Monday, March 18, 2019

Legally Blonde Collection Blu-ray Review

Reviewed by Jami Ferguson
The Legally Blonde Collection is now available to own on Blu-ray. The collection includes a two-disc set with each movie and related special features on its own Blu-ray. In both films, Reese Witherspoon stars as Elle Woods, a woman on a mission. In Legally Blonde, she wants to win back the love of her life. In its sequel, she hopes to protect her dog and others like him from animal testing.

Films (3 out of 5 stars)
Legally Blonde is a classic chick flick. It reminds me a lot of Clueless. They are both films that are dated, in a good way, and would probably create outrage if released today. Someone would be boycotting this release, saying it promotes a negative stereotype. If not that, they would complain that Elle’s happy ending had to include a man in it. Looking back on it, I think of it as a fun, cute film, full of fluff (in a good way). I don’t think you should spend much time contemplating Elle’s message. If you do, look at it in the best light and realize that in the end, she realized she was too good for that guy!

Legally Blonde (3 1/2 out of 5 stars)
Elle Woods (Reese Witherspoon) is a Fashion Major at CULA (presumably California University Los Angeles). She has a 4.0 GPA and is the President of the Delta Nu Sorority. Her sorority sisters help her prepare for a date with her boyfriend Warner, at which she expects a marriage proposal. Instead, Warner breaks her heart with the revelation that he needs a serious girlfriend if he wants to be a Senator by the age of 30. As Warner breaks up with Elle, he informs her that his family expects him to be with a Jackie, not a Marilyn. Warner is about to head off to Harvard Law School and has big plans for his future, and those plans to not include Elle.

After sulking in bed eating chocolates, avoiding the outside world, Elle’s friends take her to a nail salon to cheer her up. Thumbing through a magazine, she sees a photo of Warner’s brother and his serious but unattractive fiancĂ©e. Elle decides that the way to get Warner back is to go to law school and be a serious student. After a unique admissions essay and a passing score on her LSATs, Elle and her dog Bruiser head to Harvard to begin her law degree and eventually win back the love of her life.
Elle does not fit in well at Harvard. Everyone sees her as a pretty but dumb blonde. In her first class, a student named Vivian Kensington (Selma Blair) gives her attitude. 

The day comes to a head when Elle learns that Vivian is now engaged to Warner. Vivian was his high school girlfriend whom he reconnected with over the summer and she now wears his giant engagement ring proudly. A new friend, Paulette Bonafante (Jennifer Coolidge), suggests that Elle should steal him back. Although that’s the plan, Elle soon learns that she will never be good enough for Warner (in his eyes). Taking the next step, she realizes that she is too good for Warner. He may be the reason she went to Harvard, but her successes are all her own from that point on.

Legally Blonde 2: Red, White and Blonde (2 1/2 out of 5 stars)
Elle Woods is a lawyer, who is happily engaged to her sweetheart from Harvard, Emmet (Luke Wilson). Her career is going well but she is unexpectedly derailed by a new project, which is very personal to her. Elle hires an investigator to track down her Chihuahua’s mother (for a wedding invitation). She learns that Bruiser’s mom is an animal test subject. A heartfelt presentation about Bruiser and his mom leads to Elle’s termination from her job. After a few tears over the loss, Elle decides that she wants to change the law. Elle heads to Washington, D.C. in the hopes of passing a bill that would make it illegal for companies to use animals for testing.

As it was when she first came to Harvard, Elle has a hard time being taken seriously. People call her “capitol Barbie” and treat her as such. Her mentor, played by Sally Field, appears to support Elle’s cause but in the end, she works against Elle to further her own political aspirations.
Video (3 out of 5 stars)
Legally Blonde (4 out of 5 stars)
Shout has provided a 4K scan of the original negative. As the director explains in commentary and extras, the low budget didn’t allow for as much location shooting as he would have liked. Color changes from bright LA to subdued Harvard must help, as ivy added to LA set’s doubles for Harvard Law. Elle’s signature color (pink) is one of the many colors that pops in Elle’s surroundings and wardrobe. There is a bit of noise and some blurry backgrounds but overall these shortcomings are minor and don’t take away from the experience.

