Plot: What’s it about?
Elliot Richards (Brendan Fraser) is a good guy, but he never seems to attain his goals. He works hard, tries to make friends, and is a very nice person, but girls don’t seem to like him that much. Elliot is a very reserved person, but after four years of gathering up his courage, he finally decides to talk to his crush from work, Alison (Frances O’Connor). But when she draws a blank as to who he even is, Elliot makes a vow that he would do whatever he has to in order to attain Alison’s love. His chance soon arrives in the form of The Devil (Elizabeth Hurley) who offers anything Elliot wants with just one catch, he has to sign over his soul. After some persuasion, Elliot agrees and soon has seven wishes to use, but as he soon discovers, you never get a clean deal from The Devil. He is given just what he asks for, but she always seems to find a way to screw it up for him, such as making him a drug dealer when he asks to be rich and powerful. Can Elliot figure out a wish that will give him all that he wants, but not allow The Devil to step in and ruin it all?
This is a remake of the 1967 edition with Dudley Moore and Peter Cook, which was humorous, but I liked this new version much better in the end. Perhaps the previous ones seems so dated now, or maybe it is just that Elizabeth Hurley embodies temptation, but in any case, this remake offers much more in the way of laughs. I admit this is not a good film in the traditional sense, but it is loads of fun to watch and in that respect, one of the better movies released in 2000. Hurley and Brendan Fraser don’t turn in award level performances, but they nail their characters and really drive home the humor, which is just what they needed to do. This flick has one main storyline, which branches into several other smaller ones, all of which have a distinct texture and a lot of mishaps. I like how each wish is given a unique visual presence, which is touched on a little more in an included featurette. Fraser also brings a lot to the table here, as he slides from persona to persona here, each filled with laughs and pratfalls. I recommend this release to all those interested, as I think it was one of 2000’s funniest flicks and this special edition disc is even more incentive to check it out.
Who better to play the ultimate in temptation than Elizabeth Hurley, who consumes the screen with her performance here. I’ve always thought Hurley was one of more seductive screen sirens and she turns it up a few notches here, really playing up the temptation and lust angles. This seems to be fitting for her role to be sure, as we can tell why her client is so muddled and distracted as he wishes. I admit Hurley’s skills as a performer could use some work, but her main goal here is to look good and be attractive, which she does and then some. Other films with Hurley include Permanent Midnight, EdTv, Dangerous Ground, Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery, and My Favorite Martian. The cast here also includes Brendan Fraser (The Mummy, School Ties), Orlando Jones (The Replacements), Frances O’Connor (Mansfield Park, A.I.), Miriam Shor (Flushed, Snow Days), and Brian Doyle-Murray (Cabin Boy, Christmas Vacation). The directed of Bedazzled is Harold Ramis, who also helmed such films as Caddyshack, Groundhog Day, Analyze This, National Lampoon’s Vacation, and Stuart Saves His Family.
Video: How does it look?
Bedazzled is presented in a 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen transfer. As usual from Fox, this is a top notch transfer and in truth, I could find no flaws worthy of reporting here. The print used looks pristine, as it should and as far as compression errors, I didn’t see a single one in this transfer. The colors look rich and lush here, from the deepest reds to the more natural tones, all of the hues seem flawless here. No issues with the contrast either, as detail is strong and black levels look razor sharp, very impressive indeed. This is as good as it gets, another reference level visual presentation from the folks at Fox.
Audio: How does it sound?
This disc uses a Dolby Digital 5.1 track, which really pulses at times and creates a terrific audio atmosphere. The audio is a little conservative at the start, but once things start to roll, the surrounds kick in and drive home a great experience. I was really impressed with the dynamic presence here, as the surrounds see a ton of action and really provide an immersive environment. The musical score also comes across in fine form, very full and expansive here at all times. No issues with dialogue either, which sounds crisp, clean, and well balanced throughout. This disc includes 2.0 surround tracks in English and French, as well as subtitles in English and Spanish.
Supplements: What are the extras?
This is a full blown special edition release, complete with a wealth of extras exclusive to NUON enhanced players. This includes some costume reels for Hurley’s character, condensed commentaries, and other features that pull images/sequences from the film and run them in succession. But you will need a NUON enhanced player to enable those extras, although a lot of features have been included for normal players as well. You’ll find a very cool costume design featurette, in which some insight is given into each character’s wardrobe and various other visual touches. A more general behind the scenes featurette is also included and while it is brief, it offers some nice interviews and such. You can also listen to two audio commentary tracks, both of which offer a lot of information and behind the scenes anecdotes. The first is with director Harold Ramis and is packed with info, but also proves to be entertaining, as Ramis is very comical as always. The second track features Elizabeth Hurley and producer Trevor Albert, who also have a lot to say about the production. I was pleased to hear from Hurley, who is very literate and shares various memories from the shoot. If you combine these two tracks together, you’ll be given a very in depth glimpse behind the scenes of Bedazzled. Two scoring session piece have also been tacked on here, which I was surprised to see, as these aren’t often included on these discs. I found these to be very cool and I hope future releases also include them, as they reveal a lot about the musical score and that is an important element. A trio of production artwork galleries, complete with sketches and early designs are also packed in and again, prove to be well worth a look. This is a very visual film to be sure, so these sketches and designs were a welcome inclusion here. A hilarious extended version of the basketball announcers table is also found on this disc, which is worth more than a few laughs and shouldn’t be missed. The last of the goodies are three television spots, a music promo spot, and the theatrical trailer, all of which of course shouldn’t be overlooked.