Racing Stripes

Racing Stripes

DVD Rating: ***

Reviewed by: Stephanie Wolfe Murray

Read Gator MacReady's film review of Racing Stripes

I've never been a great one for "extras" in addition to a movie, especially a feature film, so I wasn't looking forward to further titbits after seeing Racing Stripes.

However, the button labelled How To Make Animals Talk is worth looking at, if only to hear Dustin Hoffman saying, with a completely straight face, "Ever since I became an actor I've always wanted to play a Shetland pony". This he does, with a wise old voice.

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Whoopi Goldberg plays the goat, as far as I can ascertain, and very nice she is too. The other voices come from less famous stars, but they all do a pretty good job, especially Reggie, the cock. In fact, it is an improvement on the film to see these young actors cockadoodledooing, or being wise and witty like the pelican (one of the lead characters incidentally), or the Woody Allen / New York wise guy dialogue between the flea and the maggot, Buzz and Scuzz.

Then we are shown the animal training which I would say, for kids, is the best part of the entire DVD. The policy was to pamper the real life animal "actors", and for good reason. This way they become confident and friendly and are far more likely to do as they're told. Food is also the trainers' secret weapon. But when the pelican spotted a live fish in a real stream he panicked, waddled to his trainer and wrapped his vast wings tightly around her legs like a two-year-old running to mummy. Quality time off is also a must and the scene looked like one great holiday camp for the trainers, animals, directors and animators. All in all, the care and attention to the animals is impressive and one can only hope that this goes for all such films.

The Barnyard Outtakes may be of interest to students of this genre. Before the live animals were brought in, the whole movie had already been made in rough, well-drawn black-and-white cartoons. This enabled the artists to make mesh masks to impose photographically over the image of the real animals. Pretty impressive stuff.

Reviewed on: 16 Jun 2005
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Racing Stripes packshot
A zebra from the circus grows up on a farm, believing he's a racehorse.
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Product Code: MP403D

Region: 2

Ratio: 16:9

Sound: Dolby Digital 5.1

Extras: Alternate ending; outtakes reel; How To Make Animals Talk featurette; deleted scenes; Buzz and Scuzz's Flying Fiasco Interactive Video Game; virtual comic book - The Racing Stripes Prequel; The Music of Racing Stripes with Sting and Bryan Adams; trailer.

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