Buena Vista Home Entertainment released the romance comedy classic Pretty Woman on Blu-ray disc for the first time on February 10, 2009. The feel-good modern spin on the Cinderella tale stars Academy Award winner Julia Roberts as Vivian – a spirited, streetwise prostitute, who has a chance meeting with a a dapper, no-nonsense socialite billionaire named Edward – played by Golden Globe winner Richard Gere. It’s a chance encounter that begins as a weeklong business arrangement, and turns into a timeless rags-to-riches romance, after Edward hires Vivian to “accompany” him to a number of upcoming events and ultimately falls in love with her earthy charm and charisma.
Aside from a steady vision from director Garry Marshall, the on-screen chemistry between Roberts and Gere almost entirely carries the film home. Add strong supporting performances by a snobby Jason Alexander, who’s hell-bent on breaking up the high roller and call girl, and the classy hotel manager played by Hector Elizondo, who teaches Vivian how to hang with the upper crust, and it’s no wonder why Pretty Woman has become a classic that has easily stood the test of time.
Pretty Woman moves with such style and grace you don’t notice how implausibly it all fits together. But everyone from the director, to the writer, to the cast, pull it off effortlessly, making for an entertaining gem that can watched over and over again.
The Pretty Woman Blu-ray release is filled with solid bonus features, although nothing is new, and all are in standard-def quality, making their flaws more noticeable in the HD format. They include:
- A light and informal Audio Commentary with Pretty Woman director Garry Marshall, which sheds light on the genesis, motivation and production of the film.
- A decent Blooper Reel of laughs from behind-the-scenes of the film is included – but I wish they were of better video quality. Again, the flaws really show up in the HD format.
- Live From The Wrap Party is a behind-the-scenes video, featuring Julia Roberts singing while Richard Gere plays piano. Director Garry Marshall backs them both up on the drums in an impromptu performance of Elvis Costello’s rendition of Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood. It’s a nice performance, and shows the camaraderie that must have permeated the set during shooting.
- LA: The Pretty Woman Tour—This is was probably my favorite featurette of the release. It shows clips of shooting locations around Los Angeles, and is narrated by the very likable director Marshall. He guides you through the various locations where he shot the film in the very entertaining piece.
- Production Featurette — This featurette includes interviews with Richard Gere, Julia Roberts and Garry Marshall on creating the memorable characters from the film.
- There is also a music video of the song Wild Women Do, performed by Natalie Cole.
- The bonus material is capped off with the original theatrical trailer.
Aspect ratio: 1.85:1
Video: 1080p, Widescreen (Bonus features are 480i Standard Definition)
Sound: English 5.1 Uncompressed (48 kHz/24-bit ), English 5.1 Dolby Digital, French and Spanish 2.0 Dolby Digital
Subtitles: English SDH, French and Spanish
Director: Garry Marshall
Writer: J.F. Lawton
Cast: Richard Gere, Julia Roberts, Ralph Bellamy, Jason Alexander, Laura San Giacomo, Hector Elizondo, Alex Hyde-White
Original film release: 1990
Blu-ray release date: February 10, 2009