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HTF BLU-RAY REVIEW: Tooth Fairy (Combo Pack)

Discussion in 'Archived Reviews' started by Matt Hough, May 4, 2010.

  1. Matt Hough

    Matt Hough Director

    Apr 24, 2006
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    Charlotte, NC
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    Matt Hough
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    Tooth Fairy (Blu-ray Combo Pack)

    Directed by Michael Lembeck

    Studio: Twentieth Century-Fox
    Year: 2010
    Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1   1080p   AVC codec
    Running Time: 101 minutes
    Rating: PG
    Audio: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 English; Dolby Digital 5.1 Spanish, French, Portuguese
    Subtitles: SDH, Spanish, Portuguese, Mandarin
    Region: A
    MSRP: $ 39.99

    Release Date: May 4, 2010
    Review Date: May 4, 2010
    The Film
    Michael Lembeck’s Tooth Fairy is something of a frustrating experience to watch. Its core story, a jaded, somewhat failed athlete goes through a trying experience that eventually renews his enthusiasm for his sport and his belief in himself, couldn’t be more predictably trite. And yet, contained within this banally conventional narrative structure is a series of imaginative gems of comedy and character featuring stars in endearing parts which elevate the film above its unadventurous structure. This farce fantasy isn’t all it could have been, but it’s ever so much more effective than it had any right to be based on its foundational elements.
    Once promising hockey star Derek Thompson (Dwayne Johnson), after suffering a shoulder injury, is biding his time playing minor league hockey and serving as an enforcer with the nickname “The Tooth Fairy,” given him since his prime purpose now is to slam opponents against the glass and dislodge as many teeth as possible. Interacting with the youngest child (Destiny Grace Whitlock) of his girl friend Carly (Ashley Judd), he places doubt in her mind as to the existence of the tooth fairy, and for his misdeed, is jerked before a tribunal in fairyland and sentenced to serve two weeks as a real tooth fairy complete with wings and a kit of magical powders, paste, and paraphernalia to help him do his job. Once he begins to take pride in his work and see it more as a chance for a fresh start to life rather than as a punishment to be endured, Derek is well on his way toward straightening out the rest of his existence with his lady friend, her children, his team, and others he’s maligned.
    Five writers had a hand at the screenplay (Lowell Ganz, Babaloo Mandel, Joshua Sternin, Jeffrey Ventimilia, and Randi Mayem Singer), and though Ganz and Mandel have the imaginative and funny Splash! on their fantasy resume, they obviously weren’t able to get the hackneyed conjugal qualities out of that basic story. The intricacies of fairyland, however, open a wonderful world for them to explore, and with such fetching and eclectic personalities residing there as Stephen Merchant, Julie Andrews, Billy Crystal, and Seth McFarlane, it can’t help but be delightful each time we return there. There are plenty of puns and sight gags connected with the place and its work, and in Dwayne Johnson, the film has a star who’s so comfortable and secure with his masculinity that wearing wings, tights, even a pink tutu for an extended scene don’t seem to faze him in the least. Director Lembeck is working with a string of special effects sequences, but whether they are being done with green screens, wires, or oversized props, he handles them all professionally and with aplomb. Not much can lift the tiresome romantic intrigues with Ashley Judd or the domestic ups and downs with her children, and these scenes, as warm and cathartic as they’re supposed to be, just can’t hold a candle to the magic and mischief of the more fantasy-laden sequences.
    Dwayne Johnson has donned tights before for the ballet sequences in his comedy The Game Plan, but from beginning to end, he’s completely invested in the character and fashions an individual that viewers are going to pull for. Stephen Merchant as his “wing man” walks away with all of his scenes in a delightfully droll verbal and visual performance. With Johnson being such a hulk of a man and Merchant about six inches taller and a hundred pounds lighter, the pair of them together makes for almost a Laurel and Hardy-style team. They should be reunited in another comedy as soon as possible. Julie Andrews brings dignified class and cool to her fairy godmother role even making wearing wings look rational and reasonable. Seth McFarlane has a hilarious scene as a shady fairy selling discount magical materials while Billy Crystal cracks wonderfully wise (without wearing out his welcome, unusual for him) in a couple of very funny scenes. As the two children heavily influenced by the changing emotional temperament of their mother’s boy friend, Destiny Grace Whitlock and Chase Ellison do just fine. Ashley Judd makes for a predictable mom figure, but the spark Brandon T. Jackson puts into his hockey coach’s character is appealing.
    Video Quality
    The film’s 1.85:1 theatrical aspect ratio is delivered in 1080p using the AVC codec. It’s a very colorful image on display here, and the Blu-ray captures the deeply saturated hues well. Though colors sometimes run a trifle hot, it is only a momentary problem, and usually flesh tones and other colors appear realistic and appealing. Black levels are nicely deep and shadow detail is excellent. The film has been divided into 24 chapters.
    Audio Quality
    The DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 sound mix takes the conventional route of many comedies with a mostly frontcentric mix that only occasionally bleeds into the rears and even then without great fanfare. Dialogue has been well recorded and is completely natural coming from the center channel, but opportunities for a great surround presence (the hockey games, the Grand Central Fairy Station) aren’t exploited very convincingly.
    Special Features
    Director Michael Lembeckcontributes an enthusiastic audio commentary. As with previous commentaries he has participated in, his warmth and pleasure with his work, his cast, and his crew is celebrated continually in his comments. Though he tends to wind down with less to say as the film runs, he can still add a remark at appropriate moments which fans of the movie are sure to want to hear.
    All of the bonus features and trailers are presented in 1080p.
    “Tooth Fairy Training Center” is an exercise featurette for younger children showing them simple stretching and movements to get them up and active. It runs for 20 ½ minutes.
    “Fairyoke” is an outtake that was going to serve as the end title/credit sequence: Johnson and Merchant singing “The Wind Beneath My Wings.” It was discarded for a different series of scenes and cartoons for the credits, but the 4 ½-minute sing along is placed here for those who want to try their luck (the two stars can’t do very well on their own). The lyrics with a bouncing wand are provided.
    The film’s gag reel runs 2 ½ minutes.
    There are six deleted/extended scenes which can be watched separately or in one 8 ¼-minute grouping. Director Michael Lembeck’s introductions to each cut moment can also be turned on or off, and with them, the entire featurette runs 11 ¼ minutes.
    There are six behind-the scenes featurettes covering basically the varying special effects used for the film and often shown in split screen to see actual filming and the finished product side-by-side. They cover such aspects as the green screen work, the oversized props, the storyboards/animatics, the wire/flying work, the manipulation of the wings, and the design of Fairyland. Together, these featurettes run 39 minutes.
    The film’s theatrical trailer runs 2 ½ minutes.
    There are also previews and trailers for Flicka 2, Fantastic Mr. Fox, The Sound of Music, Marmaduke, Percy Jackson & the Olympians, Marley & Me 2, and Alvin and the Chipmunks, The Squeakquel.
    The second disc in the set is the DVD version of the movie.
    The third disc in the set is the digital copy of the movie. There are enclosed instructions for installing it on Mac and PC devices.
    In Conclusion
    3.5/5 (not an average)
    A innocuous family comedy, Tooth Fairy combines a traditional domestic comedy plot with some imaginative fantasy elements to make for a marginally successful movie. The Blu-ray looks quite wonderful, and the bonus features and  additional discs give the package added value.
    Matt Hough
    Charlotte, NC

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