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  Directed by
  Starring
  Specs
  • Widescreen 1.78:1
  • 16:9 Enhanced
  • Dual Layer (RSDL 51:24)
  Languages
  • English: Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround
  Subtitles
    English - Hearing Impaired
  Extras
  • 3 Theatrical trailer

Beethoven's 4th

Universal/Universal . R4 . COLOR . 89 mins . G . PAL

  Feature
Contract

Following on from Beethovenís 3rd, the Newton family return, taking care of the destructive, slobbering Beethoven. Richard (Judge Reinhold) has decided to become a Mr Mom so his wife Beth (Julia Sweeney) can return to work. Beethoven is causing so much damage that the parents are considering finding him a new home, much to the anguish of the children Brennan and Sara. To try and convince the parents to keep Beethoven, they enrol him in an obedience school.

Meanwhile, in another part of town, is the very rich Sedgwick family, consisting of parents Reginald (Matt McCoy) and Martha (Veanne Cox) and daughter Madison (Kaleigh Crish). They also have a St Bernard, the very well behaved Michelangelo. The Sedgwickís also have a very British butler named Simmons (Mark Lindsay Chapman), who seems to be a little evil and resentful of Michelangelo.

Now, if you havenít guessed already, Beethoven and Michelangelo accidentally get switched during a bungled kidnapping attempt, ending up with the wrong families. The Newton family is amazed at the new improved Beethoven while the Sedgwicks are astonished at the much worse than normal Michelangelo. With nobody seeming to realise what has transpired, each family do what they can to get their respective dogs to be how they were.

"When you people fell out of the stupid tree, you hit every branch on the way down."

This is, to say the least, very predictable. The same jokes used in the first three instalments are used over and over again. There is a sickening amount of overacting, due to what the producers were looking for, not totally due to the abilities of the cast. There is again the countless slow motion dog-running-towards-camera shots and countless drinking from the toilet scenes. The amount of slobber in this film makes the dog from Turner and Hooch look dehydrated. The stereotypical evil butler is here with his stupid accomplice, and even stupider parents from both families make this film just a little too hard to watch. The one saving grace is that the dogs donít actually talk. There is no doubt this film is aimed at the younger viewer, but surely even they are tired of this format by now? Beethovenís 4th is much in the vein of the Police Academy series and we all pray that they stop at four and not carry on as that series did.

  Video
Contract

The transfer for this feature is quite good. Presented in a 1.78:1 aspect ratio and 16x9 enhanced, there is little to find fault with. The picture is very sharp with great definition and shadow detail. Colours are very true, with good vibrancy and deep blacks. Grain is not a problem and there is little sign of aliasing, meanwhile artefacts are pretty much invisible. A very good source was used for this straight to video movie. The layer change occurs at 51:24 and is not intrusive. Subtitles are supplied in English for the hearing impaired only and are true to the script.

  Audio
Contract

Audio supplied is Dolby Digital 5.1 and while being nothing spectacular, it does do the job sufficiently. Dialogue is clear, as are the ridiculous cartoon style sound effects and audio sync is not a problem. The music score is very good and sets the mood well for each scene. The majority of sound is spread across the front speakers, with occasional separation used for directional effect and to enhance the music. Although it is nice to have the DD 5.1 available for this release, it does seem a little wasted - there are so many titles being released that scream for a quality soundtrack and then this doesn't really use what it has.

  Extras
Contract

All we have on offer are three Theatrical Trailers, Beethoven, Beethovenís 2nd and Beethovenís 3rd. The first two are presented in an aspect ratio of 1.78:1 and the third is in full frame, whilst audio for all three is Dolby Digital 2.0. One thing that surprised me on the main menu of this disc is the options for subtitles and audio. Both only have the default English option so why are these on the menu at all?

  Overall  
Contract

If you are looking for a nice dog movie for the kids, then look at Beethoven or Beethovenís 2nd. Both of those are of good quality and are full of original laughs. Beethovenís 4th is unfortunately more of the same - exactly the same. Overall this film is presented well visually and to a degree audio wise, but unfortunately the film itself is a bit of a lemon. "Who let the dogs out?" indeed.


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      And I quote...
    "Same dog, new tricks, over and over again. When will it end?"
    - Adrian Turvey
      Review Equipment
    • DVD Player:
          Akai DV-P2000
    • TV:
          AKAI CT-29S55AT 68cm
    • Receiver:
          Akai AM-SS1500
    • Speakers:
          Akai
    • Centre Speaker:
          Akai
    • Surrounds:
          Akai
    • Subwoofer:
          Akai
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