Racing Stripes (2005)

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Released 17-Jun-2005

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Family Main Menu Introduction
Main Menu Audio & Animation
Dolby Digital Trailer-Rain
Audio Commentary-Frederik Du Chau (Director)
Alternate Ending
Outtakes
Featurette-How To Make Animals Talk
Featurette-Animal Acting 101
Deleted Scenes
Game-Buzz And Scuzz's Flyin' Fiasco
Game-Interactive Comic Book, With Optional Narration
Featurette-The Music Of Racing Stripes, With Sting And Bryan Adams
Theatrical Trailer
Easter Egg
Rating Rated G
Year Of Production 2005
Running Time 97:37
RSDL / Flipper RSDL (68:59) Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Frederik Du Chau
Studio
Distributor

Warner Home Video
Starring Bruce Greenwood
Hayden Panettiere
Caspar Poyck
Gary Bullock
Wendie Malick
M. Emmet Walsh
Thandi Puren
Morne Visser
Dawn Matthews
Matt Stern
John Lesley
Graeme Hawkins
Tarryn Downes
Case Amaray-Transparent-Secure Clip
RPI $34.95 Music Mark Isham


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame Auto Pan & Scan Encoded English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
English Audio Commentary Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/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 for the Hearing Impaired Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

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

Plot Synopsis

    Racing Stripes is a fun family film in the tradition of Babe that features talking animals and an important message, which in this case is to not judge a book by its cover and, more importantly, if you look different to everybody else you can still succeed at something in life.

    The film opens with a baby zebra being left behind when a circus truck leaves town. The baby is picked up by retired race-horse trainer and now farmer Nolan Walsh (Bruce Greenwood), who takes the frightened animal home. Nolan's daughter Channing (Hayden Panettiere) immediately falls in love with the zebra and names him Stripes.

    As Stripes settles into his new life, it becomes quickly obvious this is no ordinary farm. In the tradition of Babe and Charlotte's Web, the many eccentric creatures that call the farm home can talk to each other. With the voices provided by a host of Hollywood talent, we meet the grouchy Shetland pony Tucker (Dustin Hoffman), the old goat Franny (Whoopi Goldberg) and a visiting pelican called Goose (Joe Pantoliano). The voice of the now grown Stripes is provided by Malcolm In The Middle star Frankie Muniz, while the voices of two semi-amusing flies (the source of many fart and poo jokes) are provided by David Spade and Steve Harvey. Even Snoop Dogg gets a guernsey lending his voice to (what else but) a lazy old bloodhound dog.

    As Stripes grows he begins to realise he doesn't quite look like the other horse around the farm even though he is convinced he is a horse (nobody has broken the bad news to him so he has no reason to suspect anything else). He likes to run just like the thoroughbreds at the swank Dalrymple stud next door and dreams of one day making it big at the local racetrack.

    As luck would have it, there comes a day when young Channing is stuck with no way of getting to her job at the racetrack so she is forced to ride Stripes. Despite being mocked by the other horses and jeered because he is really a zebra, Stripes gets the chance to have a run on the track and the speedy manner in which he covers the last quarter mile attracts the attention of a local trainer. The trainer suggests to Nolan Walsh that he should resume his training career and prepare Stripes for a crack at the upcoming Kentucky Open - against the best thoroughbreds in the area.
   
    What happens next is fairly obvious, with all the animals pitching in to help young Stripes overcome his fear of racing and prove that no matter how different you look you can have a go at something and succeed.

    A fun film that should appeal to all ages.

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Transfer Quality

Video

    This is a vibrant, rich, colourful, and all round wonderfully pleasing video transfer with some exquisite CGI seamlessly integrated into the real world environment.

    The transfer is presented in the original theatrical aspect ratio of 1.85:1, and is also 16x9 enhanced. Auto Pan and Scan encoding is available for those that need their vision in 1.33:1.

    The transfer is as sharp as a tack and superbly rendered and detailed. There is no edge enhancement present. There are no shadow detail problems, no grain, and no low level noise.

