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MGM Studios DVD presents
Good Boy! (2003)

Owen Baker: But he's really smart, Dad!
Mr. Baker: Yeah, that's terrific.
Owen Baker: No...I mean he's too smart.
Mr. Baker: Oh, I hate to break this to you, but everyone thinks they have the smartest dog in the universe.

- Liam Aiken, Kevin Nealon

Review By: Rich Rosell and Sammie Rosell (age 15)   
Published: March 03, 2004

Stars: Liam Aiken, Molly Shannon, Kevin Nealon, Brittany Moldowan
Other Stars: the voices of Carl Reiner, Matthew Broderick, Delta Burke Vanessa Redgrave, Cheech Marin, Donald Faison, Brittany Murphy
Director: John Hoffman

MPAA Rating: PG for (some mild crude humor)
Run Time: 01h:27m:51s
Release Date: March 02, 2004
UPC: 027616902825
Genre: family


Style
Grade
Substance
Grade
Image Transfer
Grade
Audio Transfer
Grade
Extras
Grade
B- B+B-B- B-

DVD Review

Molly Shannon! Kevin Nealon! Matthew Broderick! A bunch of other people! Yup, I'm talking about Good Boy!, the movie that looked terrible from the previews. Ringing a bell? You know, the one with the outer space dogs? The one that you probably scoffed at while sitting in the theater, waiting for The Lord of the Rings. Well, I saw the preview and laughed too, but in a disgusted way. How could I not, seeing that every joke was so predictable. But every so often a great movie is neglected because of a poorly made preview. This was one of them. It makes me wonder who is in charge of preview design. If you agree, then I say "More power to you!" If you disagree, I say "I can think what I want!" If you are big, strong, and disagree with me, I say "You express a good point. I totally agree."

Owen Baker (Liam Aiken), a 12-year-old kid—much like yours truly—has some problems. Between moving a lot and getting picked on by the nasty neighborhood bullies (which I came to hate), Owen only wants a friend. He knows how much he wants a dog, because he walks the friendly clique of neighbor dogs. If only a dog would crash into his backyard in a spaceship...and what do you know...it does!! Shocking and unexpected. I know. Anyway, Owen finds out that Hubble (voiced by Matthew Broderick), the dog from space, can talk! He explains to Owen about his home star, Sirius, and the Great Recall. Hubble—or as his Sirius pals know him, "3942"—has to train the domestic dogs on Earth to control the human race, or else the Great Recall will happen to them. That's not good. All the dogs on Earth will be shipped back to Sirius for "doggy boot camp." That, too, is not good.

So as Hubble frantically tries to teach the dogs, he learns something. He starts acting more like an Earth dog, but doesn't realize it. Eventually, the time comes, and the Greater Dane (voiced by Vanessa Redgrave), the doggie ruler, comes to Earth to see how much in control the Earth dogs are. What will happen? Well, I know, but heck if I'd tell you! Go check this movie out! It was really good, no matter how corny the trailer made it look.

I have to say the best part of the movie was the pooches. With Hubble, Barbara Ann (voiced by Delta Burke), Wilson (voiced by Donald Faison), Wig Rat (voiced by Cheech Marin), Nelly (voiced by Brittany Murphy), the Greater Dane, and Shep (voiced by Carl Reiner), I was laughing the whole time! Barbara Ann, you know, the classic foofy poodle, was so self-centered, and Wilson, well, I just liked him because he was funny looking. Wig Rat, though, was by far the best. Even though he appears with the Greater Dane for just a few seconds, I LOVE HIM! He was so creepy looking. And then there's Nelly, with her seemingly neverending nervousness, and of course Shep, the farter. You see, he likes people food, and apparently dog's digestive systems can't handle pepperoni-mushroom-olive pizza. Hmm...imagine that. The villain is the Greater Dane, the almighty ruler (who definitely looked the part), and, of course, there's Hubble. The rough but soon soft dude. He's everyone's favorite (except mine...I LOVE YOU WIG RAT!!) with his quirky comments and loveable face.

But Wig Rat's better...

