The Animal: Collector's Edition (2001)

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Released 2-Jan-2002

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Comedy Main Menu Introduction
Menu Animation & Audio
Dolby Digital Trailer-City
Audio Commentary-Luke Greenfield (Director)
Audio Commentary-Rob Schneider (Actor) & John Schneider (Producer)
Active Subtitle Track-Badger Delivery (Deleted Scenes)
Featurette-Comedy Central's Reel Comedy: The Animal
Featurette-Animal Instincts
Deleted Scenes-4
Featurette-What's In Marvin?
Filmographies-Cast & Crew
Theatrical Trailer
Trailer-Joe Dirt; Big Daddy; The Cable Guy
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 2001
Running Time 79:47
RSDL / Flipper RSDL (58:16) Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 2,4 Directed By Luke Greenfield
Studio
Distributor

Sony Pictures Home Entertain
Starring Rob Schneider
Colleen Haskell
John C. McGinley
Guy Torry
Edward Asner
Case ?
RPI $36.95 Music Teddy Castellucci


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
English Audio Commentary Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
English Audio Commentary 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 Active Subtitle Track
English
Spanish
Hindi
Spanish Audio Commentary
Spanish Audio Commentary
English for the Hearing Impaired
Smoking Yes, blink and you will miss it.
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits Yes, after credits voice (no visual).

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

Plot Synopsis

    The Animal is, by all rights, a movie that could easily have been bad, unfunny, and unlikeable. Instead, what we have here is a genuinely funny effort from the combined team that created Deuce Bigalow: Male Gigolo. Why it works is not entirely obvious, but what is obvious is the similarities this movie shares with Deuce Bigalow. The two movies are so similar in their style and humour that it is a very safe bet that if you enjoyed Deuce Bigalow then you will also enjoy The Animal.

    The story follows Marvin Mange (Rob Schneider), a police evidence room file clerk who dreams of one day becoming a fully fledged policeman. Unfortunately, the major obstacle standing between Marvin and his dream is the unavoidable fact that he is an enormous loser. He is despised by all the other cops to the point that he only gets to man the front desk of the police station when all the members of the local force are at their softball game. It is while "minding" the desk for his only friend on the force, Fatty (Louis Lombardi), that he gets a fateful call to a robbery. Unable to rouse the real police from their game, Marvin sets off to attend the robbery himself, only to be forced off the road high in the mountains, and to crash to the valley hundreds of metres below. As is to be expected, he does not fare particularly well from such a plummet, and is only saved by the mysterious Dr. Wilder (Michael Caton), who performs a "radical trans-species-ectomy" on Marvin. Will Marvin be able to control his animal instincts? And what will the rest of the world say when they work out Marvin is not quite the same as he used to be? Well, lets just say it involves a love interest played by Survivor alumni Colleen Haskell, the meanest police Seargent of them all (John C. McGinley), and the theory of "reverse racism" as espoused by Marvin's friend Miles (Guy Torry).

    The "story" is really not a story as such, but a meandering path that goes out of its way to work as many set pieces and sight gags into play as possible. There is really no beginning, middle and end to this story, more a prologue and a middle - with nothing else. This is not much of a problem, however, due mostly to the movie's exceedingly short running time of 79:47, as there is not enough time for the lack of an actual storyline to be noticeable.

    The end result is that The Animal is a very funny movie that is funny in spite of itself. If you were a fan of Deuce Bigalow, then this is definitely worth a look, and if not, then stay away.

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Transfer Quality

Video

    This transfer is very good, although it does sport a few problems that really should not be present in such a recent movie.

    Presented in its original aspect ratio of 1.85:1, this transfer is 16x9 enhanced.

