Bewitched (2005)

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Released 7-Nov-2005

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Comedy Main Menu Audio & Animation
Menu Audio
Dolby Digital Trailer
Audio Commentary-Nora Ephron (Director)
Informational Subtitles-Witch Vision Trivia Track
Deleted Scenes
Featurette-Making Of-Casting A Spell: Making Bewitched
Featurette-Bewitched: Star Shots
Featurette-Why I Loved Bewitched
Game-Bewitched Trivia Game
Trailer-Bewitched TV, Open Season, Zathura, Stuart Little 3
Rating Rated PG
Year Of Production 2005
Running Time 97:53
RSDL / Flipper RSDL (66:56) Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Nora Ephron
Studio
Distributor

Sony Pictures Home Entertain
Starring Nicole Kidman
Will Ferrell
Shirley MacLaine
Michael Caine
Jason Schwartzman
Kristin Chenoweth
Heather Burns
Jim Turner
Stephen Colbert
David Alan Grier
Michael Badalucco
Carole Shelley
Steve Carell
Case ?
RPI $39.95 Music George Fenton
Richard M. Sherman
Robert B. Sherman


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
English Audio Commentary Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.85:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.85:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English
English for the Hearing Impaired
English Information
English Audio Commentary
Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement Yes
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

    Remakes are a dangerous thing, as has been proven a number of times in Hollywood. This particular one, though, is not really a remake as the story of the film does not really match that of the television series, so those looking for a straight remake will be disappointed. What this film really is is a romantic comedy which bases its story around the same concept as the famous television series from the 1960s and occurs in a world where the previous television series exists. As I was never a big fan of the original series, I have come to this film with a pretty open mind about how it stands as a film, rather than as a remake of a television series.

    The plot here involves a witch, Isabel Bigelow (Nicole Kidman), who decides that she wants to be more 'normal' and therefore leaves her family and sets up house on her own in California (although you could make a strong argument for California not being 'normal'). At the same time, an actor, Jack Wyatt (Will Ferrell) has been convinced by his agent/manager to take the part of Darren in a new remake of the Bewitched television series. He agrees because despite being a big star previously, his last few projects have been disasters, especially his most recent vanity project. As part of the deal the show's producers agree to reduce the role of Samantha (the witch) in the series and to cast an unknown so that Jack Wyatt is obviously the star of this new show. After some bad auditions, Jack begins searching for a co-star who can do the nose twitching made famous in the original series but will be happy to not be at the forefront of the show. It is then that he runs into Isabel in a bookshop and after seeing her nose twitch decides that she is perfect for the role, obviously without knowing that she is actually a witch. The film follows their on and off romance in fairly normal rom-com fashion. The other major characters are Nigel, Isabel's warlock father (Michael Caine) and Iris Smythson (Shirley Maclaine) who plays Endora in the new series.

    This is an entertaining romantic comedy, certainly better than some others I have seen lately like Monster-in-Law, but is also not on a par with the best work of the writer/director Nora Ephron who was responsible for genre classics such as Sleepless in Seattle and When Harry Met Sally. Will Ferrell is hilarious as Jack Wyatt, and some of his improvised material such as during the original interview with the producers or the dinner party sequence are excellent. He really works as this character and it is great to see him as a romantic leading man. Nicole Kidman also does a good job at being a very different character to what we are used to seeing from her. On the other hand, there are some sections and ideas in the film which are not so good, such as the pointless montage at 66:00, the annoying character who lives next door to Isabel and the arrival of Uncle Arthur, a character from the original series.

    Overall, I found this an entertaining and amusing romantic comedy which although not a remake of the original series certainly sets out to pay homage to it.

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Transfer Quality

Video

    The video quality is very good.

    The feature is presented in a 1.85:1 aspect ratio 16x9 enhanced which is the original aspect ratio.

    The picture was quite clear and sharp throughout, with no evidence of low level noise. The bitrate was a little low which resulted in some backgrounds being a little soft and some light grain in some scenes. These were not terrible but it keeps this from being a great transfer. Shadow detail was very good.

    The colour was excellent with no issues to report.

    The only noticeable artefact was moire which occurred at 17:16 and 25:32.

    There are four English subtitle tracks, one English, one English for the Hearing Impaired, one for the commentary and one containing information (see extras). The English subtitles were clear, easy to read and virtually exact to the spoken word.

    The layer change occurs at 66:56 and was not noticeable.
    

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

    The audio quality is very good, doing all that is required for a romantic comedy.

    This DVD contains an English Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack encoded at 448 Kb/s.

    Dialogue was clear and easy to understand and there was no problem with audio sync.

    The score of this film by George Fenton is good but I thought the song choices were even better, being really well chosen for their spot in the film.

    The surround speakers added mostly atmosphere but this movie was not really about surround effects, so it's not a problem.

    The subwoofer was nicely integrated and added bass to mainly the music.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

Menu

    The very well designed menu included the Bewitched theme, motion and gave access to scenes, subtitles and other functions.

Commentary - Writer/Director Nora Ephron

    A good quality commentary by the queen of romantic comedy, although there are more pauses as the commentary continues. She covers the TV series and its meaning, feminist issues, casting, story, development, the writing process, art direction, cinematography, her desire for a rehearsal period, her approach to movie making and other interesting topics. Well worth a listen.

Witch Vision Trivia Track

    This is the fourth subtitle track mentioned above and it causes trivia boxes to be displayed in various positions around the screen. Included are items about the cast & crew, locations, the TV series, the production, witches and various other bits and pieces. Not bad but would be annoying if you put them on the first time you watched the film as they are quite intrusive.

Deleted Scenes

    A collection of deleted scenes which were removed from the film for good reason, as they are not very interesting. They are presented non 16x9 enhanced widescreen and with 2.0 surround audio. The scenes included are:

Featurettes

    This section includes three separate featurettes. They are all presented 4x3. Included are:

Bewitched Trivia Game

    A quite difficult trivia quiz about the original series which includes 30 questions. I found the questions hard but others who enjoyed the series more will probably like it more.

Trailers

    Trailers are included for the TV series DVDs Open Season, Zathura and Stuart Little 3.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

    The only difference between our local release and the Region 1 version is that the Region 1 contains an extra French soundtrack. May as well call it a draw.

Summary

    An entertaining romantic comedy rather than a remake of the TV series featuring a fun Will Ferrell performance.

    The video quality is very good.

    The audio quality is very good.

    The set has a large collection of extras, decent quality but nothing spectacular.

There is an Official Distributor Comment available for this review.
read

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Daniel Bruce (Do you need a bio break?)
Friday, January 06, 2006
Review Equipment
DVDPioneer DV667A DVD-V DVD-A SACD, using Component output
DisplaySony FD Trinitron Wega KV-AR34M36 80cm. Calibrated with Digital Video Essentials (PAL). This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 576i (PAL)/480i (NTSC).
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials.
AmplificationPioneer VSX-511
SpeakersBose 201 Direct Reflecting (Front), Phillips SB680V (Surround), Phillips MX731 (Center), Yamaha YST SW90 (Sub)

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Comments (Add)
Another opinion... - BruceM (read my bio) REPLY POSTED
Daniel, you must be the only person.... - REPLY POSTED