The Devil Wears Prada appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 2.35:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. Released early in the existence of Blu-ray, the image looked okay but that was about it.
Most of the concerns related to sharpness. Throughout the film, it displayed general softness and less definition than I’d expect from Blu-ray. The picture wasn’t truly unfocused, but it didn’t seem as distinctive as I’d anticipate. I saw no jagged edges or shimmering, and I noticed no edge haloes. Source flaws never appeared during this clean transfer.
Colors could be a little pale but they usually seemed fine. Most of the movie exhibited fairly solid tones, though the slightly flat ones created some distractions. Some of this appeared to be connected to visual design, as the tones brightened when Andy became more fashionable. Blacks seemed decent, while shadows were acceptable. Low-light shots could be a bit muddy, but they were adequate across the board. From start to finish, this became a mediocre presentation.
Given the subject matter, I anticipated little from the DTS-HD MA 5.1 soundtrack of The Devil Wears Prada, and the mix matched my expectations. The soundscape usually remained modest and focused on gentle environmental information. Not much activity emerged from this subdued piece, as it stayed with light ambience much of the time. A few scenes – New York streets, a storm in Florida – added some kick at least. The surrounds lacked much involvement and never stood out as anything noticeable beyond what I just mentioned.
Audio quality was positive. Speech seemed natural and crisp, with no edginess. Effects were clean and accurate, while music sounded smooth and concise. Low-end response was perfectly adequate. This was a more than acceptable mix for a low-key movie.
How did the Blu-ray compare to the original DVD from 2006? Audio had a little more kick, though not much, as the restricted soundfield left little room for growth. As for the image, the Blu-ray seemed a bit clearer and better defined, but not to a tremendous degree, as this was too inconsistent a transfer to be a major upgrade.
Most of the DVD’s extras repeat here, and we open with an audio commentary from director David Frankel, producer Wendy Finerman, costume designer Patricia Field, screenwriter Aline Brosh McKenna, editor Mark Livolsi, and director of photography Florian Ballhaus. All of them sit together for this running, screen-specific chat. They cover sets and locations, cast, characters and performances, story issues, musical choices, script and the adaptation of the novel, editing and cut scenes, a few visual choices, and clothes.
Lots and lots about clothes, as a matter of fact, which makes sense given the movie’s focus. We get a full accounting of all the different outfits worn in the flick, but the commentary doesn’t wind up as little more than a dull regurgitation of designers. Those moments are informative since they include insights into why the various styles were chosen, and we get many other good glimpses of the production. I especially like the notes about how Streep remained somewhat “in character” during the shoot, as she’d keep herself aloof from the others. The commentary covers the appropriate subjects well and provides a nice overview.
Not found on the DVD, the Blu-ray includes a Trivia Track. This covers aspects of the shoot, notes about cast and crew, fashion notes, background for film elements, and some other areas. The text commentary provides a nice mix of details and adds to the experience.
15 Deleted Scenes fill a total of 21 minutes and 35 seconds. One of the more interesting shows Andy’s interview with human resources that led her to Runway, and we also get a funny formal introduction between Andy and Nigel. There’s also more of Andy as she acclimates to the job and deals with various pressures there. A fair number of these offer minor extensions to existing scenes. Some come across as bland filler, but there’s actually quite a lot of good material on display here.
We can watch these with or without commentary from Frankel and Livosi. They offer some notes about the scenes and let us know why they didn’t end up in the final cut. Interestingly, Frankel relates that he never saw many of these, as Livosi dropped them before they ever made it to the director’s desk. The guys provide very useful information.
A Gag Reel runs five minutes and six seconds. It includes a lot of the usual mistakes and giggles bot not anything particularly memorable other than some funny ad-libs from Tucci and Streep.
Under Trailers, we find ads for Behind Enemy Lines, The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, Kiss of the Dragon, Fantastic Four, Speed, Kingdom of Heaven and Transporter. No promo for Prada appears here.
That was a change from the DVD, which included a trailer for Prade. The Blu-ray also loses five featurettes, though it adds the trivia track.
The Devil Wears Prada emerged as a left field hit, and the movie occasionally becomes sassy and provocative enough to warrant its success. Unfortunately, too much of the flick concentrates on its dull protagonist and takes us away from the character we really want to follow: Meryl Streep’s cool, calculating Miranda. When the film leaves her, it sags. The Blu-ray presents mediocre picture and audio along with a smattering of useful bonus materials. Nothing about the Blu-ray does much to impress
To rate this film visit the Special Edition review of THE DEVIL WEARS PRADA