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BEDTIME STORIES (a J!-ENT Blu-ray Disc Review)

April 3, 2009 by  



“A child-friendly Adam Sandler film! ‘Bedtime Stories’ is an enjoyable, adorable and fun  family film with a good dose of comedy, fantasy and action balancing both Walt Disney innocence and Happy Madison craziness.  Overall, a fun film that the whole family can enjoy!”

Images courtesy of © Disney. All Rights Reserved.

TITLE: Bedtime Stories

DURATION: 99 Minutes

BLU-RAY DISC INFORMATION: 1080p High Definition/2:35:1, English 5.1 DTS-HD (48kHz/24-Bit) French and Spanish 5.1 Dolby Digital, English SDH, French, Spanish.  Three Discs: Blu-ray, DVD and Digital Copy

RATED: PG

COMPANY: Walt Disney STudios Home Entertainment

RELEASE DATE: April 5, 2009

Directed by Adam Shankman

Screenplay by Matt Lopez and Tim Herlihy

Story by Matt Lopez

Produced by Andrew Gunn, Adam Sandler, Jack Giarraputo

Executive Producers: Adam Shankman, Jennifer Gibgot, Ann Marie Sanderlin, Garrett Grant

Director of Photography: Michael Barrett

Production Designer: Linda DeScenna

Edited by Tom Costain, Michael Tronick, A.C.E.

Costume Designer: Rita Ryack

Music Composed by: Rupert Gregson-Williams

Music Supervisors: Michael Dilbeck, Brooks Arthur

Cast:

Adam Sandler as Skeeter Bronson

Keri Russell as Jill

Guy Pearce as Kendall

Russell Brand as Mickey

Richard Griffiths as Barry Nottingham

Teresa Palmer as Violet Nottingham

Lucy Lawless as Aspen

Courteney Cox as Wendy

Jonathan Morgan Heit as Patrick

Laura Ann Kesling as Bobbi

Jonathan Pryce as Marty Bronson

Rob Schneider as Chief Running Mouth/Pickpocket

The most entertaining Bedtime Stories experience you can have is this Blu-ray ad DVD combo Pack.  On Disney Blu-ray, spectacular picture and sound make it more magical than ever.

Funnyman Adam Sandler stars in Walt Disney Pictures’ Bedtime Stories, the magical family comedy that’s packed with adventure and lots of heart.  When Skeeter Bronson (Sandler) babysits his sister’s (Courteney Cox) children, his imagination runs wild as he dreams up elaborate bedtime stories – always casting himself as the hero.  Entranced, the children add their own ideas to thse once-upon-a-time tales of heroics and chivalry.  Then…magic happens.  These nighttime fantasies become Skeeter’s daytime realities, leading him on a real-life adventure in search of his own happy ending.  Filled with colorful characters, humor and whimsy, this heartwarmingly comedy will enchant your entire family like never before in Blu-ray High Definition.

LAURA ANN KESLING, ADAM SANDLER, JONATHAN HEIT. BEDTIME STORIES is available on DVD April 7, 2009 and Blu-ray April 5, 2009. © Disney. All Rights Reserved.

A child-friendly Adam Sandler film!  An enjoyable family film with a good dose of fantasy and action balancing both Walt Disney innocence and Happy Madison craziness.

The film is directed by Adam Shankman (“Hairspray”, “The Wedding Planner”, “Bringing Down the House” and a screenplay by Matt Lopez (“Race to Witch Mountain”) and Saturday Night Live writer Tim Herlihy (“The Wedding Singer”, “Happy Gilmore”, “Little Nicky” and “Big Daddy”)

“Bedtime Stories” is a film that kicks off a flashback from the past, taking place at a family run inn.  Father Marty Bronson (Jonathan Pryce) raising his two children (also employees of the Inn) trying to keep his business and family afloat.  Every night reading his children a bedtime story, Bronson tries to keep a happy face despite knowing his inn is not doing well financially.   Businessman and hotel mogul Barry Nottingham offers Marty plenty of money if he signs away the rights to the inn and Marty agrees to the deal if only he makes a promise that when his son Skeeter becomes older, he would run the inn.  The two make a deal.

Flash forward to the present, nearly twenty five years later and the inn has now become among one of Nottingham’s multi-million dollar hotel investments and is now a popular, classy and luxurious hotel in Southern California.  Meanwhile, Skeeter Bronson (Adam Sandler), a middle-aged man handyman/custodian is not exactly running the business as his father has hoped.

When Nottingham (Richard Griffiths) makes an announcement of a new hotel to open up in Southern California, Skeeter feels that perhaps this is his time.  Unfortunately, the job is given to the arrogant Kendall (Guy Pearce).  A man who is dating Nottingham hotel heiress Violet Nottingham (Teresa Palmer), a party hopping, Paris Hilton-esque socialite and behind-the-scenes, Kendall is having fun with the hotel concierge Aspen (Lucy Lawless).

