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Clueless Anniversary Limited Edition Steelbook (Blu-ray + Digital)

Paramount // PG-13 // July 21, 2020
List Price: $14.99 [Buy now and save at Amazon]

Review by Ryan Keefer | posted August 11, 2020 | E-mail the Author
The Movie:

It is hard to believe that Clueless is now old enough to rent a car, or at least can rent one whenever travel restrictions are eased a little more. But yeah, I remember when I was skeptical that the girl in the Aerosmith videos, who was seemingly playing a California girl to the nth degree could pull it off. But she did and she had help with a lot of people in the film, and it was one that I am more than willing to eat my hat on.

Written and directed by Amy Heckerling (Fast Times at Ridgemont High), the film is inspired by Jane Austen's Emma, and that person in this film is Cher (Alicia Silverstone, The Crush), the daughter to a lawyer workaholic father who dotes on his daughter to keep them together after her Mom died. Cher is going through life with Dionne (Stacey Dash, View From The Top) and helps people for personal gain, until she seems to realize there is nobody's life left to enhance but her own.

What was immediately endearing for me about Clueless then as it is now is that Heckerling makes sure that Silverstone (and everyone else in the ensemble) own those roles, to the point where the story can be told. Cher and Dionne are named after famous people which should speak for itself, but there is an obliviousness that each own for various reasons, and it is something that they use to the benefit of the story. Cher and Dionne are admittedly kind of selfish, but they are not dumb. Dumb people could not get teachers to fall in love, or get Tai (Brittany Murphy, 8 Mile) to agree to a makeover and still be friends with her despite her interest in a lite Jeff Spicoli in Travis (Breckin Meyer). They may look dumb to people but they are smart in their own ways, and their ‘stupidity' is done in the film for the sake of laughs.

Silverstone helps sell Cher so well with these attributes too; she is the girl that people like a lot but they dismiss for many of the reasons I mentioned above. But she is smarter than people would give her credit for. She plays the scenes with her Dad (Dan Hedaya) and stepbrother (hey that's Paul Rudd!) so well that it can't be something of a fluke. Cher, Dionne and the other kids at Beverly Hills High are smart, but they just are not smart to other people, and getting the peek into the former is what makes the latter work so well.

Paramount has been revisiting their catalog over the last few months and remarkably Clueless is one that works in a variety of ways; the backdrop is entertaining and the quest of the protagonist is carried on enough that you do not forget about it as the film goes on, and the work of the cast is such that when the end does happen and you are happy that some mild incest occurs, it is sort of cute! Such as it is, Clueless is funny, charming and all of that, despite what your better judgment may tell you.

The Blu-ray:
The Video:

Not having seen the 2012 blu-ray, I will make the leap and say that Paramount used the same transfer for this, and on its own it looks good. Film grain is present and the image appears natural; the darker moments of the film stand out a little sharper than I thought they would. Colors are vivid and look good as do flesh tones, and the film is done justice on high-definition.

The Audio:

DTS-HD MA 5.1 lossless to go with this one, and it is also good. The film's ample musical score is given a lot of justice and sounds broad and dynamic, with bass sounding clear and robust to go with horns and guitars be it Mighty Mighty Bosstones in the party sequence or what have you. Dialogue is a winner here as it is clear and well-balanced through the film, and channel panning (such as when Cher walks through the quad) is just as effective. Nice work by Paramount.

Extras:

So it looks like those that were on the 2012 blu-ray are back for this anniversary edition, nothing more nothing else (unless a digital code counts). There is a trivia track (titled ‘Clue or False') followed by the "Class of ‘95" (18:31), where some of the cast recall things about the film for the 10th anniversary, and is mixed up with vintage video. The older cast talk about the younger ones and how impressed they were by them, and some test footage and bloopers are included too. A nice piece, too short though. "Fashion 101" (10:46) gets into the challenge of dressing the kids at the time, and the retrospective angle shares their thoughts on the clothes then and how it helped them since. Like the first piece, a little short, but slightly intriguing. "Language Arts" (8:09) get into the various dialogue and Hecklerling's adjustments to the cast for it, while "Suck ‘N Blow: A Tutorial: (2:47) is self-explanatory. "Driver's Ed" (3:49) examines the kids as they talk about driving on camera, while "We're History" (8:52) focuses on the legacy and history of the film/ There are also a teaser and full trailer to boot in this steelbook.

Final Thoughts:

It boils down to what camp you are in, really; if you have the previous release of the Blu-ray, then the cost hinges on the steelbook and maybe a digital copy of the film If you don't, well, it is not that strong of a title on its own merits. No commentary track, a fine but not great transfer and soundtrack, and an Alicia Silverstone-sized hole in the bonus features of this thing. So hopefully that makes the decision on buying (or re-buying it) easier, but it still holds up well after 25 years.

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