Plot: What’s it about?
As the Newtons managed to survive their road trip with Beethoven, it looked like some well deserved rest was in order. But that isn’t the case, as the family has agreed to watch Beethoven for a while, until his owners return from Europe. As Beethoven lounges around, drools all over the place, and ruins whatever he can, the Newtons try to go about their lives, but with this canine around, that is no simple task. After Richard (Judge Reinhold) saw his hours of hard work flushed down the drain and Beth (Julia Sweeney) fell into the toilet again, the two have to make a tough choice and agree to send Beethoven to a friend’s home, as it is a large farm and better suited to handle the needs of Beethoven. This is bad news for the kids however, who decide to come up with a plan to keep Beethoven, which is to enroll him in obedience school. But when a mix-up happens and Beethoven ends up switched with a pampered, well mannered dog named Michelangelo, the Newtons are shocked by the changes involved. But while Michelangelo dazzles the Newtons with manners, what is the real Beethoven up to in the posh mansion…
The films in the Beethoven series have never been classics, but now that it rests in direct to video land, it has reached new lows. The third film was the first one to replace most of the original cast members and skip theaters, but it was so retarded at times, that it was actually humorous. It wasn’t well written or acted, but some of the situations were so bad, you couldn’t help but chuckle here and there. This fourth installment brings back Judge Reinhold (Fast Times At Ridgemont High) and Julia Sweeney (It’s Pat), as well as the young actors from that third volume, but this time around, the movie is just plain bad, not even humorous for a few moments. The jokes are lame, but not lame enough to elicit laughs of remorse, more like groans. I do like bad movies however, so I was hoping this one would be bad like the third film, with some “so bad that it is hilarious” scenes, but that wasn’t the case here. I think it is high time to put this franchise down, before what little luster remains is tarnished by further miserable sequels.
Video: How does it look?
Beethoven’s 4th is presented in a 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen transfer. I am pleased Universal is issuing even their direct to video titles in anamorphic widescreen and in this case, the results are quite good indeed. The print looks clean, with no blemishes or grain to speak of and on the whole, the image is very pleasing to the eyes. I found colors to be bold and rich, but never overly so and flesh tones were on the mark also. No quibbles about contrast either, as black levels are accurate and well balanced. In other words, this is a nice looking visual presentation and while this movie is no visual masterpiece, it looks terrific though.
Audio: How does it sound?
The included Dolby Digital 5.1 option is more than solid, but don’t expect too much, as this material never calls for much in terms of dynamic presence. The surrounds are used for the musical soundtrack and a scant few scenes, but the front channels shoulder most of the load, which works out just fine, I think. The dialogue is clean, clear, and always at a proper volume, so this track should satisfy viewers. This disc also includes Spanish and French language track, as well as optional English subtitles.
Supplements: What are the extras?
This disc includes some production notes, as well as a selection of talent files.