'Joe Camp's Benji - 4 Movie Collection'
(Benji, Nick Whitaker, Patsy Garret, Ron Moody, et al / DVD + Digital / PG / 2020 / Mill Creek Entertainment)
Overview: Hollywood's biggest canine superstar, Benji, will entertain and delight in this adorable 4-movie collection!
DVD Verdict: We kick things off with 'Benji: The Original Movie' (1974). This unique film, all told from the heart and soul of a dog, catapulted Benji into international stardom!
Benji is a stray who has nonetheless worked his way into the hearts of a number of the townspeople, who give him food and attention whenever he stops by.
His particular favorites are a pair of children who feed and play with him against the wishes of their parents. When the children are kidnapped, however, the parents and the police are at a loss to find them.
What makes this movie so wonderful is Higgins, the dog (under the direction of his trainer, Frank Inn). Higgins was so far beyond other dog actors that it is impossible to explain to folks who don't own dogs or train dogs.
Not only is he cute and photogenic, expressive and believable, he did all his own stunts -- and he was 14 years old when he made this film!
Next up is 'For The Love of Benji' (1977). The canine star with the most expressive face in dogdom returns in his second record-breaking movie adventure!
The family goes to vacation with their two dogs in Greece. Along the way, Benji gets implanted with a secret code by the evil Chandler Dietrich.
Chandler befriends the family knowing that, without their trust and friendship, he won't be able to smuggle Benji away from them at the right time.
What Chandler doesn't plan on is Benji getting lost en-route to Crete!
Then we get 'Benji: Off the Leash!' (2004) Benji is back in this charming story that's told from the pooch's point of view, tracking his early days as a pup to his current life in showbiz!
In direction, story construction, camera-work and performances both human and canine, 'Benji Off the Leash!' is the best of the Benji canon!
Its two-legged hero is Colby, a stalwart youngster who loves dogs. Its two-legged villain is Colby's harsh father, whose appropriate last name is Hatchett. He runs an illegal dog mill and mistreats all beings, both two-legged and four-legged.
Colby and Benji have parallel plights, dealing with the rescue of loved ones and strong maternal bonds.
The creativity of the twists and turns of the story, as well as the multi-layered plot line leave you talking about the issues raised in the movie for days to come.
The last chapter is 'Benji's Very Own Christmas Story' (1978). A surprise visit to meet Kris Kringle (Oscar® nominee Ron Moody) finds the jolly old elf with a secret that could break the hearts of millions of kids.
In truth, Ron Moody steals the show as Kris Kringle! His comedic timing, wit, and musical abilities showcase the many sides of his character, as seen through the eyes of people all over the world.
The main characters along with Benji are taken on a unique behind-the-scenes view of Santa's operation.
These depictions are ahead of their time, ideas that other Santa movie franchises would borrow and extrapolate on in future decades. It's good-natured, timeless, family fun for all. These are both Full and Widescreen Presentations (1.33:1, 1.85:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs.
'Joe Camp's Benji - 4 Movie Collection' (DVD) is out March 17th, 2020 via Mill Creek Entertainment.