January 21, 2008

DVD Review: Sydney White

The practice of reimagining fairy tales is nothing new. Of course, they have gained momentum ever since Shrek hit it big and spawned a pair of sequels. I know, that isn't really a reimagining of a fairy tale, more of a fractured one, but they are still in the same arena. Many of these have been in animated form, but every once in a while we get one live and in the flesh. Recently Disney graced us with the spectacular Enchanted, which played with many of the conventions of the prototypical Disney princess. Before we had the opportunity to see Amy Adams light up the screen, Amanda Bynes took to the fore with her take on Snow White in Sydney White.

Bynes plays the titular character, but rather than placing her in a forest, she is the daughter of a plumber (Smallville's John Schneider). The film begins with her going off to college where she plans on rushing her late mother's sorority. This is where she enters the forest of the fairy tale. The head of the sorority is Rachel Witchburn (get it? She's a witch!). She is not a terribly nice woman who wishes to retain firm control over Greek row, not to mention remain atop the beauty rankings (taking the place of the mirror).

Now, I am sure you don't need me to explain the story to you. If you aren't familiar with the particulars of the Snow White tale, do yourself a favor and dig up a copy of the Disney classic, or read up on the original Grimm fairy tale. Sydney White successfully translates the story to a modern setting, seemingly filtering it through Mean Girls. The result is an enjoyable film that may not necessarily be believable in the realistic sense, but works perfectly well as a fable.

Amanda Bynes proves to be a wonderfully charismatic presence on the screen and will likely be a presence for years to come. She moves throughout the comedic moments with ease, displaying good comic timing and an easy manner which makes her that much more believable. The future looks good for her. The supporting cast is fine as well, peppered with perennial geek performers like Danny Strong and Samm Levine.

Audio/Video. The tech specs of this release are fine. The colors are bright, sharp, and do not display any technical problems. The same goes for the audio side of the coin. Seriously, we are at the point where there is no excuse for bad transfers, at least from the big studios. We are ten years into the life of the format and there shouldn't be any transfer issues anymore. Anyway, all I'm saying is that this DVD looks fine.

Extras. While not a big special edition (not that it deserves that), it has a decent selection of bonus materials.
  • Gag Reel. Standard collection of gags and blown lines. Goes to show that they were having fun on the set. (3.5 minutes)
  • Deleted Scenes. Features a number of scenes that were trimmed for the early portion of the film for pacing reasons. None of them would have done much either way to the success of the film. Each scene is accompanied by an introduction from the director. (12 minutes)
  • The Original Dork. This has some behind the scenes footage regarding the cast and how much fun they were having on the set. It also includes interview footage with cast members. (7 minutes)
  • Sydney and her Prince. Similar to the above featurette, but it focueses on Amanda Bynes and Matt Long as the romantic leads of the film. (4.5 minutes)
  • Meet the Dorks. More behind the scenes footage with its focus shifted towards the seven actors playing the dorks. (8 minutes)
  • Kappa's Forever? Continuing the path started with the prior segments, this one takes a look at the Rachel Witchburn character, the evil witch of the piece. (4 minutes)
  • The Skooze. Bashful was so shy he had to talk through a puppet, Skoozer. This featurette takes a closer look at the puppet on set. (3.5 minutes)
  • Welcome to the Vortex. Samm Levine, who plays one of the dorks, takes us on tour of the infamous vortex house. (5 minutes)
  • Theatrical Trailer. Exactly what it says it is. The original clip used to promote the feature. (2:13)

Bottomline. Completely enjoyable little film. No, it is not destined to be a classic, but you could do a lot worse. There is a lot to like, it has a bright and sunny disposition and just induces smiles all around. Yes, it is predictable but it works the formula well. Sit back and enjoy.



Post a Comment