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Bedtime Stories Print E-mail
Friday, 03 April 2009
Image"Bedtime Stories" is the latest production from Happy Madison.  The film was designed for the entire family, and for that reason it falls short.  The film doesn't know which way to go with the comedy.  Should it be adult or child-friendly.  Seeing the trailers for this film for a long time, I was expecting quite an awesome display of storytelling and visual sequences.  Unfortunately, I did not find that here.

The film had a lot more potential than what it actually achieved.  The bedtime stories were lame and did create a complex story.  The plot was too simplistic and entirely predictable.  Don't get me wrong, children will love the colors and characters, but adults will be left bored most likely.

The story is centered on Skeeter Bronson (Adam Sandler), a maintenance worker at the Nottingham Hotel.  As a kid he worked with his father in a family-owned motel, the Sunny Vista Motel.  However, being a bad business man, Sketter's father had to sell the motel to Nottingham, who tore it down and built Los Angeles' most luxury hotel.  Nottingham made a promise that when Skeeter grows up, he would become the manager of the hotel.  Fat chance of him ever remembering that promise.

Sure enough, Skeeter is passed over for the position of general manager when Nottingham announces the new Nottingham Hotel.  It just so happens that at the same time, Skeeter agrees to babysit his niece and nephew and discovers a magical quality about the bedtime stories.  The mom is away looking for a new job in Arizona, as the school in which she principals is being closed.  Gee I wonder if that has anything to do with the building of the new Nottingham Hotel.

Each night, Skeeter tells his niece and nephew a bedtime story and the next day parts of the story come true.  However, he finds out that it only the parts that the children make up come true.  Now that Skeeter is given the opportunity to present the best idea for the new hotel and be named the general manager, he uses the kids to get ahead.  He tries to weasel all sorts of good fortune events into the story.  Most often they back fire.

Along the way, he envisions Nottingham's blonde daughter as the "fairest maiden in all the land."  To his surprise it turns out to be Jill (Keri Russell), the daytime babysitter.  It doesn't take a genius to see that one coming. The film is entertaining, but lacks the ingenuity that the premise was capable of.  Adam Shankman was the director of this film.  His work on "Hairspray" was astounding, but it was lacking in this film.  The characters are loveable, especially Bugsy, the huge-eyed guinea pig, and Jill, the beautiful teacher.  Kids will have fun with this one, but it doesn't posses much beyond that.

The video quality of this Blu-ray transfer is among the top, but is still somewhat flawed that keeps it from a higher score.  The film was shot on a high-quality digital camera.  I found it to be too clean.  I am still a fan of slight film grain.  It allows the viewer to live in the cinematic experience.  The super clean digital camera films are just to unrealistic.  Such is the case with this film.  The image was so clean it took me out of the movie-watching mode.  The shadow delineation suffers in several sequences, in fact throughout most of the film.  This is a flaw of the digital camera system and set lighting.  Sandler's face is constantly half light and half dark, even though the scene doesn't call for any lighting effects.  The details and textures are excellent for the most part.  There are some sequences in which the actors appear soft, another draw back of the digital system.  The colors are bold and vibrant and the fleshtones remain constant and accurate.  There are absolutely no compression or motion artifacts, nor is there any edge enhancement or noise reduction.  The image great, but falls short of providing that true cinematic experience.

The audio is presented in Dolby TrueHD and is a good audio track for what the sound design provides.  I was surprised that there wasn't very much surround channel use in the sound design.  There are virtually no discreet effects in the surrounds.  The rear channels provide an enveloping experience with some music and ambience bleed, but that is about it.  The dialogue is clear and anchored in the center.  It is well balanced against the music.  There is not much in the way of dynamic range, but the frequency response is good.  The LFE channel kicks in here and there, but a bit more would have been nice.  Overall, the TrueHD track does the original sound design justice.

Disney brings "Bedtime Stories" to Blu-ray with a three-disc package, as they are accustomed to doing of late.  The first disc is the only Blu-ray disc.  It contains the feature film and special features.  In terms of special features on disc one, there are only a few brief featurettes.  There isn't much here.  There is no audio commentary, which is disappointing for filmmaking fans.  "Until Gravity Do Us Part" takes a look at the visual effects for the zero-gravity battle sequence.  "To All the Little People" examines the child actors on the set of the film.  "It's Bugsy" takes a look at the family guinea pig.  "Laughter is Contagious" is a set of outtakes.  Lastly, there is a section of deleted scenes.  The disc is also BD-Live enabled.

The second disc contains the film on a standard DVD.  The third disc contains the film as a Digital Copy for portable players.

"Bedtime Stories" is not the hit that I was hoping it would be.  Children will enjoy the lovely colors, but there isn't much for the adults.  The video and audio transfer are more than suitable, but still fall short of perfection.  Pick this one up if you are struggling to find a family-friendly film.

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