Once again, D.E.B.S. is one of those movies that plays on the idea of what the films creators think the audience wants to see. Girls will come because this movie is about “she spies” with guns, kicking butt. Guys will come because the girls are in another universe of being hot, and they are all dressed in innocent, catholic school girl outfits. Now, while D.E.B.S. contains many of the elements of movies like Mean Girls, it also gloriously subverts these elements and creates a film that I can best describe as an inverted Valley Girl with a lipstick lesbian vibe.
This movie starts off and it seems to be about these “superspies” who are going to take on the world. Then, Lucy Diamond (played by the probably looks hot doing just about anything Jordana Brewster) appears on the scene and this is where things get complicated. What is supposed to be a story about the D.E.B.S. bringing this girl to justice, soon takes a detour and becomes a love story between Lucy and the top D.E.B. Amy Bradshaw(Sara Foster). This being one of those hybrid indies with obviously more then $5 million dollars behind it, the movie doesn’t get too much more unconventional then that. Still, I have to give the creators of this movie credit for making a film that is fun, doesn’t take itself too seriously, yet still manages to have a great deal of heart in it’s characters. In fact, all the D.E.B.S. are great in their roles. They are rounded out by Meagan Good, Devon Aoki and Jill Ritchie.
One thing I really enjoyed about this movie was how it didn’t try and be “too cool” or above itself. It really believed in the story it was telling and it never seemed to stray from the idea that Lucy and Amy could really be in love. You believe their relationship. You want it to work. This was such an interesting way to go with what could have been a more “easy” teen movie.
Deleted and Extended Scenes
I am not sure how much these were needed but they seem to add a little something to this disk. They basically expand on Lucy and Amy’s relationship. This was cool to see but it seemed more like something that would have been in an extended cut of the movie and was therefore excised mainly for time reasons.
”Infiltrating D.E.B.S.” Making of Featurette
This is a cool companion piece to the film in which we hear from the director and the cast about what went into making D.E.B.S.. We are taken from this movie’s inception as an idea for a cartoon on the internet, to D.E.B.S. as an actual movie. It is interesting hearing the director’s ideas for the movie as well as the actors who inhabited those roles. While this wasn’t the most amazing “making of” I have ever seen, it was interesting and illuminated various things.
We get to hear from Sara Foster, Jordana Brewster, Jill Ritchie and Meagan Good. There is is something about these commentary tracks that they either work or they don’t. This one starts off a bit shaky but once the girls loosened up, we really get a sense of the fun camaraderie they had while shooting this movie. Granted, it seems like Brewster was away from most of them for the entire shoot (as she is the women they are trying to bring down), it still sounds like making this movie was a bonding experience for the ladies.
A very good commentary track from director Angela Robinson. She seems like a very nuts and bolts person. A scrappy filmmaker who believes not only in the work she is doing but also believes in herself. She did a very good job of talking us through the movie, and giving her reasons for why certain material made it on to the screen. She is a bit more serious then the 4 girls are but I think that that’s the point. The girls have fun while Robinson tells us how things got done.
D.E.B.S. Comic Animatic, Production Stills, Music Video “Into the Morning” by The Weekend and a D.E.B.S. c
I am not really sure what the “Animatic” is other then maybe an animated storyboard (or animated version of the comic?) of some sort. Maybe it was in the movie, maybe it wasn’t but I can’t say for sure that I remember a scene 100% like this. Set to music from the movie, I will say if nothing else that I found this interesting. Various stills from the movie comprise the still gallery feature that one uses their controller to navigate through. “Into the Morning” video features the band The Weekend. They are dressed like the D.E.B.S. singing their song in a school, and this is mixed with footage from the actual movie. I gotta be honest, as much as I wanted to hate this song, it’s not that bad. I wasn’t really able to follow the D.E.B.S. comic, but I think that had something to do with the fact that it’s on my TV. The drawings looked really good I just wasn’t able to read the things that were written. Oh well, this is all interesting supplemental materials that I am sure people will appreciate.
Viewers will have the choice of watching D.E.B.S. in either the 1.33:1 Full Screen aspect ratio, or they can be bold and choose the 2.35:1 Anamorphic Widescreen aspect ratio. Even though I have a very small TV, I am fan of the Widescreen viewing experience and that is what I chose. This movie looked great. A lot seemed to go into the production design and more importantly the backgrounds throughout the film. I felt that this film was sort of set in the future, while still grounded in the obvious world of suburban, teen movies. Yet, there was a grown-up aspect to this film which is why I am not surprised that this movie was sort of treated like an art film. When I first saw the poster and the trailers for the film, I was wondering in what world was this an independent film. How did this fit as movie from the “Samuel Goldwyn Films” library? Well, it isn’t some down and dirty indy, but it isn’t some syrupy “feel gooder” either. Yet, that’s what many indies have become but that’s another story.
Dolby Digital. English 5.1 and French (Dolby Surround). Mastered in High Definition. The sound design of this film is like that you’ve heard in so many spy films before it. Yet, that is part of the idea of the movie. These girls are “superspies” but they are also young girls who have to deal everything that goes along with that. Sure, the “techno” soundtrack gets a bit old after awhile, but when you realize that it is being used as a device more then to create an actual mood, I think that ultimately is what ends up helping D.E.B.S. realize it’s full potential. Another thing about this film is that it isn’t like these girls are on a mission to save the world. They are trying to stop Lucy Diamond, who we soon learn may not be as bad as she’s made out to be. This movie really does a good job of straddling all of the different worlds it gloriously dips into, while never really wallowing in any of them for too long. At the same time, it is able to build up a consistent story and make you care about the characters.
When I first saw the poster for this movie my first question was ”Where the heck is Jordana Brewster?”. I kept looking at the four vixens in their jailbait clothes wondering if one of them was her. It wasn’t until I screened the film that I realized Brewster’s character couldn’t be on the cover, and thankfully studio demands didn’t make them put her on there because to have her there would really offset the whole idea of this movie. The back features more pictures from the movie, a description of the film, the litany of extras (and there is a decent amount), as well technical specifications. The cover looks like the clothes that the girls wear and everything has a gleefully playful quality to it. Once again, an example of packaging that is probably going to have a rather large hand in selling this movie.
I really liked D.E.B.S. a lot more then I thought I would. I was expecting some cheap, poorly made, poorly acted, unfunny film and this movie was anything but that. It eschewed cheese for emotion and for that I have to say that Angela Robinson, the films writer and director, has made me a fan. I am just surprised that this movie has so much heart. It really took a leap making it a love story between two girls. I know that that isn’t really surprising in today’s day and age, but it just seems to me that more attention would be paid to the idea of the relationship then the actual relationship itself. This movie never seemed to step outside or away from what it was trying to be.
I understand that Herbie: Fully Loaded is Angela Robinson’s next movie. It is that fact and that fact alone that I think will end up elevating that movie from being just another summer, tween, Lindsey Lohan flick. Good work all around!