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Click above to purchase "Bedazzled" at amazon.com

Bedazzled: Special Edition

review by Zach B.

Rated PG-13

Studio: Fox

Running Time: 93 minutes

Starring Brendan Fraser, Elizabeth Hurley, Frances O'Connor, Orlando Jones

Screenplay by Larry Gelbart, Harold Ramis and Peter Tolan
Based on the 1967 film "Bedazzled", written by Peter Cook

Directed by Harold Ramis

Retail Price: $26.98

Features: Commentary with Harold Ramis, Commentary with Elizabeth Hurley and Producer Trevor Albert, Featurette, Costume Design Featurette, Extended Basketball Scene, Scoring Sessions, HBO Featurette: "The Making Of 'Bedazzled'", Theatrical Trailer, Three TV Spots, Music Promo Spots, NUON Features

Specs: 2.35:1 Anamorphic Widescreen, English Dolby Digital 5.1, English Dolby Surround, French Dolby Surround, English Subtitles, French Subtitles, Spanish Subtitles, Chapter Search, NUON-enhanced, THX Certified

I hate it when Hollywood makes remakes. Not only does it ruin the credibility of the original film, but I never see a point to them. What do hotshot executives see? Do they really think they can get some writers, actors and directors to make a good (or not so good) film better after buying the rights? It never made any sense to me. Why see a remake when you can see the original? It's like a few years back when Gus Van Sant remade "Psycho" for Universal... shot by shot no less. The film did bomb, but again, I really don't see a point. While some directors may see a different vision for a film, they end up failing usually when trying to improve it. I really had high hopes for "Bedazzled", but my hopes dissolved a little after Fox delayed it from an August 2000 launch to an October 2000. Still, "Bedazzled" is more of a hit and miss movie.

In this remake, Brendan Fraser is Elliot, a computer worker (I think in the original Dudley Moore had this role as a cook), who's not so good with the ladies. Elliot is a bit goofy and weird, but has a strong affection for Allison (Frances O'Conner), a co-worker who has not noticed him for the past four years. Elliot deeply desires Allison and will do anything to win her... and that's where the Devil, played by Elizabeth Hurley, comes into play. She offers Elliot seven wishes for his soul. While Elliot is a bit reluctant, he eventually gives in, and this takes us through numerous "wishes" sequences, which are the bulk of the movie.

Elliot's wishes set the stage of the movie... it's pretty much screwball comedy. The whole concept here Elliot is never specific enough, leading to some funny (and some dull) moments. The first sequence, where Elliot becomes a drug lord lasts a good length, but most of the good parts were revealed in the trailer. Next, Elliot becomes a really sweet and caring guy... but he's too much of a baby to stick up for himself and fight. Other sequences include Elliot becoming a world famous basketball player than has a side effect on a male body part, where in another sequence he's really intelligent but it has a backdrop on his sexuality. The sequence that I felt was the most stupid though was where Elliot becomes president... I won't mention what exactly happens to keep some surprises, but this is incredibly short and has such elaborate sets and costumes, that I was surprised and I felt it should have been expanded.

I was pretty disappointed by this film, considering the talent involved in it. While I do enjoy much of Harold Ramis' work, I felt "Analyze This" was really overrated and he doesn't do much here, sadly. If the script as a whole and the sequences were better developed, this movie could have been an instant comedy classic. While some jokes are funny, others miss their mark usually. Most of the jokes are really nothing new, and sometimes they get dull. While this movie is really weakened by these points, a lot of strengths do help bring it up.

The best thing "Bedazzled" has is the acting. Everyone is likeable and great in this movie. Brendan Fraser brings his loveable and excellent charm to Elliot, where he's just innocent and looking for some love. Fraser, as he has proved in the past with "George of the Jungle", has excellent comedic timing. He plays well against the other actors, and he's just a lot of fun to watch. It's a shame the material is not as good, because I'm sure his role would have stood out with critics more. Elizabeth Hurley is also excellent, bringing a great sly tone to the Devil. Her role is a lot of fun.

This movie also has a little bit strange things to it, such as the symbolism of Heaven and Earth. While I felt it was a really interesting symbolism, I felt it was a bit out there (this is more toward the end of the film). Still, the film touches on a nice moral about being yourself and putting others first, though the latter is a bit stretched out.

Despite some flaws, "Bedazzled" is definently a good rental. While I wouldn't tell anyone to go to the theater and pay $9.50 for it, it's a good hour and a half to rent.

 

Presented in 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen, "Bedazzled" looks terrific. This THX mastered transfer has some really bright and bold colors, no artifacts or noise to boot. Fleshtones and hues are really accurate, and the saturation of the many vibrant colors (there are some great reds) look perfect. There's some slight shimmer now and then, plus the occasional piece of grain too, but this is a jaw-dropping and really impressive transfer. While most comedies aren't filmed really wide, the 2.35:1 aspect ratio gives off some nice, long breathtaking shots and looks really good like this.

The English Dolby Digital 5.1 is really active and won't disappoint. There's some great directional effects throughout the film, plus some great scenes to show off your speakers. From the tremendous amount of action in the drug lord fantasty, the cheers of the crowd during the basketball game, flash photography going off (about 18 minutes into the film). the engine of the Devil's car roaring and the loud rock music, the rear channels really do electify and there are some wonderful surround effects. It can be aggressive, but this track doesn't overdo itself (thankfully). Really nice and creative mixing here. This track is also THX certified. Also included are English Dolby Surround and French Surround tracks, plus English, Spanish and French subtitles (the language selection screen is really funny).

