Hotel for Dogs (2009) [Blu-ray]

Genre(s): Comedy / Family
Paramount || PG - 100 minutes - $39.99 || April 28, 2009
Reviewer: Brad Lowenberg || Posted On: 2009-05-10


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.:: F I L M ::.
The Film

S P E C I A L
.: F E A T U R E S :.

Special Features

.:: V I D E O ::.
Video

.:: A U D I O ::.
Audio

B L U - R A Y
.:: EXCLUSIVES ::.

Blu-ray Exclusives

.:: O V E R A L L ::.
Overall
.::MOVIE INFORMATION::.
Director: Thor Freudenthal
Writer(s): Lois Duncan (book); Jeff Lowell and Bob Schooley & Mark McCorkle (screenplay)
Cast: Emma Roberts, Jake T. Austin, Don Cheadle, Kyla Pratt, Lisa Kudrow, Kevin Dillon


Theatrical Release Date: January 16, 2009


.::DVD INFORMATION::.
Supplemental Material:
  • Feature Commentary
  • 4 Featurettes
  • Deleted Scenes
  • Theatrical Trailer
  • Still Gallery


Technical Information:
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Widescreen (1.85)
  • English (Dolby TrueHD 5.1), French (Dolby Digital 5.1), Spanish (Dolby Digital 5.1)
  • Subtitles: English SDH, French, Spanish

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.::THE FILM::.

For some reason I am still unsure of, in late 2008 dogs became cool again. We got hit with several dog-related films like Beverley Hills Chihuahua, Bolt, Marley and Me and now Hotel for Dogs. Is this dog film worthy of a watch? I'd say so.

Siblings Andi (Roberts) and Bruce (Austin) have been shuffled from foster home to foster home together and eventually find a semi-permanent home with the "evil" Louis and Carl Scudder (Kudrow & Dillon). After being caught by the Police trying to scam a shop owner out of $27, the two are put on lock down in their bedrooms. But without fail, the dog (Friday) they smuggled into their home soon gets loose and the two make a mad dash to catch Friday before the pounds get him again.

What happens next changes the course of their lives - the dog wanders into a "magic" Hotel where they decide is a good place to leave Friday since he won't be bothering the kids foster parents. Soon the children slowly start taking in more and more "homeless" dogs and the two children quickly make friends with others who want to save Dogs from the evil pound.

Now, while the plot of the film is incredibly silly, I still found myself enjoying the 100 minute romp. Itís a kid affair - plain and simple. They will get a kick out of the funny things the dogs do (play games, kiss, etc) and adults will be entertained enough through it that they won't consider gouging their eyes out. Sure, it may have crossed my mind that an 11 year old child would not be able to build some of the machines he did in an apparently abandoned Hotel that somehow has enough electricity to power dozens of these inventions at once (where did the electricity come from?), but hey, itís a kids movie, right? We leave logic at the door.



.::SPECIAL FEATURES::.

Commentary Track with Director, Producer & Stars Jake Austin and Emma Roberts

Like most kid films nowadays, there appears to be a ton of Special Features but when you get down to it you find out they are only a few minutes long and typically recycle parts from previous featurettes on the same disc.

This disc includes the following: Making of Hotel for Dogs (19 Minutes), Bark on Cue (5 Minutes), K-9 Casting (6 Minutes), That's the Coolest Thing (6 Minutes), Deleted Scenes (11 Minutes), Theatrical Trailer and a Still Gallery. Nearly everything here is aimed directly at children - even the Commentary track! Still, there is a small amount of substance found in training the dogs (K-9 Casting) but besides that this is all just fur!



.::AUDIO & VIDEO::.

Hotel for Dogs is presented in 1.85:1 (MPEG4) on a 50GB Disc. The first few moments of the film are spectacular - the dogs and environments are incredibly detailed and you can pick out the smallest things. As the film progresses things tend to get a wee bit softer but I could not pick out a single scene which looked bad. Paramount did a fantastic job here and everything looks rich and full of color. One of their better live-action encodes in a while.

Paramount has included an English 5.1 TrueHD. As typical with a kids film the sound is very front driven with minimal noises coming from the rear speakers. Dialog came across just fine as did the numerous barking mutts. DD5.1 in French and Spanish along with Subtitles in English SDH, French and Spanish.



.::OVERALL::.

Hotel for Dogs is clearly a children's movie but luckily it does not steer too much off into the kidsí realm that adults won't be able to enjoy it as well. With a small selection of Special Features, average Audio quality and superb Picture quality I'd say give this film a rent first before you plop down $25 on it.