Prior to PRETTY WOMAN ($30), I failed to see the appeal of Richard Gere. For me, this is the film that introduced the new and improved Richard Gere-the one with the gray hair. Did Richard Gere really improve? I honestly dont know. Perhaps it was his choice of roles that had improved. In PRETTY WOMAN, Richard Gere portrays Edward Lewis, a rich and highly successful business executive who has everything, but a personal life. One night, while returning to his Beverly Hills hotel, in a borrowed car that he can barely drive, Edward encounters Vivian Ward (Julia Roberts). Vivian is a beautiful and sassy prostitute whom he pays to drive him back to his hotel. Feeling lonely after breaking up with his girlfriend, Edward invites Vivian to spend the night.
Vivian proves to be so earthy and unlike any other woman that Edward has ever met, he hires her to be his paid escort for the week he is in town. The subject matter is far-fetched, but PRETTY WOMAN turns out to be a modern Cinderella story with a bit of Pygmalion thrown in for good measure. In the universe of PRETTY WOMAN, Edward is the prince. Vivian is the Cinderella girl whose life changes once she gets all dressed up for the ball. And filling the shoes of the Fairy Godmother is a rather unexpected choice- Hector Elizondo. Elizondo is a marvelous character actor who is so engaging as the hotel manager who helps Vivian that he walks off with his few brief scenes. The cast of PRETTY WOMAN also includes Ralph Bellamy, Jason Alexander, Laura San Giacomo, Alex Hyde-White, Amy Yasbeck and Elinor Donahue. Director Garry Marshall uses a very light touch, which is absolutely required to keep this romantic soufflé from collapsing.
Touchstone Home Video offers the directors cut PRETTY WOMAN on DVD in a wide screen presentation that does not include the anamorphic enhancement. The Letterboxed transfer comes quite close to the proper 1.85:1 theatrical framing, offering a balanced looking presentation. The DVD has excellent color reproduction; the well saturated hues lack any trace of color noise or distortion. Detail and sharpness were also quite good. MPEG-2 compression artifacts remained in check during the presentation.
The Dolby Digital soundtrack is of the two-channel variety and will decode in the Pro-logic mode. The mix sounds okay, but after listening to so many 5.1 channel soundtracks, a matrixed track on a comedy fails to impress. Other soundtrack options include an audio commentary with Gary Marshall. Marshall is a very funny and very approachable guy; listening to him talk about PRETTY WOMAN is a delight.
The interactive menus offer access to the standard scene and audio selection features.
All reviews are Copyright © 1998 THE CINEMA
LASER and may not be copied or reprinted without the written consent
of the publisher.
reviews are Copyright © 1998 THE CINEMA LASER and may not be copied
or reprinted without the written consent of the publisher.