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Beverly Hills Chihuahua
(Blu-ray)

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, Pet Pals: The Voices Behind The Dogs, Hitting Their Bark: On Set With The Dogs Of BHC

Specs: 2.40:1 Widescreen 1080p High Definition, English Uncompressed 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 1080p high definition, with the widescreen aspect ratio of 2.40:1. Better than the standard DVD's transfer for sure, however, given the film's somewhat flat composition, the image doesn't quite stick out in comparison to the best Blu-ray transfers. Still, there's a lot to like here, as shadow detail and black levels are strong, as is detail (just check out the hairs on the pooches). Color saturation is full-bodied and rich, as the transfer keeps up with the various Los Angeles and Mexican locales (plus that ancient temple looks quite bold). A sharp transfer with minimal flaws, but not quite showcase material.

 

The English Uncompressed 5.1 track is pretty good, and while sounds do come off as roomier and with a bit more depth, it's not a night-and-day improvement over the Dolby Digital 5.1 track. Subwoofer use is fine, and things are loud, but the track isn't always very discrete. The track is balanced, but sometimes it is a little flat. There are subtle surrounds, such as dogs barking in different directions and crowds hollering, but the more action-oriented scenes will probably get your attention the most. Dialogue is clear and easy to hear, while the pop music selections sound quite full and has a lot of zip through the channels. Suitable, loud and not really much else.

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




A few goodies are exclusive to this Blu-ray edition. Pet Pals: The Voices Behind The Dogs are typical fluff interviews with the cast, talking about their voice work for the movie. More interesting, but still a bit cheesy, is Hitting Their Bark: On Set With The Dogs Of BHC. Yes, the dogs are cute, but it sure takes a lot to train them properly. Since this movie is for kids, I think they'll appreciate these featurettes the best.

There's also a collection of Deleted Scenes that are introduced by director Raja Gosnell. The standard DVD only had about 9 minutes worth of material, and Blu-ray viewers get an additional 15 minutes or so. If you can't get enough of the movie, then I'm sure you'll enjoy the chance to experience more chihuahua action.

There is also an 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. 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. 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 on home video. If you plan on purchasing the film and have a Blu-ray player, then this is the way to go. But it's not a complete slam dunk over the DVD: the additional extras are nothing to drool over, and the uncompressed 5.1 mix is only a minimum improvement over the Dolby Digital 5.1 mix on the standard DVD. The picture quality is an improvement with the extra resolution, but not by leaps and bounds when compared to other Blu-ray titles. A good family rental for sure, or a must-purchase if you're gaga for these Disney canines.