HOME   News   Reviews   Adv Search   Features   My DVD   About   Apps   Stats     Search:
  Directed by
  Starring
  Specs
  • Widescreen 2.35:1
  • 16:9 Enhanced
  • Dual Layer (RSDL )
  Languages
  • English: Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround
  Subtitles
    English, English - Hearing Impaired
  Extras
  • 8 Deleted scenes
  • Theatrical trailer
  • 2 Audio commentary
  • 2 Featurette - Inside Legally Blonde, The Hair That Ate Hollywood
  • Animated menus
  • Music video - Perfect Day - Hoku
  • Behind the scenes footage
  • Trivia track

Legally Blonde

MGM/20th Century Fox . R4 . COLOR . 92 mins . PG . PAL

  Feature
Contract

When it comes to women especially, many in this world make an awful lot of assumptions purely based on appearances, and it’s amazing how many of them seem to come down simply to hair colour. If it’s red, you’re “fiery”; if it’s black, you’re a Goth and, of course, if you’re blonde then you’re a complete ditz with an IQ smaller than your dress size. Legally Blonde takes this general assumption and then eventually sticks a middle finger up at the world – but sweetly, of course.

Elle Woods (Reese Witherspoon) has it all. Rich parents, a Porsche Boxster, loads of friends, a doting Chihuahua named Bruiser and, most importantly, a dreamy boyfriend in future senator-wannabe Warner Huntington III. With the time coming for Warner to head off to Harvard, Elle is expecting a proposal over an intimate dinner, however, she ends up all at sea when the bastard dumps her instead. After all, she’s fun and all, but hardly the type of girl a future senator could take as a wife – he needs to marry a Jackie, not a Marilyn.

After the requisite time in chocolate therapy Elle hits upon how to win Warner back. Quite simply she needs to become a law student, and thus she’ll be taken seriously. Now Harvard isn’t the easiest place to get into at the best of times, but when your major is in fashion merchandising the eight ball you’re plonked behind is rather big, bulbous and incredibly shiny. She studies her heart out, passes her LSAT’s (Law School Admission Test) and prepares her admissions essay – on video.

Needless to say, Hollywood’s law means that the admissions committee are somewhat dumbfounded by her effort, and indeed enough so to welcome her to Harvard. It’s time to hop in the Boxster and set off to Boston – however, when she gets there she finds she’s not exactly the most popular girl in school. If this isn’t hard enough, she then discovers that Warner is engaged to a former girlfriend named Vivian. The only solution? A makeover, of course! (Silly!) And it’s here that Elle meets manicurist Paulette, who was recently dumped by her partner of eight years, is rightfully bitter and twisted about it – after all, he kept the dog - and she inspires Elle to “steal the bastard back” from Ms Kensington.

"Excuse me, I have some shopping to do..."

Eventually realising she’ll never be “good enough” for Warner, she applies herself to her work – even purchasing a cutie-pie orange notebook computer (I think you can work out what it is without my naming it – heehee, I’ll happily edit this and give the thing more exposure if the company that makes them wishes to give me one to play with...) When some internship positions in one of her lecturer’s law firms comes up due to a heavy caseload, Elle finds herself on the team, and defending fitness infomercial queen Brooke Wyndham in a murder trial – and she’s the only one who believes in her innocence. Can Elle prove herself more than just a peroxide-drenched clotheshorse – like, duh! You bet she can!

Legally Blonde is the directorial debut Hollywood feature from local boy done good Robert Luketic, and he has crafted something that whilst not vital, is really quite special. Based on a sort-of autobiographical just-a-little-bit-really novel by Amanda Brown, and adapted for the screen by the team behind the clever Shakespeare rehash 10 Things I Hate About You, this is a classic fish out of water tale where, of course, the fish learns to adapt and thrive regardless, and naturally before the credits roll. In her hyper-coloured world, and complete with an incredible 40 different hairstyles through the film's ninety or so minute running time, Witherspoon does a magnificent job as Elle, one that whilst completely different still really rivals possibly her previous best, her seriously brilliant portrayal of Tracey Flick in that delightfully black little number Election. The supporting cast is also generally superb, most notably Jennifer Coolidge (Paulette), Selma Blair as Elle’s competition for Warner’s affections and the always awesome Holland Taylor as one of her professors, Stromwell.