Feeling that he’s down on his luck, Skeeter goes to visit his sister Wendy (Courteney Cox) and his niece Bobbi (Laura Ann Kesling) and nephew Patrick (Jonathan Morgan Heit) who is celebrating a birthday.  But all is not good with the family.  Wendy’s husband has left the family and she lost her job as a principal of her school due to the school closing.  She has an interview for a job in another state but she needs someone to watch the kids for a few days.  So, she asks if Skeeter can watch the kids at night, while during the day, her friend and a teacher at the school, Jill (Keri Russell), who has the children during the day.  Unfortunately, Skeeter and Jill are at opposite ends of the spectrum and don’t get along.

But Skeeter, who is not really close to the kids (nor do they know each other very well) agrees to take care of them for a few days.  Also, joining them is their guinea pig (with its big eyes) named Bubsy.

Both Bobbia and Patrick have been raised by their mother to eat healthy, no television but Skeeter feels they need to have some fun.  So, he lets them watch television, eat burgers and reads them a bedtime story.  But Skeeter is not exactly in the happiest moods due to his job situation, so each time he tells a story, he ends it with a bad ending.  So, the first bedtime story features a peasant named Sir Fix-a-Lot (Sandler) who is a hardworking man who is bypassed from a job which goes to Sir Butkiss (Pearce), a story that mirrors Skeeter’s own life. But the children insist that a story must have a happy ending, so they start adding to the storyline of how things workout for Sir Fix-a-Lot such as his boss giving him a chance to prove that he’s worthy of taking over the business and gumballs start raining in on him.  Then after the kids finish the story, a sound of chimes appear.  When Skeeter asks what that sound was, the kids tell him that it’s their guinea pig ringing the chimes and wanting to go to sleep.

The day after, certain things that were told in the bedtime story comes true.  After bad decision making by Kendall, Mr. Nottingham decides that he will give Skeeter a chance of taking over the new hotel.  But it all comes down to who can come up with the best plan for the new hotel.  Skeeter or Kendall.  But for Skeeter, he feels something may be magical with the bedtime story when gumballs raining on top of him (actually a gumball truck was hit in an accident and thus the balls are falling off the interstate on to his car).

Feeling that the kids and even Bubsy may have something magical, he feels that perhaps he can help them come up with a great bedtime story that would benefit him in real life.  So, with the last remaining three days with the children before he returns him to his mother, Skeeter comes up with ideas for him to get a Ferrari, a kiss from a damsel in distress and more!  But of course, with the children’s imaginative minds, things don’t work out as smooth as Skeeter is hoping for things to be.

KERI RUSSELL, ADAM SANDLER. BEDTIME STORIES is available on DVD April 7, 2009 and Blu-ray April 5, 2009. © Disney. All Rights Reserved.

VIDEO & AUDIO:

Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment has been on top of their Blu-ray game.  Becoming one of the few companies to release their Blu-rays with a bonus DVD and digital copy all in one, the Blu-ray releases are also known for its magnificent picture and audio quality.

So, with the release of “BEDTIME STORIES”, the film is featured via 1080p High Definition with an aspect ratio of 2:30:1.  Picture quality is vibrant and  looks absolutely beautiful.  One of the things that helps the film is much of it is filmed outdoors.  With beautiful shots by DP Michael Barrett, the film really captures colors with the gumballs to the red Ferrari (horse and car).  I didn’t see any artifacting during the dark scenes and picture quality is just magnificent via High Definition on Blu-ray.  Also, another plus is that the film utilizes a good blend of real time shooting and CG (during the sci-fi action scenes).

Another positive for the Blu-ray release is that the special features are featured in 1080p.

As for audio, audio is presented in English 5.1 DTS-HD (48kHZ, 24-Bit) and again, one of the positive things about this film is that the bedtime story sequences are action-based.  And thus you get very good audio response from your front, center and rear channels.   Scenes such as “Gravity Wars” from the audience to the weapon usage to Skeeter’s truck backfiring, really sounds good courtesy of the DTS-HD.    I noticed certain scenes really come quite strong from the rear surround channels during the action sequences.  Dialogue overall is heard quite clearly from your front and center channels.

Also, included is a French and Spanish 5.1 Dolby Digital track as well.

Subtitles are provided in English SDH, French and Spanish.

