Bedazzled Bedazzled
Presented in 2.35:1 widescreen
16:9 Enhanced
THX Digital Master
5.1 Dolby Digital Surround
2.0 Dolby Digital Surround in English & French Commentary by Harold Ramis
Commentary by Elizabeth Hurley & Trevor Albert
Making of Featurette
Still Gallery
Scoring Sessions
Theatrical Trailer
Deleted Scene
Extended Scene
Nuon Enhanced
Closed Captioned
French & Spanish Subtitles
93 Minutes
Rated: PG-13
Catalog #: 2000813
Released: March 13, 2001
Amaray Keep Case Packaging
Average Bitrate: 7.21Mb/s
Music Composed and Conducted by DAVID NEWMAN  Music Supervisor DAWN SOLÉR
Visual Effects Supervisor RICHARD EDLUND, asc  Co-Producer SUZANNE HERRINGTON  Costume Designer DEENA APPEL
Film Editor CRAIG P. HERRING  Production Designer RICK HEINRICHS  Director of Photography BILL POPE

Imagine you are a complete nerd, who works in Technical Support for a computer company (Which sounds shockingly like my day job). Your life is so empty that you take snapshots of your speakers to show your co-workers - who can barely stand to be in the same room with you. You fawn over a beautiful woman in the office who doesn't even know you exist. So is the life of Elliot Richards. Elliot is desperate, lonely and would give almost anything to have that girl in his life. The Devil, it seems, has set her sights on obtaining a new soul, decided San Francisco is her locale of choice - and has picked pathetic Elliot as her mark. Why Elliot? Evidently, the Pope would have been too much work. She makes Elliot an offer he can't refuse - for a small price, he can have 7 wishes. These wishes can make him anything his heart desires; Rich, Powerful, Athletic, Sensitive, Suave and Important. The price isn't really all that much - just his soul.

So begins Bedazzled, a comedy remake staring Brendan Fraser as the loveably shy Elliot and Elizabeth Hurley as the beautiful Devil. Helmed by the very talented writer/director Harold Ramis, Bedazzled takes Elliot to the extremes of Love and Power as a Columbian Drug Lord and to the height of basketball stardom as a 7'6" giant with a very tiny "special purpose" (see Steve Martin's "The Jerk" for reference). Brendan is given most of the screen time as he falls victim to the devilish wishes he makes. Always innocent in each of his adventures, he must cope with the twists put on each of his wishes as they are taken to the extreme. Imagine a man so sensitive he crumbles at the very sight of a setting sun. All for the love of a woman who turns on him at every opportunity. Leading him down this road to eternal damnation is sultry and seductive Devil, who for all her faults (she is the Devil) really likes Elliot.

This is possibly Brendan Fraser's best work to date. He drops seamlessly into five different characters, all are completely different from one another - so much so that we can't even find Elliot in there anywhere. Elizabeth Hurley, who pops up in the background during a couple of the segments, heats up the screen with devilish good looks and never-ending costume changes. I would have like to see her in more of the film, especially in the cheerleader outfit, but for the most part, she stays out of Elliot's fantasies. The obvious inclusion of a "French Maid" costume was unfortunately relegated to the cutting room floor. But that withstanding, for this devil, you might actually consider selling your soul.

Fortunately, that won't be necessary. Fox has presented us with a flawless video transfer on this DVD. The image here is presented in the theatrical aspect ratio of 2.35:1 and has been encoded in anamorphic widescreen for 16:9 monitors. I did not detect any obvious edge enhancement or any compression artifacts. This is due, in no small part to the amount of bandwidth dedicated to video, averaging 6 mb/s for the duration of the film. The framing of the video image is accurate throughout the picture. However, the opening credits sequence appears to be cropped at the top and bottom, almost as if it was conceived for a 1.85:1 ratio and then matted down. Once the credits are over, the framing is correct.

On the audio front, we have a Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround mix. The audio is well represented here with an enveloping soundfield. As is typical with Dolby Digital programs, I found I had to set the fader rather high to keep the dialog at a listenable level. It's not a fault of the mix - more of the way Dolby Digital works. Included is a 2 channel Dolby Surround mix in both English and French. Having watched the film three times in as many days was enough for me, so I didn't give much of a listen to these alternate audio selections.

