Reviews for region 1 discs From Ultimate DVD #17

BEDAZZLED
BEN-HUR

Just two selections from Ultimate DVD's region 1 Reviews section.

Selected region 2
reviews here

In association with amazon.com

Check the price
and order them today!

All Region 1 releases below are also covered in the issue

  • 9 to 5
  • Almost Famous
  • Book of Shadows: Blair Witch 2
  • City Slickers
  • Finding Forrester
  • Hamlet
  • Highlander: Endgame
  • The Howling III
  • Meet the Parents
  • Mississippi Burning
  • Nine Months
  • Paradise Road
  • Remember The Titans
  • The Truth About Cats and Dogs
  • The Wonder Boys
  • Working Girl
Search Now:
In Association with Amazon.com

BEDAZZLED Rated: PG-13
Elizabeth Hurley's a bit of a Devil

The Movie

Harold Ramis’s remake of the 1967 Pete ’n’ Dud comedy is a very watchable bit of Faustian fluff. Brendan Fraser reveals a natural flair for comedy characterisations as a lonely nerd in love with colleague Frances O’Connor. The Devil, in the foxy from of Liz Hurley, offers him seven wishes in return for his soul, but each time he re-invents himself as an appealing bloke, she puts a major spanner in the works.

Lean pacing and the well-cast Brendan, Liz and Frances makes this an enjoyable view and there are some inventive ideas and witty lines. After a funny first hour, however, the film’s desire to provide a meaningful message means it all turns rather flat, leading to an unsatisfying wrap-up that 3 stars - Worth A Watchbelongs in a different movie.

The Extras

A really excellent 2.35:1 transfer on all counts and fun presentation too, as a menu asks you to choose from ‘rich’, ‘famous’, ‘intelligent’ or ‘sensitive’, leading to a themed main page with matching graphics, movie montage and music from that section of the film.

Two Commentaries are provided. Harold Ramis talks non-stop in a general overview, explaining directorial tricks of the trade, cut mischievous moments from the Devil, intellectual in-jokes and the film’s theological position. In the more intermittent other track, Hurley chats clothes and explains the benefits of working with no constraints to her character, while scarily enthusiastic producer Trevor Albert gets gushy about everybody in the cast and crew.

The Making of Bedazzled adopts a tongue-in-cheek angle, where presenter Hurley (in v saucy top) deconstructs the usual behind-the-scenes malarkey. “We’ve now come to the part of the show where everybody fawns over the director,” smirks the lovely Liz, and though only 15 minutes long, this manages plenty of stuff about the cast, make-up and multiple roles. There’s even some outtakes over the end credits. Nice.

Bedazzling Designs with Deena Appel is a brief overview of the work of the aforementioned designer, concentrating on creating specific looks for Brendan’s various guises and the squillions of costume changes for Hurley – “a demo reel for all of her sexiest looks”.

Two very short Scoring Sessions show composer David Newman and orchestra at work, the Stills Gallery has around 50 pre-production designs and logos, and techies will be thrilled by the extensive set-up Menus in the ‘THX test mode’ and NUON enhanced DVD features. Avoid the awful basketball 4 stars - Damn Good Disccommentators cut scene, though.

Credits
Bedazzled on DVD

Cast
Brendan Fraser
Elizabeth Hurley
Frances O'Connor
Director • Harold Ramis
Year • 2000
Duration • 93 mins
Screen Ratio • 2.35:1
Anamorphic • Yes
Audio • Dolby
Digital 5.1
Chapters • 24
Languages • English, French
Subtitles • English, Spanish
Release Date •
March 13
Distributor •
20th Century Fox

 
 
 
 
 

Highlight

Chapter 7 –
Rich, Powerful &...Spanish

A truly inspired running subtitle gag.

Jason Caro

From Ultimate DVD #17

BEN–HUR Rated: G
A true epic that is resplendent on DVD

The Movie

This is a film of superlatives, over three hours of Hollywood busting its guts to bring an epic story to the big screen.

It succeeded. In the narration, Charlton Heston believes that one reason why director William Wyler made this film was that, “…he hadn’t made an epic before”. Well, he was triumphant. Never mind the current film about some Roman general turned gladiator, this is a far, far better film, boasting a quality cast of perfect performances, an excellent script, a visual treat and breathtaking moments.

The story centres on Jew Judah Ben-Hur (Heston), whose friendship with one of the Roman occupiers turns sour, and Judah becomes a galley slave before arriving in Rome. The surrounding background story is that of one Jesus of Nazareth, whose adoration by three kings starts the film and crucifixion brings the story to a close, with a miracle thrown in for 5 stars - Digital Dynamitegood measure. Stirring stuff…

The Extras

This is a two-sided disc, with most of the extras on Side B. Captioned scene selection is on both sides, as is a Commentary by Heston. He does not talk the whole way through the film, so when his Commentary has ended there is the option to move forward to the next section. Subjects range from the movie itself to recollections about the filming – always interesting. Side A also provides a Cast and Crew list which is repeated on Side B.

Side B contains Ben-Hur: The Making of an Epic. This 20-chapter documentary, narrated by Christopher Plummer, lasts an hour and looks at the origins of the film, the risk Warner Brothers took, as well as the movie itself. Screen Tests shows Leslie Nielsen and Cesare Danova testing together for the roles of Judah and Messala, and Haya Harareet successfully reads for the role of Esther. Photo Gallery is a selection of mainly uncaptioned pictures and drawings, some of which could have been larger. The Theatrical Trailer and Teaser are also included, with a series of screens listing the 11 Oscars the film won.

The print quality is excellent, with the 5.1 sound giving full justice to Miklos Rozsa’s defining music. Sensibly, the disc changeover occurs at the intermission, with the film’s six-minute plus overture at the start of Side A and the just under four-minute Entr’Acte 5 stars - Digital Dynamiteat the start of Side B.

Jan Vincent-Rudzki

Credits
Ben-Hur on DVD

Cast
Charlton Heston
Jack Hawkins
Haya Harareet
Stephen Boyd
Hugh Griffith
Director • William Wyler
Year • 1959
Duration • 212 min
Screen Ratio • 2.35:1
Anamorphic • Yes
Audio • Dolby Digital 5.1
Chapters • 61
Languages •
English, French
Subtitles • English, French, Spanish, Portuguese
Release Date • March 13
Distributor •
Warner

 
 
 
 
 

Highlight

Chapter 48
Fallen Driver

The climax of the extraordinary chariot race..

From Ultimate DVD #17

UltimateDVD footer