My Dog Skip DVD

“My Dog Skip” is a swell movie, a winning tale of a boy and his dog. Based on Willie Morris’ fond recollection of his childhood, “My Dog Skip” is rich in nostalgia and feel good moments.


The irrepressible Frankie Muniz (“Malcolm In The Middle”) stars as Willie, who leads a seemingly Norman Rockwell existence in a small Mississippi town.

mydogskipMuniz perfectly conveys both the innocence and trust of a young boy looking for meaning in his life. As an only child completely devoid of any school age friends, Willie needs a best friend more than anything else. He finds one when his mother buys him a dog for his birthday, much to the dismay of his father. Diane Lane is very sensible as Willie’s mother, while Kevin Bacon shows great strength as a man who doesn’t want to set his son up for heartbreak.

The film is set in 1942, and World War II is just taking its toll on the small town. The screenplay by Gail Gilchriest covers a lot of territory and time, but its best moments deal with the relationship between Willie and his next door neighbor Dink (Luke Wilson), the local football hero who goes off to war and comes back a changed man. Wilson plays these scenes with honesty, showing us a fragile human being.

Director Jay Russell does an admirable job of making all of this matter. There’s a playfulness in the lighter scenes, while the dramatic scenes hit with such an emotional intensity you feel like putty in the director’s hands.

Like all the wonderful shaggy dog stories that came before it, “My Dog Skip” finds its strength in its heart. Done right, how can you resist a tale of a boy and his dog? “My Dog Skip” is hard to resist.

COMPLETE CHECK-UP

VISION: 20/20

check.gif (406 bytes) 1.85:1 Widescreen

check.gif (406 bytes) 16:9 Enhanced RSDL

Beautiful digital transfer captures the warm, soft glow of this nostalgic gem without compromise. Every detail comes through with clarity, while the colors are sharp without any bleeding or fading. Nicely defined pallette includes flattering flesh tones and natural earth tones. Blacks are strong, while the transfer from a pristine master allows for pure whites and clean grays. Depth of field is impressive, as is attention to detail. Nicely done.

HEARING: Good

check.gif (406 bytes) English 5.1 Dolby Digital Surround

check.gif (406 bytes) French 5.1 Dolby Digital Surround

The appeal of the film is its smaller moments, which doesn’t translate into an audio workout for your system. There are some well defined surround effects, but the emphasis is on the dialogue, which is sharp and clear. The surround sound fields do a nice job of capturing ambience, including a creepy moment inside a tomb that sounds just right. Rear speakers action is kept to a minimum. Most of the action plays out in the front sound stage, including accurate left-to-right stereo split and a strong dialogue mix. Basses are MIA most of the time, but the middle and high ends are clean with no hiss or distortion present. The soundtrack is available in both English and French language 5.1 Dolby Digital Surround.

ORAL: Good

check.gif (406 bytes) Closed Captions in English for the Hard of Hearing

check.gif (406 bytes) Subtitles in French

COORDINATION: Good

check.gif (406 bytes) Two in-depth, scene-specific audio commentaries. The first features director Jay Russell, while the second features star Frankie Muniz and animal trainer Matilda De Cagny. Since I’m a fan of “Malcolm in the Middle” I naturally chose the Muniz commentary. I think the kid is terrific, and he really shines in a lively conversation about his experiences making the film and becoming friends with the dog who played Skip. Cagny fills in the gaps on this abbreviated commentary track (it doesn’t run the entire length of the film), detailing the process of training animals for films and television.

check.gif (406 bytes) Four deleted scenes with commentary. Dog lovers will appreciate the extra footage.

check.gif (406 bytes) The film’s original theatrical trailer.

check.gif (406 bytes) Cast & Crew listing.

check.gif (406 bytes) Handsome interactive main and scene access menus.

PROGNOSIS: Excellent

check.gif (406 bytes) The perfect movie for the entire family. You’d really have to be allergic to dogs not to have a copy in your library.

VITALS: $24.98/Rated PG/95/Color/Snapcase

ATTENDING RESIDENT: John Larsen

PATIENT: MY DOG SKIP

BIRTH DATE: 2000

HMO: Warner Home Video



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