Oh, Ambassador...

>> Wednesday, 20 May 2009

Picture the scene.

We are somewhere in middle-Europe. Gentle strains of chamber music waft through the open windows into the warm summer's evening. All around stand exquisitely dressed guests, indulging in gentle after dinner witticisms, and perhaps one or two of the sharply dinner-suited gentlemen are lighting cigars.

Suddenly, a hush, as onto the terrace floats a breathtakingly attractive woman. Clad in a suitably demure yet incredibly chic designer number (let's go for Roland Mouret, as his is the only name I can think of right now), she commands respect before she even starts to speak. Moving easily between her guests, she bestows the gift of her attention on each party before drifting off in cloud of Cartier perfume, summoned by the silver-haired aide who waits anxiously for her, telephone in hand.

"Who was that?" a young ingenue asks her beau, intrigued.

"That? Why, that was our hostess" he answers reverently. "A living legend. That, my dear, was the Ambassador... And look. They are indeed spoiling us. The chocolates have arrived. Would you care for a Ferrero Rocher?"


OK, enough pussy footing around. It seems that other bloggers are coming out of the closet on this one, and if I don't declare myself now I will have missed the boat. So here it is: I have accepted the Disney Shilling, and am delighted to tell you that I too, am a Disney Blu-Ray Ambassador.

What does this actually mean? Well, apparantly as a self-confessed luddite on the digital media front I am the perfect person to review the new Blu-ray technology and tell you all about some movies they have sent me to watch. So here goes...

First off; Blu-Ray. What is it? The nice people at Wikipedia tell us that: Blu-ray Disc (also known as Blu-ray or BD) is an optical disc storage medium designed by Sony to supersede the standard DVD format. Its main uses are high-definition video and data storage with 50GB per disc. The disc has the same physical dimensions as standard DVDs and CDs.

Clear? Not really. So for the rest of us, who don't live in our local Curry's Electrical store, what that essentially means is that the picture and colours on Blu-Ray are supposed to be sharper and more impactful than your standard dvd output.

Impressive claims, yes? I'm a cynical old bat, so didn't expect the reality to live up to the hype, but guess what? Here is one instance when the new technology actually delivers. Whether it's worth the extra cost (new machine, new discs) is a personal decision, but the colours were crisper, the outlines more defined (hence the High Definition claim PM, you dummy), and you can see the real person beneath the Hollywood make-believe.

And speaking of Hollywood make-believe, I watched the first of 4 movies that they sent me to review with the Boys on Sunday (Husband, if you're reading this from Moscow, look away now...). 'Bedtime Stories' stars Adam Sandler as a rather hopeless hotel handy man who discovers that when he tells his niece and nephew - no surprises here - bedtime stories, they actually come true in real life. Sort of.

It's very nicely realised, and the 'story' sequences are well thought out and quite funny. Overall, I liked it; Adam Sandler was well into his comfort zone, and Russell Brand as the lead's sidekick does a good line in supportive intelligent humour whilst playing the fool. The kids were cute and the rest of the supporting cast including Mike from Neighbours (Guy Pearce to non Brits or those under the age of 30...) did an excellent job.

I had been concerned about the film's PG rating, but by the time the movie was finished I decided that that was probably awarded more because the plot was often over the Boy's heads than because it contained anything they shouldn't be watching. Don't get me wrong, they liked it, and have been re-enacting a couple of key scenes ever since, (worryingly, with Boy #2 usually casting himself as the scary looking guinea pig - watch out for the braids, a funny moment) but I couldn't rid myself of the feeling that it was aimed more at parents than at younger children.

Overall though, for a Saturday night enjoyable and safe choice for all the family to watch, this film would be a good choice...

Am off now to clear up some of the metaphorical golden wrappers left over from my Ferrero Rocher moment...

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