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Dog Who Saved Easter
What with all the candy and all, Easter can be a busy, hectic time of year. However, it's a time you'll want to revisit all year long, without all the stress of dying eggs and Easter egg hunts. You can do that with this seasonally themed movie featuring lots of talking dogs, Dean Cain, Beverly Mitchell, (7th Heaven) and the voice of Mario Lopez as Zeus, the dog who saved Easter. Good doggie, OK movie that will mildly please softies and the very young.
Zeus is a lovable pooch. Maybe a bit rambunctious, but he has saved other holidays, so he's pretty valuable. When Zeus' family decides to take a tropical vacation just before Easter, they're forced to decide upon a boarding house for the canine. Should the family choose evil Cressida's de-facto dog pound, or Cressida's former assistant Alice's new doggie day-care, housed in a Californian mansion? Of course Alice (Mitchell) is the best option for providing a caring, too-perfect way station. Trouble is, Alice represents a thorn in the side, or paw, of Cressida, who decides her best option is dog napping and sabotage. Will Cressida's flunkies, led by Cain, be able to shut down Alice's dog-steraunt, thus bringing a sad end to the holiday, and joy to Cressida's black heart?
Hell to the no! Zeus and his new four-legged friends are too smart and sassy to let that happen! What follows should be no surprise to parents looking for family friendly entertainment for their kids. Hi-jinx, mild laughs, wise-cracking tail-waggers, and a little mild romance courtesy of Alice and veterinarian Will, gamely tackled by Matthew Boy Meets World Lawrence. Happy endings abound, while seasoned viewers will find Easter a very mild entry in the family movie sweepstakes.
Easter Dog earns points for featuring actors (save Cain) who look like 'normal' people, especially Mitchell, who I could imagine hanging out with and having a beer. The movie might lose those points with weird touches like the two Easter Chicks who serve as a baffling 'Greek Chorus,' and an overreliance on poop jokes, which, while unrealistic, are still kind of disgusting, and will only appeal to the 10-year-old boys who won't want to watch this movie anyway. Rent It.
The Dog Who Saved Easter provides salvation for DVD with a fine-looking 1.78:1 image. Colors are natural and vibrant. Details appear standard for DVD (i.e. pretty good) and look even better on an HDTV, not as good as BD, of course, but better than your average DVD. No compression artifacts or other problems were detected.
Dolby Digital 5.1 or 2.0 Audio in English are your two sonic choices. Both are totally fine. The 5.1 track gets pretty active with goofy sound effects and whatnot, and sports a nicely robust dynamic range. Audio, music, and other soundtrack elements are mixed at appropriate volumes. The 2.0 Stereo track is adequate for the job as well, but if you want that extra punch, pick the 5.1 track. My only complaint is that the animal voices seem to have been produced with little to no effort to make them integrate into the movie's environment. When the cute pups, bunnies, cats, and chicks are 'speaking' to each other outside, it sounds almost exactly as if they are humans speaking into microphones in a high quality studio. I guess it's a moot point since the animals aren't actually speaking anyway, so why do they need to sound 'realistic'? It is distracting, however.
Closed Captioning, Spanish Subtitles, a Stills Gallery and the Trailer constitute your run-of-the-mill extras. A four-minute Behind The Scenes Featurette is pretty standard fare, but the Director/Producer Commentary Track is what it's all about. You might ask why such a movie needs a commentary track? It's to remind you that a boatload of talented people worked on this production. The track is lively, informative, and frankly more entertaining than the movie. Watch it first!
The Dog Who Saved Easter sits smack-dab in the lower middle end of talking animal movies. Mildly amusing and by the numbers, it at least has actors who don't fit the Hollywood mold, if you know what I mean. Kids might be amused and distracted, but this one would suffice as a cable-TV movie. Rent It.
- Kurt Dahlke