In a sane world, this would be the last Beethoven movie. Sure, in a saner world there would would only have been the original movie and none of these sequels, but either way that’s not the world we live in. No, when both The Land Before Time and Air Bud franchises have 14 movies each, we clearly live under the oppressive boot of capitalism, taking your nostalgia and trying to wring as much profit out of it as it can. So here we are with Beethoven’s 5th, the film that feels like a Scooby-Doo episode. Maybe that’s why I didn’t completely hate it?
Girl Child from the last movie–okay, fine, her name is Sara–has been recast and is the only Newton this time around. She had been at a summer camp, but got asked to leave for not wanting to use an outhouse. I like to imagine that the reason she has to stay with another uncle she hasn’t seen since she was six is because her parents were planning on having a full month without kids of freaky sex all over the house, but that’s just me. Anyway, Sara is staying with her Uncle Freddy (Mr. Dave Thomas, not the Wendy’s one) in the quirky town of Quicksilver. How quirky? Well, one resident is Owen (Clint Howard) who wears scuba gear all the time because he’s preparing for the ice caps melting and flooding the world. He’s off by a few decades, but not as far off as I would like. Anyway, one day Beethoven finds a rare Andrew Jackson $10 bill, which is part of the lost loot of two infamous bank robbers who died in the area decades ago. The already kooky citizens go even more nuts at the prospect of finding the hidden fortune. You would think that’d be enough for a Beethoven sequel, but no, this movie also has g-g-g-ghosts!
Except, you know, not. This is clearly some Scooby-Doo level shenanigans to keep people away from the mine. The first suspect is the local librarian after Sara figures out he’s the son of the bank robbers. Turns out they didn’t die, and their son returned to the area years later in an attempt to find their spoils. He even changed his name, although he went from “Selig” to “Giles” in a stunning display of unoriginality. No, kid hanging out with Sara, that’s not an anagram, it’s a palindrome. Either way he’s not responsible for the ghosts, or the sudden disappearance of Beethoven. Turns out the president of the Chamber of Commerce (John Larroquette) has been working with a crazy lady out in the woods to keep people away from the mercury mines, and faking ghosts was his idea. He also kidnapped Beethoven, but shenanigans have him get caught. “Stuck in this dump all these years only to have my ticket out of here ruined by some dumb dog and some stupid teenagers,” sounds very close to, “And I would have gotten away with it too, if it weren’t for you meddling kids.” The bad guy’s arrested, the town uses the money to spruce itself up, Uncle Freddy gets together with the sheriff (who is way too hot for him), and Sara returns home with Beethoven, promising to come back and see Freddy again next summer.
Look, none of these Beethoven sequels are very good, but this was one of the more inoffensive ones. I liked that there was a mystery aspect to it, even if the whole thing was pretty derivative. Everything else in this evens out to “just fine.” I always appreciate seeing Clint Howard’s weird face, but the movie balances that out by having Kathy Griffin play one of the worst characters who gets way too much screen time. Beethoven is largely ancillary to the plot, but because it’s his movie they have to force him into as many scenes as they can. His awful behaviors aren’t on full display, but watching him “flirt” with Griffin’s tiny dog was boring. It was the least bad sequel so far! Which I suppose means it’s time for a reboot.
Oh yes, dear reader, this franchise goes on long enough to have a reboot. Next time we’re still with Beethoven, but one who never was owned by the Newtons. That’s not to say that they aren’t in the film, sort of, more or less… but that’ll be explained next time.
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