Managing to find a near perfect balance between contrivance and, well, something approaching believability, Legally Blonde may at first glance seem about as deep as a scone tray. However, if you open your eyes a bit wider there’s actually quite a bit of substance on display, whether you take it as a general “girl power” kind of thing, or as a lovingly crafted, often incredibly funny and sometimes even inspiring paean to being true to, and believing in, yourself. So perhaps it is at least as deep as a baking dish, OK? After all, we don’t always have to be like totally serious, you know?

  Video
Contract

As should be expected from a film of such recent vintage, the transfer to DVD afforded Legally Blonde is quite excellent.

Delivered to us in its gloriously cinematic 2.35:1 ratio (so a resounding and emphatic “phooey!” to those moronic simpletons out there who use the phrase “annoying black bars”), and anamorphically enhanced, there is very little to find fault with, other than some rather noticeable shimmering in a couple of scenes, the occasional touch of aliasing and approximately three weenie little white specks that occur within the film’s entire running time. Mind you, the layer change is rather clunky and noticeable, occurring just before the end of a scene – close, but...

This is a wonderfully colourful film, and as is many a director’s want utilises varying palettes for different locations. They all scrub up quite divinely, displaying a vividness of colour that is essentially spot-on, and combined with unfaultable shadow detail and a generally pleasing sharpness to everything a fantastic job has been done.

  Audio
Contract

Some comedies are loud, some are quiet – when it comes to the surrounds, and most notably the subwoofwoof, Legally Blonde definitely falls into the latter camp. There’s a little bit of rear action afforded the score at times, and certainly some of the inevitable ‘pop’ tracks, however that is essentially it.

Still, this Dolby Digital 5.1 mix does its job as it should, providing us with always clear dialogue that’s well-balanced with the music. Synch is perfect, save for one instance where some dialogue from a cut scene was sticky-taped in, however most won’t notice it, and if it hadn’t been pointed out in the commentary then neither would I.

Rolfe Kent (Nurse Betty, the aforementioned Election) provides the score. His well-suited orchestral compositions share airtime with such mainstream acts as Fatboy Slim, Samantha Mumba and Lisa Loeb (as well as a bevy of quite obscure artists), plus old timers Hot Chocolate and Kool and the Gang.

  Extras
Contract

Lovely spotty and flowery animated menus that are pink, of course, carry a shockingly looped instrumental version of Hoku’s Perfect Day. Popping by the special features menu opens up quite a variety of fun diversions...

Commentary – Director Robert Luketic, actor Reese Witherspoon and producer Marc Platt: After a reasonably shaky start, once these three get on a roll this commentary does improve somewhat, although while there’s quite a bit of interesting stuff to be learned, it lacks a certain something – not least of all because it sounds much like Reese’s body is there but her spirit’s off on holidays somewhere.

Commentary – Costumier Sophie de Rakoff Carbonell, production designer Melissa Stewart, director of photography Anthony B. Richmond, animal trainer Sue Chipperton and screenwriters Karen McCullah Lutz and Kirsten Smith: By the very nature of those involved in this commentary, there is much to be gleaned here about the actual “look” of Legally Blonde, in what is a much more interesting presentation than that given to us by Robert, Reese and Marc (sorry guys!). Curiously the first four seem to start off proceedings, and half way through appear to be replaced by the screenwriters to bring the thing home.

Trivia track: What a tremendous inclusion! Activate this feature and jellybean coloured boxes pop up on-screen quite regularly while you view the film, imparting all manner of facts about the movie, the cast and the history of most anything that does or doesn’t move on screen. A warning to those blokes with a capital ‘B’ out there, it’s all quite girly-biased, so you may not like all that you read.

