Bruce Nolan (Jim Carrey) is a TV news reporter at Eye Witness Channel 7 in New York who fails to get a job as an anchorman and, after a series of other bad luck incidents, complains to God that He is treating him unfairly and is doing a poor job as supreme deity. God (Morgan Freeman) contacts Bruce and offers him the chance of a lifetime. He offers to give Bruce all the powers he has. Bruce quickly abuses his new powers for personal gain (new car, pleasing his girlfriend), only to be reminded that he also has to take…care of other people’s problems. Meanwhile, Bruce endangers his relationship with his girlfriend Grace Connelly (Jennifer Aniston) through his self-centered behavior. In the end, Bruce realizes that God’s powers are meant for only one being, that being is of course God.
When Bruce Almighty works, it works in the highest gear. The film is funny completely enjoyable. As Bruce continues to receive the worst in life, we can’t help but think of a time in our life. After all, haven’t we all had that series of bad moments were you thought, regardless of religious inklings that something or someone was working against you? Bruce fights and fights to understand this and seemingly can’t believe that God is actually answering his complaints. Simply imagine what would happen if the Almighty endowed us with his power?
This portion of the film is the most amusing as it shows exactly what would happen if we were endowed with similar powers. Regardless of what anyone says, we would certainly give ourselves everything we wanted before even thinking of anyone else. Bruce does this exact thing and when he realizes that he needs to think of others, this is the moment when the film starts to falter a bit. The sincere moments in the film felt kind of forced, never seeming genuine or even somewhat real. Especially when the last 10-15 minutes of the film arrives, Bruce does this complete 180 and wants to change his whole life. I wasn’t really believing or feeling this sudden change, as Carrey just didn’t seem convincing.
Put aside the weak sentimental moments in the film, and Bruce Almighty ends up being a funny film that most fans of Carrey’s work will want to see at least once. Just don’t expect the film to be as funny impacting as his other works.
Presented in a 1080p, VC-1 Encoded, 1:85:1 widescreen aspect ratio, Bruce Almighty arrives with a transfer that is perfectly suitable for its theme.
Color usage was fine enough for the material, but I noticed some of the colors seemed a tad bit washed out, especially during close-ups. Take a look at the sequence where Bruce mentions Clint Eastwood. The close-up on Bruce’s face showcased the paleness of his face in a washed out manner. Grain was kept in check only becoming noticeable during the late night moon sequence where Bruce brings the moon in. Detail was also pretty sharp as there were numerous sequences, which showed off sharp detail. All in all, this was a decent upgrade over the video. I’d probably rate the SD (considering I just saw it 2 weeks ago) a 3.5 where as this HD upgrade gets 4.0.
Arriving with the standard Dolby Digital Plus 5.1, Bruce Almighty is a generally quiet film with the exception of a few sequences.
Dialogue was clear, never becoming hard to understand. Surrounds, with the exception of the sequence where Bruce starts hearing a lot of prayers at the same time, were mostly absent during the film. However during this sequence, I liked how the surrounds evenly placed each voice as they never overlapped and each were given their own section. Dynamic Range was a bit more active with a few little effects here and there (mostly the revving of Bruce’s car and the meteor crashing). While not as pleasing as the video, the provided audio was more than suitable for its material.
- Audio Commentary with director Tom Shadyac: Here director Shadyac sits down and comments on his film. Since I enjoyed a majority of the film, I found the comments Shadyac had about the film interesting. He comments on the cast and the whole purpose of the story, of course mentioning what it was like working with Freeman.
- The Process of Jim: This quick featurette focuses on what Shadyac thought of working with Carrey. Considering he’s worked with Carrey before, I expected more insight into Carrey’s work ethic.
- Deleted Scenes: Here we get a whopping 30 minutes of deleted and extended scenes. Fans of the film will definitely enjoy this as most showcases Carrey goofing up. I will comment that if you’ve seen these scenes before on the DVD, you won’t want to see them again as they don’t add a whole lot to the film.
- Trailer: Here we get the film’s trailer.
With Bruce Almighty arriving on HD-DVD, Universal wisely decided to also put out Carrey’s other classic in Liar Liar. While Liar Liar is a funnier film, Bruce Almighty is still a fairly entertaining film that only falters during the last 10-15 minutes. Universal has given this HD release slightly better picture, similar audio, and the same features. I’m going to recommend this one to those who don’t own the DVD and like the film. The rest may want to rent this one first.
Special Features List
- Audio Commentary with director Tom Shadyac
- The Process of Jim
- Deleted Scenes