C.H.O.M.P.S. (Special Edition): Blu-Ray Review

The 1979 comedy C.H.O.M.P.S. is one that I remember watching multiple times as a kid. I guess I had a thing for sci-fi pet movies back then, as I also liked 1978’s The Cat from Outer Space. Just imagine if we had shared universe movies back then. Of course, for most of us, our tastes in film (among other things) change as we get older. This week sees C.H.O.M.P.S. first ever Blu-ray release with a brand new 2K master, courtesy of Kino Lorber/Code Red. This also marks my first viewing of the film in about 40 years.

Brian Foster (Wesley Eure) is a brilliant inventor who has just been fired by his boss Mr. Norton (Conrad Bain) when the home security system he was responsible for started having issues. This was causing the company a lot of money. Even the fact that Mr. Norton’s daughter Casey (Valerie Bertinelli) was Brian’s girlfriend couldn’t save his job.

Brian does get a second chance when Mr. Norton is shown his latest invention, the Canine Home Protection System (C.H.O.M.P.S. for short). This small robotic dog is much more powerful than it looks and can easily scare off any home invaders. This includes two bumbling crooks played by Red Buttons and Chuck McCann. However, Mr. Norton’s competitor wants the robot dog for himself and will stop and nothing to get his hands on it. This includes hiring an inside man to help steel the plans for C.H.O.M.P.S.

C.H.O.M.P.S. is a silly kids movie but there are things in the film that make absolutely no sense to me (and yes, I am aware that I am taking about a robotic crime fighting dog flick). One thing that I couldn’t help but be bothered by was this big neighborhood dog that liked to bully the other dogs. For some strange reason, this dog was voiced by an actor. I am guessing so the audience could figure out what that dog was up to. However, no other dogs in the movie had an inner human voice. I think many of the issues with C.H.O.M.P.S. come from it being produced by cartoon legends Hanna-Barbera. They are making a live-action movie, but treating it like a cartoon. That can work in some ways, but not here.

While C.H.O.M.P.S. hasn’t stood the test of time for me, it might for others. Director Don Chaffey does the best he can with what he has to work with. However, the film doesn’t hold up nearly as well as his Pete’s Dragon film from two years earlier. Fans of C.H.O.M.P.S. will be more than pleased with this 2K restoration which looks quite good.

Blu-ray Extras:

  • Brand New 2K Master
  • NEW Audio Commentary with Star Wesley Eure and Co-Writer Duane Poole, Moderated by Film Historian Nathaniel Thompson
  • NEW Interview with Star Wesley Eure
  • Theatrical Trailer
  • Optional English Subtitles

By: Marc Ferman