Pretty Woman is one of those movies that you watch knowing everything that is going to happen, yet you keep watching anyway because the characters are likable and the movie is very well made. Honestly, there isn’t much more too it than that. This modern retelling of Cinderella brings us to the present day where Julia Roberts plays a prostitute who “meets” rich Richard Gere and together they fall in love. There is also the My Fair Lady aspect to this movie, in which we see the unrefined Roberts get refined and I just think now, with some perspective on this film, this movie delves into the world of fantasy. There are especially overly dramatic parts like when the Gere character comes for Roberts at the end. First off, did anybody think for a minute that they wouldn’t end up together?
There have been stories like this from the beginning of time. The tale of a woman from one end of the spectrum meeting a man from the other end and falling in love, has been played throughout cinema in many different incarnations. Whether it be Maid in Manhattan or She's All That, this film idea has been recycled again and again. Yet, there was something about Pretty Woman that really touched a nerve when it came out. The thing is, I can’t remember what that was now?
Blooper Reel; Live From The Wrap Party: Julia and Richard sing “Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood”; LA: The Pretty Woman
I honestly don’t know if there is a difference between the “Blooper Reel” and “Julia and Richard singing.” Okay, it’s not that bad, and I guess if you are really big fans of both these actors than you would probably like this a lot, but I just watched it wondering why they let themselves be captured doing it? The “Blooper Reel” is funny just because when Julia Roberts makes a mistake, she isn’t scared to completely acknowledge that mistake and as a result it highlights how funny it was. The “Pretty Woman Tour” is great simply because it brings us into the company of Garry Marshall. For this extra feature, we follow him around LA as he gives a “location” tour from the film. He just comes across as very congenial, and on top of that he makes everything seem easy. What’s not to like, right?
All New Audio Commentary with Director Gary Marshall; Production Featurette; “What Women Do” music video performed by Natalie Cole
I could listen to Garry Marshall order chinese food. That’s how much I enjoy listening to him talk. He is at his best in this commentary (as he often is) when he just relays anecdotes and stories from the overall making of this movie. Whether he is discussion preproduction, production or post production, his memory of the past is something to marvel at. The “Production Featurette” is a very standard look at how this movie was made. They talk with the cast and the crew, and while I found this to be good in spots, I’d much rather watch the commentary track with Mr. Marshall. Lastly, the “What Women Do” music video by Natalie Cole was not my cup of tea. I don’t care for this kind of music and as a rule I am not that big a fan of music videos... so basically where does that leave me with this supplemental feature?
1.85:1 Enhanced for 16x9 TV screens. This movie looks good. A tad dated from the early 1990s but that’s when it was shot so what can you expect, right? I think they have bumped up the transfer, or messed with the compression rate somehow. I only say this because the film looked really sharp on my TV. As I often say, there is a natural brightness that DVD compression seems to bring out (depending on the settings) but for this DVD in particular things look really good. I was really impressed by how sharp the colors were. When you consider that this movie is older, it really is great the way that DVD can preserve the way films look.
Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround Sound. English and French Audio. Subtitled in Spanish and French. The soundtrack (both the music and the ambient noises) are pretty much what we have come to expect from movies like Pretty Woman. They really don’t do anything with the soundtrack to contrast with the images on screen, or illuminate the characters in any way. The music is what it is but it really didn’t grab me. What sets this film apart, as weird as it is to say this about a “chick flick,” is the performances. The dialogue is very good and while Garry Marshall didn’t write the screenplay, I am sure that his overall direction probably had an effect on why these characters are so memorable.
This cover with Julia Roberts and Richard Gere made me fall in love with Roberts when I was a young boy. In fact, I dare say that her “look” on the front cover, pretty much sums up the look that a lot of young women had in the early 1990s. In fact, I wanted to see this movie just because of how Roberts looked on the movie poster and this cover. The back features some shots from the movie, a “Special Features” listing, a credits list and some technical specs. An interesting tidbit is that it was Roberts look and her body that made me want to see this movie, then I found out that that wasn’t even her body on the cover! Needless to say, I still enjoyed this movie very much back then.
Garry Marshall is truly a genius of cinema. First of all, he created such shows as Happy Days (my second favorite show of ALL time) and Laverne and Shirley. Then, you look at the movies he has made, and it is truly incredible. Pretty Woman, regardless of what I may think about it now, is going to be looked at as a classic (in fact it probably already is!!). He also made The Flamingo Kid, Murphy Brown and those Princess Diaries movies! I am just amazed at how he does it all. It’s weird because when we speak about the brilliant minds of cinema, I never hear his name mentioned, yet with all the success he has had I certainly think he deserves to be “in” on that conversation.
While Pretty Woman may not hold up for me the way other films have over the years, I still think it’s pretty cool when somebody makes a film that becomes an indelible part of not only cinema but pop culture.