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BUENA VISTA

MOVIE INFO

Director:
Garry Marshall
Cast:
Richard Gere, Julia Roberts, Ralph Bellamy, Jason Alexander, Laura San Giacomo, Alex Hyde-White, Amy Yasbeck, Elinor Donahue
Writing Credits:
J.F. Lawton

Tagline:
She walked off the street, into his life and stole his heart.

Synopsis:
Richard Gere and Julia Roberts light up the screen in this now-classic comedy hit! When successful corporate mogul Edward Lewis (Gere) meets independent and carefree Vivian Ward (Roberts), their two lives are worlds apart. But Vivian's energetic spirit challenges Edwards' no-nonsense, business-minded approach to life, sparking an immediate attraction. He teaches her about the finer things in life; she teaches him that love could be the best investment he ever made. Capturing hearts of critics and movie-goers alike, this modern-day rage-to-riches romance entertains with its upbeat blend of humor, passion and unforgettable fun! And now, for the fist time, you can enjoy Pretty Woman in this exclusive 10th Anniversary Edition on DVD!

Box Office:
Budget
$14 million.
Opening Weekend
$11.280 million on 1325 screens.
Domestic Gross
$178.406 million.

MPAA:
Rated R

DVD DETAILS
Presentation:
Widescreen 1.85:1/16x9
Audio:
English Dolby 2.0
Subtitles:
English
Closed-captioned

Runtime: 125 min.
Price: $29.99
Release Date: 2/1/2000

Bonus:
• Audio Commentary By Director Garry Marshall
• Behind-The-Scenes Featurette
• Production Featurette
• "Wild Women Do" Music Video
• Theatrical Trailer


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EQUIPMENT
Sony 36" WEGA KV-36FS12 Monitor; Sony DA333ES Processor/Receiver; Panasonic CV-50 DVD Player using component outputs; Michael Green Revolution Cinema 6i Speakers (all five); Sony SA-WM40 Subwoofer.

RELATED REVIEWS


Pretty Woman: 10th Anniversary Edition (1990)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (August 23, 2005)

Without her star-making turn in 1990's Pretty Woman, Julia Roberts may never have reached the stratospheric heights of her current fame and $20 million paychecks. I'll leave it up to you to decide if that's a good or a bad thing, but it's undeniable that Roberts moved into the ranks of the big names starting with this surprising little hit.

I'm not much of a chick-flick kind of guy, but I must admit that Woman always worked for me. Ironically, I only went to see it theatrically because I thought Julia Roberts was a babe. For some reason, her appearance in Woman completely turned me off on her - I never found her to be particularly attractive after that - but I really liked the movie.

Somehow Woman was able to transcend its chick-flick origins. I don't know how well it scored with other guys, but to me it straddled fences nicely. Oh, there was no mistaking that this was clearly female-oriented fare, but that didn't mean that a manly man such as myself couldn't enjoy it as well. I found it to be funny, charming and amazingly rewatchable; for some psycho reason, I saw it four times in four weeks when it played at a bargain theater late in 1990. (Man, my life must have been even crummier then than it is now!)

15 years down the road, I must admit that Woman doesn't quite light my fire like it did, but it remains a very enjoyable movie. Director Garry Marshall takes the clichéd and forgettable Pygmalion meets Cinderella storyline and turned into a bright, sparkling little film. The movie moves briskly with a nice combination of wit, charm and romance.

Much of the film's success falls at the feet of its stars. For whatever faults she's displayed since 1990, Roberts seems vibrant and vivacious and she demonstrates a keen sense of humor in a role that demanded a variety of moods. Richard Gere resurrected his career with his appropriately stiff but human part as corporate shark Edward Lewis, and the two demonstrated ample chemistry (which was nowhere on display in their 1999 reteaming, Runaway Bride).

While Woman features a subplot that involves Lewis's attempts to takeover a company and adds characters though that area, the heart of it really remains the romance between Gere and Roberts. The subplot's an odd element in that it's both completely essential and totally extraneous all at once. On one hand, the subplot gives our characters a reason to meet and be together; without it, their union would be nonsensical.

However, the problem is that the subplot, although functional and ultimately necessary, just gets in the way of our enjoyment of the chemistry between the stars. Even a cynical old bastard like myself still gets caught up in the glittering romance of Pretty Woman, a film that shows how good cornball love stories really can be.

