Where the Red Fern Grows DVD Review - www.impulsegamer.com -

Feature 4.0
Video 4.0
Audio 4.0
Special Features 1.0
Total 4.0
Distributor: Icon
Classification: PG
Minutes: 86 Minutes
Reviewer: Jamie Kirk

4.0


Where the Red Fern Grows

Where the Red Fern grows must be a pretty popular book in the USA, as it has now spawned a remake of its own film adaptation.  Both entries were Disney productions and the original is a fairly well liked, if forgettable adaptation. Why they decided to remake it is a good question, and one that Disney didn’t seem to think about until well into the filming process, when it was subsequently buried and released only at the Tribeca Film Festival in 2003, before crawling its way to DVD. It is with good reason too, as this family adventure is just plain boring.

The film follows the exact plot of the book which concerns young boy Billy Coleman. All he wants is two redbone hunting dogs to hunt racoons with. Unfortunately his family cannot afford it so he begins working himself to earn the money. Before he knows it he is then saddled with two of the dogs, Old Dan and Little Ann. Billy trains the dogs to hunt racoons and of course shares a special connection with them. From there the film concerns itself with Billy’s newfound success as a racoon hunter and his relationship with his two dogs. Going any further would spoil the films only emotional gut punch so I will instead complain about the film for a bit.

For starters, it looks bad. Upon first watch, I believed it was the original version from 1974, until I saw Dave Matthews (Yes that Dave Matthews) name in the credits. The film looks incredibly cheap like a poor made for TV film. It also isn’t directed with much aplomb either. The big confrontation and aforementioned emotional crux is so poorly filmed, as to edit out any violence (spoiler?) that it is almost impossible to tell what exactly has transpired until the last shot of the sequence. Apart from that it just feels kind of static and lo-fi, but not in a good or inventive way. The performances are ordinary for the most part, conveying all the “Aw shucks” sentiment of the times adequately enough. Watching Dave Matthews play a struggling farmer kind of feels like taking a sledgehammer to the fourth wall, but he tries earnestly.

There really isn’t much else to say, the disc contains no special features, and is only home to a film that is boring, poorly shot, and not even fun for the children that it is undoubtedly aimed at. If anyone at all is interested in it, perhaps try the book first, or the original film, as this film will disintegrate that interest very fast.






 
 



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