Beverly Hills Chihuahua appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 2.40:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. While the film often looked pretty good, some drawbacks made it less than spectacular.
Sharpness seemed largely good, though not great. I suspect the visual effects used to make the dogs “talk” created a looseness that meant some shots felt a bit ill-defined, but since some scenes without canines also became a little loose, this wasn’t a perfect rule.
No issues with jaggies or shimmering materialized, and I witnessed no edge haloes. I saw no source flaws, as the movie consistently seemed clean and smooth.
Colors tended toward an amber feel, with occasional instances of brighter hues. These seemed pretty well-rendered.
Blacks were dark and firm, while shadows looked clear and concise. Much of the flick seemed well-reproduced, but the problems with softness left it as a “B“ transfer.
The PCM 5.1 soundtrack of Hills seemed solid for this sort of movie. Although the soundfield displayed a fairly strong orientation toward the forward channels, it broadened nicely when necessary.
For the most part, the track concentrated on good stereo imaging for the music as well as ambient effects. The soundfield wasn’t wildly active, but it broadened the audio well, especially during Chloe’s attempts to get home. Those sequences featured chases, trains and other action elements, so they brought out some good material.
Sound quality seemed fine. Speech was natural and distinctive, with no issues connected to edginess or intelligibility.
Effects were concise and accurate and showed positive low-end at times. Music sounded good as well, with nice range and clarity. At no point did the mix excel, but it satisfied.
How did the Blu-ray compare to the DVD version? The uncompressed audio felt a bit warmer and fuller, while visuals appeared better defined and smoother. Even with some drawbacks, the Blu-ray showed improvements.
When we move to the extras, we open with an audio commentary from director Raja Gosnell. He offers a running, screen-specific chat that looks at cast and performances, sets and locations, visual and production design, working with the dogs, visual effects, and musical choices.
Gosnell offers a good examination of the film. He keeps matters light as he digs into the various aspects of the production. The chat proves enjoyable and provides a more than competent look at the flick.
A cartoon called Legend of the Chihuahua runs three minutes, eight seconds. The animated short gives us a quick and semi-irreverent history of the chihuahua. It’s cute and mildly informative.
10 Deleted Scenes fill a total of 24 minutes, 59 seconds. That includes introductions from Gosnell.
One gives us a substantial look at Chloe’s transformation, and another provides added exposition to Rachel. Others give as additional views of existing scenes and some padding as well as alternate versions. I can’t claim any of these should’ve made the final cut, but fans will enjoy the ability to see them.
Gosnell’s intros set up the clips, and he only occasionally tells us why he cut them. It’d be nice if he offered that info for each scene, as the basic intros seem useless.
Note that the Blu-ray expands on the DVD’s selection of deleted scenes. The DVD included three clips, not the 10 found here.
Blooper Scooper runs three minutes, eight seconds. Some of the bits provide the usual goofs, but we also get outtakes of the dogs. I like those elements, as they let us learn a little more about how the filmmakers got the pooches to act.
We also find two featuretes exclusive to the Blu-ray. Pet Pals spans nine minutes, 28 seconds and offers notes from dog walker Heather Tannis, head trainer Michael Alexander and actors Drew Barrymore, Andy Garcia, George Lucas, Paul Rodriguez, Cheech Marin, Edward James Olmos, Placido Domingo and Luis Guzman.
In addition to some comments about dogs, they discuss their roles and their voice work. While a fluffy reel, we get some good insights.
Hitting Their Bark fills 12 minutes, 55 seconds with remarks from Gosnell, Alexander, producers David Hoberman, Todd Lieberman and John Jacobs, executive producer Steve Nicolaides, animal trainers Jennifer Henderson, Bobby Scott Schweitzer, David Sousa and Raymond W. Beal, costume designer Mariestela Fernandez, property master Colin Thurston, Humane Society representative Chris Obonsawin, writer Jeff Bushell, and actors Jamie Lee Curtis, Piper Perabo, Maury Sterling and Manolo Cardona.
They cover working with canine actors in this light but engaging discussion.
The disc opens with ads for Pinocchio, Up and Bedtime Stories. These also appear under Sneak Peeks along with clips for Bolt, Monsters Inc. and Morning Light.
The trailer for Chihuahua appears here only as an Easter egg. If you go to the “Special Features” page, click down from the “Audio Commentary” option and you’ll highlight a paw print. Hit “enter” and you’ll find the movie’s trailer.
With a broad collection of adorable pups, Beverly Hills Chihuahua occasionally delights the dog-lover in me. However, even as sweet as these pooches are, they’re not enough to make this flick anything more than mediocre family entertainment. The Blu-ray offers generally good picture as well as appropriate sound and some extras led by an interesting audio commentary. Hills doesn’t become a painful viewing experience, but it lacks much to make it memorable
To rate this film, visit the DVD review of BEVERLY HILLS CHIHUAHUA