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May 19, 2009
Marley & Me Blu-Ray Movie Review
Cinema Release Blu-Ray Release Distributor Director
15/1/20096/5/2009FoxDavid Frankel
Video Codec Sound Format OFLC Rating Star(s)
AVC MPEG-4DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1PGOwen Wilson

THE MOVIE
In early 2009 Marley & Me was unleashed upon cinemas in Australia, and you would have had to be living on a deserted island to have missed the puppy heavy promotions including the posters and trailers. All this marketing worked a treat as the movie managed a worldwide theatrical box office exceeding $US240 million dollars. This is, without a doubt, a big movie. What many people may not realise is that the movie is actually based on the autobiographical book Marley & Me: Life and Love with the World's Worst Dog by John Grogan.

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It's Marley and Owen Wilson as John Grogan.
The two lead actors, Owen Wilson and Jennifer Aniston, are both hot property, and who doesn't love dogs? After such a massive box office there was little doubt that this Blu-Ray release would be highly anticipated. So what is this movie all about exactly then?

After their wedding, newspaper writers John and Jennifer Grogan move to Florida. In an attempt to stall Jennifer's "biological clock", John gives her a puppy. While the puppy Marley grows into a 100 pound dog, he loses none of his puppy energy or rambunctiousness. Meanwhile, Marley gains no self-discipline. Marley's antics give John rich material for his newspaper column. As the Grogans mature and have children of their own, Marley continues to test everyone's patience by acting like the world's most impulsive dog.

The most surprising aspect of this movie is that it isn't about a 'dog' but rather the trials and tribulations of a couple living their life, a dog of which is only a small part of their lives. Don't get me wrong, the vast majority of the comedic moments revolve around the antics of Marley, and he certainly appears in the majority of scenes in the movie, but the emotional core revolves around the story of John and Jennifer's lives as they go through the cycles of ups and downs of married life and starting a family. Owen Wilson is a great comedic actor while he isn't overly amusing I can't recall a movie of late which demonstrates the loving relationship between a dog and his master better then Marley & Me.

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Owen Wilson and Jennifer Aniston star.
The main issue I have with this movie is that it's fairly predictable. There is the odd twist and turn, but the most fun with this movie is simply watching the reaction of the dog from a small puppy to, well, the inevitable conclusion which will have you in tears. It would have been great if the director, David Frankel (The Devil Wears Prada), could have put in some more amusing moments which didn't involve the dog, but rather the brilliance of Owen Wilson and Jennifer Aniston who can both turn out some brilliant comedic performances.

While this isn't a great movie, Marley & Me is an entertaining movie for the entire family, although there are some adult themes and concepts and youngsters may find the ending a little overwhelming. Still, this is well worth a look.

VIDEO
Marley & Me is a very impressive looking film on Blu-Ray. Presented in the films original aspect ratio of 2.35:1 using the AVC MPEG-4 codec this presentation is free of any film artifacts or dirt and very little in the way of compression issues. That's pretty much exactly what you would expect from a movie less then a year old.

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Marley is such a good boy.
This movie offers impressive levels of fine detail thanks to the 1080p resolution provided by the Blu-Ray format, natural colours and a realistic look without the 'Hollywood' gloss and oversaturated colours in so many other modern movies.

In terms of issues there is little to complain about. If we want to pick the smallest of faults then the contrast is perhaps a little too high, with lighter scenes looking overly bright. Beyond that, forget about it, it's too small to matter.

AUDIO
As with all Fox Blu-Ray releases the primary audio track on this disc is provided via a DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track. This is hardly a movie that needs a stunning lossless audio track, but it certainly means this movie sounds every bit as wonderful as the director intended. This is quite a dialogue (and barking) heavy movie with much of the audio being focused on the front speakers. There were times though when the surround sound speakers and sub woofer kicked into gear to offer a little more oompf to the experience.

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Now that's a bad puppy dog!
Other soundtracks on the Marley & Me Blu-Ray include English Descriptive Audio, Spanish DTS 5.1 at 768kbps, as well as Czech, Hungarian, Polish, and Turkish Dolby Digital 5.1 tracks encoded at 448kbps. We must point out that the Polish track retains the English voices and dubs the Polish voices over the top - often way out of synch with the English voices.

Subtitles are provided in English for the Deaf and Hearing Impaired, Arabic, Bulgarian, Castilian, Spanish, Croatian, Czech, Greek, Hebrew, Hungarian, Icelandic, Polish, Portuguese, Romanian, Serbian, Slovenian, and Turkish. Having sampled the English track the text was accurate to the dialogue on screen with no obvious issues.

EXTRAS
Marley & Me comes to Blu-Ray with quite a few extras so here we go...

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Marley plays on the couch.
Deleted Scenes (25:58/HD): Nineteen deleted scenes are presented here with optional directors commentary. Some of these scenes are pretty entertaining, but given the movie was long enough their removal was probably justified.

Finding Marley (7:48/HD): In this featurette we look at some of the 26 dogs used in the movie, and the training and on-set filming.

Breaking the Golden Rule (8.02/HD): One of the golden rules when making films is don't work with kids or animals. This movie has both and it looks at the fun with working with animals on the set.

On Set with Marley: Dog of All Trades (2:36/HD): A mock interview with Marley. Silly, but somewhat entertaining.

Animal Adoption (5:19/HD): A look at adopting an animal from the pound. It's great to see a more serious documentary about animal shelters, even if it is brief.

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Jennifer Aniston picks out a puppy.
Gag Reel (5:40/HD): I was a little disappointed in this featurette as I'm sure there was a tonne of on-set footage. Still there's the occasionally chuckle here.

When Not To Pee (2:17/HD): A funny little featurette about getting the dog to pee on-set for one of the scenes.

Dog Training Trivia Track (HD): This trivia track is a mixture of pop-up trivia about dogs, but also includes a series of dog training videos displayed in a PIP track while the movie plays. These clips can also be accessed via the menu. Not much here for those that don't own dogs.

OVERALL
Marley & Me is an entertaining movie with some very amusing scenes, and also some which will have you in tears. Owen Wilson and Jennifer Aniston are a likable couple on screen and the movie is better then average as a result.

Review By: Dave Warner

THE MOVIE
7/10
THE VIDEO
9/10
THE AUDIO
8/10
THE EXTRAS
5/10
OVERALL
7/10

Note: All images in this article are Copyrightę Fox. They are only indicative of the movie and not sourced from the vastly superior Blu-Ray disc format.