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The Devil Wears Prada(2006)
Based on the hilarious best-selling novel, this sinfully funny movie starring Academy Award winner Meryl Streep and Anne Hathaway is "sensationally entertaining in every way" (maxim). As assistant to impossibly demanding New York fashion magazine editor Miranda Priestly (Streep), young Andy Sachs (Hathaway) has landed a job that "a million girls would die for." Unfortunately, her heaven-sent appointment as Miranda's personal whipping girl just might be the death of her!
For more about The Devil Wears Prada and the The Devil Wears Prada Blu-ray release, see the The Devil Wears Prada Blu-ray Review published by Martin Liebman on May 9, 2010 where this Blu-ray release scored 3.5 out of 5.
Starring: Meryl Streep, Anne Hathaway, Emily Blunt, Stanley Tucci, Adrian Grenier
Director: David Frankel
» See full cast & crew
The Devil Wears Prada Blu-ray Review
...and she also wears Blu.
Reviewed by Martin Liebman, May 9, 2010
A million girls would kill for this job.
"To thine own self be true." An oldie but a goodie, an adage that's well worth living by, and one that's the focus of The Devil Wears Prada, a 2006 Comedy/Drama with a sprinkling of romance that looks at the conflicts between climbing the corporate ladder and remaining socially and, more importantly, personally fulfilled amidst the hustle-and-bustle of this creature called life. Indeed, The Devil Wears Prada is a movie not necessarily about finding oneself, but about rediscovering oneself in a world where pretending to be someone else might prove beneficial in the short term but often leads to dire long-term consequences. The movie nicely entwines entertainment value with a none-too-subtle message on personal honesty and integrity while deliciously dissecting the corporate world and dotting its landscape with several irresistible characters, headlined by the dynamic duo of Meryl Streep and Stanley Tucci who dazzle in their respective roles, the same pairing that helped make 2009's Julia Child/Julie Powell Biopic Julie & Julia such a rousing success.
Recent college graduate Andrea Sachs (Anne Hathaway, Becoming Jane) is hoping to land a job as a New York journalist. Unfortunately, she can't find work in her chosen field; she's been forced to look elsewhere for employment and finally earns an interview opportunity with Elias-Clarke Publications, home of Runway, a leading fashion industry magazine. As luck would have it, Andrea manages to get an interview with the magazine's Editor-in-Chief, Miranda Priestly (Streep), whose rude, self-centered behavior and demeaning attitude is legendary not only in the office but around the industry. Though Andrea's interview goes poorly -- she learns firsthand of Miranda's cold-hearted nature and it's revealed that she's not familiar with either the fashion industry or Runway -- she lands a job as one of Miranda's assistants, if only because she's so drastically different than the previous failures who have before her held the position. Andrea finds herself in a fast-paced and dynamic office environment, a world for which she's simply not prepared. Just when it seems like she's had enough -- she's told that she's too fat, too slow, too stupid, too unfashionable -- she turns to the magazine's Art Director, Nigel (Tucci), to spruce up her look. Andrea arrives at work the next day a new woman in new clothes. With her new style and confidence, Andrea begins proving her worth as Miranda's assistant, but at great cost to her personal life in both her now-floundering relationship with boyfriend Nate (Adrian Grenier) and the identity crisis ravaging her own soul.
The themes of The Devil Wears Prada are best summed up in an examination of Andrea's wardrobe choices. She comes to work on one of her first days wearing a nice, comfortable, and seemingly professional-in-appearance blue sweater. There's only one problem: to the people at Runway, it's a major fashion faux pas, and no matter how charming, smart, goal-oriented, ready-and-willing, eager, or capable Andrea may be, well, that sweater just ain't gonna cut it, hon. Though she finally heads on over to the dark side and gets her groove on with some more fashionably-correct attire, she in that same moment sacrifices her integrity in the name of climbing the corporate ladder and fitting into a place she doesn't belong. As her clothes and look come to define her, Andrea loses touch with what it is that really makes her an individual. Her career is on the rise, but her personal life tumbles into the dumps. Andrea is forced to accept her new lot in life and must hope to find something from within to help define what she's become on the outside, or come to realize that, sometimes, stepping out of a comfort zone in the name of monetary or professional gain at the expense of the soul just isn't worth it. Indeed, that old blue sweater fits her the best, not only on the outside but as a security blanket of sorts for her soul. It's not really an earth-shattering message, but The Devil Wears Prada does a fantastic job of inserting it into the film without sacrificing much of the charm, wit, drama, and characterization that surrounds it, particularly in the film's exceptionally-realized first act.
Still, the necessary switchover from Andrea-the-every-girl to Andrea-the-fashion-queen does, at a few points, get in the way of the film's better elements. It all still works well, but it worked better when the picture so obviously -- and so well -- contrasted the high-powered fashion industry with a cute little girl off the streets who's way out of her league. Director David Frankel (Marley & Me) does a fine job of capturing the hustle-and-bustle machine-gun pacing of the magazine industry and accentuating the conflicts between Andrea and her new co-workers. Much of it seems excessively over-the-top -- only someone who's worked in that field could really know for sure -- but it makes for an interesting dynamic to enjoy while it sets up the movie's underlying themes. The Devil Wears Prada does recover as the changes settle in and the themes begin to take shape, but as the picture moves on -- particularly in a final act that delves heavily into the politics of the fashion magazine industry -- it once again begins to wear a bit thin, but as with the transforming Andrea, it's a necessary segment through which the movie does, admittedly, wonderfully capture its message without being too heavy-handed about it. Last but not least, The Devil Wears Prada features several outstanding performances, headlined by an Oscar-nomianted effort from the legendary Meryl Streep. Streep is wonderfully cast and positively dazzles as a cold-hearted you-know-what who can spot future fashion trends in the blink of an eye but cannot see her own personal faults as they linger directly in front of her face. In contrast is the fresh-faced Anne Hathaway who could care less about the fashion industry but, slowly, begins to see more of herself in Miranda than she does in, well, herself. Stanley Tucci delivers a memorable performance as the hoity-toity Nigel, and Emily Blunt excels as Miranda's other snotty assistant who's already sacrificed far too much in the name of her career.
