Review by Gordon Justesen
Nicole Kidman, Will Ferrell, Shirley MacLane, Michael Caine, Jason Schwartzman,
Kristen Chenoweth, Heather Burns, Jim Turner, Stephen Colbert, David Alan Grier,
Director: Nora Ephron
Audio: Dolby Digital 5.1, French Dolby Digital 5.1
Video: Anamorphic Widescreen 1.85:1
Studio: Sony Home Entertainment
Features: See Review
Length: 102 Minutes
Release Date: October 25, 2005
what? I’m a witch.”
what? I’m a Clippers fan.”
I was not an avid
viewer of Bewitched television series,
which ran from 1964 to 1972. All I was familiar with was the beautiful star of
the show, Elizabeth Montgomery, twinkling her nose like someone out of a Disney
animated movie. The storyline basically consisted of a real witch enduring the
life of a married woman.
It was only a
matter of time before Bewitched got
hit by the movie bug, like every popular TV show of the time. What caught my
attention about the movie were two things. The first was the pairing of the
alluring Nicole Kidman and the hilarious Will Ferrell; the second was a neat
little twist on the “TV show being adapted to movie” formula.
director and co-writer Nora Ephron certainly had a good idea in mind. The idea
is that the show itself isn’t really being made into a movie, but the show
exists within the movie. It’s just too bad that the execution isn’t as
gripping and exciting as the premise itself.
The story consists
of an actor name Jack Wyatt (Ferrell), whose film career has taken a back seat
following a number of big box office disasters, one of which was a mega-budgeted
war epic named “Katmandu”. Now it appears that Jack will need to restart his
career as the lead in a big television series, particularly one in the form of
an update on the classic “Bewitched” series. Although Jack is playing the
supporting role of Darrin Stephens, he wants to be THE STAR and makes it clear
that he’ll be in the show on one condition; that a complete unknown is cast as
Samantha, the witch.
unimpressive auditions, Jack sees the show as nothing more than a disaster which
will put his career even further in the toilet. That is, until he comes across
the beautiful Isabel Bigelow (Kidman), who he sees twinkling her nose by
accident. He then convinces her to star alongside him in the series, which she
agrees to almost instantly since she’s always longed to be needed.
If you look at the
history of TV sitcoms being made into movies, the track record isn’t the best.
Most of them fail miserably due to being way too lame. Ironically enough, I was
a big fan of Steve Martin’s 1996 Sgt.
Bilko remake, which didn’t get much love from the critics.
And while Bewitched
isn’t entirely lame, it manages to fail in an interesting way. The screenplay
doesn’t seem to have a straight focus, and different plot elements seem to
come into play at the wrong time. And to cap it all off, it seems as if a corny
romantic-ending was tacked on at the last minute.
I will give the
leads credit, although they’ve shined brighter in other films. Kidman and
Ferrell have actually both made better movies this year individually; Kidman was
in tremendous form in The Interpreter
and Ferrell had me thoroughly in stitches as the psychotic kids’ soccer coach
in Kicking and Screaming. The two have
a nice enough chemistry in this movie, but unfortunately it isn’t enough to
The premise shows
outstanding promise, but the follow through leaves a whole lot to be desired, as
Bewitched finds itself far away from
being one of the better film remakes for a television series.
Sony doesn’t fail
whatsoever with the handling of this glorious looking presentation. The
anamorphic picture is lively from beginning to end, with sharp imaging and
outstanding detail. The colors are also a big plus, as well, as they help the
picture look nothing short of amazing.
The 5.1 mix does a
nice enough job with the dialogue driven comedy. The highpoints include numerous
selections on the soundtrack, as well as the sound effects helped in
Samantha’s witchery. A good quality sounding disc.
Sony throws a good
deal of magic into this Special Edition release. Included is a commentary track
with director Nora Ephron, as well as a “Witch Vision” trivia track. Also
featured are three behind the scenes featurettes, deleted scenes, and a lengthy