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HTF REVIEW: The Adventures of Priscilla Queen of the Desert (Extra Frills Edition)



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#1 of 5 OFFLINE   Cameron Yee

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Posted May 30 2007 - 12:26 PM

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The Adventures of Priscilla Queen of the Desert
(Extra Frills Edition)


Release Date: June 5, 2007
Studio: MGM
Packaging/Materials: Standard single-disc DVD case with cardstock slipcover
Year: 1994
Rating: R
Running Time: 1h43m
Video (Feature): 2.35:1 anamorphic
Audio (Feature): English: DTS 5.1, Dolby Digital 5.1; French: Stereo
Subtitles: English, Spanish
MSRP: $19.98

The Feature: 4.5/5
After an urgent phone call drag queen Tony (Hugo Weaving) takes a gig out in central Australia - far away from the comforts and tedium of Sydney - and recruits friends and fellow performers Bernie (Terence Stamp) and Adam (Guy Pearce) for the show. Their trip through the desert yields both expected and not-so-expected misadventures. Their bright pink bus breaks down, but the world's most open minded mechanic comes to fix it; they experience hateful discrimination from some but also are met by acceptance and respect by others. Though the film is certainly hilarious and outrageous in its depiction of Australia's unique brand of female impersonation, it's the message about people's inherent goodness that anchors the film and keeps it from being mere spectacle (and series of fabulous musical numbers). Recommended.


Video Quality: 4/5
The film is correctly framed at 2.35:1 and free of edge halos, dust, dirt and print damage. Black levels and contrast range are very good, with satisfying shadow detail and delineation. Picture detail is also quite good, consistent in both wide and close ups, though some shots can be a bit softer than others. Colors tend to be rather muted despite the abundance of bright and garish color schemes, lacking the pop of something like "Moulin Rouge,
The image quality from the previous DVD release looks very similar, is not anamorphic and restricted to a single layer disc. Consequently there are some noticeable compression artifacts. The new release is a definite improvement.


Audio Quality: 4/5
The DTS 5.1 mix is largely front-focused, with surrounds providing support for the musical numbers rather than directional effects. Compared to the Dolby Digital 5.1 option the DTS has a more expansive soundstage and is especially preferred for the musical numbers, when the entire speaker array is utilized. Dialogue is consistently clear and intelligible, despite the strong Aussie accents, though some of the slang may be lost to some. LFE is nowhere to be found, but bass activity during the music cues is full and clean. The previous release only provided a Dolby Pro Logic track, so the new release is an improvement in choices if not sound quality.


Special Features: 5/5

The previous DVD release only had the theatrical and teaser trailers. This new edition significantly upgrades the special feature package.

Commentary by Director Stephan Elliot: Elliot provides a new commentary that is thorough, interesting and entertaining, with highlights being casting supporting parts and the challenges of shooting on the bus. Recommended listening.

"Birth of a Queen" Featurette (29m18s): Nicely produced retrospective, but Director Stephan Elliot is the sole interview subject. He provides some great stories and facts about the film, but additional interviews with cast and crew would have been appreciated.

Deleted Scenes: Four scenes totaling over six minutes.

Tidbits from the Set: Thirteen cast and crew, on location interview clips totaling over six minutes.

"The Bus from Blooperville" (9m35s): The blooper reel is both extensive and funny.

Frocks, Frills and Fotos: Seventy stills from production and promotion.

Theatrical Trailer (2m37s): Framed at 1.78:1, anamorphic and in good shape.

Teaser Trailer (1m09s): Framed at 1.78:1, anamorphic and in good shape.


Recap and Final Thoughts

The Feature: 4.5/5
Video Quality: 4/5
Audio Quality: 4/5
Special Features: 5/5
Overall Score (not an average): 4.5/5

A heartwarming and hilarious film from Down Under gets an improvement in all areas. Recommended for first-time purchase as well as the double dip.



Equipment: Toshiba 42" CRT RPTV fed a 1080i signal over DVI from an Oppo 971 DVD player. Audio evaluation is based on an Onkyo TX-SR575x 5.1 AVR running JBL S26 mains and surrounds, JBL S-Center, and BFD-equalized SVS 20-39 PCi subwoofer.

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#2 of 5 OFFLINE   RafaelB

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Posted May 31 2007 - 01:52 AM

One of my favorite movies is now getting the special edition release it deserves.

Great review!

Thanks,
Rafael.

#3 of 5 OFFLINE   donnie_d

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Posted May 31 2007 - 04:48 AM

what's the length of "Tidbits from the Set"?

#4 of 5 OFFLINE   Cameron Yee

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Posted May 31 2007 - 04:56 AM

Quote:
what's the length of "Tidbits from the Set"?
Somewhere around 10 minutes. Each clip is accessed separately; most run around 30 seconds or under. I think the longest clip was around two minutes. I'll get something definitive and update the review.
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#5 of 5 OFFLINE   Cameron Yee

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Posted May 31 2007 - 08:28 AM

I miscounted the number of clips - there are 13 rather than 14 and they total around six minutes.
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