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Marley and Me
BLU-RAY disk
04.06.2009 By: Sturdy
Marley and Me order
Director:
David Frankel

Actors:
Owen Wilson
Jennifer Aniston
Eric Dane

Rating:
Movie:
Extras:
Overall:

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WHAT'S IT ABOUT?
A young, married couple decides to adopt a dog in order to postpone the desire to have a kid. Although they thought it was going to be easy, they quickly learn that they’ve adopted the world’s worst dog.
IS IT A GOOD MOVIE?
All the previews and tag lines for the film will have you believe that this is a movie about the life of a dog. But they’re lying. This is not a story about the life of a dog, this is a story about the death of a dog. Not only that, but the first 80 minutes is about a guy working for a newspaper, then we see the dog die for about 40 minutes. If not for a few moments of cuteness, this would be a regular, depressing drama.

Allow me to explain that a little bit better. For the first 80 minutes, we get very little of Marley (the dog). We get a couple of really good montages, but nothing to clearly explain to the audience how sweet he is or how loving he can be. Instead, we focus on the humans and their drama while throwing in a few instances of the dog being crazy, obnoxious, disobedient, wild, etc. Yes, the real Marley (in the book) was all of those things, but it was okay because they were intermixed with moments that were so sweet and loving, it’d make you cry. The movie never gave us those moments and so it was easy to say after 80 minutes; “I hate this dog”. That’s NOT what you’re supposed to be saying at that point and it’s clear that no matter what David Frankel says, he has no idea what it really means to have a true, canine companion.

So after following the couple for 80 minutes with brief scenes of Marley, we start the ending, which lasts 40 minutes. And this is 40 minutes of a dog dying. This is not a spoiler because there’s no surprise. It’s the “life” of a dog, so what do you expect? Anyway, it’s excruciatingly painful, but not because it was done well, but because you’re watching an f’ing dog die on camera. What’s frustrating about it is that it should have been about 10 minutes long and it should have meant even more to the audience than what it did. But instead, Frankel does nothing but build this dog up to be horrible and then drags out the ending as much as he can. Oh, and he topped it off by running the credits as Owen Wilson is standing over the grave of the dog he just buried. So instead of letting your kids see this, go buy a new puppy from the pound and then snap it’s neck right in front of them. It will be easier than dealing with the aftermath of watching this film.

If Frankel had done his job properly, he would have been able to tell a wonderful story about an amazing, if not mischievous, dog that audiences loved. Then, after a 10 minute death scene, he would have ended the film on a positive note with the book being written and the family getting a new puppy, highlighting that Marley’s memory will live forever (which is what really happened). But that would take an ability to tell a story and a filmmaker that understood his subject matter. I don’t know if the blame falls on Frankel, or the screenwriters (Scott Frank and Don Roos), but they should have involved John Grogan a lot more than they did. Obviously, he was the only one involved with the film that had any understanding of the story.
THE EXTRAS
Dog Training Trivia Track: This is a picture-in-picture track that you can play with the movie. When a point comes up in the movie, they show you a little pop up of dog training and dog personalities. It was fun and they used as much information as they could.

Deleted Scenes (25:58): If you’re wondering where some of the scenes from the trailer ended up, they ended up here, in the deleted scenes. Don’t you hate it when that happens? Anyway, here’s where some of the cute dog scenes ended up. Which only makes everything more frustrating. There was a good movie in there, they just cut the wrong stuff out.

Finding Marley (7:48): This is all about the dogs in the movie. It’s great because dogs are awesome and this has more dog scenes in seven minutes than I saw in the entire film. Well worth the time if you like dogs.

Breaking the Golden Rule (8:02): The actors show up to talk about their experiences working with the dogs and talking about the film. It’s your typical fluff piece where everyone praises the film.

On Set With Marley (2:36): This is a fake “interview” with Marley. It’s cute, but gets old pretty quick. Luckily it’s only a couple minutes long.

Animal Adoption (5:19): I was happy to see this included here. It’s basically a promo for adoption services. Animal adoption agencies are amazing places (for the most part) and I hope this inspires more people to check out their local rescue group.

When Not to Pee (2:17): This is hands down the best feature on the disc. It’s a simple explanation of a scene where the dog pees unexpectedly. The trainer rushed in and ruined the shot, but everyone loved it and thought it was a good idea. So they had to work for hours to try and get the dog to pee again. Funny stuff.

Gag Reel (5:40): There were a couple of funny moments in here, but for the most part it was people laughing at themselves. And hardly anything with the dogs.

There are some Previews
FINAL DIAGNOSIS
Don’t let the previews and marketing fool you; this is not a movie about a dog. It’s a movie about the life of a couple that happen to have a dog. I’m upset with how poorly this story was told and I wouldn’t recommend this film to anyone.
Strikeback
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