Review Covers Blu-Ray & DVD Versions
Cover Art and Menus: 7/10
Beverly Hills Chihuahua is another offering from Disney centered around dogs. This time, we are presented with a cute portrayal of a pampered pooch from the 90210 zip code, and the cover sports our beloved main character Chloe (who is voiced by Drew Barrymore) with Papi (voiced by George Lopez), the Latino gardener dog (stereotype much?!?) who is deeply in love with the Princess Chihuahua. The two dogs are shown sitting in the middle of beautiful sunny Beverly Hills. As a cover for a kids movie, it is fine, but nothing special.
The menu for the movie presents the main dog characters lounging at Chloe’s pool, which of course is the epitome of decadence, as the dogs each have lawn chairs and drinks, and are enjoying the summer sun. A bit static, but I have seen worse.
- Deleted Scenes With Introductions By Director Raja Gosnell – We are given three deleted scenes on the standard DVD release, as opposed to the seven that were included on the Blu-Ray release. Unfortunately the standard DVD gets what seems to be a select few, and when Director Raja Gosnell begins describing some of the scenes, we are shown that we are missing some scenes, as he says things like “as we saw before,” which unfortunately we did not. Thee scenes themselves are not great, and one includes a longer look at the band of Chihuahuas in Mexico, and I am glad that it was left out.
- Blooper Scooper – What Disney live action movie would be complete without a blooper reel? Of course we are given a short feature with doggie mishaps and a few acting mistakes, but it is only three minutes long, and is not that entertaining. Bloopers with the animals are really just blown scenes, and usually are not that great.
- Legend Of The Chihuahua Animated Short – The Legend of the Chihuahuais an animated three minute piece that goes into detail about the Chihuahua breed. It was tough to sit through, and it was short! Basically a fluff piece to add something else to the disc, it felt as though it was written by a junior high student, and was neither funny nor entertaining.
- Feature Audio Commentary By Director Raja Gosnell – Raja Gosnell gives a detailed commentary to go along with the movie. The problem is that the commentary is only Raja, and nobody else. I admire the man for giving us a commentary, but it is a bit dry and tedious, even if his attention to the process was described eloquently. It makes for a hard re-watch.
- Pet Pals The Voices Behind The Dogs (Blu-Ray Only) – A 7 minute produced segment asking the main cast questions such as “What kind of dog would you be”
- Hitting There Bark On The Set With The Dogs Of BHC (Blu-Ray Only) – A 13 minute featurette which shows some funny behind the scene dog handler/dog mayhem.
- More Deleted Scenes With Director Introductions (Blu-Ray Only) – Extra deleted scenes, throwaway scenes at best nothing to warrant purchasing both formats.
- Disney BD-Live Network – One of the best examples of BDLive interactivity there is, Disney seem to have this nailed and add something new each time I connect.
The Movie: 6/10
Beverly Hills Chihuahua is the latest live action dog flick from Disney. Released last year, it made headlines for out performing just about everyone’s expectations at the box office, and after seeing the movie, I can understand why. Beverly Hills Chihuahua is a cute movie about a dog who has lived her whole life in Beverly Hills, as a princess. Her owner Vivian (Jamie Lee Curtis) is a rich woman who lives alone and dotes on Chloe as if she were her spoiled daughter. Chloe gets designer outfits and has her own poolside lounge area. She basically lives better than most of the humans in Low Angeles, even though she is a mere dog. To round things off (if not somewhat stereotypically), the landscaper Sam (Manolo Cardona) and his Chihuahua Papi work at Vivian’s house, and Papi is smitten with Chloe’s beauty.
When Vivian is forced to leave the country on business, she is left with no choice but to have her niece Rachel (Piper Perabu) look after Chloe. Rachel doesn’t lavish the same amount of affection on Chloe as she is used to, and the dog and Rachel do not see eye to eye. Instead of going overboard on the pooch, Rachel decides to join her friends on a weekend trip to Mexico, and she drags Chloe along for the ride, much to the chagrin of the spoiled dog. Things spiral out of control when Chloe attempts to escape from the girl’s hotel room, only to be dog-napped by a Mexican thug who enters Chloe into a dog fight, where she is put up against El Diablo (Edward James Almos), a large Doberman. Before Chloe is ripped to shreds at the illegal dogfight, she is saves by Delgado (Andy Garcia) who is a German Shepard who knows the ropes and has been around the block a few times. Delgado and Chloe escape the dog fights, but the leader of the thugs, and El Diablo’s owner Vasquez, who realises Chloe is worth a lot of money, and therefore he releases El Diablo to hunt her down for a ransom. When Sam and Papi find out that Chloe is missing in Mexico, they show up to help Rachel find the lost dog.
The movie is constantly in motion and with the star studded cast, it is a decent watch. It is not nearly as bad as I thought it was going to be, but I am not going to say it was great either. Drew Barrymore plays Chloe with a childlike innocence that is cute, and works. The voice acting was pretty decent, and I thought Piper Perabu and Manolo Cardona had some chemistry together that was believable for the most part. This is not a complex movie, but it is a bit of a roller-coaster ride for younger audiences. Overall Beverly Hills Chihuahua was a fun little ride, and actually entertaining, but it made me realize that I have seen so many kid movies about dogs lately that I think I am done for a while.
Audio & Video: 8/10
As Ascully describes below for the Blu-Ray version, the standard DVD looked and sounded great. There was a lot of bright, sunshine scenes in this movie, and it looked amazing, even at standard definition. The colors were brilliant, and there was no washout to be found anywhere. I was really impressed with the detail and even the CGI stuff looked pretty good.
The audio, while not as impressive to me as the video, was also well done. There was not a lot of use of the rear speakers, but when they used the Surround Sound, they used it well. Dialogue was again up front and crisp. Disney really nails their video and sound, on just about every release they do.
The Blu-Ray version of Beverly Hills Chihuahua has one of the best looking transfers Disney has released (and that’s saying something). The movie takes place mostly in overblown sunlight and not once are you struggling to see fine detail. I would say this is a reference quality disc and you will be hard pushed to find anything else on the market to compare, well perhaps the Dark Knight comes close. It’s strange to say this about such a throwaway movie but I think Home Theatre buffs owe it to themselves to have a copy of BHC in their library.
As usual Disney uses a uncompressed soundtrack that really delivers, one key sequence which features a sandstorm really sounds incredible, almost like every grain of sand is in the room with you its quite amazing. Dialog is front and center where it needs to be and you even get the occasional woof (or should that be bark or yip with these small dogs) from the rear speakers. Overall the Blu-Ray version of the movie is presented perfectly it’s not my cup of tea as a movie but it certainly is a looker.
I am not sure that I can handle another viewing of Beverly Hills Chihuahua. It was not what I though it was going to be, and I actually think that is a good thing. I was impressed with the journey that the dogs embarked upon, and for a kids movie, it really could have been a lot worse, but overall this is just a rental, if you must. I can see why it did better than expected at the box office, and if you have kids that will enjoy this movie, you will probably not have a problem sitting through it with them, but I think I am over dog movies for a bit, so lets find a new animal to exploit please.
Overall Score 7/10