    This transfer is quite sharp, although I have certainly seen sharper transfers. Like a number of recent films, the transfer appears to be attempting to represent a "film-like" image, but the result is that we get a transfer that contains a constant low level of grain throughout. This grain never really presents a problem, but it is annoying at times to anyone who is looking for it. It is most obvious during the opening Columbia logo and as this represents the first few seconds of the feature, it is a somewhat worrying way to start. Shadow detail is superb, displaying more than enough information for all the darker scenes in the movie to be clear and easy to make out. There is no low level noise present in this transfer.

    Colours are generally good, without being remarkable. Certainly there are no scenes that are overly vibrant, but neither are there any scenes that appear to be washed out. In general, the colour rendering goes unnoticed, which would indicate it is serving its purpose perfectly.

    This transfer exhibits no instances of compression artefacts, and the only aliasing present is so minor and so infrequent that if you blinked, you would miss it. The most disappointing aspect of this transfer is the number and frequency of film artefacts. The entire transfer is marked with both black and white artefacts, although some sequences are worse than others. The most noticeable artefacts are a white splotch that appears over a policeman's jacket at 62:42 and what appears to be a hair that appears over Colleen Haskell's back at 50:12. This problem is all the more disappointing given how recent this film is.

    The subtitles presented here are really only a representational effort at best, essentially summarising what is said by the characters. It is rare, in fact, to find a sentence that has not had any words removed from it. Whether the humour of the situation would be effected by these cuts is difficult to ascertain, as I was already aware of what the characters were actually saying.

    This is an RSDL formatted disc with the layer change taking place at 58:16. While it occurs during a passage without dialogue, and during a static shot, the pause in the soundtrack clearly gives its presence away.

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

Audio

    This is an extremely high quality soundtrack that not only fulfils the requirements of a dialogue-driven comedy, but far surpasses them.

    There are four audio tracks present on this disc. These are the original English dialogue in Dolby Digital 5.1 encoded at the higher bitrate of 448 Kbps, a Spanish dialogue dub, also in Dolby Digital 5.1 encoded at the higher bitrate of 448 Kbps, and two audio commentary tracks, both in Dolby Digital 2.0 encoded at 192 Kbps. I listened to the English dialogue track, and both commentary tracks, in their entireties.

    Dialogue is clear and easy to understand at all times (excluding those moments of mumbled, or otherwise mangled, delivery from the actor).

    Audio sync is never a problem during the transfer, even during a specific line the commentary reveals has been looped by an entirely different actor.

    As with most comedies of this nature, there are two elements to the music. There is the score, provided by Teddy Castellucci, that utilises both orchestral and contemporary styles to good effect, and there are the recognisable contemporary tunes interspersed at key moments throughout the film. The score itself is quite good, and on a few occasions mimics the contemporary tunes used at other moments such that I did not notice that they were not "real" tunes until mentioned in a commentary.

    Surround usage is extremely aggressive at all times. As this is a dialogue driven comedy, most of the scenes revolve around the conversations happening at the front centre of the soundstage, however, the surround channels are constantly used for ambient effects, ranging from bird-calls in outside environments to the noise of a machine in Dr. Wilder's lab. When the on-screen activities become more action oriented, the surround channels come blazingly to life, presenting an extremely immersive experience all round.

    The subwoofer, unsurprisingly, has little to do in a dialogue-driven movie. When necessary, it adds a punch to lower elements of some action sequences and the score, but largely stays silent.

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

Extras

    There is a good selection of extras present on this disc, although given the number of deleted scenes mentioned during the commentaries, there are a very small number of these present on this disc.

Menu

    The menu is animated, themed around the movie, and features a Dolby Digital 2.0 soundtrack. The transitions between menu screens feature clips from the movie, and in a cute touch, the names of the standard menu items have all be changed slightly (for instance we now have "Hunt for Scenes" and "Animal Treats"), although they revert to a more recognisable title once highlighted.

Audio Commentary - Rob Schneider (Actor/Producer) and John Schneider (Producer)

    This commentary track features the brothers Schneider, and is a fairly lively track that not only contains a good amount of information about the film, but makes it quite clear that they know they are not exactly making hight art here. This track is heavily dominated by Rob, but John certainly has enough input to justify his place on the track (even if only as a foil for Rob to work against).