The Devil Wears Prada Blu-ray, Video Quality
The Devil Wears Prada steps onto Blu-ray with a good, though not great, 1080p, 2.35:1-framed transfer. The image features a slightly warm color palette, and there's no shortage of dazzling hues throughout, notably found on the many clothes and accessories seen throughout the movie. Black levels can be overpowering at times, never too bright or washed out, but occasionally creeping towards the area where they overwhelm finer details in the frame. Darker elements in the film -- for instance a scene in a dimly-lit restaurant after Andrea lands her job -- appear lifeless, fairly flat, and textureless. Fine detail is adequate; the sterile Runway offices offer little in terms of potential visual pizzaz, but the transfer does well to reveal intricate details in clothing and several exterior cityscape shots in both New York and Paris where there's more opportunity for the transfer to showcase strongly-textured objects. The transfer also sports a slight layer of grain that's not intrusive and only slightly more noticeable in some scenes than in others, and the print is free of any troublesome splotches, scratches, or other unwanted artifacts. While not a subpar transfer, The Devil Wears Prada hovers somewhere in the slightly-above-average territory; it's a good, stable image but one that doesn't quite hold up against the reference-quality transfers of today.
The Devil Wears Prada Blu-ray, Audio Quality
The Devil Wears Prada features a DTS-HD MA 5.1 lossless soundtrack that one-ups the video and makes for the technical highlight of the disc. The Devil Wears Prada delivers a high-energy soundtrack that's strongly realized throughout the film. All of the film's music proves stable and crisp with a pronounced but not overpowering surround presence in support. The heavier, more intense musical cues stand out from the crowd with a punchy low end in tow; a montage sequence featuring Andrea attempting to book Miranda on a flight out of a hurricane-ravaged Miami or some of the deeper beats heard during a Paris fashion show in the film's third act represent some of the more effective elements. The track features minimal atmospherics, the light din of a restaurant or scattered footsteps in the Elias-Clarke building lobby serving as some of the better examples. Perhaps the film's most sonically-impressive scene comes from the aforementioned Paris fashion show; not only is the music deep, potent, and crystal-clear, but the clicking sounds of camera shutters and flashbulbs and attendee chatter wonderfully fills the soundstage. Strong dialogue reproduction is also present throughout. About all that this one is lacking is a more fully-realized ambience, but that aside, everything about the track impresses a great deal.
The Devil Wears Prada Blu-ray, Special Features and Extras
The Devil Wears Prada comes to work on Blu-ray with a handful of supplements, including a multi-participant commentary track with Director David Frankel, Producer Wendy Finerman, Costume Designer Patricia Field, Screenwriter Aline Brosh McKenna, Editor Mark Livolsi, and Director of Photography Florian Balhaus. Though boasting six participants, this one rarely becomes the jumbled mess of laughter and confusion that mark other, similar tracks. It's heavy on discussions revolving around costumes and make-up, shooting locales, the quality of the cast and what the actors brought to their roles, the editing process, how the world of fashion entwined with the themes of the picture, and much more. There's a relaxed, comfortable feel to the track; it makes for a decent listen, particularly considering the many participants and points-of-view that actually find a voice without being consistently drowned out by five others. Unfortunately, there are no behind-the-scenes featurettes or larger documentaries to be found; the remainder of the supplements are rather basic in nature. They include a pop-up, text-based trivia track that relates interesting tidbits about the film, many of which revolve around its fashion and the fashion industry; a collection of 15 delete scenes with optional Director and Editor commentary (1080p, 21:35); a gag reel (1080p, 5:06); and 1080p trailers for Behind Enemy Lines, The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, Kiss of the Dragon, Speed, Kingdom of Heaven, and The Transporter.
The Devil Wears Prada Blu-ray, Overall Score and Recommendation
The Devil Wears Prada has garnered a reputation as one of the better "Chick Flicks" of recent years, and for good reason. The movie is well-constructed, breezy, and entertaining, but it's got a bit of emotional and thematic depth to it that's important and timely but not overbearing or much of a hindrance to the film's entertainment value. The themes of remaining honest to one's own values, style, and way of life is wonderfully integrated into the picture. A few elements once or twice necessarily slow the movie down, though much of the fault for that lies in the fact that Director David Frankel's first act is so strong that it's just hard to top. Also featuring several memorable performances, there's no shortage of reasons to see The Devil Wears Prada; just don't let the "Chick Flick" label get in the way of enjoying what is a surprisingly good movie with an A+ cast. An early release on the Blu-ray format, 20th Century Fox's high definition presentation of The Devil Wears Prada still holds up fairly well. The lossless soundtrack is superb, the 1080p picture quality is good but a notch below, and the supplements are about average in quality and quantity for a disc of its release era. Recommended.
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