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Review by Aaron Beierle | posted March 10, 2001 | E-mail the Author
The Movie:

Although Brendan Fraser ("The Mummy") hasn't taken on a particularly wide range of roles, he at least does a fine job at the kind of characters he usually takes on. "Bedazzled" is no exception as Fraser plays Elliot Richards, the office loser. Everyone in his office avoids him, and to top it all off, he's just been ignored by the girl he has a crush on, Allison("Mansfield Park"'s Frances O'Connor).

After he says he'd do anything to get Allison in his life, someone else appears - the Devil (Elizabeth Hurley). She offers Elliot 7 wishes in exchange for his soul. Ah, but there's problems ahead. Elliot's wishes don't turn out exactly how he planned, as the first one turns out that he's married to Allison, but he's also a drug dealer and she's cheating on him. Further wishes prove to be failures as well.

A remake of the 1967 feature, Harold Ramis ("Analyze This") does a fine job directing Hurley and Fraser; the screenplay also has more than its share of funny one-liners. It's Hurley though that often steals the show - she's never been more charming or engaging. Fraser's not bad himself - his wish to be "the most emotionally sensitive" guy in the world provides some hilarious bits. Although the two leads do their very best, there's some scenes throughout the movie that don't score quite as much in the laughs department; a wish sequence with Fraser being a basketball player falls rather flat.

Still, "Bedazzled" contains enough laughs to still be certainly worth a look. Fraser and Hurley give their very best, but the material doesn't always catch up to them.


VIDEO: Although "Bedazzled" may strike some at first glance as just another visually flat romance/comedy, the film actually has one element to help it rise above that - the work of ace cinematographer Bill Pope ("Bound", "The Matrix", "Clueless"), who really creates some nice compositions from the material. His work is helped along by Fox's beautiful anamorphic transfer; although it's not their best work (that still probably will go to "The Beach"), it's certainly one of their most impressive recent offerings. Presented in the film's original 2.35:1 aspect ratio, sharpness is nothing short of excellent as the movie looks wonderfully "film-like" with good depth to the image.

There's little in the way of flaws throughout. Aside from some minor speckles in a couple of scenes, there's nothing in the way of pixelation, shimmering or other such problems. This is a remarkably crisp, clean image that impressed me quite a bit. Flesh tones are accurate and natural and black level is solid. Colors are vibrant, lively and beautiful, looking flawless. The transfer is also THX approved. A great looking presentation from Fox.

SOUND: "Bedazzled" isn't like the usual comedy visually or in terms of audio. Although not a consistently agressive experience, there's a good deal of surround use for the music and the occasional sound effect. I was actually suprised to hear some creative use of audio occasionally during the movie, such as when Fraser's character is watching the TV possibility of his life early on and voices fill the listening space from all sides. A gunfight early on turns into one of the more impressive action sequences I've heard lately sound-wise.

The musical score also sounds excellent; music has a rich, full feeling throughout the movie, re-inforced by the surrounds and nicely bassy. Dialogue remains clear and easily understood, as well. The sound for "Bedazzled" suprised me - I certainly think this is one of the more active sound experiences I've heard for a comedy that I can remember.

MENUS: Menus are quite fantastic for "Bedazzled"; an opening menu tells you to choose whether you want to be rich, famous, intelligent or sensitive - that choice leads you to different "main menus" that have the same feature, but different themed backgrounds.


Commentary One: This is a commentary from director Harold Ramis(directing Fraser in the picture on the left), who contributes a rather fun, but somewhat low-key discussion of the proceedings. Ramis generally discusses the stories behind the production, chatting about working with the actors and the history behind the movie. It's a pretty enjoyable and entertaining discussion, with fewer pauses of silence than Ramis' previous commentary - for "Analyze This". There's even a really interesting discussion early on of what the intended audience was going to be for the film - teens - and why. The worst thing about this track starts to happen about halfway through the discussion; when Ramis begins to run out of things to say, he seems to begin to simply tell us the joke that's currently going on in the movie while it's playing.

Commentary Two: This is a commentary from producer Trevor Albert and actress Elizabeth Hurley. It's a mixture - sometimes Albert takes the lead in the discussion, occasionally Hurley does, and sometimes they sort of interview one another. There's some periods of silence during the commentary but for the most part it's an interesting and fun track. Hurley doesn't do much talking, but she does pop up at times for some entertaining comments. Albert's left to do much of the talking and he does a pretty capable job at carrying the track on his own, bouncing back and forth between a discussion of the actors and the locations as well as some of the obstacles during filming. Both commentary tracks aren't among the best recent tracks I've listened to, but both may be worth a listen for fans of the movie.

Basketball Extended Sequence: A funny little extended sequence with the announcers of the basketball scene, who just keep going on and on making up silly statements about the game at hand till they collapse in laughter.

HBO Making Of: Bedazzled: Although I've never been much of a fan of the HBO promotional features, there's been the occasional funny one. This one isn't particularly informative - it mainly talks about the story, but in a fun, entertaining way. Hurley hosts the documentary and takes us into the interviews - featuring Ramis, Fraser and more. Occasionally pokes fun at the usual "promotional documentary" formula, as well.

Ads: The film's theatrical trailer, 3 TV spots and the music promo.

Still Galleries: There are 3 still galleries that feature conceptual artwork - much of which is very nicely done and fun to look through.

Scoring Session 1 & 2: With picture-in-picture, we get to see the composer and orchestra making the music for two scenes in "Bedazzled".

"Bedazzling Designs With Deena Appel: This is a short featurette where costume designer Deena Appel (she also did the "Austin Powers" movies) takes us through her challenges in coming up with the designs of the many, many costumes that had to be used for both Hurley and Fraser in "Bedazzled".

Nuon-Features: Although I can't comment on these features since I don't have a nuon-enhanced player, Fox has at least jumped into the possibilities for that currently small audience - according to the press release, this offers users with Nuon players the ability to jump to different Hurley costumes in the movie as well as trivia and more.

THX Optimode: THX Optimode Audio/Video tests.

Final Thoughts:

Positive: Although "Bedazzled" never quite reaches it's full potential, but Fox's excellent DVD package is still certainly worth a look.

Negative: No real concerns or complaints - audio and video quality is excellent, and the DVD provides a very nice compliment of extra features.

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