Legally Blonde appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 2.35:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. The movie came with a competent but lackluster presentation.
For the most part, sharpness felt appealing. Occasional instances of mild softness impacted some wide shots and interiors, but the majority of the movie provided reasonably positive clarity.
No issues with jagged edges or moiré effects appeared, and I saw no edge haloes. With a nice layer of grain, I didn’t suspect noise reduction, but a few small print flaws occasionally marred the image.
Blonde offered a varied palette, but the colors never really excelled. While they seemed pretty good, they lacked the punch I expected.
Blacks were fairly dark and tight, while shadows appeared smooth and clear. Nothing really went wrong with this image, but it didn’t bring much punch or sparkle.
Most comedies maintain subdued soundtracks, and the DTS-HD MA 5.1 mix of Legally Blonde fell into that category, as the soundfield remained largely anchored in the front realm. The forward channels provided decent stereo imaging for music and effects, as sounds appeared in the appropriate locations and blended together efficiently.
Not a lot of movement occurred across the speakers, but the mix seemed reasonably well integrated nonetheless. As for the surrounds, they offered light reinforcement of music and effects at most. Frankly, I usually wasn’t really aware of much information from the rears, as the mix really did stick strongly with the front speakers.
Although the soundfield seemed bland, the quality of the audio helped compensate for any shortcomings. Dialogue appeared consistently natural and distinct, and I detected no problems related to edginess or intelligibility.
Effects played a minor role in the film, but they sounded accurate and clean, with reasonable presence and no signs of distortion. Music worked fairly well, as the score and the pop tunes presented good clarity.
Highs seemed crisp and bright, while bass was acceptably rich and warm. In the end, the audio was nothing special, but it suited the film well.
How did the Blu-ray compare to the original DVD? The lossless audio offered a bit more warmth, while visuals showed improved accuracy and vivacity. Though the DVD looked good for its format and era, the BD acted as an upgrade, even if it suffered from its own drawbacks.
The Blu-ray repeats most of the DVD’s extras, and we start with two separate audio commentaries. The first comes from director Robert Luketic, actor Reese Witherspoon, and producer Marc Platt.
All three sit together for this running, screen-specific track. Many audio commentaries suffer from an overabundance of happy talk, and this one’s no different.
Not that it totally lacks any information, as the track adds some interesting notes about the production. We hear about deleted scenes and various production challenges along the way.
However, the profusion of praise really seems to dominate the commentary, as much of the time we simply learn how great everyone and everything was. The track offers some decent data, but it feels like a thoroughly average piece as a whole.
The second commentary features a mix of crewmembers, as we hear from costume designer Sophie de Rakoff Carbonell, production designer Melissa Stewart, director of photography Anthony B. Richmond, screenwriters Karen McCullah Lutz and Kirsten Smith, and animal trainer Sue Chipperton. This commentary used an unusual form of construction.
Here’s how it works: the track starts with remarks from Richmond. After a period of time, he departs - literally.
His comments don’t just cease - he says “goodbye” and the next participant, Stewart, enters the scene. After a little while, Carbonell joins her, and eventually Chipperton sits in with the pair for a few minutes. They then split, and Lutz and Smith hop in to finish the film.
This set-up works acceptably well, though I definitely prefer the standard format for edited commentaries. It seems more effective to gather remarks from all the participants and then drop them in at appropriate times.
The way this one goes, the speakers don’t necessarily have much to say at particular points. As such, we occasionally encounter a few semi-lengthy pauses, especially during Richmond’s portion.
Overall, though, the commentary provides a generally decent discussion. This one includes more useful information than found in the first track, though it still tended toward happy talk much of the time.
The notes from the screenwriters are definitely the best parts of the commentary. They relate details about how the modified the original novel and lots of changes made to the original script.
They also talk about some of their less compelling ideas and provide a fun look at their work. Ultimately, the second commentary seems good but still fairly average.
Eight Deleted Scenes span a total of nine minutes, 45 seconds, and most of these also come with opening comments from Luketic. As a whole, these clips are worth a look, but there’s nothing terribly memorable about them.
It seems obvious why most were omitted, as none of them add anything to the film. Luketic’s brief intros confirm these thoughts, as he quickly discusses the reasons why the snippets didn’t make the final cut.
Inside Legally Blonde gives us a pretty standard promotional “making of” program. The 21-minute, 37-second piece provides notes from producer Marc Platt, novelist Amanda Brown, screenwriters Karen McCullah Lutz and Kirsten Smith, director Luketic, and actors Witherspoon, Matt Davis, Victor Garber, Holland Taylor, Selma Blair, Jennifer Coolidge, and Jessica Cauffiel.
In the spirit of the film itself, “Inside” keeps things light and fluffy, but it actually provides a reasonable amount of decent information. The appearance of novelist Brown is a welcome addition, as it’s interesting to hear her point of view firsthand.
Otherwise, many of the notes stay in the “everything’s great!” vein, and the emphasis clearly remains glossy and promotional, but I felt the show was acceptably interesting.
The Hair That Ate Hollywood offers a nine-minute look at blondeness. Another featurette similar to “Inside”, this one brings interviews with Luketic, key hairstylist Joy Zapata, hair color director Nancy Braun, screenwriters Karen McCullah Lutz and Kirsten Smith, producer Marc Platt, Reese Witherspoon, and hair colorist Dawn Ellinwood.
They provide a discussion of the joys of being blonde, with some notes about hair color in general and its use in the film. We also get a catalog of all 40 - that’s right, 40! - hairstyles worn by Witherspoon in the flick.
Wow - that’s an average of a new ‘do every two minutes and 24 seconds! “Hair” becomes a pleasant little piece but nothing special.
New to this 2019 Blu-ray, we find an Interview with Actor Jessica Cauffiel. During this 13-minute, 31-second chat, she discusses her casting and her character as well as her performance and the production. Cauffiel brings us an engaging, informative piece.
Finally we find the theatrical trailer for Blonde and a music video for Hoku’s “Perfect Day”. The clip lasts three minutes, 26 seconds. “Perfect Day” is an innocuous but reasonably bright little pop song, and Hoku’s fairly easy on the eyes.
A quiet female-oriented comedy amidst a rash of loud action flicks, 2001’s Legally Blonde pulled in surprisingly solid box office numbers and emerged as its season’s sleeper hit. The movie lacks much depth or general spark, but Reese Witherspoon provides a terrific lead performance that helps make the movie enjoyable. The Blu-ray brings decent picture and audio along with a fairly good mix of bonus materials. Nothing here excels, but the movie offers breezy entertainment.
Note that this Blu-ray of Legally Blonde comes as part of a 2-disc “Legally Blonde Collection”. This package pairs it with 2003’s Legally Blonde 2.
To rate this film, visit the DVD review of LEGALLY BLONDE