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Beverly Hills Chihuahua

review by Zach B.

 

 

MPAA Rating: PG (For Some Mild Thematic Elements)

Running Time: 91 Minutes

Starring: Piper Perabo, Manolo Cardona, Jamie Lee Curtis, Andy Garcia, George Lopez, Drew Barrymore 

Screenplay by: Analisa LaBianco and Jeff Bushell
Story by: Jeff Bushell

Directed by: Raja Gosnell

 

Studio: Disney

Retail Price: $29.99

Features: Audio Commentary with Director Raja Gosnell, Deleted Scenes, Blooper Scooper, Legend Of The Chihuahua

Specs: 2.40:1 Anamorphic Widescreen, 1.33:1 Full Screen, English Dolby Digital 5.1, French Dolby Digital 5.1, Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1, English Subtitles, French Subtitles, Spanish Subtitles, Scene Selection (12 Scenes)

Released: March 3rd, 2009


 

 

"Beverly Hills Chihuahua" is presented in 2.40:1 anamorphic widescreen. It's a pretty nice transfer, that really does justice to the film's varied color scheme. With that noted, color saturation is often quite excellent. Sometimes there is some bleeding with the really bright colors, but everything comes off as rather vibrant - be it the streets of Beverly Hills, the sands of Mexico or the browns of an ancient temple. Background detail is pretty good, but detail on the dogs themselves is quote good - namely how the fur looks. Black levels are pretty solid, but fleshtones on the humans often look a bit overexposed.

Flaws are minor and aren't too distracting, but do get in the way a little sometimes. The transfer has some very slight edge enhancement, while noise and some edge halos are noticeable at times. Shimmering also rears its head here and there. In all though, this is still a sharp and colorful transfer that's pleasing to the eyes. (And filled with cute dogs, of course.)

A 1.33:1 full screen version, most likely meant for younger viewers who don't like black bars, is also included on the disc.

 

The English Dolby Digital 5.1 track is what you'd expect, as it is pretty front-heavy. Surrounds aren't in tremendous abundance, and the ones that do fill the rear speakers aren't incredibly discrete - usually they're of the more subtle variety, such as dogs barking, crowds or footsteps. Standing out the most are the more action-packed sequences. Dialogue is clear and easy to hear though, while fidelity is high and dyamic range is pretty strong. Having the most bounce in the track is the music, namely the variety of pop songs that come up throughout the movie. They're often pretty vivacious and fill the speakers with some people. Subwoofer use is above average and fitting, but far from intense.

Dolby Digital 5.1 tracks in French and Spanish are included, as well as subtitles in English, French and Spanish.
 




The major supplement is the Audio Commentary with Director Raja Gosnell. This is not something I imagine kids will listen to this, but older viewers who happen to love the movie might be interested in checking it out (it's only available on the widescreen version of the film). Truthfully, I did not find this commentary to be all that compelling. There are some dead spots and some jokes that fall flat (sorry, Raja), but when Gosnell does speak a lot of the obvious is spoken. Still, the track has its moments of the technical variety: working with the dogs, script changes, what it was like to shoot in certain locations and how some shots were accomplished. In all, this commentary is a bit on the dry side, and is probably best suited for die-hard fans of the movie or those interested in the aesthetics of the production.

Legend Of The Chihuahua is a cute animated short for the kiddies, which gives a glimpse of the popular breed through history. There are three Deleted Scenes that are introduced by director Raja Gosnell. Two of the scenes are alternate versions of scenes in the movie, which are a bit on the rough side, and there's also a scene detailing Chloe's Vision Quest. In all, the scenes run roughly 9 minutes. Rounding out the disc is the 3 minute Blooper Scooper, where humans and dogs alike mess up on camera. Watching dogs miss their marks is a lot more fun than humans flubbing lines, in my opinion.
 

"Beverly Hills Chihuahua" was a surprise sleeper at the box office in the fall of 2008, and its bound to gain more of a fan base with its release on DVD. With its strong presentation and sparase extras, the DVD is unspectacular but solid. That means its a decent family rental, or even a purchase where there should be no major qualms.