Audio Commentary - Luke Greenfield (Director)

    This track is somewhat more subdued than the first, although the fact that the director had to go it alone for his track would not have helped. There is very little overlap between the two commentaries, but it is quite clear that the director had little to do with the initial stages of the movie, and equally little control over the final product.

Interactive Feature - Badger Delivery

    This feature pops up a "Badger Delivery" icon on the screen at infrequent intervals during the movie, at which point (if selected with the "Enter" button on the DVD remote) a deleted scene will be presented, introduced by Rob Schneider and writer Tom Brady. Annoyingly, the introductions and additional scenes are not 16x9 enhanced, and the only way to access them is through the movie - why DVD producers cannot conceive of exactly how annoying this can become is beyond me. It is almost as if they do not watch their own features back on a 16x9 television.

Featurette - Comedy Central's Reel Comedy: The Animal (21:57)

    This is a TV show produced for the US cable channel Comedy Central that is essentially an extended advertisement for the movie. The presentation is in full frame, non 16x9 enhanced and features Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo sound. It features a multitude of clips from the movie. If you have never seen the movie then this gives far too much away, and if you have it gives absolutely no behind the scenes information at all, and as such is pretty much a useless inclusion.

Featurette - Animal Instincts (Behind the Scenes) (8:54)

    This is a typical short behind the scenes feature that is quite promotional in nature, featuring the requisite "the director was great", "the actors were great", "we had more fun on this movie than ever before" lines, but does give enough information to be worth a watch (and is infinitely better than the Comedy Central effort). It is presented in full frame, featuring Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo sound, and is not 16x9 enhanced.

Deleted Scenes

    There are four deleted scenes:     These scenes are in addition to those found within the main feature using the Badger Delivery feature (there is no other way to access those scenes). The number of deleted scenes presented here is quite disappointing, as the number cut was enormous (this is mentioned in both commentaries), but the number available for viewing is quite small. They are presented in 1.85:1 letterboxed, and are not 16x9 enhanced.

DVD "Game" - What's In Marvin?

    This is actually four more deleted scenes from the sequence in Dr Wilder's lab where he explains what he did to Marvin. As with all other deleted scenes, they are presented in 1.85:1 letterboxed, and are not 16x9 enhanced. Access to the scenes is granted by selecting an animal icon to see Marvin behave like that animal.

Filmographies

    These are standard, light-weight filmographies for the major cast, and the director. They really are quite pointless, and reveal nothing further about the feature.

Theatrical Trailers

    There are four trailers:

R4 vs R1

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

    The Region 4 version of this disc misses out on;     The Region 1 version of this disc misses out on;     Unless you will not understand this movie if it is not dubbed in French, or your system cannot decode a 5.1 audio stream, then you might as well stick with the local version. I'm calling this one a draw.

Summary

    The Animal is a funny, but certainly not clever, movie that delivers laughs without going down the Farrelly route of insulting everyone and everything.

    The video quality is good, although the number of film artefacts is disturbing for such a recent film.

    The audio quality is brilliant, being one of the best comedy soundtracks I have encountered.

    Some of the extras are worthwhile, some are not, but the paltry number of deleted scenes presented here (and the fact they have been broken into three separate features, which is really cheating) compared to what is available is a little disappointing.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Nick Jardine (My bio, it's short - read it anyway)
Sunday, January 20, 2002
Review Equipment
DVDPioneer DV-535, using S-Video output
DisplayRCA 80cm. Calibrated with Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials.
AmplificationOnkyo TX-DS787, THX Select
SpeakersAll matching Vifa Drivers: centre 2x6.5" + 1" tweeter (d'appolito); fronts and rears 6.5" + 1" tweeter; centre rear 5" + 1" tweeter; sub 10" (150WRMS)

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Comments (Add)
Uncut Region 1 edition with less special features? -