Fox // 2008 // 90 Minutes // Rated PG
Reviewed by Judge David Johnson // December 10th, 2008
He's a spaceship...and out of this world!
Is Eddie Murphy's latest box office megaton a harbinger of the apocalypse, or is their a serviceable family comedy lurking beneath the wreckage?
Who's Dave? He's a human-sized, human-looking spaceship piloted by a look-alike captain (Eddie Murphy) and manned by a crew of tiny aliens. Their mission: Go to Earth and retrieve an orb that holds the key to their planet's survival by sucking up all the oceans of the Earth. So while "Dave" bumbles around trying to fit in, he meets a lovely young single mother (Elizabeth Banks) and her precocious son. Is it possible that these two lovely folks will convince the aliens to abandon their world-ending plans and maybe, just maybe help them discover the true meaning of love?
Okay, yeah, Meet Dave is stupid and borderline incoherent, but it's not a Godless travesty. I was expecting unbearable horror and an experience that might have propelled me to tender my resignation to DVD Verdict. That will have to wait because -- I can't believe I'm writing this -- this movie might appeal to some people.
Families, mostly. With dumb kids.
But perhaps there are others who may find value in the newest misadventure of Eddie Murphy. And between you, me, and the spambot currently scanning this review, I'll confess that I actually laughed here and there.
Meet Dave isn't utterly devoid of wit and charm, sporting just enough to keep it from occupying a rung on the Legendary Ladder of Awfulness. The bizarre plot device of the Eddie Murphy-shaped spaceship is, in practice, stupid, but allows the filmmakers to implement the fish-out-of-water conceit in a different way other than making Dave a) an autistic savant, b) a Cambodian immigrant and spelling bee champion, or c) a hard-edged but good-hearted Australian from the outback. Alien spaceship Dave walks around stupidly in New York City, gets hit by cars, shoves massive amounts of hot dogs in his mouth, uses his alien spaceship super-strength to inadvertently stop armed robbers, and other such high-larious shenanigans. Well, not really high-larious, but I'd be lying if I said there weren't a few laughs to be found. There are. Just don't expect anything more than mediocre family entertainment and you shouldn't hate yourself for watching. And chances are, your expectations will be absolute zero, so there's a chance this whole experience will end up being the time of your life.
On Blu-ray, the film looks solid. Offered in a 1.85:1 widescreen transfer, the picture quality of Meet Dave is clean and noticeably crisper than your typical standard-DVD release. This is a bright movie filled with big effects and creative set design (Dave's mouth and colon are go-to locales) and the upgraded resolution renders the colors and detailing well. A nod to Eddie Murphy for allowing the camera to zoom in so tightly on his face. There's a man confident in his facial contours. The downside to the boosted clarity is the weakening of the visual effects, already borderline anyway. When tiny-sized Eddie Murphy and Gabrielle Union are running around the streets of New York it looks like low-level blue screen work. Audio is robust, headlined by a 5.1 DTS-HD Master track, with three 5.1 Dolby Digital tracks (English, Spanish, French) batting clean-up. The mix is active and excels during the frantic final third -- lots of space sound effects and explosions and such. The downside? The cornball score is blasted out with extreme prejudice.
Extras include an interactive albeit sluggish crew profile feature, a gag reel, forgettable deleted scenes, an alternate ending, a nice making-of featurette where the cast gush about each other and Eddie Murphy (ironic, since he hung them out to dry at the premiere), three Fox Movie Channel segments featuring an interview with director Brian Robbins, making a scene, and footage from the premiere.
I'll never watch this movie again, but if you've got kids I think you'll be able to show this to them and not worry about causing childhood trauma. The Blu-ray represents a noticeable upgrade in the technical department.
Guilty, but the accused is spared the needle.
Review content copyright © 2008 David Johnson; Site layout and review format copyright © 1998 - 2014 HipClick Designs LLC
Scales of Justice
* 1.85:1 Non-Anamorphic (1080p Widescreen)
* DTS HD 5.1 Master Audio (English)
* Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround (French)
* Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround (Spanish)
Running Time: 90 Minutes
Release Year: 2008
MPAA Rating: Rated PG
* Gag Reel
* Deleted Scenes
* Alternate Ending
* Crew Profiles