Amy Sedaris, Justin Long and many more.

The film would also be known as the last feature film for comedian/actor Bernie Mac who passed away several months after the film was completed and despite negative critic reviews, similar to Walt Becker’s previous film “Wild Hogs” (which garnered negative reviews but made an extreme amount of money), “Old Dogs” which cost $35 million to make, has made over $81 million worldwide in the box office guaranteeing another box office success for Becker and crew.

“Old Dogs” revolves around a two best friends since grade school.  Charlie Reed (played by John Travolta) and Dan Rayburn (Robin Williams) are successful partners of Rayburn+Reed, a successful sports marketing firm.

While Charlie is a flirt with the women and lives in a stylish apartment with his very old dog, Dan has had his share of personal problems after his first divorce seven years ago.  So, one day Charlie takes Dan to a vacation and hook up with Vicki (played by Travolta’s real life wife, Kelly Preston) and her weird friend/hand model Jenna (played by Rita Wilson). And somehow after many drinks, Dan who had tried to get a tattoo that says “Free Man” instead gets a tattoo that says “Fremont” across his chest and also manages to get married with Vicki.

The marriage is short lived and seven years later, while Charlie and Dan along with budding executive Ralph White (played by Seth Green) and translator Amanda (Lori Loughlin) are trying to land a very lucrative Japanese account, Dan receives a letter from Vicki.  Excited that Vicki wants to meet with him, Dan thinks that maybe Vicki wants to have a serious relationship but during the course of their meeting over dinner, finds out that Vicki is heading to jail for two weeks for an activist crime and felt it was time for Dan to know the truth.  That Dan is the father of two seven-year-old fraternal twins: Zach (played by Conner Rayburn) and Emily (played by Ella Bleu Travolta).

Before she goes to jail, she just wants Dan to know his children and shocked Dan is.  Charlie is not so thrilled because they have a major account to work on but nevertheless, gives his best friend support.

Dan goes with Vicki and the children to a few places and starts to become acquainted with them but its evident that he’s not used to being around children.  But as they bring the children to stay with Jenna for the two weeks that Vicki is in jail, Dan accidentally slams his car trunk on Jenna’s fingers and also has the trunk flip open and hit her on the face.

With Jenna now hospitalized and Vicki going to jail, Dan volunteers to take care of the kids for the next two weeks.  And because Dan’s apartment does not allow children, he and the kids must stay at Charlie’s place and now the two are forced to be like parents to both Zach and Emily while trying to gain this major Japanese account.

Can these two “old dogs” win the Japanese account and also raise two children in two weeks?

VIDEO:

“Old Dogs” is presented in 1080p High Definition (1:85:1).  Fortunately, “Old Dogs” is shot in daylight conditions.  So, there is a good amount of colors featured in the film and also the HD definitely brings out the skin pores and also the hairyness of Robin Williams as detail is quite evident.  But for the most part, the film is vibrant and follows the tradition of fantastic picture quality from Disney.

AUDIO & SUBTITLES:

“Old Digs” is presented in English 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio (48 kHz/24-bit) and also French and Spanish 5.1 Dolby Digital.  For the most part, the film is front and center channel driven as the film is primarily dialogue and music driven.  Dialogue and music are very clear with a few use of the surround channels when you hear the creaking of Charlie and Dan’s bones or when they participate in a frisbee game and get continuously tackled.  Overall, lossless audio is satisfactory for this type of film.

Subtitles are in English SDH, French and Spanish.

SPECIAL FEATURES:

“Old Dogs” comes with a few special features presented in 1080p High Definition and 480 i with audio in English 5.1 or 2.0 Dolby Digital with English SDH subtitles.  Included are:

  • Audio Commentary by Director Walt Becker, screenplay writers David Diamond and David Weissman and Producer Andrew Panay – A lively audio commentary by the four men discussing the film and working with the talent and seeing the film for the first time.
  • Bloopers – (2:26) Bloopers form “Old Dogs”.
  • Young Dogs Learn Old Tricks – (2:51) Conner Rayburn interviews Robin Williams and Ella Bleu Travolta interviews her father John Travolta.
  • Deleted Scenes – (3:30) Three deleted scenes: Body Check, Pate, Alternate Ending Tag: Tables Turned.
  • Music Videos – Two music videos featuring Bryan Adams singing “You’ve Been a Friend to Me” and John Travolta singing “Every Little Step” (a Bobby Brown cover) with his daughter Ella.

EXTRAS:

“Old Dogs” features a 3-Disc Combo Pack which includes the DVD version of the film and a digital copy.

If you enjoyed “Wild Hogs”, you’ll more than likely enjoy “Old Dogs”!

It’s kind of interesting because back in the ’60s we would get a good amount of films featuring older talent being friends, single and having fun.  May it be the Rat Pack or Lemmon and Matthau and really, there haven’t been any comedy films with older men who are living their lives ala youthful in their late 40’s or early 50’s.

I have to admit when the film started off with the photoshopped heads of Travolta and Williams  on other people’s bodies (which some looked unrealistic) trying to show that they have been friends since they were kids, right away I was thinking “this movie is going to suck!”.

But as the film went on, the film started to become entertaining.  Sure, it is a bit silly and contrived but it kind of reminded me of the “3 Men and a Baby” films.  Two bachelors who are trying to take care of two young children.  They don’t know how but they try to do their best.  Granted, “3 Men and a Baby” was much more entertaining film but despite the critics really despising Walt Becker’s films, somehow both “Wild Hogs” and “Old Dogs” have managed to make a lot of money!  The film does feature quite a bit of all-star talent but they are cameos at best but the most notable is Bernie Mac in his final character role in a film.

Is this film suitable for the children?  I watched this with my seven year old and there is no profanity and there is no adult situations but there is one scene where the guys get involved in a frisbee matchup and things get a bit out of hand (Justin Long starts bleeding from the mouth) but that is probably the extent the violence.  Everything else is appropriate for the children.

As for the Blu-ray release, “Old Dogs” comes with a DVD and digital copy.  The high definition features really good picture quality and lossless audio that is satisfactory for the film.  If anything, viewers get to see Robin Williams strip down (to get a tan) and the Blu-ray brings out the comedian’s hairy body which I’m sure that is not what one would want to see that close in high definition.

“Old Dogs” is not terrible and I know the concept of a film about bachelor older men has not been captured in a similar format as the women in a film such as “Sex and the City” but for the most part, “Wild Hogs” and “Old Dogs” are films that do well in the box office.  These films even since the ’80’s with comedies such as “Three Men and a Baby” and “The Three Amigos” featuring bachelor men have done well in the theater despite critical scrutiny.  People just want a popcorn flick and laugh, even if the jokes may be mediocre.

Overall, “Old Dogs” is far from being bad or terrible.  It’s a comedy that I was entertained and laughed, felt a little embarrassed of certain scenes and at the end, me and my younger son enjoyed parts of it and found certain scenes to be quite silly.  But we were entertained.  Although, the wife felt it was more of a film for the guys and was not amused by it.

“Old Dogs” 3-Disc Combo Pack on Blu-ray will be released on March 9th.






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