Anna Sophia Robb is a little girl named Opal, who has just arrived in the small town of Naomis with her single-parent father (Jeff Daniels), a preacher. Opal finds it hard to fit in and make new friends, until she adopts a rambunctious dog she finds in the Winn-Dixie supermarket. The dog’s extroverted nature helps make connections not only between Opal and the town, but between the townspeople as well.
A very kind little movie, but a completely unoriginal one, too. Between this and…Maid in Manhattan, we may be seeing the terminal decline of the once notable Wayne Wang (Smoke). It isn’t badly shot or acted, and generally it is restrained and understated, which is a relief, but it’s just there, being all-too-familiar.
This is a fairly low-key movie, and the sound design reflects that. The 5.1 doesn’t get a huge workout, therefore, but there are still some nice environmental effects when called for. They are simply more on the subtle side. The same is true for the music. Everything is clear and undistorted, though.
Fullscreen and 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen options are available here. The colours are strong, but there is some artifacting going on, particularly in the reds. Occasionally the picture gets a bit grainy, and there is some minor edge enhancement visible. The image is very sharp.
The widescreen side has a full commentary by Daniels and producer Trevor Albert, and it’s pretty standard how-we-did-this fare. There’s also the gag reel and “Diamond in the Ruff” – a (promotional) featurette on working with the dog performers. The fullscreen side has a partial commentary from Robb (5 scenes), a soundtrack promo, and a run-of-the-mill making-of featurette. The menu’s main screen is animated and scored.
It’s not a bad film. It’s certainly suitable for all ages. It just isn’t really very good, either.
Special Features List
- Audio Commentary
- Scene Specific Commentary by AnnaSophia Robb
- Gag Reel
- “Diamond in the Ruff” Featurette
- Making-of Featurette
- Soundtrack Promo