Once again, Fox creates a fantastic special edition DVD filled to the brim with some great and worthwhile supplements. First off, I should mention the menus. The menus are really well done. When you start the disc, you get a choice of "Rich", "Famous", "Intelligent" and "Sensitive". Choosing one will get you the main menu screen, where what you choose the menu will represent the fantasy in the film. It's just a fun little thing. The menus are nicely animated.

"Bedazzled" features not one, but two commentaries. The first Commentary With Harold Ramis is pretty interesting and enjoyable. While there are some pauses that don't make this track flow as nicely as it should, he does point out a few interesting shots and seemed to enjoy making the film. Some of his comments are pretty funny too, and we learn from this commentary that Ramis is anti-smoking (hoorah). Ramis also shares some interesting ancetodtes and tidbits. This track is worth a listen.

The Commentary with Producer Trevor Albert and Elizabeth Hurley is the second track. Hurley sounds a little tired (at least I think so) but Albert has a lot of enthusiasm for the film. The two recorded the track together, and their comments aren't always so screen specific. And like Ramis' track, there are some gaps (actually, there's a ton more). It can be interesting, but I found it a little slow and the long pauses don't do much good. Some of the comments are pretty obvious, but they do point out some neat things and Hurley discusses how she got the role. If you liked the film you'll probably absorb everything in that this track has to offer.

The Extended Basketball Sequence is pretty much complete, and is in non-anamorphic widescreen. This extended version of the basketball fantasy sequence is pretty funny, but it's obvious to why what is shown here was cut down for the final film. It's sort of monotonous, and was probably cut for pacing lengths. This sequence however does not feature Elliot, but rather, two of his chums that really don't like him as commentators and they babble on and on and on and on. However, I felt maybe the final version was trimmed a little too much. This scene is pretty long, but a fun watch.

HBO Featurette: The Making Of Bedazzled is presented in 2.0 sound and full frame. Elizabeth Hurley hosts and sort of mocks the whole "promotional" tone that featurettes tend to have. However, I feel this featurette is pretty promotional anyhow. A lot of clips from the film are shown, plus some interviews with Ramis, Fraser, Albert, Hurley and others. There are some behind the scenes clips, but it's really not so much on the making. You won't really learn anything much here. It's pretty basic, but it can be sorta fun to watch and some of it is intriguing. There's also a little bio on Harold Ramis and his body of work, plus there's also a focus on make-up plus the special effects. . If you like these "making ofs", knock yourself out. It's one of the better ones I've watched.

Still Gallery is made up of three sections: "DV8", "The Devil & Her Office" and "Work, Brewery & Fantasies". There is a good amount of concept, logos and general artwork here, and it's pretty interesting to see how they started out as and how they went into the final film. Good for a browse once or twice.

Scoring Session 1 and Scoring Session 2 are in full frame and show composer David Newman conducting and talking briefly. Each session shows the musicians performing, and a clip from the film is played at the bottom left hand of the screen to see what the score for the scene is being conducted. Each is pretty short, but it's pretty cool to see the performance and how it was fit into the film.

Bedazzling Designs With Deena Appel is a nice featurette focusing on Deena Appel and her inspirations on the costumes. She gives some pretty good insight on the various and elaborate costumes the movie features as well as what worked for what characters. We see some of her original designs plus some other interviews about her work on the film. This featurette also shows clips from the films to point out what she says. This is a welcome addition to the disc and lasts a very good length of time.

There's the Theatrical Trailer in non-anamorphic widescreen and two channel sound, plus Three TV Spots and a Music Promo Spot. Also, there's the THX Optimode so you can adjust your home theater to perfection.

"Bedazzled" is also a landmark DVD. It's the first movie disc to enhance the new, game-set NUON players. While I don't have a NUON player to test these special features, those of you who do will have some really nice NUON Features to look foward to. There's Viddies, a special feature where you can create some montages, Hyper Slides where the still gallery is a lot more animated and comparison based, Gamma Zooms where you can navigate and learn more about certain parts of the film with some interactivity and finally, Scene Selection is where at the chapter select screen, you'll see a clip from the scenes displayed. So, it seems pretty nice, and I give a hearty kudos to Fox for trying out and going foward with some new technology. I'm sure over time, more and more discs will have some NUON features, and I'm sure they'll keep getting better and better.

Finally, there's an interesting Easter Egg. It's not to hard to find, and pretty enjoyable for what it is. I'm sure anyone who checks the movie out will be really interested in it. It's more for the adults (not for the kiddies). If you'd like me to go into further detail and spoil it for you, please just highlight the page after this statement. If you don't want it spoiled, simply ignore and don't highlight. Either way, enjoy!

The easter egg is a deleted scene in non-anamorphic widescreen, and is edited pretty well. It's a fantasy sequence that has Elliot becoming a goth-ish rock star, complete with sex, drugs and rock 'n' roll. It's a pretty funny scene, but I'm glad it was cut because it's really out of context with the movie. But it's here... a lot of work seemed to go into this scene, and I like how it sort of mocks the whole angry rock stereotype with the guitar bashing and cursing (which is bleeped, heh). It's pretty long and stretches out a bit, but again, it's easy to see why this was cut and it doesn't fit well into the film at all.

Fox keeps topping themselves. This is a magnificent release with a great presentation and excellent extras, all for a very nice price. While I was a bit underwhelmed by the movie, if you liked it, you'll certainly love this disc. While the year has just begun, this is one of the best releases so far, and I'm sure at the end of the year, it'll still be one of the best. This is what a special edition should be.

(2.5/5, NOT included in final score)

(4.5/5)

(4.5/5)

(4/5)

(4/5, NOT an average)

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