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When I first heard Adam Sandler was starring in a Disney film, my first reaction was to look out the window to check for flying pigs… Of course, Sandler has been softening his comic approach over the years, so I guess the kid friendly BEDTIME STORIES ($40) is just the next step in his mellow evolution. Sure, as an Adam Sandler movie, BEDTIME STORIES does include some comic crudeness and a bit of gross out humor, but it is all held to a kid appropriate level. As family friendly comedies go, I actually had a good time watching BEDTIME STORIES, even if I didn’t bust a gut laughing at it. Sure, BEDTIME STORIES probably will disappoint Sandler fans looking for the second coming of THE WATERBOY, but those fans with kids will be able spend a family friendly evening together chuckling at this film.

The premise of BEDTIME STORIES follows the misadventures of hotel maintenance man Skeeter Bronson (Adam Sandler). When Skeeter was a boy, his father Marty (Jonathan Pryce) owned a small unsuccessful hotel, which he sold to Barry Nottingham (Richard Griffiths) with the stipulation that his son would someday be made hotel manager. Nottingham turned the family hotel into an empire, and unfortunately, Skeeter never quite got the managers position. When Skeeter’s sister Wendy (Courteney Cox) needs to go out of town to apply for a new job, he is asked to baby-sit his niece and nephew during the evenings, while her friend Jill (Keri Russell) and daytime sitter is at night school. Of course, putting the kids to bed comes with the obligatory Bedtime Stories, which Skeeter makes up as he goes along… and the children add to with their own fertile imaginations. When aspects of the made up Bedtime Stories begin coming true, Skeeter attempts to manipulate the stories towards his favor, but the kids always seem to have other ideas on how the stories should end. The cast of BEDTIME STORIES also features Guy Pearce, Russell Brand, Teresa Palmer, Lucy Lawless, Jonathan Morgan Heit, Laura Ann Kesling, Allen Covert and Carmen Electra.

Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment has made BEDTIME STORIES available on Blu-ray Disc in a 2.35:1 aspect ratio presentation that has been encoded onto the disc with the AVC codec. The 1080p presentation is generally excellent, which is no surprise as Disney "A" movies usually have high production values. Image sharpness, depth and fine detail are all really very strong performers delivering the type of visuals one expects from a new movie released in high definition. Colors are vibrant and reproduced without flaws, while the flesh tones come across in a pleasing manner. Blacks are deep and the whites appear crisp. Contrast is very smooth, and the level of shadow detail is good, but the material doesn’t make too many demands in that area. The elements from which BEDTIME STORIES are transferred appear virtually pristine. Modest grain is present throughout, which gets a bit heavier in darker sequences, but maintains it helps maintain a nice organic quality for the presentation.

BEDTIME STORIES is presented on Blu-ray Disc with a 5.1 channel DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack. The sound design is limited by the nature of the material. Much of BEDTIME STORIES plays in the talky comedy mode, with the sound being localized front and center, but the fantasy sequences taking place within the Bedtime Stories offer far better engagement of the outlying channels, which can become quite lively during these moments. Fidelity is very strong, offering full-bodied music and convincing effects. The Bass channel provides excellent reinforcement, whenever the material allows. Voices have a warm, natural quality, plus the film’s dialogue is always completely understandable. French and Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1 channel tracks are also encoded onto the disc, as are English, French and Spanish subtitles.

Full motion video, animation and sound serve to enhance the interactive menus. Through the menus, one has access to standard scene selection and set up features, as well as the supplements. Featurettes include: Until Gravity Do Us Part (four minutes), To All The Little People (five minutes), and It’s Bugsy (three minutes). Bloopers, Deleted Scenes and Bonus Trailers close out the standard supplements. BEDTIME STORIES is also BD-Live enabled (requires a Profile 2.0 player). Disc two offers a DVD copy of the movie for those who are on the fence about making the upgrade to Blu-ray, while disc three provides a Digital Copy of the film.

BEDTIME STORIES is an enjoyable family film the will introduce Adam Sandler to a new generation of fans. The Blu-ray presentation gets very high marks and is not likely to disappoint. Now let’s hope Disney’s Touchstone division gets around to releasing THE WATERBOY on Blu-ray…



Bedtime Stories (Plus Standard DVD + Digital Copy) [Blu-ray] (2008)


DVD & Blu-rayDisc reviews are Copyright © 2009 THE CINEMA LASER and may not be copied or reprinted without the written consent of the publisher.
THE CINEMA LASER is written, edited and published by Derek M. Germano.



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