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Spellbound
     

Spellbound

5.0 5
Director: Jeffrey Blitz

Cast: Harry Altman, Angela Arenivar, Ted Brigham

 

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Jeffrey Blitz' documentary about the National Spelling Bee, Spellbound comes to DVD with a standard full-frame transfer that preserves the original theatrical aspect ratio of 1.33:1. English and French soundtracks are rendered in Dolby Digital Stereo. Supplemental materials include a commentary track recorded by Blitz, his co-producer Sean Welch, and the film's

Overview

Jeffrey Blitz' documentary about the National Spelling Bee, Spellbound comes to DVD with a standard full-frame transfer that preserves the original theatrical aspect ratio of 1.33:1. English and French soundtracks are rendered in Dolby Digital Stereo. Supplemental materials include a commentary track recorded by Blitz, his co-producer Sean Welch, and the film's editor. The threesome go into great detail about the process of making the film, as well as the difficult task of whittling the movie down to its 97-minute running time from the hours and hours of footage they filmed. Extra materials include an update on what has happened to the eight contestants featured in the movie since their appearance at the Bee. Those with a DVD-ROM drive can access an interactive hangman game. This is a strong release from Columbia/TriStar that offers quality extras both for those with an interest in the subject matter, as well as people who want to learn about the realities of documentary filmmaking.

Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide - Michael Hastings
Though not without a certain homespun charm, director Jeff Blitz's debut documentary chronicling the ultimate overachiever rite of passage -- the spelling bee -- unfortunately isn't above the occasional easy laugh or cheap shot at the expense of the families it chronicles. There's a built-in narrative tension to any nonfiction competition film, and in this respect, Spellbound doesn't disappoint. Smartly, Blitz doesn't suggest that winning is dependent upon a child's socioeconomic status, desire to win, or even his or her raw knowledge. It's a crapshoot as to which one of the kids profiled in Spellbound will be the most successful, even if they themselves blame minor failures on their own inadequacies. That's the most compelling thread in the film: the psychological burden of the perennial teacher's pet. But Blitz allows some of his participants -- parents and kids alike -- to stammer on about geeky hobbies and other irrelevant personal habits to the point where the director's gaze sometimes crosses the line from sympathetic observer to nerd gawker. There's a certain social ineptitude involved with any academic endeavor, but after spending so much time with his subjects, you'd think that Blitz would have confined scenes of it to the beginning of his film instead of far into its last third.

Product Details

Release Date:
01/20/2004
UPC:
0043396030411
Original Release:
2002
Rating:
G
Source:
Sony Pictures
Region Code:
1
Presentation:
[Full Frame, Wide Screen]
Sound:
[Dolby Digital]
Time:
1:37:00

Special Features

Closed Caption; Filmmakers' commentary; Bonus footage; "Where Are They Now?": Updates on all eight profiled spellers; Interactive Hangman game: Deluxe Edition (DVD-ROM); Educational Guide: Includes "Host Your Own Spelling Bee" kit & much more; Theatrical trailers

Cast & Crew

Scene Index

Side #1 --
1. Angela [11:16]
2. Nupur [4:41]
3. Ted [4:59]
4. Emily [4:38]
5. Ashley [6:53]
6. Neil [6:44]
7. April [3:39]
8. Harry [3:18]
9. The National Spelling Bee [3:49]
10. Day One [8:25]
11. Day Two [11:10]
12. On the Air [7:45]
13. The Winner [17:10]
14. End Credits [:53]

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

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Spellbound 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 5 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Although it seems really dumb, it's a little touching and also really funny, especially when you arrive at the National spelling bee.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Moving, gripping. An intense from start to finish, you might have thought that the story of a couple of misfit spellers might not be as compelling as watching your friendly local action hero Tom Cruise in the last zillion dollor movie blockbuster. You'd be wrong. The film exudes a sense of honesty, almost as though you are experiencing a previously untold truth of what extensive preparation goes into an event very loosely covered in reality.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This movie is awesome. It's a great story of characters and, believe it or not, you'll be on the edge of your seat waiting to see who remains standing, and spelling, in the bee of all bee's.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This movie is not just some dorky documentary. It's fascinating and funny and a little bit scary too. A great look into the world of spelling bees.
Guest More than 1 year ago
There is much depth and humor to this story of adolescent pressure and success. "Spellbound" brings the viewer into the current world of high-stakes assessment. The students and their parents strive for excellence in this tender and highly entertaining story. There are underdogs and favorites. There are rich and poor. There are many reasons to stand and cheer.