Deleted scenes: Following a brief filmed introduction from director Luketic, a menu pops up giving access to eight deletions, which all told run for almost nine minutes and can be viewed separately or all as one lump. They’re all a bit grungy and green-tinged, with only serviceable sound, but at least they are at their correct ratio of 2.35:1. Most include introductions, and while there are a few titter-worthy moments, it can generally be seen why these were removed, either for pacing, not fitting the “vibe” of the film or simply as they were rather superfluous.

Featurette - Inside Legally Blonde: This full frame inclusion runs for just over twenty minutes, and before you run away arms a-flailing screaming “Agh! Another bloody promo bit of fluff”, hold that wail – as this is actually quite cool. Sure, it features the typical interview snippets with most of the cast and many of the crew involved with Legally Blonde, however this one actually has that rare thing for a presentation such as this – substance, as well as an ability to actually hold interest.

Featurette - The Hair That Ate Hollywood: A nine minute look at the remarkable array of hairstyles we see Kevin Smith’s mate Greasy Reesey sporting in the film, complete with interviews with stylists and colourists and behind the scenes footage.

Music video - Perfect Day by Hoku: Needless to say the girl is blonde, and she bounces around with some band blokes in a forest while scenes from the film are inter-cut. In all this is a reasonably catchy in-one-ear-then-out-the-other kind of pop song.

Theatrical trailer: Presented in 1.85;1 and anamorphically enhanced, this Dolby Digital Stereo-carrying trailer features a voiceover from one of those Guys That Does Trailers (as distinct from THE Guy Who Does Trailers), runs for two minutes and fifteen seconds, is in pretty good shape and even features a couple of scenes that didn’t make the final cut of the movie.

All we miss out on compared to the region 1 release is a trailer for possibly the greatest film ever, The Princess Bride, and a stupid full frame version of the film. In actual fact our version is a lot neater, as you don’t have to flip the disc over to gain access to some of the extras.

  Overall  
Contract

A roolly good movie with a roolly good video transfer, rather good audio and a pretty darned good handbag stuffed with extras, this is like, you know, roolly good! Buy it, rent it, but anybody who has ever apreeshy- umm, liked a roolly good teen kinda film should roolly check out Legally B... L... – I don’t know!

Oops – so much for the diatribe against stereotypes. Hey, I am supposed to be “fiery” after all, aren’t I?


  • LINK: http://www.dvd.net.au/review.cgi?review_id=1338
  • Send to a friend.

    Cast your vote here: You must enable cookies to vote.
  •   
      And I quote...
    "Buy it, rent it, but anybody who has ever apreeshy- umm, liked a roolly good teen kinda film should roolly check out Legally B... L... – I don’t know! "
    - Amy Flower
      Review Equipment
    • DVD Player:
          Pioneer DV-535
    • TV:
          Sony 68cm
    • Receiver:
          Onkyo TX-DS494
    • Speakers:
          DB Dynamics Eclipse RBS662
    • Centre Speaker:
          DB Dynamics Eclipse ECC442
    • Surrounds:
          DB Dynamics Eclipse ECR042
    • Subwoofer:
          DTX Digital 4.8
    • Audio Cables:
          Standard RCA
    • Video Cables:
          Standard Component RCA
      Recent Reviews:
    by Amy Flower

    The Simpsons - Gone Wild
    "Fox get the dartboard out again to compile another haphazard four-episode release of Simpsons episodes… "

    The Commitments: SE
    "A rollicking good flick that manages to be musical without being naff..."

    Placebo - Soulmates Never Die: Live in Paris
    "One for all Nancy Boys and Ashtray Girls to treasure."

    Amazon Women on the Moon
    "...worth a look if you’ve never before had the pleasure. Bullshit, or not?"

    Jack & Sarah
    "Proving that simplicity is no obstruction to brilliance, this is an ultimately sweet (but not sickeningly so) tale that gives all those bigger English films out there a more than respectable run for their money... "

      Related Links
      None listed

     

    Search for Title/Actor/Director:
    Google Web dvd.net.au
       Copyright © DVDnet. All rights reserved. Site Design by RED 5   
    rss