Legally Blonde 2 (2 1/2 out of 5 stars)
This presentation does not fare as well as its predecessor. Digital noise is very present in the first half and there is a visible lens scratch. What you get seems more like DVD quality than Blu-ray.
Audio (4 out of 5 stars)
Legally Blonde (4 out of 5 stars)
The DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 mix is adequate for this film. The score comes across nicely, as does dialogue. The light and easy-going film is accompanied by similarly uncomplicated sound. No major complaints with an audio track that won’t tax your surround system.

Legally Blonde 2 (3 1/2 out of 5 stars)
Just as with the first film, Legally Blonde 2 falls short of the original in the audio department. Although still offering a DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track, this film just isn’t as clean and precise. Crowded rooms and gatherings feel appropriately busy. Nothing about the audio made me take note. – good or bad.
Extras (3 out of 5 stars)

Legally Blonde 3 out of 5 stars)        
  • Audio Commentaries:
    • Commentary with Director Robert Luketic, Producer Marc Platt, and Reese Witherspoon 
    • Commentary with Cinematographer Anthony Richmond, Costume Designer Sophie de Rakoff Carbonell, Production Designer Melissa Stewart, Screenwriters Karen McCullah and Kirsten Smith and Animal Trainer Sue Chipperton. 
  • New Interview with Jessica Cauffiel (13:31) – The actress who plays Margo talks about getting the part, researching the role with Reese Witherspoon and working with a first-time director. 20 years later, she discusses the script, alternate endings and more. 
  • Deleted Scenes (9:45 total runtime) – with Director introduction/explanation, After the Breakup, Rollerblading, The Betting Pool, Elle’s Revenge, Depositions, Delta Nu Sister, Professor Callahan and Emmet, Mrs. Windham Vandermark 
  • Inside Legally Blonde (21:37) – Featurette that Includes both the simple and complicated explanation of how the novel became a film. Many of the key players explain how the paths that led them to this project. 
  • The Hair that Ate Hollywood (9:01) - Choosing the right blonde and the 30 plus hair changes in the film. 
  • Hoku “Perfect Day” Music Video (3:26) 
  • Trailer 
Legally Blonde 2 (3 out of 5 stars)
  • Audio Commentary – Commentary with actresses Jennifer Coolidge (Paulette), Jessica Cauffiel (Margo) and Alanna Ubach (Serena McGuire) 
  • New Interview with Jessica Cauffiel (8:37) – A continuation of the interview on Legally Blonde where the actress talks about honoring the original film and gives details about shooting the sequel. 
  • Blonde Ambition (22:27) – A making of featurette that looks at story, characters, the considerations of making a sequel, and working with Bruiser. 
  • Stars and Stripes, Never (7:30) – This extra details Elle’s many looks over her 65 wardrobe changes. 
  • Elle’s Anthem (7:13) – A look at the music and score with recording footage. 
  • Deleted Scenes (9:32 total runtime) – Seven untitled deleted scenes. 
  • Leann Rimes Music Video “We Can” (3:41) 
  • Hair Apparent (6:56) – Just under seven minutes devoted to Elle’s hair, which changed as much as her wardrobe. Her stylist explains her hair as a character and details the many looks and the wigs it took to make it happen. 
  • Puppy Love (2:24) – This extra is devoted to the animals in the film, with special attention given to Bruiser. His character and sexuality are discussed here. 
  • Pretty in Pink (6:37) – The look of the film, and elements carried over from the first film are detailed in this featurette. Includes discussion of research trips and production design elements.
Summary (3 out of 5 stars)
Legally Blonde is by far the superior film in this collection. The sequel is not really a film I feel I needed to see, or own. I don’t expect that I’ll revisit Elle’s time in Washington. Legally Blonde is silly in a good way and Legally Blonde 2 is just silly. The first film is superior in both video and audio quality. Supplemental features are interesting and of equal quality on their respective Blu-ray discs. Legally Blonde is definitely a film worth having, and the collection provides that with a 4K scan of the negative, so for that alone, I’ll recommend the collection.

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