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(3-Disc Bad Dog Edition)

Although MARLEY & ME ($40) is marketed to movie audiences as a comedy, the film is more of a family drama, with humorous interludes sprinkled throughout much of its running time. Based upon the memoir by John Grogan, MARLEY & ME tells the story of the family that adopts the supposed world’s worst dog. The film opens with the marriage of John and Jenny Grogan (Owen Wilson & Jennifer Aniston), who transition from the brutal Michigan climate to sunny southern Florida. John and Jenny each get jobs with local newspapers, and then contemplate starting a family, which results in a test run… they decide to adopt a puppy. The quickly pick the "clearance puppy" from a litter of newborn yellow Labrador retrievers, whom they name Marley (after reggae singer Bob Marley). Marley proves difficult from the very beginning- rambunctious and destructive; he is even expelled from a dog obedience training class.

Around the same time, John is assigned to write a feature column for his newspaper, and ends up using his misadventures with Marley as regular subject matter for many of his columns. As the film plays out, John and Jenny start a family in earnest, she becomes a stay at home mom to three kids, who grow up as Marley grows older and begins to slow down. MARLEY & ME covers a period of approximately fourteen years, and highlights important events in the lives of John and Jenny, as well as some of the more amusing things that Marley gets into. Owen Wilson and Jennifer Aniston really anchor the film with strong performances. FYI… Wilson displays far more depth here, than one sees in his usual comedy persona. The cast of MARLEY & ME also features Eric Dane, Kathleen Turner and Alan Arkin.

20th Century Fox Home Entertainment has made MARLEY & ME available on Blu-ray Disc in a 2.35:1 aspect ratio presentation that has been encoded onto the disc with the AVC codec. The 1080p presentation is really quite satisfying. Image sharpness, dimensionality and detail all come across very strongly, but MARLEY & ME isn’t exactly reference material. That said, MARLEY & ME is still an attractively photographed dramady that provides a very pleasing visual experience in hi-def. Colors are generally warm and provide a nice level of saturation. Blacks are deep, whites are clean, plus the contrast and shadow detail are very good. The elements from which MARLEY & ME have been transferred appear virtually pristine. A fine sheen of grain is noticeable throughout, which gives the presentation a film like quality.

MARLEY & ME is presented on Blu-ray Disc with a 5.1 channel DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack. Owing to the nature of the material, much of MARLEY & ME plays in the talky dramedy mode; therefore a lot of the sound is localized front and center. Thunderstorm and rambunctious dog antics liven up the track in places, but even then, the sound design isn’t going to make large demands on one’s home theater system. Still, there are plenty ambient sounds and musical fill spread throughout the soundstage. Fidelity is strong and the track has a respectable bottom end. Dialogue is cleanly reproduced and is always easy to understand. Spanish, French and Portuguese Dolby Digital 5.1 channel tracks have also been encoded onto the disc. Subtitles are available in English, Spanish, Portuguese, Cantonese, Mandarin and Korean.

Full motion video, animation and sound serve to enhance the disc's interactive menus. Through the menus, one has access to standard scene selection and set up features, as well as some supplements. Featurettes include Finding Marley, Breaking The Golden Rule, Animal Adoption (five minutes), When Not To Pee and On Set With Marley: Dog Of All Trades. Also included are a Dog Training Trivia Track and Dog Training 101 with BonusView Picture-in-Picture viewing mode (requires a Profile 1.1 player). Nineteen Deleted Scenes with optional commentary director David Frankel are also provided, as is a Gag Reel. Disc two offers a DVD copy of the movie for those who are on the fence about making the upgrade to Blu-ray, while disc three provides a Digital Copy of the film.

MARLEY & ME is a good family drama, with a lot of laughs sprinkled on for good measure. The Blu-ray presentation is very good dog.



Marley And Me (3-disc Bad Dog Edition) [Blu-ray] (2008)


DVD & Blu-rayDisc reviews are Copyright © 2009 THE CINEMA LASER and may not be copied or reprinted without the written consent of the publisher.
THE CINEMA LASER is written, edited and published by Derek M. Germano.



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