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Liking both Nicole Kidman and Will Ferrell, then hearing a bunch of negative reviews about director Nora Ephronís spin on BEWITCHED ($29), I didnít know what to think of the movie inspired by the classic 1960s sitcom. Having seen the movie myself, I can say itís an amusing little trifle, but it doesnít live up to the potential of the talent behind it. The plot of BEWITCHED finds the career of actor Jack Wyatt (Ferrell) on a downswing, so in an effort to build himself back up, he agrees to star as Darrin in a remake of the Bewitched television series.

Of course building himself up, requires making Darrin the focus of the show and playing down the Samantha character, so Jack decides on casting an unknown as Darrinís witchy-wife. When Jack meets Isabel Bigelow (Kidman) in a bookstore, she seems a perfect fit for the role, as she in not an actress and has never even seen an episode of Bewitched (the fact that Isabel is beautiful and can wiggle her nose just right doesnít hurt either). However, Jack is in for a wild ride on a broomstick, when it turns out that Isabel is a real witch, who isnít about to let the Jack take advantage of her. The cast of BEWITCHED also features the underutilized talents of Shirley MacLaine, Michael Caine, Jason Schwartzman, Carole Shelley and Steve Carell.

Sony Pictures Home Entertainment has made BEWITCHED available on DVD in a 1.85:1 widescreen presentation that has been enhanced for playback on 16:9 displays. This is a really fine looking transfer that is certain to please. Sharpness and image detail are great, plus the picture boasts bright vibrant colors and natural looking flesh tones. Blacks are on the money, whites are completely stable and the contrast is very smooth. Shadow detail is also very good. The film elements used for the transfer appear virtually pristine and there is very little appreciable grain. Digital compression artifacts are always well contained.

BEWITCHED features a fairly standard comedy mix on its Dolby Digital 5.1 channel soundtrack. Most of the sound is localized to the forward soundstage, while the surround provide mostly general ambience and musical fill. There are some moments here and there, where the outlying channels are put to good use, but this track is far from demo material. Fidelity is excellent and there is good musical integrity throughout. The bass channel is solid enough to get the job done, but isnít going to rock anyoneís world. Voices have a warm, natural quality, plus the filmís dialogue is always completely understandable. A French 5.1 channel track is also encoded onto the DVD, as are English and French subtitles.

Full motion video, animation and sound serve to enhance the DVD's interactive menus. Through the menus, one has access to standard scene selection and set up features, as well as some nice extras. Director Nora Ephron is on hand to supply a running audio commentary. The DVD also includes three featurettes- Casting a Spell: Making Bewitched, Star Shots and Why I Loved Bewitched. Deleted Scenes, plus a Witch-Vision Trivia Track with popup factoids, an interactive Bewitched Trivia Game and Bonus Trailers close out the extras.

As I stated above BEWITCHED is an amusing little trifle, but isnít going to be prominently listed on the resume of anyone associated with the film. Sonyís DVD offers a truly fine presentation and some nice extras and is worth checking out for an evening.



Bewitched (2005)



DVD reviews are Copyright © 2005 THE CINEMA LASER and may not be copied or reprinted without the written consent of the publisher.
THE CINEMA LASER is written, edited and published by Derek M. Germano.



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