This movie works for two reason, Will Ferrell and Nicole Kidman. What I think is a shame is that because of the initial theatrical trailers for Bewitched, I purposely didn’t see this movie. It just looked awful. Also, I don’t think that Kidman was even making her nose move! It was her mouth and the nose just followed!! So imagine my surprise when I put this movie into my DVD player, thinking for all the world that it was going to be a crap and it ends up being pretty good. This isn’t a “remake” so much as a “reimagining” (I hate to use that term but it really does apply) of the original show.
Kidman plays a Isabel, a woman who just wants to fall in love. Ferrell plays Jack Wyatt, an egotistical star who is using a remake of the original TV show “Bewitched” to recharge his acting career. Eventually Isabel discovers that this is what Jack is doing and it is here that the central story of the movie unfolds. While eventually, things turn out how you might expect, the getting there is really where the fun is and thankfully that’s what Director Nora Ephron chose to focus on. Kidman and Ferrell really work well together. They both bring an earnest believability to their very different roles, that I found I was charmed from the opening frame.
While this isn’t a movie that I think needs to be in everybody’s collection, it is the kind of film that couples can rent and rewatch over and over again. Bewitched has put a spell on me!
Director’s Commentary and Deleted Scenes
Nora Ephron is someone who seems to have a mastery over her profession. This is why listening to the commentary was so interesting, because she actually talked quite a bit about the ideas behind “Bewitched” as a show. What did it really mean? Was it really a look at mixed marriages? Eventually, she talked about the nuts and bolts of filmmaking, but she mixed it up well so even people who don’t care about that stuff will appreciate this. Some of the deleted scenes are “Writers’ Conference,” “Barbershop Quartet,” “2nd Colonnade Scene” and others. A lot of these seem to be just extra moments that illuminated various parts of the movie, but overall didn’t need to be included in the final cut.
Behind the Scenes Featurettes; Witch Vision Trivia Track and Bewitched ia Game
There are actually quite a few featurettes on this disk. There is a traditional making of titled “Casting A Spell: Making Bewitched” in which we see how the movie was made and what life was like on the set. Then we can watch “Bewitched: Star Shots Why I Loved Bewitched,” which is a bunch of the actors and others (all the main cast are included as well a lot of the supporting cast) talking about their roles, the original show and what it was like making this movie. This is really a well put together set of featurettes for a DVD that you may not expect this from. The “Witch Vision Trivia” track is a track that provides information as you watch the film. These tidbits just pop up on the screen telling you things that are both related and not related to the movie. It also fun to listen to the commentary track as this track runs because you get double the information. The “Bewitched Trivia Game” is just that, yet what fans will like is that it focuses on the original TV show.
1.85:1 - Anamorphic Widescreen. As this is a Hollywood romantic comedy with two of the biggest stars in the business, it would stand to reason that they are going to play it safe as far as the look of the movie is concerned. They do and you really shouldn’t be expecting them to do anything too “out there.” As it stands, this film is very light and easy on the eyes. The story just seems to unfold with the characters coming into and out of the frame, with nary a notice of the lighting and other things that have made everyone look so perfect. On my small TV, all of this came across and I seem to think that on the big screen it probably did as well. This movie isn’t huge looking but you can tell it isn’t an indy either.
Dolby Digital - Mastered in High Definition. My only problem with this DVD (and in all fairness, I did notice this more on the Special Features) is that I did have to turn up my TV a bit louder than normal so I could hear everything. It was okay for the feature, but for the extras (especially the Deleted Scenes and the Featurettes), I found myself cranking the volume. For the actual movie, I was glad I was watching it in my bedroom on my crummy TV. The soundtrack and ambient audio is so “bubbly and bouncy” that I think if I would have heard it in a movie theater it would have driven me nuts.
Will Ferrell and Nicole Kidman ride a broomstick over the city of LA with a large moon behind them. This cover pretty much sums up this movie, although for some reason I remember the original poster having the broomstick turned the opposite way. The back features four small pictures from the movie, a small but well written description of the show, a Special Features listing, a cast list and technical specs. All in all, this cover tells the story of this film and truthfully what more do you really need it to do? Anyone buying or renting this DVD, basically knows what they are getting into when they watch it.
I love how this film pokes fun at itself. Not only does it seem to be “winking” at romantic comedies, it also laughs at the film industry. For instance, when Jack Wyatt wants a line rewritten in the script, he calls for his writers and about 20 people appear. Then, it ends up being his agent who choses what’s going to happen in the scene. Sadly, none of this came through on any of the original theatrical trailers I saw. We just see Will Ferrell being his classically, goofy self and Nicole Kidman playing a woman who wants love. There was none of the real comedy shown to us, and this is what made this movie rise a bit higher than your average romantic film.
As I said, Bewitched isn’t a must for any collection, however as a fan of the original TV show and someone who likes to laugh, I found that this movie hit all the right notes.