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Category:    Home > Reviews > Comedy > Horror > Haunted Mansion (Blu-ray)

Haunted Mansion (Blu-ray)


Picture: B     Sound: B     Extras: C-     Film: C-



In Eddie Murphy’s career, he has walked a fine line between funny and unfunny as well as what he considers the “white” versus “black” world racially, then added two new dichotomies to his resume: adult/children and outrageous/politically correct.  The later two revived his career, but he still have crossed the line if he (and the studio) though if commercial gain was in the cards.  Rob Minkoff’s Haunted Mansion (2003) has work-obsessed Jim Evers (Murphy) entering a world of the past (another dimension or not) and meeting a ghost Christmas Carol style that could change his life for the better.


Unfortunately, this is so weak thanks to the directing by Minkoff and David Berenbaum’s very weak screenplay that it cannot compete with the classic Charles Dickens book, any holiday B-movie, any comic Horror B-movie or Richard Donner’s grossly underrated Scrooged (1988) with Bill Murray.  Instead, he sometimes crosses the stereotypical Blackman zone and even the great Terence Stamp, Jennifer Tilly, Wallace Shawn and Nathaniel Parker or Rick Baker make-up can save this dud.  Since Pirates Of The Caribbean is the other film franchise based on a Disney amusement park ride and has its first two films as monster (no pun intended) hits, you can see why they wanted this one out in Blu-ray to take advantage of curiosity interest.  Too bad it is not good.


The 1080p 2.35 X 1 digital High Definition image is no better or worse than the Pirates series, though some of the digital effects already look dated, as if they did not upon first release.  Cinematographer Remi Adefarasin, B.S.C., brings a different lighting sensibility that makes this more watchable than it might have been otherwise and this looks just that much better than a DVD of the film would.  Yes, the phony look will recall the older Horror/Comedies it is trying to emulate, but that is not necessarily a good thing.


The PCM 5.1 24bit/48kHz mix is better than the standard Dolby Digital 5.1 mix and higher than any other PCM Blu-ray form Disney save the already reviewed Dinosaur, but except for the “amusement park ride” moments, the mix and music by Mark Mancina are nothing to write home about except for some more clarity.  The combination of sound and image are only occasionally exciting, but mirror the plodding elements of the film.  Obviously, the sound was pumped up trying to be like the ride.  Extras include the unrelated HD short Grave Spirits, two audio commentary tracks, Blu-ray access to highlight scenes of the film, Anatomy Of A Scene piece and a history of the actual Disney ride more interesting than anything else on the Blu-ray.



-   Nicholas Sheffo


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