Hotel for Dogs - DVD Review
By June L. Apr 28, 2009, 15:19 GMT
Based on Lois Duncan\'s novel Lost Treasures: Hotel for Dogs. The story revolves around two teenage orphans who hide lots of stray dogs in a derelict hotel. ...more
At some point in your life you have probably wished that you had the ability, resources, creativity to come up with a plan and to save the strays.
In Hotel for Dogs, Andi (Emma Roberts) and Bruce (Jake T. Austin) (a brother and sister orphaned and in foster care) manage to do just that very thing.
In a set up that could be anything from maudlin to just plain silly, Dreamworks and Nickelodeon have produced a movie that tells a story, has a serious message and yet charms the audience and makes us laugh. Hotel for Dogs was a nice surprise, and a very good family film.
Everyone involved with this project seems to have been devoted to doing the right thing by the story. First of all it is a beloved children’s book by Lois Duncan, and the changes that were made did not take away from the impact of the original. The actors and actresses learned the personality of the dog cast, and worked within their capabilities, making true characters out of each canine.
Best of all the majority of the canine cast were rescue animals, something close to the hearts of many of us pet owners. Even a stray puppy that wandered into the shoot was taken care of, and soon adopted by a couple that work on the production crew. We all need a sense of belonging or of having a family, and it is both touching and fascinating how Bruce and Andi achieve this with their hotel.
Along the way they pick up friends, and those who can assist them, but it is still a tough world in the bureaucracy that governs both underage orphans and stray animals. Along with their successes in their hotel, they must constantly be on guard against the rules and regulations that have no understanding of a “created family.”
Hotel for Dogs is presented on single disc in widescreen format with a playing time of 100 minutes. The special features accompanying the film are most interesting. First there is a film commentary with Director Thor Freudenthat and actors Emma Roberts and Jake T. Austin.
There are wonderful featurettes, “A Home for Everyone: The Making of Hotel for Dogs” in which cast and crew talk about their commitment to the film and the message that everyone needs a home.
“That’s The Coolest Thing I’ve Ever Seen” takes an in depth look at Bruce’s wonderful inventions to keep the dogs happy, fed and well, you know! With Rube Goldberg-esque inventions based on all the bits that have been left behind in the abandoned hotel, Bruce makes incredible machines to help take care of the dogs.
“K-9 Casting” shows how the dogs were chosen for various activities or how their looks conveyed their personalities on screen. One cast member said they were working with Ivy League dogs in terms of intelligence, and they were mostly rescue dogs.
“Bark on Cue” further demonstrates how the dog trainers worked with the animals to produce satisfactory scenes. Deleted scenes and a photo gallery are included. Finally there is the public service announcement for the Pedigree Adoption Drive, sponsored by the Pedigree dog food people.
Touching, sweet, funny and clearly played, Hotel for Dogs will most likely become a family classic to be viewed again and again, with your canine best friend by your side.