Cover Art and Menus: 4/10
I didn’t love the cover or the menu for Old Dogs. The cover is very generic, and not really all that great. A shot of John Travolta and Robin Williams just standing around, with Seth Green being hugged by a gorilla. The scene in the movie is pretty funny, but it just seems a bit much here, and doesn’t give us much of what the movie is about, which is funny, because this movie rambles a little bit without a real solid direction.
The menu is a strange mishmash of license plates and camp trinkets, with a few shots form the movie and a few scenes mixed in. Again, just kind of thrown together without much direction.
- Young Dogs Learn Old Tricks – This is a nice little interview session where John Travolta’s daughter Ella Bleu Travolta and Conner Rayburn ask the questions. At about 3 minutes, it is short and entertaining.
- Bryan Adams Music Video – This really is a Bryan Adams video for the song “You’ve Been a Friend to Me.” Disney absolutely loves the music videos, and since this is a Disney family movie, we get a few. I am not sure who watches all of these videos, but apparently someone is.
- Bloopers – There are a few bloopers here that are kind of funny. This is a short 2 minute extra, so it is bearable.
- Deleted Scenes – There are not many deleted scenes, but we get to see an alternate ending, and a few scenes that really didn’t fit with the overall movie. Not much here, and not missed from the movie.
- John Travolta & Ella Bleu Travolta “Every Little Step I Take” Music Video – Another music video; this time for the song “Every Little Step,” which is John Travolta and his daughter singing together. Just for your information, this is song number 2 that John Travolta has slipped past us on a Disney release, as he did a duet on Bolt. Be careful or he might release a whole CD soon.
- Audio Commentary By Director, Producer & Writers – This commentary is a bit light on info and a bit rough to listen to. The commentary features Director Walt Becker, producer Andrew Panay, and the co-writers David Diamond and David Weissman, who all struggle at times to fill the commentary with meaningful insight.
- DVD Version Of The Movie With Extras – Like the digital version of the movie, I love having a DVD version so the kids can watch these family movies wherever they go. Right now only one set of grandparents have a Blu-ray player, so it is nice to be able to take our movie to both houses and not worry.
- Digital Copy Of The Movie – I have said this before, and I stick by it; family movies are great movies to take on trips if you have kids. I fully welcome most Disney movies in digital format. My wife is taking the kids on spring break, and you have no idea how happy she is to have a few Disney movies on the i Phone for the 8 hour drive.
The Movie: 6/10
Where to begin with Old Dogs, the new family release from Disney? If you have seen the trailer, then you have seen a majority of the truly funny bits, which I admit can be funny. There were only a few surprises in the film which had me unexpectedly laughing out loud, but overall the main laughs have been shown up front in the trailer, which is disappointing.
Old Dogs is a movie featuring John Travolta and Robin Williams, who are two sports marketing guys who have been friends for most of their lives. They are no longer youngsters, and are looking to sign a huge marketing deal with a major Japanese company that will set up the two guys nicely for the rest of their lives. Dan (Robin Williams) and Charlie (John Travolta) are best friends, but they are completely different types of guys. Charlie is a ladies man who still thinks he is 22, and Dan is much more reserved and is kid of the brains behind their company. Charlie is the people person who tells stories to break the ice before Dan takes the stage to explain the details of their company – a strange relationship, but it works for them.
Their lives kind of hit a road bump when Dan is confronted with the reality check that he is a father of seven year-old twins, who are the result of a fling Dan had after his first divorce. The kids are forced to stay with Dan as their mother (Kelly Preston) is forced to spend two weeks in jail. In order to impress her (and due to the fact that he has injured the hands of thieir wonky-eyed, hand model baby-sitter) Dan agrees to take care of the kids for the two weeks, which just happen to be the same two weeks where Dan and Charlie are trying to woo the head of the Japanese company that is deciding on whether to hire them. The rest is a jaunt down semi-slapstick Disney family humor, that sometimes works, and sometimes seems just to wander aimlessly without much purpose.
I will cut Old Dogs some slack due to the nature of the movie – a Disney Family movie in the same genre as other films like Wild Hogs and College Road Trip, where they bring in big named stars and try to force the humor on us. These types of family movies are usually good for a few laughs, and they can be enjoyed by all ages,without having too much intellectual stuff flying over the heads of the kids who watch them. This is definitely one of those types of movies, and while it really is not great, they work for what they are.
I thought Old Dogs had some truly funny bits, and then some that were groan worthy, which is about on par for this type of movie, and what anyone who is older than 12 should expect. These are truly movies that are made with the entire family in mind. Old Dogs is not a great movie, but it is a nice view when you are with your kids and want to take a break from animated movies. There were enough laughs here for all ages to make watching it worthwhile, but you really have got to remember that this is family movie, so check your expectation level at the door, and just enjoy what you can.
Audio & Video: 8/10
Once again Disney delivers in the audio and video department. The 5.1 Surround Sound is used quite well here, and there was more sound coming from the rear speakers that I expected. It really perked up some scenes. Everything was mixed really well, and I really enjoyed the audio immensely.
The video was presented in 1.85:1 wide screen, AVC-encoded 1080p transfer, which as always, shines. Detail and color is once again ridiculously vibrant and rich. These movies are just a joy to watch, regardless of how good the actual movie is.
It is hard to put a value on Old Dogs. There were parts that I really liked, and parts that I did not like, but overall I had a decent time watching this with my kids. They enjoyed it, but will not be keen to watch it again. Robin Williams and John Travolta are pretty good in this slapstick comedy, as are the rest of the cast. Overall I am neutral on Old Dogs, so I am giving it a 5 for value, but I can’t say this is more than a rental.
Overall Score 5/10