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Douglas Pratt

By Douglas Pratt

Marley & Me: Bad Dog Edition

Running 115 minutes, the enormously popular 2008 family film, Marley & Me, depicts the full life of a family dog as the family grows up around him. In his younger years, he is especially rambunctious, which contributed to the film’s superb marketing campaign that suggested the movie would be another Beethoven-style slapstick piece. Instead, the film is truly about the role a pet plays in the emotional adhesion of a family unit, and audiences, suckered in by the ad, were then solidly hooked by the movie’s emotional payoff. Owen Wilson andJennifer Aniston, who make a terrific screen couple, star. They play journalists (the source book, a true story, was written by one), back when the profession still had a future, who marry and first obtain the dog as an interim step before babymaking. In effect, the animal prepares them, expertly, for the unanticipated disasters and challenges that children will bring later on. The film tracks their lives and the advances and hiccups in their careers as they do eventually have kids, move a couple of times, and go through the other strains and stresses that test virtually all relationships. The dog is the embodiment and guardian of their love, which he holds for safekeeping until they are mature enough to not let go of it themselves.

20th Century Fox Home Entertainment has released Marley & Me on DVD and as a 2-Disc Bad Dog Edition The second platter of Bad Dog Edition contains a copy of the film that can be downloaded onto handheld viewing devices, but the first platter also has more special features. Most smartly of all, Fox has also put out a 3-Disc Bad Dog Edition Blu-ray which has the downloadable version of the film on one platter, the BD with all of the special features, of course, on another, and a third platter containing the standard DVD, so that you can have a fancy one for the living room and a spare for the kids’ room.

On all, the picture is presented in letterboxed format only, with an aspect ratio of about 1.85:1 and an accommodation for enhanced 16:9 playback. The colors are bright and stable. The DVDs have 5.1-channel Dolby Digital sound, which has a functional dimensionality. There are alternate French and Spanish tracks in standard stereo and optional English, French and Spanish subtitles. The BD had DTS-HD, which has a noticeably fuller and crisper sound, and has three foreign language tracks in 5.1 Dolby, along with six subtitling options, including English. The standard DVD comes with 6 minutes of deleted scenes and 6 minutes of bloopers. The Bad Dog Edition and the BD have 26 minutes of deleted scenes, with an optional commentary by director David Frankel, who talks a little bit about the movie’s production as he also explains why the scenes were dropped (primarily to keep the pace up). Along with the bloopers, there are also 20 minutes of production featurettes (twenty-two different dogs were used to represent the one dog during the different phases of his life and alternate behavior requirements) and a 5-minute segment about adopting dogs. The BD has two additional features, a good 17-minute segment on getting dogs to behave and a subtitling track with even more information about working with and caring for the animals.

– by Douglas Pratt

Douglas Pratt’s DVD-Laser Disc Newsletter is published monthly.
For a free sample, call (516)594-9304 or go to his website at

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One of the great movies. Charles Bronson, great, Charles Bronson. Great movies. Today you can’t make that movie because it’s not politically correct, right? It’s not politically correct. But could you imagine with Trump? Somebody says, oh, all these big monsters aren’t around he’s easy pickings and then shoot.”
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