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Clueless – 25th Anniversary Edition Steelbook (Blu-ray Review)

For the 25th anniversary of Clueless, and almost on the exact day, Paramount will be re-releasing the Amy Heckerling film on Blu-ray with a special steelbook to commemorate the milestone. To shoot straight to the point, this is the exact same disc that has been out for eight years now, just in brand new and more fashionable clothing. One would wish that they’d have offered up something more; a new transfer, a retrospective, an interview, a 4K Ultra-HD Blu-ray release…something that felt a little more worthwhile. Steelbooks are cool, but what about the big fans that already have the film? At least the pricepoint isn’t too bad. You can own the new packaging when it releases to stores online and physical on July 21st. Lets revisit this same same disc disc.

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Film

Shallow, rich and socially successful Cher (Alicia Silverstone) is at the top of her Beverly Hills high school’s pecking scale. Seeing herself as a matchmaker, Cher first coaxes two teachers into dating each other. Emboldened by her success, she decides to give hopelessly klutzy new student Tai (Brittany Murphy) a makeover. When Tai becomes more popular than she is, Cher realizes that her disapproving ex-stepbrother (Paul Rudd) was right about how misguided she was — and falls for him.

I clearly remember 25 years ago, at the ripe age of 13, going to see Clueless on opening night. My parents dropped my friend and I off and we sat in a fully crowded theater. And, we were the only 2 males in attendance. I just wanted to see a movie I was excited for, and as an adolescent boy, got that little added bonus! In that moment, I knew that this was something special. The hype was there, but the film also checked in good as well. It felt like it was tapping into modern youth better than its contemporaries, while also creating its own world and set of rules in a hyper realized version of Los Angeles 1995. Here we are 25 years later and the film has always been fondly looked back upon with every milestone it achieves.

Clueless wasn’t the debut of, but it was the major take-off point for the film career of Alicia Silverstone.  Prior, she had been the drop dead gorgeous girl who was the star of 3 Aerosmith music video from their Get a Grip album. She was a poster child of the 90s MTV generation and you couldn’t go an hour without seeing one of her videos in rotation. With Clueless, Silverstone supplanted that she wasn’t just eye candy, that she had the chops to lead and carry films as well. Her performance as “Cher” is quite possibly not only one of the best, but one of the most iconic in teen comedy history. Her fashion idolized and her lines forever movie quotation gospel. The film really caught lightening in a bottle at the perfect time.

Imagine catching that lightening in a bottle not once but twice in two different decades in the same genre. Amy Heckerling is the keeper of such magic. A decade before she transformed the state of teen comedies with landmark that was Fast Times at Ridgemont High. And like that film, Heckerling knows how to cast and absolutely knows how to get the best of her group.  In Clueless, she elevated and launched a number of careers with those of Paul Rudd, Donald Faison, Jeremy Sisto, Brittany Murphy and Breckin Meyer. Damn near every one of their characters is infinitely memorable and quotable. Let’s pepper in a tremendous and hilarious performance from Dan Hedaya. Doing one film with this sort of impact and legacy is rare enough, but to orchestrate two of them is an astounding feat.

Maybe the strength is in its very “time capsule” version of adapting Emma that keeps Clueless still popping after 25 years. But, I’d like to think its also the strength of Amy Heckerling and a brilliant cast’s life breathing into it that have this thing infinitely watchable no matter what is going on. The film has had a long, positive reputation and it is more than completely earned. It holds its rightful place in the argument for best teen film of the 1990s and continues to work for new generations alike as the years go on.

Video

Encoding: MPEG-4 AVC

Resolution: 1080p

Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1

Layers: BD-50

Clarity/Detail:  Clueless comes with a fancy new case, but features the same transfer featured on the original 2012 Blu-ray release. While there is easily improvement that can be made, the image it sports is easily above average and is satisfactory. There is a well defined picture, with decent depth and good color saturation and pop. Details and textures a plenty discernible and make for a nice well rounded picture. Hopefully someday we get a new transfer, but this is (still) fine for now.

Depth:  Solid depth of field on display here. There is a good clean separation of foreground and background imagery with a decent pushback. Motion is smooth and cinematic and has no real issues with blurring or jitter.

Black Levels:  Blacks are plenty deep and do a good job of shadowing a rather bright movie. Details are still kept with nothing hidden and it adds a layer of good definition to the characters and objects in the film. No crushing witnessed during this viewing.

Color Reproduction:  Colors are pretty striking in the right spots and feature a really good deal of contrast throughout. Fabrics on outfits and uphostery, along with lighting and the design of certain structures looks quite fun and pops with no issues regarding bleed.

Flesh Tones: Skin tones are natural and consistent from start to finish of the film. Facial features and textures are plenty apparent and discernible from any reasonable distance.

Noise/Artifacts: There is some noise visible in spots. One moment it becomes more apparent is over white walls during closer up shot of Cher closing the front door to her house.

Audio

Format(s): English 5.1 DTS-HD MA, French 2.0 Dolby Digital, Spanish 2.0 Dolby Digital, Portuguese 2.0 Dolby Digital

Subtitles: English, English SDH, French, Spanish, Portuguese

Dynamics: Clueless has a pretty rock solid 5.1 track to accompany the film. It plays between plenty of varied environments and manages to carry a good balance, giving different elements their time to shine without stepping on one another’s toes. Overall, a fun track that’s been a part of this mix for many years and gives the film a compliment to the video presentation.

Height: N/A

Low-Frequency Extension:  The subwoofer works its will quite effectively, really embracing in the bass movement of the music and filling in some of the more natural stuff.

Surround Sound Presentation: This has a lively enough 360 degree experience, thriving a bit more in party, school or concert scenes where the room needs fill. Ambiance overall is plenty accurate and sound travel works as it should screen to ears.

Dialogue Reproduction: Vocals are clear and crisp, always present and audible no matter the surrounding environment.

Extras

Clueless – 25th Anniversary Edition Steelbook comes with a digital copy of the film, in addition to collectible steelbook packaging.

Clue Or False Trivia Game (HD)

The Class Of ’95 (SD, 18:31)

Creative Writing (SD, 9:39)

Fashion 101 (SD, 10:46)

Language Arts (SD, 8:09)

Suck ‘N Blow: A Tutorial (SD, 2:47)

Driver’s Ed (SD, 3:49)

We’re History (SD, 8:52)

Trailers

  • Teaser Trailer (HD, 1:59)
  • Theatrical Trailer (HD, 2:39)

Summary

Clueless, quite simply, rules. It holds up very well among its contemporaries, standing tall among its teen ilk of the 1990s. I wish Paramount was as enthusiastic about the film as film lovers and fans are and gave us a new disc instead of just new packaging. The steelbook is a very good one, admittedly. The discs is still quite solid in presentation and extras. But, an update would have been appreciated. That said, the price is very nice considering. Pick it up if you don’t own Clueless.

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Writer/Reviewer, lifelong obsessive film nerd. As eager to educate in the world of film as I am to learn. An avid lover of horror, schlock and trash, Brandon hosts the Cult Cinema Cavalcade podcast on the Creative Zombie Studios Network (www.cultcinemacavalcade.com) You can also find more essays on his blog Naptown Nerd (naptownnerd.blogspot.com).

1 Response to “Clueless – 25th Anniversary Edition Steelbook (Blu-ray Review)”


  1. BrianWhite

    Watched it last night. First time on Blu for me! Loved it! The steelbook packaging is amazing. Agree that yes a new transfer and 4K release would be much welcomed!