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Wedding Singer, The (Totally Awesome Edition) (1998) Print E-mail
Wednesday, 07 October 2009
ImageThere are few movies that capture audiences right from the start.  There are also few movies that contain captivating performances.  There are even fewer films that have both combined.  "The Wedding Singer" is one of those few films.  As silly as it may be it is a real showstopper.  This is perhaps Adam Sandler's best film of his career.  It is certainly the most universally liked of Sandler's films among various age groups.

The film was released in 1998 and immediately took audiences back to the 1980s.  The music was certainly terrific.  Hearing all the pop songs of the era is truly nostalgic.  Seeing the hair-dos and clothes of the 80s is also very reminiscent.  In addition to the style of the film, the onscreen chemistry is wonderful.

Drew Barrymore and Adam Sandler connect very well on screen.  It is no surprise that they teamed up again for "50 First Dates," which just so happens to probably be Sandler's second best film.  The two share an intimate connection on the big screen and it truly strikes the hearts of the viewers.

Sandler's other hilarious pals are also present in the film, providing even more comedy to an already laughable film.  The story is simple.  Robbie Hart (Adam Sandler) is a wedding singer that makes little money in a material world but loves what he does.  And he is great at what he does.  He is able to resolve any situation and is well liked by all his friends and guests.  When he is left alone at his own wedding altar he just snaps.  Understandably, Robbie hates weddings.  He gives them up in favor of other events at the reception hall.

Robbie befriends Julia (Drew Barrymore), a waitress at the reception hall.  She herself is getting married to a big time stockbroker in New York City, Glenn (Matthew Glave).  Needing all the help she can get, Julia begs for Robbie's help in planning the wedding.  It is obviously because of his affection for her that Robbie finally agrees.  It is over all the wedding shopping that Robbie begins to fall in love with Julia.  This isn't hard to see coming and is entirely predictable.  However, it is the way in which it all folds that is the fun part.

It all comes down to a silly case of improper timing, forcing Julia, who is also now in love with Robbie, to fly off with Glenn to Las Vegas to get married.  Robbie is not bound to let her get away and he flies off after her.  Like I said earlier, the film is predictable, but it is fun.  It is sometimes nice to see a silly romantic comedy that ends the way you know it will.  It is the journey that is the fun part.  That is what counts in this film.

Note: This totally awesome edition contains an extra few minutes of deleted scenes at one point during the film.  I have mixed feelings about this addition.  There is no way to watch the original theatrical edition of the film, which is really disappointing because I know it so well that the insertion of these deleted is distracting.  The deleted scene is no horrible, but to me it ruins the fluidity of the film since I know the original.  However, those that haven't seen the movie or don't know it so well, will find the insertion to be funny.  Also note that the video quality of the insertion does not match well with the rest of the film so it is easy to know when it enters and exits the film.
New Line Cinema has transferred this film to Blu-ray with a 1080p/VC-1 encode with a 1.85:1 aspect ratio.  I wish I could say that this is the definitive transfer of the film, but alas I cannot.  There is only one good thing about this transfer, and that is the coloring.  The colors are more bold and vibrant that ever.  They just jump off the screen.  That is the one big upgrade over the standard DVD.  However, it is pretty much downhill from there.  The image is processed from beginning to end.  There is so much noise reduction applied to the image that the film loses all sense of details and textures.  The film is consistently soft and smearing is noticeable throughout.  The black levels are undefined and the contrast level is weak.  Shadow delineation is very poor.  The studio used so much edge enhancement to combat the amount of noise reduction that two evils don't make a right.  The source print is also in weak condition, with blemishes, including a major one that I couldn't believe I was seeing, flickering over the screen.  The only thing I can say is that this is ever so slightly an upgrade over the weak standard DVD transfer.  However, I have seen this film air on high-definition cable and was much more impressed with that transfer and airing, despite the cable company's re-compression of the data stream, than I was with the Blu-ray transfer.

Despite the poor video performance, "The Wedding Singer" comes to Blu-ray with a Dolby TrueHD 5.1 lossless audio track.  However, once again, New Line has chosen to default the disc to the lossy Dolby Digital track, so you will have to manually select the TrueHD track when the movie starts.  The dialogue is clear and nicely balanced.  However, it fluctuates a bit overall over the course of the film.  Still, it is always intelligible.  Anyway, it is for the music that you watch this movie.  And thankfully, the music is nicely remastered for this film.  All the 80s tunes are nicely spread into the rear channels.  The LFE channel gets a decent amount of use during these pop tunes.  However, when the music dies, the immersion also goes with it.  The rear channels are fairly empty throughout the film.  However, there are moments in which distinct ambience emanates from the surrounds.  Directionality and panning are decent.  Overall, this is a nicely transferred audio track that doesn't make up for the poor treatment of the video, but it certainly helps.

There is barely anything in terms of bonus materials on this disc.  There is only a theatrical trailer and a short featurette about the film on Broadway.  That is all.  Truly disappointing.  I was at least hoping for an audio commentary or two.  But alas, there is not.

"The Wedding Singer" is a terrific film that unfortunately was not given attention to by the studio.  Sadly, the video transfer is simply plagued by digital processing.  The audio track is much better, but can't counterbalance the video transfer.  I would still have to recommend this Blu-ray for Adam Sandler fans and fans of the film.  However, casual movie watchers will probably be able to suffice with just their standard DVD.

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