Beethoven's 3rd (2000)

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Released 8-Nov-2000

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Family Trailer-3
Web Links
Rating Rated G
Year Of Production 2000
Running Time 94:04
RSDL / Flipper RSDL (59:38) Cast & Crew
Start Up Language Select Then Menu
Region Coding 2,4 Directed By David Mickey Evans
Studio
Distributor

Universal Pictures Home Video
Starring Judge Reinhold
Julia Sweeney
Michaela Gallo
Joe Pichler
Michael Ciccolini
Jamie Marsh
Frank Gorshin
Danielle Wiener
Case Amaray-Transparent
RPI $31.95 Music Philip Giffin


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 5.1 (384Kb/s)
French Dolby Digital 5.1 (384Kb/s)
German Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Italian Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1 (384Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.78:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.85:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English for the Hearing Impaired
French
German
Dutch
Spanish
Italian
Swedish
Norwegian
Danish
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

    Just how many laughs can you get out of one very large and very loveable St Barnard by the name of Beethoven? Enough for two films it seems. Not that that seems to have bothered the intrepid studio executives who must have green-lighted this third instalment in the Beethoven franchise. Yes, that big loveable St Barnard is back to wreak more havoc upon the unsuspecting Newton family, but the result is very much a tepid little effort that falls into that category of being so bad that it actually is quite good fun. The fact that this apparently is a straight-to-video effort probably says all that needs to be said about the film.

    We begin once again in the Newton household, but this time a different Newton household, that of Richard Newton (Judge Reinhold). In something of a cross between The Griswolds and Beethoven, the family is about to embark upon a cross-country journey to attend The Newton Family Reunion. Now this broadly speaking has not enthralled the other members of the family too much, and wife Beth (Julia Sweeney), son Brendan (Joe Pichler) and daughter Sara (Michaela Gallo) are not looking forward with glee to this rehash of the famed trip Richard did with his dear old dad many years ago. Still, the RV is packed and raring to go, but one little package is yet to arrive. The real Newtons are overseas and have made a little request - can brother Richard take a parcel to the reunion? No problemo, the RV has plenty of storage space - but the parcel that arrives is no little thing - and so we finally get to see the star of the show, Beethoven. Now we are ready to go. Oops, almost forgot the sub-plot that is going to create the mayhem. Two bumbling thieves have nicked some program that they have stored on a DVD disguised as a film that no one would ever want to hire or buy - other than of course Richard, and said DVD is part of the family entertainment package in the RV. So these bumbling fools traipse after the Newtons to steal the DVD back. The rest will just have to be discovered by yourselves!

    Unmercifully borrowing ideas from some obvious sources - National Lampoon's Vacation and A Goofy Movie amongst them - there is not much of a story here. Filled with some very poorly-executed characters, loads of visual gags that may have been funny the first time round but definitely aren't after their fiftieth incarnation in three films and the odd piece of toilet humour (all done quite tastefully though), there is little wonder that this went directly to video. The entire thrust here is decidedly aimed at a target audience of the pre-teens set. There is little in the way of acting on display here with only Judge Reinhold managing to bring any sort of ability to the table - and given the general opinion I have of his talents, indicative of how bad the rest are. Especially unmemorable is Julia Sweeney and so unmeritorious is her performance that it should be granted an honorary Razzie for worst performance by a lead actress in a film. Unnotably directed by some guy I have never heard of, in David Mickey Evans, this really is direct-to-video fodder of the highest order.

    Yet, despite the obvious odiousness of the entire film, in some ways it is an amusing enough piece of ninety minute entertainment. Despite the obviousness of the gags, you do tend to find yourself giggling anyway. There just seems to be something consistently funny about people getting metal towbars pounded into their groin area, or feeding eggs to farting dogs. Yes, definitely in the so-bad-that-it's-funny category. However, let us hope that the powers that be, having decided to put out this piece of dross, will now bring out the infinitely superior Beethoven and Beethoven's 2nd. As it is now, the only Beethoven's 3rd I want to see again is the 3rd Symphony or the 3rd Piano Concerto.

