DVD Movie Guide @ dvdmg.com
Review Archive:  # | A-C | D-F | G-I | J-L | M-O | P-R | S-U | V-Z | Viewer Ratings | Main


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

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

Julia Roberts is a spirited, streetwise diamond in the rough when she meets a no-nonsense billionaire played by Golden Globe winner Richard Gere. It's a chance encounter that turns a weeklong business arrangement into a timeless rags-to-riches romance. This Special Edition will seduce you with all the comedy, charm, and passion you remember about this classic - plus more!

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

Rated R

Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
English Uncompressed 5.1
English Dolby Digital 5.1
French Dolby Digital 2.0
Spanish Dolby Digital 2.0
Supplements Subtitles:

Runtime: 120 min.
Price: $20.00
Release Date: 2/10/2009

• Audio Commentary By Director Garry Marshall
• “Live from the Wrap Party” Featurette
• “LA: The Pretty Woman Tour” Featurette
• Production Featurette
• "Wild Women Do" Music Video
• Theatrical Trailer
• Sneak Peeks


Panasonic TC-P60VT60 60-Inch 1080p 600Hz 3D Smart Plasma HDTV; Sony STR-DG1200 7.1 Channel Receiver; Panasonic DMP-BD60K Blu-Ray Player using HDMI outputs; Michael Green Revolution Cinema 6i Speakers (all five); Kenwood 1050SW 150-watt Subwoofer.


Pretty Woman [Blu-Ray] (1990)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (December 11, 2014)

Without her star-making turn in 1990's Pretty Woman, Julia Roberts may never have reached the stratospheric heights of “A”-list 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 turned me off on her - I never found her to be particularly attractive after that - but I really liked the movie.

Corporate raider Edward Lewis (Richard Gere) plans to buy and dismantle yet another company. As he heads back to his “residence” at the Regent Beverly Wilshire Hotel, he gets lost and asks Hollywood hooker Vivian Ward (Julia Roberts) for directions.

For a fee, Vivian drives him there and the pair strike up an unlikely partnership. Edward needs a companion for various business-related social activities, so rather than deal with relationship complications, he pays Vivian to act as his girlfriend. Along the way, romantic sparks ignite beyond the professional situation.

Somehow Woman transcends 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 me 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!)

24 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 cliché and forgettable “Pygmalion meets Cinderella” storyline and turns it 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 demands a variety of moods.

Richard Gere resurrected his career with his appropriately stiff but human turn as corporate shark Edward Lewis, and the two demonstrate ample chemistry. Oddly, this was nowhere on display in their 1999 reteaming, Runaway Bride; perhaps nine years of fame robbed them of that energy.

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.

The Blu-ray Grades: Picture B-/ Audio C/ Bonus B-

Pretty Woman appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 1.85:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. The movie showed its age but looked fine overall.

Many of those came from the era in which the film was made, though some of them didn’t connect to period issues. For the most part, sharpness seemed reasonably tight and well-defined. A little softness crept into some wide and/or low-light shots, but the movie usually presented nice definition. I noticed no problems with jagged edges or shimmering, though some mild edge enhancement was visible through the flick. Gain seemed fairly natural, and the image lacked print flaws.

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 looked a bit drab. Otherwise, the tones were moderately vibrant and lively, and black levels seemed decent. This was a bland image due to the style of its era, but it seemed more than acceptable.

The Uncompressed 5.1 mix of Pretty Woman seemed less satisfying, though. 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 adequate; the lines weren’t terribly natural, but they showed decent clarity and intelligibility. Effects were decent, as they didn’t feature prominently enough in the movie to make a difference either way. Bass became too loud, though, as the tack went subwoofer crazy with elements like the rumble of a sports car.

The film's music was a weak link, largely due to that inappropriate low-end. Highs were flat, and some echo effect 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; I like an active subwoofer but not as boomy as I heard here. The track was listenable, but it never became better than that, and that overwhelming bass was a problem.

