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Reviews » DVD Video Reviews » Look Who's Talking DVD Collection
Look Who's Talking DVD Collection
Columbia/Tri-Star // PG-13 // February 1, 2005
List Price: $36.96 [Buy now and save at Amazon]
Review by Holly E. Ordway | posted April 8, 2005 | E-mail the Author
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The movie

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 that.

The DVD

The three films each get their own thin-pak DVD case, inside a glossy paperboard slipcase.

Video

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 better colors.

Audio

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.

Extras

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.

Final thoughts

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.

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