Before we go any further, let's put
the most important fact out here first: the Look Who's Talking DVD
Collection set gets a big fat "skip it" not because of
the quality of the films, but because all three are offered only in
pan-and-scan versions, with no option to see them in their the
original theatrical aspect ratio. To add insult to injury, nowhere on
the outside of the packaging is this indicated – not even in
the ultra-fine print. So even if you love these films – heck,
especially if you love these films – I cannot possibly
recommend that you buy this butchered set.
With that out of the way, let's
consider the films themselves. Three movies are collected here: Look
Who's Talking and its sequels Look Who's Talking Too and
Look Who's Talking Now. The first film is the only one with any merit.
Look Who's Talking has to its
credit a rather clever idea: we're able to hear the thoughts of
Molly's (Kirstie Alley) baby, both in the womb and as a small child.
Bruce Willis provides the voice of little Mikey, giving a sarcastic
take on life around him. That's really the mainstay of the film,
whose plot centers around Molly, a single mother, trying to find a
good father for Mikey. Will it be the stuffy Albert (George Segal) or
the cheerful, boyish James (John Travolta)? Oh, the suspense. There
are some cute moments here, mainly revolving around Mikey's
innocent-yet-sophisticated exploration of the world around him, but
all in all, the 97-minute film feels oddly paced and sags a bit in
the middle. It's a decent rental, offering some light humor and
cotton-candy romance tied together by a clever idea... but one movie
is more than enough.
But obviously not everybody thought
so, or we wouldn't have been burdened with Look Who's Talking Too.
The problem is that Look Who's Talking took its idea and ran
with it as far as it could go. Where does that leave a sequel? With
the bright idea that if one wisecracking baby was fun, why then two
would be even better! Look Who's Talking Too basically takes
the ending sequence of the first film – which was one of the
better parts of that movie, offering a quick, fun development of the
"what happens after they all live happily ever after" idea,
playing while the credits are rolling – and tries to flesh it
out into a full movie. Now, in addition to Mikey (still voiced by
Bruce Willis), we get his baby sister (voiced by Roseanne Barr). Eh.
It just doesn't work very well. Part of the problem is that the
adult-speaks-for-the-baby bit starts feeling a bit peculiar as Mikey
gets closer to the age when he'd actually start talking for himself;
most of the problem is that there's just not enough of a story here
to merit another film.
And then there's Look Who's
Talking Now. The two kids have gotten big enough to talk on their
own, so what's a desperate film producer to do, when he wants to
squeeze just one more film out of an already tired franchise? Why,
it's easy! Toss in a couple of lovable dogs and get celebrities to do
their voices! A stroke of genius! Well, maybe not. Look Who's
Talking Now isn't exactly unwatchable – I can imagine it
being passable to watch if it's the only thing they're playing on
in-flight entertainment on a transatlantic flight, for example –
but it's really pretty pointless. Why watch 95 minutes of Kirstie
Alley and John Travolta limping through a tedious and ultimately
pointless story? It's too lame to even be worth mocking. Well, it is
kind of funny that at one point one of the characters almost gets
eaten by wolves, but unfortunately in the film itself this is one of
the elements that's played for serious drama. I think. Either that,
or it was supposed to be funny, but something went hideously wrong.
Then again, that could describe the whole film, so let's leave it at
The three films each get their own
thin-pak DVD case, inside a glossy paperboard slipcase.
In one of the slimiest DVD transfer
and packaging maneuvers I've had the misfortune to encounter,
Columbia TriStar attempts to foist the three Look Who's Talking
films on us in pan-and-scan versions. That's right, all three films
have been hacked up into so-called "full screen" format,
with no option to see them in their original aspect ratio. Now, I'll
grant that these are not exactly stellar films to begin with, but any
film that's worth watching at all is worth watching in its correct
aspect ratio... and chopping off 40% of the image isn't exactly going
to help make a shaky film more watchable, now is it?
What really rubs me the wrong way,
though, is that there's no indication whatsoever on the packaging
that these films are pan-and-scanned. None. Not so much as a word
anywhere on the outside case – and trust me, I went over it
with a fine-toothed comb. Unless you've been forewarned (for
instance, by this review), you'll end up buying this set in the
mistaken assumption that it's in the correct aspect ratio, and not
until you unwrap it (thus making it un-returnable, of course) and
look at the backs of the individual DVD cases will you see the
"1.33:1 aspect ratio" label. (And even then it doesn't come
out and say that it's been pan and scanned... that's left for the
splash screen when you start watching it.)
Anyway... if you don't mind losing
almost half the picture, how does the rest of it look? Pretty blah,
as if Columbia just grabbed these films off the shelf and slapped
them onto DVD without paying much attention to them. The image is
soft in all three, with a fair amount of noise and a generous helping
of print flaws and dirt in the image. The first film in particular
also looks grainy and washed out; the second and third have slightly
All three films are presented in a
Dolby 2.0 stereo soundtrack. It's pretty uninspired at the best of
times, and at the worst of times (like in the first film) it sounds
tinny and flat. Various dubbed tracks and subtitle options are
included as well: for the first film, French and Spanish dubbed
tracks and English, French, and Spanish subtitles; for the second,
French, Spanish, and Portuguese tracks and English, French, Spanish,
Portuguese, Chinese, Korean, and Thai subtitles (did they really
expect such a wide audience for such a lame movie?); and for the last
film, no dubbed tracks, but English, French, Spanish, Portuguese,
Chinese, and Korean subtitles.
There's nothing of interest here.
The first film has its theatrical trailer, the second film has cast
filmographies plus trailers for itself, Baby Geniuses, and
Stuart Little, and the last film has trailers for itself,
Stuart Little, and Soccer Dog.
Don't buy this set. The first one is
mildly entertaining, but the second two are utterly pointless... but
that's not the real problem. The problem is that all three films are
presented only in pan-and-scan versions. Ugh! Skip it.