Beethoven's 2nd (1993)

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Released 21-Nov-2001

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Family Production Notes
Biographies-Cast & Crew
Theatrical Trailer-1.85:1, not 16x9, Dolby Digital 2.0 (1:00)
Rating Rated G
Year Of Production 1993
Running Time 84:49
RSDL / Flipper RSDL Cast & Crew
Start Up Programme
Region Coding 2,4 Directed By Rod Daniel
Studio
Distributor

Sony Pictures Home Entertain
Starring Charles Grodin
Bonnie Hunt
Debi Mazar
Chris Penn
Case Soft Brackley-Transp-Dual v2
RPI Box Music Randy Edelman


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
German Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
French Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Italian Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Spanish 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 English
French
Portuguese
Danish
Finnish
Swedish
Norwegian
German
Dutch
Czech
Polish
Turkish
Hungarian
Bulgarian
Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

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

Plot Synopsis

    After taking a decent box office, it was fairly obvious that Universal would opt for a sequel to the successful Beethoven. Rather than push the frontiers of the sequel genre, it was equally obvious that Universal would pretty much push for more of the same, which is precisely what we get in Beethoven's 2nd - more of the same cute kids, more of the same poor suffering but basically clueless father, more of the same strong-as-a-rock mother and more of the big, cute, fluffy fellow. Just to ensure that there was not a complete rehash of the story, we actually get more in the way of cute dogs as there is not just the one dog but rather six of them, including four really cute little puppies. Yes, it still sounds formulaic, but if anything the mixture known as Beethoven's 2nd works pretty well, and certainly better than is usually the case with sequels.

    Since Beethoven pretty well eliminated all the possible variations of one dog creating absolute havoc, this story takes us down a slightly different path - namely love. Our big lovable hulk starts to realise that around him he is finding couples and starts to realise that he does not have a mate. So what is a large Saint Bernard to do but to go in search of one? Search he does and find he does. Her name is Missy and apart from a stupid bow that she wears, she is a smooth coat equivalent of our hero. Doggy love blossoms but is rudely interrupted when the scheming Regina (Debi Mazar) takes Missy from her doting owner in a ploy to gain $50,000 off him in a divorce settlement. But Regina does not count on our hero, who sets off in pursuit of his lost love. Once reunited, love really blooms and the appropriate number of months later four cute bundles of joy result. Discovered by the Newton kids, who overhear Regina say the pups should be drowned, the puppies are rescued and taken to the safety of the Newton's basement. Naturally this must be kept an absolute secret from the less-than-hinged George Newton (Charles Grodin), or else things might not work out so well. The kids save the puppies but eventually Dad is going to find out and then things might get a bit sticky. But just as usual, Dad cannot do much and the puppies have a home - at least temporarily. Pushed to the edge by the dogs and work, George takes the family and dogs on holiday, where the nasty little Regina seeks to recover what she now sees as valuable puppies that are rightly hers. Ever get the feeling that this is going to end on a bad note?

    After doing such a good job of matching the sort of stuff Disney puts out with Beethoven, Universal pretty well does the same job again with the sequel. The story is still nothing likely to be confused with a Pulitzer Prize winner, but it is again a nice way to showcase not one but six Saint Bernards. With much the same cast returning, with only the addition of Debi Mazar and Chris Penn in major roles, the film is very much in the same mold as its predecessor in just about every respect, and just as it predecessor does, this is a film that continues to provide some amusement, even if it is not quite as much. There is also the odd tendency to overstretch the bounds of reason (you will know when you see it). Even the change of director does not change things at all.

   As an almost seamless sequel, there is just as little in the way of stand-out stuff here as there was in Beethoven. This is a not quite so enduring or endearing effort as the earlier film but it is nonetheless a decent enough family comedy. There remains a lot to commend the film, just as there was in the earlier film.

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Transfer Quality

Video

    The passage of two further years has seen a noticeable improvement in the quality of the transfer, although it still will not match the best around.

    The transfer is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.85:1 and is 16x9 enhanced.

    The noticeable improvement in the transfer is demonstrated in small ways in just about every area. The picture is noticeably sharper and more distinctive. Detail is improved and shows no sign of lapses in the depth of field. The only area where perhaps things have not improved markedly is in the shadow detail, but that may have more to do with the fact that there are more segments shot at night or low light in this film. Overall though, it is not at all bad. The slight grain problem also appears in this transfer, but is even less of an intrusive issue than in Beethoven. There does not appear to be any low level noise in the transfer.

    The colours are much improved here - distinctly more vibrant and distinctly more saturated. The result is a much better looking transfer that is also much more believable. There are no issues with oversaturation here at all, and colour bleed is similarly not a problem.

    There are no artefacts in the transfer of any noticeable kind, since my notes are completely devoid of any notations. The transfer is also much cleaner, with no really obvious film artefacts.

    The disc is RSDL formatted, but I was not able to locate the layer change.

    There is a nice collection of subtitle options on the DVD and the English efforts are very good. They miss very little, and certainly nothing of import, and are very legible.

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

Audio

    There are five soundtracks on the DVD, all being Dolby Digital 2.0 surround-encoded efforts. The choices are English, German, French, Italian and Spanish. I again stuck with the English soundtrack for the review. Whilst being indicated as being surround-encoded, the soundtrack barely sounds like it according to my ears.

    The dialogue comes up well in the transfer and is generally easy to understand. There does not appear to be any audio sync problems in the soundtrack at all.

    The original score also comes from Randy Edelman and is another pretty good effort that is somewhat more memorable than the effort for the earlier film. The film, in another true out-Disney Disney style, also gets a hit song - The Day I Fall In Love from Dolly Parton and James Ingram.

    This is another family film that does not require much from the soundtrack. The dialogue again comes up well and the soundtrack does not draw much attention to itself, so overall the soundtrack does its job well. Nothing much is still coming through the rear surround channels, but the overall soundscape is a little more open and a little more pleasing. It is completely free of any distortions or other blemishes.

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

Extras

    A rather mediocre package is on offer here, reflecting the fact that this is a family-oriented film I guess.

Menu

    Reasonable is the best way to describe this.

Production Notes

    Not exactly the greatest we have ever seen from this source, but at least providing ten pages of information about the making of the film.

Biographies - Cast and Crew

    Appearing to be slightly out-of-date, these are the typical expansive efforts we expect from Universal.

Theatrical Trailer (1:00)

    Considering its length, it is almost a teaser trailer rather than a theatrical trailer. Not a great example of the art of film promotion, but at least technically quite good. It is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.85:1, although not 16x9 enhanced and comes with Dolby Digital 2.0 sound.

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 release misses out on nothing in comparison to the Region 1 release. The Region 1 release however misses out on:

    All things considered, there is no real preference either way, although the one review that I found for the DVD would suggest that the Region 1 transfer might be a little better.

Summary

    Beethoven's 2nd is a worthy sequel to Beethoven albeit one not quite so enduringly funny. The transfer is perfectly good in every way and at least some extras have been thrown onto the DVD. In those long weeks of summer holidays to come, you could do far worse than to check this out.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Ian Morris (Biological imperfection run amok)
Sunday, November 25, 2001
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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