Turner & Hooch (Remastered) (1989)

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Released 11-Sep-2003

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Comedy Menu Audio
Rating Rated PG
Year Of Production 1989
Running Time 95:29
RSDL / Flipper No/No Cast & Crew
Start Up Language Select Then Menu
Region Coding 2,4,5 Directed By Roger Spottiswoode
Studio
Distributor

Walt Disney Studios Home Ent.
Starring Tom Hanks
Mare Winningham
Craig T. Nelson
Reginald Veljohnson
Case Amaray-Transparent-Secure Clip
RPI $19.95 Music Charles Gross


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 5.1 (384Kb/s)
Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1 (384Kb/s)
Russian Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.85:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.85:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English
English for the Hearing Impaired
Spanish
Swedish
Norwegian
Danish
Finnish
Portuguese
Bulgarian
Russian
Arabic
Spanish Titling
Russian Titling
Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits Yes, during credits

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

    Wandering through their catalogue of titles previously available during the distribution agreement with Warner Home Video, Buena Vista Home Entertainment finally gets as far as Turner & Hooch. Now for those who cannot be bothered to check out the review of the earlier release, it is fair to say that the earlier release was a bit of a waste of time. It "featured" no extras, a complete lack of 16x9 enhancement, mediocre video and Dolby Digital 2.0 audio. It pretty much sucked eggs as far as fans of the film were concerned. So when the "remaster" was announced, I have to confess to some apprehension as to whether it would be a remaster or just a recycle. In this regard, Buena Vista Home Entertainment have generally been quite good and provided genuine remasters, but they aren't averse to sliding the odd recycle in there now and again.

    The good news is that this is a genuine remaster and we finally get 16x9 enhancement and six channel sound. The bad news is that the extras are still missing (not that this overly troubles me). Since this is a remaster, I will just recycle the plot synopsis from the earlier review...

    Just six short years before achieving immortality by winning consecutive Best Actor Oscars, Tom Hanks was eking out his acting career with such luminary films as ... Turner & Hooch. Whilst the likes of Turner & Hooch are unlikely to be confused with such gems as Apollo 13, Philadelphia, Forrest Gump and Saving Private Ryan, at least it can be indulged in as a mildly amusing film that at least stood out from a number of canine police stories. And even in relative fluff such as this, at least Tom Hanks was demonstrating some talent which is more than can be said for the ilk of Steve Guttenberg.

    Scott Turner (Tom Hanks) is a small town detective on the verge of moving to the big smoke, when things start to happen in the small town. After a spate of misdemeanours, and very very few felonies, the town of Cypress Beach is hit by a biggie of a felony - the murder of a local harbour-side character. The only problem is that the one witness to the murder is a junkyard dog by the name of Hooch. Now Hooch is your fairly typical Dogue de Bordeaux (that's the breed of dog), with a mean streak in him a mile wide and all the social graces of a pig in muck. Having lost his owner, Hooch has to be found a new home - which of course means moving in with Scott, at least according to local vet and love interest Emily Carson (Mare Winningham). Anyone who has owned a large dog knows that when they get bored, they get very playful - and will in no short time destroy anything of value and use in a house. And so Scott learns as his rather compulsively neat ways go out the window under the attack of Hooch's playfulness. But a witness has to be protected until the ID can be made and we enjoy some playfully derivative romps until the film reaches its inevitable conclusion.

    Yes, I know this is not great cinema but it is at least mildly entertaining in that wonderfully derivative way so utterly par for the course from this source. Even back in films of this era, you can at least see that Tom Hanks has some sort of acting ability. And in many ways this is well suited to his talents at the time. The rest of the cast is a typical by-the-numbers selection who at least put up enough of a performance to flesh out the balance of the rather underdeveloped characters here. The whole thing is woven together by Roger Spottiswoode whose chief claim to fame is Tomorrow Never Dies - an obvious highlight in a generally mediocre body of work. Artistically no great shakes in any way, but an enjoyable enough romp that manages to raise a couple of laughs.

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Transfer Quality

Video

    This is definitely an improvement in the transfer department, with the 16x9 enhancement seemingly eliminating all those problems that existed in the earlier transfer. The transfer is in an aspect ratio of 1.85:1, in accordance with the original theatrical ratio.