Rating for Style: B-
Rating for Substance: B+

 

Image Transfer

 One
Aspect Ratio1.33:1 - Full Frame
Original Aspect Rationo
Anamorphicno


Image Transfer Review: MGM has only released Good Boy! with a 1.33:1 full-frame transfer, and while that will no doubt raise the ire of OAR purists, on a film like this I'll be honest that it doesn't really hurt all that much. The presentation never appears overly squeezed or chopped, though some of John Hoffman's E.T.-like shots may have looked slightly more grand in widescreen; regardless, the print is full of pleasing, bright colors and equally strong, well-defined black levels. A few tiny specks were evident in a few spots, as well as some minor ringing on things like brickwork and car grilles.

Image Transfer Grade: B-

 

Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
DS 2.0French, Spanishyes
Dolby Digital
5.1
Englishyes


Audio Transfer Review: Audio comes in a Dolby Digital 5.1 surround track, and this one almost makes up for the lack of a widescreen option. Almost, that is. Music and effects sound quite good, with numerous examples of nicely produced imaging pans across the fronts, and some of the outer space sequences manage to sport some particularly nice .LFE signals that brought our sub to life. That's all well and good, but the problem was that a lot of the dialogue really came across flat, without the same timbre as the score. This resulted in quite a few "what did he say?" situations that required a quick rewind. Rears were used sporadically, but this largely an upfront mix.

French and Spanish 2.0 stereo tracks are also provided.

Audio Transfer Grade: B-

 

Disc Extras

Animated menu with music
Scene Access with 32 cues and remote access
Subtitles/Captions in English, French, Spanish, Mandarin, Cantonese with remote access
Cast and Crew Biographies
1 Original Trailer(s)
8 Other Trailer(s) featuring Crocodile Hunter, Hamilton Mattress, Recipe for Disaster, Just 4 Kicks, Five Senses, Miss Spider's Sunny Patch Kids, Stellaluna, Agent Cody Banks
7 Deleted Scenes
1 Documentaries
2 Featurette(s)
1 Feature/Episode commentary by John Hoffman, Molly Shannon, Liam Aiken
Packaging: Amaray
Picture Disc
1 Disc
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: dual

Extra Extras:
  1. Good Boy! scrapbook
  2. Pooch Profiles
  3. Q&A With Hubble
Extras Review: John Hoffman, Molly Shannon and Liam Aiken provide a full-length, scene-specific commentary track for Good Boy!, and even with three voices there wasn't that much here that would make it required listening, and the accompanying EPK covers a lot of the same ground in just over twenty minutes. On the commentary, Hoffman, who sounds like a fun guy, does the usual patter and points out the various Vancouver locales, talks about art direction and of course the rigors of working with so many animals. Only diehard Good Boy! fans will muster the endurance to brave this entire track, but to be fair there are some occasional interesting nuggets here.

A so-called Dog-umentary (23m:51s) is in fact an puffy EPK that is front-loaded with quite a bit of blah-blah happy talk from the principal cast, but the technical segments on the mouth animation for the dogs, and the serious talk about "muzzle replacement" is worth sitting through for.

The Dog Pound (06m:01s) is where the 7 deleted scenes are located, available with or without an optional John Hoffman commentary track. The short clips are in work print format, and a couple of them seemed like odd choices to have chopped from the film (such as more detail on how Hubble got his name), but Hoffman briefly addresses those issues on the optional commentary. The Crafty Canines (06m:29s) featurette shows you what you need to do in order to train your dog to do all sorts of nifty tricks. We don't have a dog, so it did little for us, and despite our best efforts our rabbit Freckles would not roll over.

Wrapping things up are an interactive map of the neighborhood (and corresponding clips and tongue-in-cheek comments from Hoffman), Q & A with Hubble (unfunny answers to unfunny questions), Pooch Profiles (text bios of the breeds used in the film), an animated photo gallery, a ton of trailers, and last but not least, the disc features a healthy dose of subtitle options (English, French, Spanish, Mandarin, Cantonese), along with 32 chapter stops.

Extras Grade: B-

 

Final Comments

I liked this movie.

It must be a Jim Henson thing, because I like The Muppets, and this was produced by him. Back on subject though, this movie really helped me see how important dogs really are. And Kermit too—but that's another review.

 


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