When I sat down to watch The Devil Wears Prada with my wife, who was excited to see it, I was braced for a complete chick flick. I figured it was another one of those ï¿½uglyï¿½ duckling turns beautiful to conquer her situation movies, and that prospect didnï¿½t exactly have me jazzed up.
Well, thatï¿½s not quite how it goes, and I was surprised to find that I enjoyed the film. The story centres around Andrea (Anne Hathaway), an aspiring journalist whoï¿½s getting nowhere, who takes a job as second assistant to Miranda Priestly (Meryl Streep), the frightening editor-in-chief of a leading fashion magazine. The idea is that this job could be an influential stepping stone to her career as a serious journalist. Unfortunately, Andrea is totally out of her element in the fashion world, and at first struggles to accomplish the simplest tasks of her ridiculous new job. Everyone mocks her complete lack of style, and she mocks them right back ï¿½ though much, much more timidly ï¿½ for taking this fashion stuff so seriously.
Miranda, expertly played by Streep, is the boss from hell. Sheï¿½s the queen b*tch, known to her underlings as ï¿½the dragon ladyï¿½. She makes ridiculous demands, and provides no explanation to help anyone fulfill them. Sheï¿½s nasty to anyone and everyone, and will stop at nothing to stay on top of the fashion industry. Itï¿½s truly a pleasure to watch Streep in this role, as she plays it in such a delicious manner, never once raising her voice; itï¿½s her quiet ruthlessness that makes the role shine, and thereï¿½s no question that she steals every single one of her scenes.
Although she canï¿½t complete with Streep, Anne Hathaway does a fine job as Andrea, who eventually learns how to play the fashion game. She gets really good at her job, and her wardrobe goes trï¿½s chic with the help of her shoulder to cry on, Nigel (Stanley Tucci), one of the magazineï¿½s fashion experts. Unfortunately, Andreaï¿½s job success is directly linked to the failure of her personal life, and she eventually has to come to terms with the balance between cut-throat ambition and staying true to those she holds dear.
I suppose The Devil Wears Prada is in a way a coming-of-age film, as Andrea learns who she really is through her job working for the ï¿½devilï¿½. While it does fall mostly in the chick flick genre, Meryl Streepï¿½s performance makes it worth watching for any movie fan, and the story is strong enough that youï¿½ll probably find yourself interested from start to finish. Oh, and most women ï¿½ and some men ï¿½ will likely swoon over the clothes and shoes, which feature very prominently in the film. I know my wife certainly appreciated them. Now I just have to hide my credit cards.
So the film is not bad. Howï¿½s the DVD?
This widescreen version of The Devil Wears Prada is presented on one disc in 2.35:1 widescreen format. Mostly, the transfer is really nice ï¿½ sharp, with vibrant colours, and clean. There are a few shots that show a lot of graininess, particularly in the art gallery scene, but otherwise everything is fine.
The main menu is animated, and scored.
English audio is presented in Dolby Digital 5.1. Dialogue is crisp and clear all the way through, and while there isnï¿½t always a lot going on, there is a nice, full sound when the soundtrack kicks in, like in the various party scenes.
Audio is also available in French and Spanish, both in Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround. Subtitles offered are in English or Spanish.
The Devil Wears Prada DVD comes with a respectable amount of bonus material, including an audio commentary, five featurettes, 15 deleted scenes, a gag reel, some trailers and TV spots and a soundtrack promo.
The audio commentary is by director David Frankel, producer Wendy Finerman, costumer designer Patricia Field, screenwriter Aline Brush McKenna, Editor Mark Livolsi, and director of photography Florian Ballhaus. Thatï¿½s a lot of cooks in the kitchen, but surprisingly, itï¿½s not too many. With each person weighing in on his or her area of expertise, the group offers up an interesting range of perspectives, and plenty of insight on their choices, and what they did differently from the bestselling book upon which the movie is based.
The first featurette is The Trip to the Big Screen, which runs for about 12 minutes on translating the book into the movie. Here the producers talk about finding the right screenwriter to get inside the fashion world, and respect it.
NYC and Fashion is also interesting. It offers up about six minutes on the role of fashion in the film, and about how New York City was the only place to set it.
Patricia Field: Fashion Visionary is a nine-minute featurette about the filmï¿½s costumer designer, Patricia Field. Apparently sheï¿½s also big in the fashion world, and here she talks about how she got started, and the cast and crew discuss how great her work was on the film.
Then thereï¿½s Getting Valentino, a short piece on, well, getting Valentino Garavani to do a cameo as himself. Heï¿½s a big-time fashion designer, Iï¿½ve learned, and the producers were really happy to get him on board, as they felt it legitimized their project in the eyes of the fashion industry.
Boss From Hell is the last featurette. Itï¿½s also short, at less than three minutes, and it takes a look at the universal experience of having a bad boss. It includes clips of interviews with people on the street discussing their own experiences, mixed with clips of Streep being a b*tch.
Then there are the deleted scenes. There are 15 in all, with optional commentary, for a total of 21 minutes of extra footage. When you include that much extra, it better be more than the usual throw-away ï¿½gee, I canï¿½t believe they actually cut that complete waste of film from the movieï¿½ stuff. And it is. The scenes are interesting to watch, and they really would have changed the film in significant ways, particularly in the character relationship between Hathaway and Streep.
The gag reel runs about five minutes, and as is usual, itï¿½s not very funny. Granted, there are some amusing visuals of Hathaway struggling to strut around in four-inch heels, but mostly itï¿½s just your basic ï¿½oh, I messed up my line, hee hee!ï¿½ stuff.
Finally, the special features wrap up with a collection of trailers, TV spots, and a promo for the filmï¿½s soundtrack.
The Devil Wears Prada is an enjoyable film, thanks to a fantastic performance by Meryl Streep. Itï¿½s presented here on a quality DVD, with some really interesting bonus material to satisfy any fan.
Special Features List
- Audio commentary
- Five featurettes
- 15 deleted scenes
- Gag reel
- Trailers and TV spots