    That is not to say that this is now an instantly superb transfer, for it is not. The source material is obviously not the best and it seems that the compression has been kept at a decidedly average rate in order to fit everything onto the single layered, single sided DVD (despite the implication of the packaging). So we basically still get the same average sharpness, average detail, average shadow detail and average clarity of the original transfer. There is a consistent lightish grain throughout the transfer that, whilst distracting, does obviously add into the average clarity equation. There is no low level noise problem in the transfer. Overall, this really does not seem to be any significant improvement over the original release.

    The overall tone of the transfer here, as ever for this film, is quite dark and therefore there is no great vibrancy of colour on offer here. It is not an especially natural looking transfer, but this is the way the film has always looked so it reflects the way the film was shot. This could really do with some brighter, primary colours to alleviate the general darker tone of the colours. There is nothing approaching oversaturation here and colour bleed is not an issue.

    There did not appear to be any significant MPEG artefacts in the transfer. Unlike the original transfer, there is little in the way of film-to-video artefacting in the transfer, with the aliasing in particular almost virtually absent. The only obvious problems are some moiré artefacting in the window at 32:46 and some aliasing in the assorted furnishings at 40:06. Aside from that, the other main issue is some rather obvious telecine wobble in the opening credits in particular, although the closing credits also appear to be slightly affected. The one downside of the absence of aliasing this time is that the film artefacts become more obvious and there are some beauties to be seen (what looks like a mildew blob at 35:29 is rather obvious). Most of the problems are black dirt specks but there are certainly plenty of film scratches and film dirt to be seen too.

    There are a decent enough selection of subtitle options on the DVD. The English efforts are reasonable enough but there is plenty of evidence of the dialogue having been chopped at times. At one point (during the stakeout) the subtitles run a little in front of the actual dialogue.

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

    There are three soundtracks on the DVD, being an English Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack, a Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack and a Russian Dolby Digital 2.0 soundtrack. I of course did not stray from the English default soundtrack. Whilst it is nice to have the six channel soundtrack, I cannot help but feel that it is a waste of time for it is not especially well used, other than to toss in loads of bass during the build-up to key moments - which in my view destroys the whole feel of the film. It is simply extraneous stuff that does not suit the moment - such as at 16:45 and 82:25.

    Other than that issue with extraneous bass, there really is nothing much wrong with the soundtrack - but neither is there much that is especially noteworthy about the soundtrack. Dialogue is clear and easy to understand throughout and there did not seem to be any problems with audio sync in the transfer.

    The musical score comes from Charles Gross, and as said before, a thoroughly unmemorable effort it is too.

    There is nothing approaching an audio demonstration here at all and at best this is nothing more than another serviceable soundtrack. Despite the six channels, there is little improvement in the overall soundscape and this is very much in the strictly front and centre brigade. The only use of the low frequency channel of any note seems to be the extraneous bass, and there is equally almost nothing of note in the rear channels: at best there is some ambience but even that is a little light one. The front surrounds hardly seem to be used any better and there is little indication of any widening of the soundscape in an overall sense here. There are no major flaws as far as distortion or congestion are concerned but this is really an unmemorable soundtrack in all respects.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

    Hooch ate them all again.

Menu

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

    As far as I can ascertain, there is little more than language and subtitle differences between the various regions for this film. Since they all seem to be the same in content and quality, go with whichever is the cheapest.

Summary

    Turner & Hooch is not a great film but one that I still enjoy as a bit of light entertainment. Whilst it is nice that we finally have a 16x9 enhanced transfer, which seems to have resolved many of the issues with aliasing in the original release, it has to be said that in an overall sense there is nothing significantly better here otherwise. At best a slightly better than average transfer but once again with a complete dearth of extras (not even a lousy trailer), the overall package is hardly more recommendable than the original release.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Ian Morris (Biological imperfection run amok)
Wednesday, January 07, 2004
Review Equipment
DVDPioneer DV-515, using S-Video output
DisplaySony Trinitron Wega (80cm). Calibrated with Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials.
AmplificationYamaha RXV-795
SpeakersEnergy Speakers: centre EXLC; left and right C-2; rears EXLR; and subwoofer ES-12XL

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