SPECIAL FEATURES:

Special features included on the “Bedtime Stories” Blu-ray are:

  • Until Gravity Do Us Part – A four minute behind-the-scenes look at the film’s mindboggling special effects.  Interviews with John Adrew Berton Jr. (Visual Effects Supervisor) and Garrett Warren (Fight Choreographer) on how the segment was filmed.  Quite interesting how much was put into the making of this scene CG wise and also instead of green screen, using all blu-screen and how much went into the fight choreography and getting Sandler and Pearce ready for the role.
  • It’s Bugsy – A near four minute featurette featuring a close up of Bugsy the big-eyed guinea pig.  Behind-the-scenes of how many guinea pigs were used in the film and how they were utilized.  Interviews with the cast of working with the guinea pig and more.
  • To All The Little People – A near six minute featurette featuring interviews with Laura Ann Kesling (Bobbi) and Jonathan Morgan Heit (Patrick) and how they felt about working with Director Adam Shankman, Adam Sandler, Russell Brand, Keri Russell, Courteney Cox and others.  Also, how the talent felt with working with the children.
  • Laughter is Contagious Outtakes – A seven minute featurette featuring outtakes and interviews with the cast of working with each other.  How Adam Sandler made everyone laugh and how he was good with the children.  How Rob Schneider would make Adam Sandler laugh and much more.
  • Cutting Room Flor: Deleted Scenes – Ten minutes worth of 12 deleted and extended scenes.

The Blu-ray is also BD-Live enabled with movie chat, movie mail and Disney Movie Rewards Live.

The included DVD features a special feature not included on the Blu-ray disc:

  • Dylan & Cole Sprouse: Blu-ray is Suite – “The Suite Life of Zach & Cody” talents star in a six minute special feature promoting Blu-ray technology.

TERESA PALMER, ADAM SANDLER. BEDTIME STORIES is available on DVD April 7, 2009 and Blu-ray April 5, 2009. © Disney. All Rights Reserved.

I enjoyed “Bedtime Stories” for its combination of comedy, fantasy and adventure.  If anything,  it was a fun and enjoyable family film.

Sure, I know it is a Happy Madison film (in collaboration with Walt Disney) but parents do not have to worry because none of the adult humor that you would come to expect from a Happy Madison film is there.  If anything, this film is a very fun and safe family film.  And if there was anything that may be deemed as risky, it ended up on the cutting room floor (which scenes you can watch in the deleted scenes special feature).

If anything, I think fatherhood has brought out Adam Sandler’s gentler side and I think this film is probably one of the rare film to see the side of a lighthearted Adam Sandler with children (you’ll see it more evident on the special features as the children absolute adore him).  And for the primary two children of the film, both Laura Ann Kesling (Bobbi) and Jonathan Morgan Heit (Patrick) were just adorable and did a great job for their role in the film.

But as much as I enjoyed the film, there were a few more things that were hits but yet a few that were misses.  One of the hits is featuring British comic Russel Brand.  His interaction with Sandler was fun as the sleep panicky, crazy friend.  And of course, what would a Adam Sandler Happy Madison film be without Rob Schneider in some crazy role and in this case, as Chief Runningmouth and the pickpocket thief.

As for misses, it would have to be Lucy Lawless as Aspen.  As much as I enjoy watching the “Xena”/”Battlestar Galactica” actress, in the beginning, you get a feeling of the conspiring duo of Aspen and Kendall trying to gain power to run a hotel. So, you kind of get a feeling of a juicy conspiring role with her character and the protagonist Kendall but all of a sudden, she’s lost in the second half of the film. If anything, what could have been a strong villain with the Aspen and Kendall duo in the film, suddenly gets degraded and the focus becomes more on family helping each other and the chemistry between Sandler’s Skeeter and Russel’s Jill.

So, it was unfortunate that Lawless’s character as Aspen didn’t live up to its potential but at least she had a good appearance in the first half of the film, unlike Carmen Elektra who has only a non-speaking cameo as the girlfriend of a guy showing off his vehicle.

Also, for some people who want an explanation of how these mysterious bedtime stories end up coming real for Skeeter, this is not the film to be logical (then again are many Happy Gilmore films logical?).  If anything, “Bedtime Stories” is a straightforward family film that the children can watch and enjoy.  I watched the film with my six-year-old son and he absolutely enjoyed it.

With the release of the film on Blu-ray, the fact that this film had so many outdoor shots and a good balance of action and sci-fi scenes, Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment has been on the winning end in bringing films out to Blu-ray with great picture and audio quality and “Bedtime Stories” does not disappoint.  And the fact that you get the DVD and a digital copy on disc, that’s another positive reason to own this film in my book.

Overall, what I really enjoyed is how the film incorporated so many elements from sci-fi films, action films of old, and balancing it with comedy.  It was a fun film and definitely not a film to take seriously (and again, I feel like I repeat this each time with many Happy Gilmore related films that I review).   So, if you are looking for a fun family film that the children will definitely enjoy, “Bedtime Stories” is definitely recommended!

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