The delightful and charming romantic comedy "PRETTY WOMAN" which would win hearts courtesy of the wonderful performances by Richard Gere and Julia Roberts and its fantastic music now makes its Blu-ray debut nearly 20 years after the film's debut.
When I first watched this film, I absolutely fell in love with it. I purchased it on VHS, the CD soundtrack, the director's cut LaserDisc, the 10th Anniversary and then the 15th Anniversary DVD special edition, multiple release which I didn't mind. The film has become so much of a favorite that I have traveled to Beverly Hills to check out the Beverly Wilshire, to looking for similar suits and ties around that time period that Edward Lewis would sport, discovering the opera "La Traviata" and eventually listening to opera music. Needless to say, this film at the time, really touched my life and it's hard to believe that nearly 20 years have passed by.
There are so many memorable moments in the film that are just classic, it's a film that has become a classic. Just to let everyone know, this version is the theatrical version and does not include the director's cut with the extra five minutes of footage. But how does the Blu-ray edition fare? Read on.
VIDEO & AUDIO:
The film is presented in 1080p high definition (1:85:1). The picture quality is not eye-popping beautiful if compared to a film created in the past few years but for a film nearly 20 years old, it looks pretty good on Blu-ray. There are a variety of scenes that I really looked closely, one being Vivian's first trip to Rodeo Drive and seeing how the outdoor shots would be, the second would be at the polo match and another would be during the restaurant scene. The picture quality was very good but it had a bit of grain, which is no surprise since grain is part of film. But again, it wasn't vibrant compared to a recent film but for a film of its time, it looks very good on Blu-ray.
In fact, the film on Blu-ray is the definitive version to own ala picture quality.
As for the audio, the audio is presented in English 5.1 uncompressed (48khz/24-bit) and having a lossless English 5.1 48khz, 24-bit track is pretty damn good. If anything dialogue is clear, music is very clear and it's what I expected from a dialogue-based film.
The special features included on this Blu-ray are special features that people have seen on DVD. Included are:
* Blooper Reel - A blooper reel that is quite dated ala picture quality-wise but otherwise fun to watch.
* "Live from the Wrap Party" - Richard Gere, Garry Marshall and band along with Julia Roberts jamming. Richard Gere was great on the piano and Marshall, playing the drums and Roberts singing. A fun featurette but was probably taken via a personal video camera because it looks dated.
* LA: The Pretty Woman Tour - This section allows people to select on a map, various locations featured in "Pretty Woman". For example, click "Beverly Hills Wilshire" and video plays with Garry Marshall giving you his memories of the location and information about it.
* 1990 Production Featurette - A featurette on the making of the film, interviews and more!
* "Wild Women Do" music video performed by Natalie Cole - I was really hoping that we would see other music video hits included such as Go West's "King of Wishful Thinking", Roxette's "It's Over Now" and more but only a single video which was on the original DVD release.
* Theatrical Trailer
* Feature Audio Commentary with Director Gary Marshall - This is the same commentary from the 15th Anniversary Edition which was released back in 2005. The 10th Anniversary Edition utilized the director's cut from the LD version and I'm often asked which commentary did I enjoy the most. The 15th Anniversary/Blu-ray commentary has newer commentary and you hear details that Marshall remembers of the film and how everyone has done since the release of the film "PRETTY WOMAN". But commentary-wise, I felt Marshall's director's cut commentary was very good because it was not long after the release of the film, so a lot of details were mentioned in his first commentary. Granted, for redoing a commentary for a film over 15 years later, was well done.
Now, surprising is that the deleted scenes (which were included on the film for the director's cut on LaserDisc and the special edition DVD's) are not included as a special feature. So, for those who prefer the extended version of the film, then the 15th Anniversary Edition DVD is the version to own.
I personally love this film and when the LaserDisc version first came out, it was technologically big because it included the director's cut and featured an audio commentary. With the Blu-ray edition, I wasn't sure if I would be blown away by the picture quality and the audio quality. The Blu-ray experience of "PRETTY WOMAN" was in the most part good but not great.
There are no extra special features that makes this better in content versus the 15th Anniversary DVD but its strength is that it's featured in 1080p High Definition and an uncompressed 5.1 track (48khz and 24-bit). Picture quality and audio-wise, if you have a television and receiver that can take advantage of the high definition treatment of this film, then it's even much more enjoyable because of the better quality. But anything more than that and unfortunately, there is nothing new special-feature wise compared to the 15th Anniversary Special Edition DVD. I would have loved to hear a commentary or a retrospective featurette with Garry Marshall and some of the talent but with Richard Gere and Julia Roberts doing quite well with their careers, not sure if we would ever see that. Hopefully in the 25th Anniversary release?
Also, there are some who prefer the theatrical version and some who will prefer the extended cut version. The Blu-ray version of the film is the theatrical version and the deleted scenes (extra five minutes of footage) added for the director's cut on LaserDisc and on the 15th Anniversary Special Edition DVD are not included on this Blu-ray edition.
But overall, this romantic comedy is still enjoyable and charming now as it was then. Richard Gere and Julia Roberts did a fantastic job, Garry Marshall did a spectacular job as well as with everyone cast in this film from Jason Alexander to Hector Elizondo, everyone did a great job. It's a fantastic film period and of all the previous versions that have been released, having owned so many previous releases, the Blu-ray edition is the definitive version to own.