Bruce Almighty (Blu-ray)

January 28, 2012 7 Min Read

Review by: Matt Brighton

Plot: What’s it about?

Have there ever been as many ups and downs in a career as Jim Carrey’s? Back in 1994 when “Ace Ventura: Pet Detective”? hit the screen, he as an immediate star. As it turned out, 1994 was a great year for him with two other films both being a commercial success: “The Mask”? and “Dumb and Dumber”?. Carrey then continued his streak the next year with “Batman Forever”? in which he played the Riddler but hit a bit of a bump with “The Cable Guy”?. Since then, he’s had his share of hits and misses and has found somewhat of a niche playing to what he does best “? his inane ability to almost become a living cartoon. Roles like “A Series of Unfortunate Events”? and “How the Grinch Stole Christmas”? gave him the ability to really do what he’s best at but as with most comedic actors, they want to be taken seriously! Carrey has appeared in a number of dramatic roles that are good, but not something that “The Academy”? has bestowed on him. “The Truman Show”?, “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind”? and “Man in the Moon”? comes to mind. In “Bruce Almighty”? he once again teamed with director Tom Shadyac who directed him in “Ace Ventura”? and “Liar, Liar”?. What’s Jim Carrey like as God?

Bruce Nolan (Jim Carrey) is a reporter for a Buffalo TV station. He’s vying for the coveted anchor spot that’s become open. He’s got a girlfriend (Jennifer Aniston) who loves him and is waiting for him to pop the question. The only thing is that Bruce can’t really seem to catch a break. Everything bad seems to happen to him and Bruce seems comfortable to blame everything on God. As it so happens, God (Morgan Freeman) pays Bruce a visit and bestows his power to Bruce. Being the selfish person that he is, he uses the power of the almighty to try and further his career. He unearths the body of Jimmy Hoffa, does a news story and a meteor strikes behind him and so on. However the anchor spot has gone to Evan (Steve Carrell) despite Bruce’s power. All hell breaks loose (almost literally) when Bruce starts answering everyone’s prayers. With the power of God in Bruce, can he fix his own problems and those of the world or will he be destined to live his life and continue to blame someone else for his misfortunes?

“Bruce Almighty”? features a great cast with an early appearance by Steve Carrell (who will be headlining the sequel, “Evan Almighty”?), Morgan Freeman and Jennifer Aniston. Make no doubt about it though, this is Jim Carrey’s movie. The film was a major hit back in 2003, racking up nearly $250 million at the box office and putting Carrey back on the map”?again. The whole concept is a bit tongue in cheek and it gives Carrey another opportunity to flex his comedic muscle and do things that most of us will only dream of. Still, at the same time, it’s kind of forgettable and the movie I can see being run on cable three days a week. If you’ve never seen “Bruce Almighty”? I’d suggest a rental but judging from the success of the film, it’s got quite a few fans and that being said, this is for you.

Video: How does it look?

“Bruce Almighty” failed to impress me on HD DVD and this Blu-ray transfer isn’t any improvement. The image, though clean and clear, seemed a bit muddy at times and really didn’t have that “pop”? that I’d expect from a high profile movie like this. It would be one thing if the film were a number of years old, but having come out in 2003 I’d expected a bit more. Colors are accurate and the detail looks good as well, but as I said the image just seems kind of flat. Flesh tones seem to be a bit burned out, as if everyone has a suntan or something. Universal was obviously interested in getting this title out and didn’t work on improving the transfer.

Audio: How does it sound?

The Dolby Digital Plus soundtrack found on the HD DVD has been replaced with a DTS HD Master Audio track which does sound marginally better. While the depth is a bit more tactile, this soundtrack is just a bit over average at best. If anything from this movie is memorable it won’t be the audio. Dialogue is very warm and natural and though surrounds are used at the right time, they don’t over power the audio and give it a fake feeling. The soundtrack is amok with little discrete effects that add some depth to what could have been a very straight-forward track. All in all, nothing to write home about but nothing that sounds particularly bad either.

Supplements: What are the extras?

Considering the huge success of this movie, the extras are especially slim. We get plenty of deleted scenes which were left out for various reasons and, more interesting, is “The Process of Jim”? which takes a look at the man and his madness. He’d do scenes literally twenty different times and each one would be totally different than the last. If anyone wants to see what true hyperactivity is like, check this out. Rounding out the supplements is the feature commentary with director Tom Shadyac who gives us the scoop on the movie, the cast and of course, Jim Carrey. Fans of the movie will want to give it a listen, but don’t expect to learn much from this track. Universal has added BD Live functionality to this disc which the HD DVD lacked, of course but aside from that everything else is identical in terms of supplements.

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