Saturday, January 9, 2010

Cheaper by the Dozen 2 Blu-ray Review

Disc Size: 22.1 GB
Film Size: 20.6 GB
Film Rating: PG
Region: A

Video
Cheaper by the Dozen 2 comes to Blu-ray with a 1080p AVC/MPEG-4 video presentation. The film looks quite good in high-definition and the print appears to be in top condition with no annoying specks or dirt to be found throughout the presentation.

The upgrade in clarity and detail from DVD is actually very good, I didn’t remember how the DVD release looked, but once I compared I was certainly impressed. Not every scene is sharp and filled with the strongest detail, but there are many great looking moments.

Colors were vibrant and rich for the most part, and the presentation almost always pops off the screen. I also think the film features a good level of depth. The camp settings definitely provide a fantastic location for a high-def presentation and for the most part the movie does impress in high-def.

For an almost five year old film it actually looks very good and those looking to upgrade their DVD copy should upgrade without hesitating. I’m definitely very pleased and actually quite impressed by Cheaper by the Dozen 2’s look on Blu-ray. 8/10.

Audio
A 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio track is included and the first thing you may find yourself doing is turning up the volume a tad higher than usual. Dialogue at my usual listening level was a bit dull but once I turned it up a bit the quality was definitely much easier to appreciate, it all became crystal clear.

I didn’t expect much from a family film, and we don’t get too much to be excited about surround-wise. The mix uses the surround speakers nicely about 4 or 5 times throughout the entire film, definitely nice touches but makes the track feel a bit duller.

Apart from lack of surround use I thought the track was actually pretty good. No it’s not that improved from the DVD audio track, but everything comes through nice and clear from beginning to end. I’m pleased by the DTS-HD MA track provided; just don’t go in expecting miracles. 7/10.

Extras

Audio Commentary
With Director Adam Shankman.

Fox Movie Channel Presents (8:03) (SD)
Casting crew talks about casting the other family featured in the film and what they were specifically looking for.

Camp Chaos (10:17) (SD)
The cast and crew talk about filming the sequel and the locations featured in the movie. They also talk about the chaos on set, which had mostly to do with the high number of children on set.

A Comedic Trio (5:27) (SD)
The cast and crew talk about working with three comedy superstars which include Steve Martin, Eugene Levy and Bonnie Hunt.

Theatrical Trailer #1 (2:10) (SD)

Theatrical Trailer #2 (2:26) (SD)

There are not very many extras, but there are some good featurettes provided. I didn’t care much for the audio commentary to be honest. I did enjoy the ‘Camp Chaos’ and ‘A Comedic Trio’ featurettes though as they feature plenty of behind-the-scenes interviews and footage. Overall the extras are not too impressive, but at least everything from the DVD release is included. 6/10.

Blu-news Summary
Cheaper by the Dozen 2 is a sequel to Cheaper by the Dozen (2003), which is a remake of a 1950 film of the same name. I don’t think many remakes stand much of a chance as far as critic rave goes, many feel a film is horrific just for being remade for audiences today.

I personally am not in favor of or against remakes, I think they can be fun and at times improved, but at the same time I hope Hollywood could be a bit more creative in coming up with new popular ideas rather than recycling them.

Cheaper by the Dozen 2 did not receive amazing reception when opening theatrically, but surprisingly most viewers find it to be about the same quality as the first film. I personally have no problem with a good family comedy that even young viewers can enjoy. I think most negative reception of the film come from film critics, not thinking about family reception but rather their own as a grown adult.

Let’s face it, if you are watching Cheaper by the Dozen 2 and don’t have children, chances are you may not enjoy it as much. It was made with families in mind, and the film is all about family. A lot of the humor is a bit unoriginal and yes there is plenty of dumb humor, but it’s got to keep children entertained as well. There are some jokes for adults in there as well, but are quite toned down.

The movie features the entire original cast as they take a trip to a memorable vacation spot, although not quite the family vacation that Tom Baker (Steve Martin) and Kate Baker (Bonnie Hunt) had in mind. Their children all end up playing with the children of Tom’s long-time rival, Jimmy Murtaugh (Eugene Levy).

By the end of the film they realize family is what is most important and that long-time rivalry of the fathers is silly and a waste of time. Yeah the film is not original at all, but it works just fine for this movie and I’m sure all viewers in your family will find something to enjoy about Cheaper by the Dozen 2.

I definitely try to score family films in comparison to other family films rather than your average film. The movie is not smart, original, or extremely hilarious….but it provides some great messages and heart for all children and adults in your family. 7.5/10.

The Blu-ray release is quite good, featuring a nice video presentation and decent audio track. Extras are nothing to rave about, but I’m sure some viewers will find some entertainment from them. Overall, Cheaper by the Dozen 2 on Blu-ray is ‘Recommended’ to those with children.

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