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"The Color Purple" Blu-ray Impressions (1 Viewer)

Cinescott

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This is a movie I have always unapologetically liked and recently bought on Blu-ray. In the mid 80s, it was a big deal for Steven Spielberg to be directing a character-driven drama. He'd never done it before, certainly not on any sort of scale. So when The Color Purple came out, a lot of people took notice and there was a lot of press, much of it positive and some negative. The negative mainly dealt with the "softening" of Alice Walker's Pulitzer prize-winning novel and Spielberg's changes to the original story to make the whole project more commercial for a mass audience.


I don't blame Spielberg in the least for doing this, since if he had filmed a closer adaptation, it would have turned out horribly depressing and that's not the goal of this film. There are horrible acts in this movie, including rape, incest, separation, and general indignity from one human being to another. That's enough to ask of any one movie. Books are different. However, Spielberg manages to keep the major themes of The Color Purple alive, themes of hope and perseverance in the face of almost impossible hopelessness. The actors all do a wonderful job, including Whoopi Goldberg, Danny Glover, and Oprah Winfrey (long before the OWN channel).

In short, it's a story of a young black woman (Goldberg) who endures extreme hardship in early 20th century Georgia. For decades, her will to survive is tested through the cruelty of others and it's the struggle to rise above it and not let anyone take away her core humanity that serves as the core to this movie. I've always liked it and make no apologies for preferring the film adaptation over the novel. It's rare, but it happens. The novel is so dark to me that it's almost impossible to read in longer stretches. Steven Spielberg's movie, though, has a lot of ugliness but also moments of incredible beauty and kindness for balance, along with a very cathartic ending. In a lot of ways, The Color Purple reminds me of The Shawshank Redemption.

The Blu-ray is a catalog presentation from Warner and stacks up to many of their other fine presentations. A BD-50 gives the image plenty of breathing room and there's a lot of sharpness and detail in the image. I bought it mainly because it is a favorite, but there is also a large contingent of supplements, all ported over from a 2003 DVD release. A very nice doc is included in standard def that runs about 90 minutes detailing the production, including interviews with Alice Walker and Steven Spielberg. The blu-ray is published in a Digibook and has some nice glossy production photos and bios. Nice but not essential. In all, I love this Blu-ray mainly for the very nice high def image and for the movie itself, which is a testament to the endurance of the human spirit through decades of unimaginable suffering. I'm happy with it.
 

benbess

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Very nice review! And that of another film I've somehow never seen. I think maybe I will someday. I haven't read this book, but I've read some other novels by Alice Walker and they do tend to be really depressing. So depressing I gave them to goodwill long ago because I knew I'd never read them again...
 

The Color Purple is one of my favorite films. It's message of endurance and hope never fail to move me. It is very inspiring.
 

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