Bewitched appears in an aspect ratio of approximately :1 on this single-sided, double-layered DVD; the image has been enhanced for 16X9 televisions. Although the movie never looked bad, it failed to deliver a consistently impressive visual experience.
Sharpness presented a moderate concern. Much of the film seemed a little ill-defined, with shots that appeared just a bit “off” and unfocused. The definition wasn’t poor, but mild softness infused most of the flick. No jagged edges or moiré effects occurred, and but I saw light edge enhancement at times. Print flaws weren’t an issue. Beyond a speck or two, no defects materialized.
Colors looked decent but unspectacular. The palette appeared somewhat strangely subdued, as the tones were moderately pale much of the time. At times they came to life, usually when we saw MacLaine; in particular, her outfits offered dynamic tones. Most of the other colors remained lackluster, though. This may have stemmed from production design, but I couldn’t figure out a logical reason why the filmmakers would elect to depict the action that way. Blacks were nicely deep and dense, though, and low-light shots came across as reasonably concise and well depicted. Bewitched consistently remained watchable, but this seemed like an erratic transfer overall.
On the other hand, the Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack of Bewitched was surprisingly effective. Due to the magic scenes, the spectrum opened up more than I’d expect from a light comedy. Those sequences used the various channels quite well and created engaging settings when necessary.
Otherwise the soundfield was fairly restricted. Much of the track featured light general ambience and music, both of which worked fine. The score demonstrated nice imaging and the effects were accurately placed. The occasional magic sequence gave the track some oomph, but don’t expect a dazzling soundscape.
Audio quality seemed very good. Speech was consistently accurate and firm. I noticed no problems like edginess or a lack of clarity. Music appeared bright and acceptably lively, with solid range. Effects sounded detailed and distinctive and also offered nice bass when appropriate. Although the soundfield wasn’t stunning, the combination of compelling scenes and the high quality of the audio meant a “B+” grade for that area.
As we head to the DVD’s extras, we open with an audio commentary from director Nora Ephron. She offers a running, screen-specific affair. And quite a good one as well, as Ephron hits on many different subjects. She starts with thoughts about the TV series and her desire to make something other than a straight remake. From there Ephron goes into sets, locations and production design, casting, working with the actors, improvisation and rehearsal, script and story issues, special effects, music, costumes and cinematography.
Really, it’s tough to think of any stone left unturned by Ephron, as she covers the appropriate parts of the production. She does so with candor and insight. Yeah, she tends toward a little more praise than I’d like, and there’s also a bit of dead air. Nonetheless, Ephron presents a nice synopsis of the film’s creation and makes this a solid commentary.
Entitled Witch Vision, we also get a text commentary. It divides its information into four different subtopics: “Scene Specific”, “Bewitched Production”, “Star Facts”, and “TV Series”. Based on those titles, you can probably figure out that this piece looks at elements related to the film and its participants as well as background on various materials and connections to the TV show. It gets into many nice factoids and proves to be useful.
Six Deleted Scenes run between 35 seconds and two minutes, eight seconds for a total of six minutes, 44 seconds of footage. As you can surmise from their brevity, not much of significance pops up here. However, some amusement does occur, especially during a story pitch session in which Jack concentrates more on fun locations like Hawaii than he does good plots. We also see a short clip of the wedding at the end.
Next we find a whopping10 Behind the Scenes Featurettes. However, that number is a little deceptive as eight of them appear under the banner of “Star Shots”. We begin with the 23-minute and 31-second “Casting a Spell: Making Bewitched”. It offers the usual mix of movie clips, behind the scenes elements, and interviews. We discover information from Ephron, producers Douglas Wick and Lucy Fisher, co-screenwriter Delia Ephron, production designer Neil Spisak, costume designer Mary Zophres, and actors Nicole Kidman, Will Ferrell, Shirley MacLaine, Jason Schwartzman, Jim Turner, Heather Burns, Michael Caine, Kristin Chenoweth, David Alan Grier and Stephen Colbert.
The documentary looks at the decision to adapt the TV series and related issues, Nora Ephron’s style, casting, rehearsal, improvisation and performances, locations and production design, costumes, effects, and the movie’s themes. A fair amount of the information repeats from the audio commentary, so don’t expect a great amount of new notes here. “Spell” comes across as glossy and fairly enjoyable but it never turns into a terribly memorable program.
The eight “Star Shots” featurettes fill a total of 19 minutes and five seconds; each one goes between one minute, 56 seconds and two minutes, 40 seconds. These concentrate on Kidman, Ferrell, MacLaine, Caine, Schwartzman, Chenoweth, Grier and Colbert. We hear from each of those actors along with Turner, Wick, Burns, Nora Ephron, and Fisher,
Very fluffy in nature, these pieces look at the actors and their roles. A lot of the content simply consists of praise for those involved, but we get some funny cracks and a smidgen of decent information about the roles and performers. With some exceptions – Schwartman digs into his part well - they’re not particularly informative, but they’re painless.
Finally, the “Featurettes” area ends with “Why I Loved Bewitched”. This six-minute and 41-second program includes remarks from Grier, Colbert, Ferrell, Delia Ephron, Kidman, Schwartzman, Chenoweth, Caine, and Nora Ephron. The title tells the truth, as this largely consists of praise for the series. It lacks much insight; except for a look at how Samantha represented women in the era, we usually just hear accolades. I didn’t love “Loved”.
The Trivia Game completely restricts itself to questions about the TV series. If you check out the subtitle commentary, you’ll find the answers to some of these. For the rest, you’re on your own. I had to guess at a lot of them, as I really don’t remember a whole lot about the show. It’s a forgiving quiz, however, so mistakes don’t become fatal.
At the start of the DVD, we encounter some ads. We get promos for Memoirs of a Geisha, The Legend of Zorro, and Fun With Dick and Jane and The DaVinci Code. These also appear in the Previews area along with clips for the Bewitched TV series, Stealth, Lords of Dogtown, Rent, Jiminy Glick in Lalawood, Open Season, The Pink Panther and Zathura.
Fitfully entertaining, the movie version of Bewitched enjoys a few good performances and an interesting concept. However, Will Ferrell proves unlikable in the lead and the film collapses during its second half since it relies on his charm. The DVD offers decent picture with surprisingly solid sound as well as a pretty interesting package of extras. Grab the DVD if you know you like the movie, but for others, I can’t advise more than a potential date-night rental.