One note about this DVD: it includes the "director's cut" of the film. This adds about six minutes to the movie. Virtually all of this footage is inessential and does nothing for the film. That said, I'm happy to see it just because I'm an outtakes junkie, and the material doesn't negatively affect the movie; the six minutes come in such brief spots and are spread through the whole film, so they’re worked in neatly.


The DVD Grades: Picture C+/ Audio C/ Bonus B-

Pretty Woman appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 1.85:1 on this single-sided, double-layered DVD; the image has not been enhanced for 16X9 televisions. While not bad for an old non-anamorphic transfer, this picture offered definite room for improvement.

For the most part, sharpness seemed reasonably tight and well-defined. However, softness tended to creep into wide and/or low-light shots, partially due to some occasionally prominent edge enhancement. I noticed periodic problems with jagged edges and shimmering, though these weren’t intense. The print displayed some speckles and grit along with a few streaks and marks. For the most part, the film was relatively clean, though.

Though many movies from this one’s era suffer from flat colors, that wasn’t much of a problem here. Low-light situations were the biggest concern in general. They could be a little murky and opaque, and they were the only instances in which the hues significantly problematic, as the colors tended to be muddy in those shots. Otherwise, the tones were quite vibrant and lively, and black levels seemed deep and rich. Again, I’ve seen much worse transfers given the age and non-anamorphic status of this one, but it wasn’t better than mediocre.

The Dolby Surround 2.0 mix of Pretty Woman also had limitations. The forward soundstage appeared only mildly broad and spatially-defined, as it stuck fairly closely to the center. We got music that spread across the front, but effects were more restricted and didn’t add much to the proceedings. The rears basically just reinforced the music, though they occasionally tossed in some gentle effects as well.

A few problems stemmed from the quality of the audio. Dialogue seemed a bit thin and artificial at times, though once I got used to the sound, the lines were acceptable; they didn’t quite seem natural, but they were easily intelligible and without edginess. Effects were adequate, as they didn’t feature prominently enough in the movie to make a difference either way.

The film's music occasionally sounded acceptably rich and lively, but not most of the time. A lot of Woman offered dance pop that showed decent but loose bass with too much reverb and midrange. Highs were flat, and the echo became distracting. Some of this resulted from the music production trends of the era, but that didn’t explain everything, as even the title track – recorded in the Sixties – suffered from the same concerns. The track was listenable, but it never became better than that.

Although I don't think I'd call it a real special edition, the DVD of Pretty Woman does include a few supplements. First up is a running audio commentary from director Garry Marshall. It's a terrific commentary that discusses a wide variety of fascinating topics. We learn about the project’s original title and very different tone, the cast and their work, locations and production design, improvisation, and nuances of the shoot. Marshall covers the movie with wit and honesty as he presents a lot of insight into his work and the general business of filmmaking.

That’s really the best thing about this commentary. On the surface, Marshall often occupies himself with elements that may seem like minutiae. However, they let us know all of the decisions a director must make and the reasons behind those choices. We get a true tutorial on how to make this kind of a movie – at least from Marshall’s perspective. This ends up as a genuinely enjoyable and informative chat.

Next up is a three-minute and 47-second production featurette created back in 1990. This pretty much defines the concept of "glorified trailer". We see some very brief interview snippets with Marshall, Richard Gere, and Julia Roberts. However, the majority of the piece we just watch clips from the movie and hear narration about the story. Skip this waste of time.

More interesting is the almost three-minute behind the scenes section. This simply shows shots of cast and crew on the set of the polo scene. It's very basic but it's also quite interesting; I'd love to see more of this kind of raw footage.

Finally, we get the theatrical trailer and a music video for Natalie Cole's song "Wild Women Do". That clip offers the typical video for a tune from a film: it shows Cole lip-synching the song intercut with scenes from the movie. It's a dated and silly piece, but it's fun to see in a "Weren't the early Nineties dopey?" way.

Still charming after all these years, Pretty Woman established Julia Roberts as a star and revived the career of Richard Gere. It shows its age on occasion, but it still manages to evoke a nice tone and a few laughs. The DVD presents fairly mediocre picture and sound along with a small set of supplements highlighted by an excellent audio commentary. It’s not a great DVD, but I recommend it for the movie and the audio commentary.

To rate this film, visit the 15th Anniversary Edition review of PRETTY WOMAN