How did this Blu-ray compare with the 15th Anniversary DVD? Visuals showed improvements, as they looked cleaner and tighter; the movie will always betray its 1990 roots, but it was more appealing to view than ever. Audio was more of a wash, though; l thought speech was more natural, but the bass was more of a problem here.

Note that all three prior DVDs only offered the film’s 125-minute Director’s Cut, while we get the original 1990 version here. I believe the Blu-ray marks the first release of the 1990 cut since laserdisc days. That makes me happy; the Director’s Cut is interesting as an alternate, but I prefer the original.

The 15th Anniversary disc’s extras repeat here. First up is an audio commentary from director Garry Marshall. He presents a running, screen-specific track in which we learn about the project’s original title and script, the cast and their work, locations and production design, improvisation, and nuances of the shoot.

Marshall originally recorded a commentary for the 1997 laserdisc release of the film; that same track appeared on the 1998 DVD and the 2000 10th Anniversary DVD. This isn’t that discussion; it was created explicitly for the 2005 15th Anniversary version.

To prepare for this disc, I re-listened to the old commentary. It’s a very strong track that I think still stands as one of the best I’ve ever heard. This made it difficult for me to judge the 15th Anniversary commentary on its own merits.

Objectively, the 2005 track is pretty good, as Marshall covers the film in a genial and humorous manner. He manages to make our time with him enjoyable.

However, the new commentary pales in comparison with the old one. Perhaps because he was eight years older, or perhaps because he already talked about the movie back then, Marshall lacks the same high level of energy he exhibited the first time. He perks up as the movie progresses – or maybe I just got used to the more low-key tone – but he never gets into the film in the lively manner exhibited in 1997.

Marshall also tells us little that’s not already in the original track. He sprinkles in references to Proust and Chekhov, he updates us on matters that have transpired since 1997, and he offers minor tidbits like his nickname for Julia Roberts. Otherwise, you find most of the same information and even many of the same jokes.

Again, when listened to independently, this new commentary works just fine. It simply lacks a reason to exist, as the original chat was so good. Perhaps the suits who produced the 15th Anniversary felt an old track would make it look stale, but I strongly prefer the original commentary. It was much more detailed and informative, so fans should continue to seek it out if they want to learn as much as possible. Screen it and you won’t have much use for this new piece.

Next up is a three-minute and 46-second 1990 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, during the majority of the piece we just watch clips from the movie and hear narration about the story. Skip this waste of time.

Two newer featurettes follow. Live from the Wrap Party goes for four minutes and five seconds. This offers a train wreck rendition of “Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood” with Gere on piano, Marshall on drums, and Roberts on some vocals. It’s bizarre, which makes it perversely entertaining to see.

After a 39-second introduction from Marshall, LA: The Pretty Woman Tour runs eight minutes, 52 seconds. This shows a few locations used in the film: Hollywood Boulevard, Rodeo Drive, the Beverly Wilshire Hotel, the W Hotel, the LA Museum of Natural History, Cicada Restaurant, the LA Equestrian Center, and the Las Palmas Hotel. As we see these, we hear narration from Marshall as he tells us about the locations and shooting at them. He remains delightful to hear, and he helps make this a fun program.

We also get a two-minute and 36-second Blooper Reel. Expect the usual assortment of gags and silliness, though a couple moderately interesting bits appear. It’s a little above average for this sort of piece.

Finally, we get the film’s theatrical trailer and a music video for Natalie Cole's "Wild Women Do". That clip offers the typical video for a tune from a film. It shows shots of Cole lip-synching the song which are 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.

The disc opens with ads for DisneyNature: Earth, Blindness and Miracle at St. Anna. Sneak Peeks adds promos for Lost and Miramax Films as well.

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 Blu-ray presents fairly good picture and bonus materials but the audio seems erratic, mainly due to some boomy bass. Despite the soundtrack issues, this became the best version of the movie on home video.

To rate this film, visit the DVD review of PRETTY WOMAN

Review Archive:  # | A-C | D-F | G-I | J-L | M-O | P-R | S-U | V-Z | Viewer Ratings | Main