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Transfer Quality

Video

    Run out that old theorem again, as this piece of drivel has been given an extremely good video transfer.

    Despite this being a direct-to-video effort, the transfer is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.78:1, and it is 16x9 enhanced.

    Apart from a couple of minor lapses in focus, this is a sharp and detailed transfer that really is noticeably better than much that has passed through my player recently. It is a bright and clear transfer that really shows up the whole film in the best possible way. Indeed, it may be that the film is too clear and detailed, as it does highlight the fact that the forward views from the RV look to be very much projected images. Shadow detail is uniformly excellent throughout. There is nothing in the way of grain here and low level noise is also absent from the image.

    The colours come up wonderfully bright and vibrant here and again this is better than most of my recent viewings. There are no oversaturation problems at all and colour bleed is not an issue either. The overall look and feel of the film is very natural and it is perhaps a pity that some better-looking locations were not used to take advantage of the quality of the transfer.

    At 56:50 there is some minor aliasing on the car door, at 61:15 there is some loss of resolution on the pan shot of the train and at 85:55 there is a loss of resolution on a general pan shot. That is about the sum total of anything that could be called problematic in the transfer. Other than that, this is a transfer free of MPEG artefacts, film-to-video artefacts and film artefacts.

    Despite the relatively short length of the film, this is an RSDL formatted DVD, with the layer change coming at 59:38. It is a decent layer change, reasonably well placed and not really disruptive to the flow of the film.

    It is not often that it is necessary to comment upon the subtitles in a review but in this case it is quite warranted I feel. There are no less than three different font sizes used in the nine subtitle options, which really is a very sloppy piece of work in my view. Compounding this however is the fact that the font for the English for the Hearing Impaired subtitles is ridiculously large, so large that I think someone must have confused them with being subtitles for the Visually Impaired. They are about twice the size of what they need to be and take up a fair chunk of the display screen. Not good at all.

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

Audio

    There are five soundtracks on this DVD, being an English Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack, a French Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack, a German Dolby Digital 2.0 surround encoded soundtrack, an Italian Dolby Digital 2.0 surround encoded soundtrack and a Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack. I stuck with the default English soundtrack.

    The dialogue comes up very clear easy to understand in the transfer. There is no problem with audio sync.

    The music score comes from Philip Giffin, and in keeping with the rest of the film is completely unmemorable.

    There is really not an awful lot to say about the soundtrack. Since the film is aimed at the pre-teens set, the bass channel usage is somewhat restrained and does not really get too much action. The surround channel use is adequate considering the style of the film, although the rear channels do not really get much of a run here at all. The sound is bright and clear, in keeping with the rest of the film.

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

Extras

    Not much on offer here, but considering the direct-to-video status I am guessing that the studio would not have been willing to spend any more money than they already have on the film.

Menu

    Pretty much a repeat of the front cover slick, devoid of anything like audio or animation enhancement but with 16x9 enhancement. The mild annoyance of not returning to the correct menu appears here - watch a trailer and at its conclusion rather than returning to the trailers menu, the DVD returns to the main menu. Bit sloppy really.

Trailers (3)

    All three are presented in Full Frame format, are not 16x9 enhanced and come with Dolby Digital 2.0 sound. They naturally enough are for Beethoven (2:21), Beethoven's 2nd (0:56) and Beethoven's 3rd (1:10). Decent enough with no real problems.

R4 vs R1

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

    There would appear to be no significant difference between the Region 1 and Region 4 releases of this film, other than a greater selection of audio and subtitle options on the Region 4 release. Region 4 wins again thanks to PAL formatting.

Summary

    Representing the low point of the Beethoven franchise thus far (they surely will not make another film?), this may well satisfy the pre-teen set far more than it does I. The movie is given a very good transfer that is totally out of keeping with the artistic merit of the film. Probably its worst fault is that it really does make you wish for the original film to be released as soon as possible.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Ian Morris (Biological imperfection run amok)
Sunday, November 26, 2000
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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