Beethoven's 3rd (2000)
|Year Of Production||2000|
|RSDL / Flipper||RSDL (59:38)||Cast & Crew|
|Start Up||Language Select Then Menu|
|Region Coding||2,4||Directed By||David Mickey Evans|
Universal Pictures Home Video
|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|
|Video Format||576i (PAL)|
|Original Aspect Ratio||1.85:1||Miscellaneous|
English for the Hearing Impaired
|Annoying Product Placement||No|
|Action In or After Credits||Yes, during credits|
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.
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.
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.
|Surround Channel Use|
NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.
|DVD||Pioneer DV-515, using S-Video output|
|Display||Sony Trinitron Wega (80cm). Calibrated with Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable.|
|Audio Decoder||Built in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials.|
|Speakers||Energy Speakers: centre EXLC; left and right C-2; rears EXLR; and subwoofer ES-12XL|