As part of this Special Edition DVD, we are presented with two commentary tracks. The first track presents director Harold Ramis. This track is quite informative and goes into some good detail on the making of the film. Mr. Ramis seems to loose focus once or twice, but is otherwise engaging throughout. The second commentary track features Elizabeth Hurley and producer Trevor Albert. Much of the track is dominated by Mr. Albert discussing more of the technical aspects of the film, including story and theme ideas. Ms. Hurley chimes in from time to time, mostly during her time on the screen.

Much of the same ground is covered between the two commentary tracks. Some of the items seem to be in direct conflict with each other, for example, how the "devil on the computer" sequence was shot. Mr. Ramis indicates that Elizabeth is in the next room with a video camera feeding a live image to Brandon's screen. Mr. Albert indicates Brandon is looking at nothing and reacting to audio playback of Elizabeth's lines. Another big difference is the discussion surrounding the "Abraham Lincoln" sequence. By Mr. Ramis' comments one would believe the production had wrapped, the film edited with the "Rock 'n' Roll" sequence in place and test audiences did not like it. So, while Brendan Fraser was already in production on Universal's "Mummy Returns", they setup the "Abraham Lincoln" sequence to replace it. The comments by Mr. Albert and Ms. Hurley seem to indicate this sequence was always part of the film - with no reference at all to the "Rock 'n' Roll" sequence. Alas we may never know the truth behind these two opposing points of view.

For the first time on DVD, Fox has included Nuon Enhanced menus. I have no equipment necessary to access these features, so I cannot comment on their features. I'm not a huge fan of menu navigation anyway, so the enhancements wouldn't do anything for me. However, there is a unique approach to the menus for Bedazzled. The menus are customized to one of four themes of Elliot's wishes. It would have been much more interesting to have a completely different menu structure for each theme, but alas, only the first menu screen is the only one different for each theme. I also experienced several navigation problems on my DVD enabled PC. The mouse interface over the screen items refused to work, forcing me to use the control panel buttons.

The audio functions and subtitles are all available through the menu screens - as well as being accessible "on the fly" from the remote control allowing easy access to the commentary tracks while playing film. Also included in the supplements is the aforementioned deleted scene dubbed the Rock & Roll sequence. It's a hidden menu option on the 2nd "bonus features" screen. In the director commentary, we find out the sequence was cut because test audiences didn't like it. Frankly, it destroys the film. Had the 11-minute sequence remained (displacing the "Abraham Lincoln" sequence), the entire tone of the film, in my opinion, would have been altered, resulting in something less fun. I do think the introduction to the scene is nice - especially the French Maid outfit, but it does sets up the sequence in a negative fashion, making it out of step with the rest of the picture. There is also an extended "basketball sequence" which is really just five minutes of the game commentators talking. Nothing is lost with this omission either.

We also have the typical HBO featurette "The Making of Bedazzled" featuring interviews with all of the stars and most of the crew. The 12 minute program is hosted by Elizabeth Hurley. Also included are a few TV spots and a theatrical trailer. All the spots include snippets from footage that was cut from the film, most of which is not included elsewhere on the disc. We also see a couple of scoring sessions snippets which is interesting - but surprisingly short. It's a neat concept - imagine watching the scoring session as an alternate video stream. Humm... There is also a still gallery and the requisite THX Opti-Mode components.

Since the death of the LaserDisc format (someday I will actually stop talking about LaserDisc - well, maybe not), there is no US release of the title. There is still the possibility of a LaserDisc release in Japan and if it is released, this review will be updated to include it. Overall, Bedazzled is an fun film which shows off the talents of Elizabeth Hurley and Brendan Fraser. While I would have liked to see more of the cut footage discussed in the Ramis commentary, the DVD is an excellent representation of this film. I highly recommend it.

Updated: March 20, 2001
Copyright ©2001 Blam Entertainment Group