Ace Ventura: Pet Detective (1993) (NTSC)

If you create a user account, you can add your own review of this DVD

Released 2-Nov-2001

Cover Art

This review is sponsored by
BUY IT

Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Comedy None
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 1993
Running Time 86:59
RSDL / Flipper No/No Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Tom Shadyac
Studio
Distributor

Warner Home Video
Starring Jim Carrey
Courtney Cox
Troy Evans
Sean Young
Tone Loc
John Capoduce
Udo Kier
Dan Marino
Case Amaray-Transparent
RPI $34.95 Music Ira Newborn


Video (NTSC) Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame Full Screen, not known whether Pan & Scan or Full Frame English Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio None
16x9 Enhancement No
Video Format 480i (NTSC)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.85:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles Portuguese
Spanish
English
Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement Yes, Isotoner gloves
Action In or After Credits No

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

Plot Synopsis

    Once upon a time, quite a few years ago, a man whose opinion I respected (on some subjects, anyway) said to me: "when you are writing a review you must say something good about it, and something bad about it. If you can't do that, then maybe you are not the right person to write the review." I pondered this statement for some time, and discussed this with with my wife. We decided that if you were desperate for something nice to say, then perhaps you could say that it arrived well-wrapped, or nicely packaged.

    Ace Ventura - Pet Detective is nicely packaged. It has a bright cheerful picture on the front cover, it's in a transparent Amaray case (they are about the best there is), and there are no gross spelling errors on the slick.

    Maybe I'm being too harsh. You see, I was put off the moment the DVD arrived. It has "NTSC Region 4" emblazoned across the top right corner of the front cover. Turn it over and you find the wonderful news that the transfer is 1.33:1, which they tell you is "Suitable for all TV screens" - I think they may believe that they are putting one over us. In essence this means that we have been given a transfer intended for VHS tapes in the US. That makes it a bit hard for me to be nice about the disc.

    Let's look at the movie, then. This is Jim Carrey at his most extreme. Sometimes extreme Jim Carrey works: The Mask is excellent, and Liar Liar is good. Sometimes it doesn't. I think this is about the worst example of the latter category.

    Ace Ventura (Jim Carrey) is a struggling private investigator who specialises in pet-related cases. He's actually good at this, because he can relate to animals. During the opening credits we see him rescue a small dog from a nasty man and restore the dog to the woman who loves it. So, naturally, he is the man called in to help when Snowflake, the dolphin mascot of the Miami Dolphins football team, is kidnapped. He is hired by Melissa Robinson (Courtney Cox) and Roger Podacter (Troy Evans). Ace's investigation of the dolphin's tank gives Carrey a chance to ape Star Trek IV.

    One of the first things Ace does is check with the local police - the case has been assigned to Detective Aguado (John Capoduce), who doesn't like Ace, by Captain Lois Einhorn (Sean Young), who really doesn't like Ace. It seems that they don't like him because he's a good detective (he points out some important clues at a murder site, for example). Fortunately, Ace has a good friend in the department, Emilio (Tone Loc, who does the rap over the closing credits), to tip him off about developments in the case.

    One of the set-pieces in this film is the visit to a party hosted by the billionaire owner of the football team, Ronald Camp (Udo Kier), who happens to live on Mockingbird Lane (!). This gives Carrey the opportunity to parody Mission Impossible. It's a fairly silly effort.

    There is one thing about this film that I found quite distasteful. At a certain point, Ace Ventura discovers that he has kissed a man made up to look like a woman. He goes into an extreme over-reaction - vomiting down a toilet, brushing his teeth over and over, stripping off his clothes and burning them - you've probably not seen a more blatant example of homophobia. It goes way past funny and into disgusting.

    There is another moment which falls flat - Ace is trying to get himself committed to a mental institution, so he finds it necessary to don a tutu with a pyjama top, shorts, and boots. The scene would have been much funnier if he'd been dressed normally.

    If you loved Dumb and Dumber, you may like this film.

    Like I said, it is nicely packaged...

Don't wish to see plot synopses in the future? Change your configuration.

Transfer Quality

Video

    Note: this is an NTSC disc - you will not be able to play it on your system unless you have a TV which can display NTSC (many can, but not all, especially older ones), or a DVD player which can convert NTSC into PAL (a rare feature).

    This movie is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.33:1 and is not 16x9 enhanced. I think this is a pan-and-scan transfer.

    The image is not bad at all. It's a little soft, but fairly clear, with reasonable shadow detail and no low-level noise (except for the Morgan Creek logo at the start and end which is very noisy). There are a couple of scenes which exhibit some grain, but they are only momentary.

    Colour is quite good, with nice bright colours in the backgrounds, and on some of Ace Ventura's shirts. 

    There are some film artefacts in a few scenes, but the transfer is mostly fairly clean, with the odd fleck here and there. There are only traces of aliasing and no gross MPEG errors (a little background shimmer, is all). All in all, it's a fairly clean transfer.

    The subtitles are available in Portuguese, Spanish, and English (clearly a true Region 4 release, given that those are the dominant languages across the region). The English subtitles are fairly accurate (some of the usual inaccuracies), and easy to read.

    The disc is single-sided and single layered, with no layer change. I do like the note on the back cover which reads: "SINGLE-LAYER FORMAT Layer transition may trigger a slight pause". These statements are perfectly true, albeit a tad misleading.

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

Audio

    There is only one soundtrack: English Dolby Digital 2.0, not surround encoded. 

    The dialogue is quite clear and comprehensible.

    The score by Ira Newborn is perfectly reasonable, but is nothing special.

    The soundtrack doesn't use the surrounds or subwoofer - their absence is not a problem.

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

Extras

    There are no extras.

Menu

    The menu is static and silent.

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 version of this disc is fullscreen, too, so there's no advantage to either side on that front, but the Region 1 disc has an audio commentary, production notes, and a trailer. Basically, the Region 4 disc is the Region 1 disc without the extras; it doesn't even have the usual advantage of a PAL transfer. As far as I can see, the only advantage the R4 disc could have is price.

Summary

    A film that is not Jim Carrey's best, presented in shoddy form on DVD.

    The video quality is reasonable, for NTSC.

    The audio quality is good, for a straight stereo track.

    The extras are non-existent.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Tony Rogers (bio-degrading: making a fool of oneself in a bio...)
Friday, February 08, 2002
Review Equipment
DVDArcam DV88, using Component output
DisplaySony VPH-G70 CRT Projector, QuadScan Elite scaler (Tripler), ScreenTechnics 110. Calibrated with Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials.
AmplificationDenon AVC-A1SE
SpeakersFront Left and Right: Krix Euphonix, Centre: Krix KDX-C Rears: Krix KDX-M, Subwoofer: Krix Seismix 5

Other Reviews
DVD Net - Amy F
DVDAnswers - Warwick G
Jeff K's Australian DVD Info Site - Kevin S
DVDownUnder - Paul J

Comments (Add)
What is wrong with this picture - Anonymous