    Colours are a joy. Primary tones dominate, especially bright, solid and vivid reds and yellows. Skin tones are spot on. This is certainly one of the more colourful transfers I have seen in some time.

    There are no compression artefacts. As you would expect for a reasonably big budget recent film, there are no film artefacts.

    I sampled the sole stream of English subtitles while listening to the audio commentary and found them mostly accurate in their interpretation of the dialogue.

    This is a dual layered disc with RSDL formatting. The layer change occurs at 68:59.



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

Audio

    While not overly aggressive in the surround stakes, this is still a clean, powerful, modern soundtrack that is a whole lot of fun to experience.

    There are two English Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtracks both encoded at 448 Kb/s. The first is an English track for the film while the second is also in English and consists of a commentary track by the director.

    The dialogue delivered by the human actors is excellent and there are no audio sync problems. The dialogue delivered by the CGI animated animals is also clear and easily understood. It's a little difficult to appreciate the audio sync here, but generally the animators have done a superb job.

    The score credited to the well-known Mark Isham captures the vibrancy of the story well.

    While not overly aggressive in its use of the surround channels, there are still plenty of opportunities where they spring into life such as in the farmyard and at the race track.

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

Extras

    There is a nice bunch of extras included on this disc, with at least one item that should appeal to a variety of age groups.

Main Menu Introduction

Main Menu Audio & Animation

Dolby Digital Trailer

Audio Commentary - Frederik Du Chau (director)

    Racing Stripes is Frederik Du Chau's first live-action film and he is obviously very proud of the finished product. He enthusiastically discusses all aspects of the film including technical aspects, locations, CGI use and actors. Worth a listen.

Alternate Ending

    This clocks in at just 1:26 and doesn't add a great deal to the story, but it does show what happens after Stripes and his beloved Sandy have a foal.

Outtakes

    8:13 of blooper-style outtakes, though in the tradition of other animated and semi-animated features these are of course purely intentional. Thankfully they are also quite funny.

Featurette - How To Make Animals Talk

    A 5:43 that deals with the CGI applied to the animal actors in post-production to make them appear to be talking.

Featurette - Animal Acting 101

    This featurette runs for 9:43 and focuses on the animals used in the film and their trainers who prepared them for filming.

Deleted Scenes

    A total of five deleted scenes with all running for around 30 seconds each.

Game - Buzz And Scuzz's Flyin' Fiasco

    A simple game where you use your remote control to aid Stripes in his race against the thoroughbreds.

Game - Interactive Comic Book, With Optional Narration

    A comic book that deals with the bit of the story just before the film starts. Runs for 6:31 and comes with the option of narration soundtrack.

Featurette - The Music Of Racing Stripes, With Sting And Bryan Adams

    Runs for 4:01 and features brief interviews with Sting and Bryan Adams, who both contributed songs for the film.

Theatrical Trailer

    Runs for 2:23 and contains some great gags without giving away too much plot.

Easter Egg

    An amusing 2:16 Easter Egg that can be found somewhere around the extras menu (LISTEN real hard to the zebra). Watch as a hapless Warner executive gets harassed in his office by one of the stars of the film, Reggie the Rooster.

R4 vs R1

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

    The Region 1 disc appears to be identical to the Region 4 version.

Summary

    Racing Stripes is a charming family film that will appeal to many age groups. Talking animals are always popular and with some decent CGI blended with colourful live action, everything comes wonderfully to life.

    The video and audio quality of the transfer is excellent, while there are bountiful extras to entertain.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Darren Walters (It's . . . just the vibe . . . of my bio)
Friday, June 17, 2005
Review Equipment
DVDDenon DVD-3910, using RGB output
DisplayLoewe Calida (84cm). Calibrated with Digital Video Essentials (PAL). This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Digital Video Essentials (PAL).
AmplificationHarmon/Kardon AVR7000.
SpeakersFront - B&W 602S2, Centre - B&W CC6S2, Rear - B&W 601S2, Sub - Energy E:xl S10

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