L e n s V i e w s
A view on Blu-ray and DVD video by Leonard Norwitz
Introduction: I first noticed that some movies were actually "films" back around
1960 when I saw Seven Samurai (in the then popular truncated version),
La Strada and
The Third Man for the first time. American classics were a later and
Pretty Woman [Blu-ray]
(Garry Marshall, 1990)
Review by Leonard Norwitz
Theatrical: Touchstone Pictures
Disc Size: 40,939,712,649 bytes
Feature Size: 36,355,061,760 bytes
Total Average Bitrate: 40.52 Mbps
Case: Standard Blu-ray case
Release date: February 10th, 2009
Aspect ratio: 1.85:1
Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video
LPCM Audio English 6912 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 6912 kbps /
English, French, Spanish, none
• Feature Commentary by Director Garry Marshall
Description: Vivian (Roberts) is a spirited, streetwise diamond in the rough when she meets shrewd, no-nonsense billionaire Edward Lewis (Gere). It s a chance encounter that turns a weeklong business arrangement into a timeless rags-to-riches romance. Fall in love all over again as this contemporary Cinderella story unfolds before your eyes in the sparkling clarity of high definition- up to six times the resolution of DVD! Savor every word, every laugh, and every unforgettable song as the magnificently enhanced audio quality embraces you. Experience all the comedy, charm and passion of this beloved classic as never before on Blu-ray Hi Def!.
It may be hard for some of us to wrap our minds around but
Pretty Woman came out almost 20 years ago. It was Pretty
Woman that established the image of Julia Roberts as the
title character in the public's mind for years to come. Not
yet a star perhaps, Ms. Roberts would remain the "Pretty
Woman" actress, despite several dramatic roles, until
Erin Brockovich (though my favorite performance and the one
I feel is her strongest remains Julianne Potter in My
Best Friend's Wedding). So adversely did I react to the
manufacture of what I felt was a media event – not the movie
– but her image, that it was a long time before I gave
myself permission to watch Pretty Woman. Though I still
despise the title for other reasons, and believe it's not
really a very good film, I've seen and enjoyed it a few
times since. The Blu-ray is welcome, especially as my 10th
Anniversary DVD copy - crisp, but a bit dirty - is not
anamorphic. The 15th Anniversary edition from 2005 cleaned
up the image and made it anamorphic as well.
The first number indicates a relative level of excellence compared to other Blu-ray video discs on a ten-point scale. The second number places this image along the full range of DVD and Blu-ray discs.
Grainy and a bit noisy but faithful to the film no doubt. Detail is at the lower end of the scale while colors, textures and contrast appear adequate. There is not a lot of depth to the image but I don't believe this to be a fault of the transfer which utilizes over 40GIg of the dual-layered disc. Suffice to say it doesn't hold a candle to more modern 1080P renderings but it reports the film grain structure fairly accurately. I don't see DNR but noise in black backgrounds is apparent. The bitrate is high and the image seems un-manipulated - not much more fans could ask for - you can't make it look better than it is.
CLICK EACH BLU-RAY CAPTURE TO SEE ALL IMAGES IN FULL 1920X1080 RESOLUTION
Audio & Music: 5/8
Since I discovered the benefits of uncompressed audio I have been an urgent proponent of its inclusion on every Blu-ray regardless of the vintage of the movie. I want the dialogue as crisp as possible for Casablanca and Korngold's music to be given half a chance for his Adventure of Robin Hood. Pretty Woman is just chock full of friendly tunes and even tosses in some abbreviated excerpts from La Traviata. All the same, the original music soundtrack must be uniquely flat to be hardly benefited by the "bump" to Dolby Digital 5.1 Uncompressed. Dialogue is a wee bit clearer, but it's still not a worthy specimen. On the other hand, I had no trouble making out what was being said. There's more there there, but not much – not enough to warrant a purchase.
These are the same extra features that appeared on the 15th Anniversary Edition. In his commentary, Gary Marshall is the uncle (yeah, I know, he's not really my uncle) narrating a family home movie. He's warm and cuddly, full of tidbits about this and that, but nothing all that helpful about production. The other bonus features are even less pertinent – and still all in 480p. The 1990 Production featurette amounts to nothing more than a studio promo for the film. Natalie Cole's Wild Women Do has plenty of sass, but the image quality ain't any too good. But that's nothing compared to the embarrassment of "Live from the Wrap Party" which sports both an incredibly bad image and the worst audio I've ever heard on a Blu-ray bonus feature.
Bottom line: 7