am 3. Januar 2015
THE ADVENTURES OF PRISCILLA: QUEEN OF THE DESERT  [Blu-ray] [US Import] Cheerfully Outrageous Comedy! The Ultimate High-Definition Experience!
This wonderfully inventive and incomparably funny Australian film about three drag queens performers braving the vast, rugged outback that won the 1994 Academy Award® for Costume Design. Featuring fabulous and heartfelt performances from the likes of Terence Stamp, Hugo Weaving and Guy Pearce. “One of the wildest movies ever made” said The New York Observer.
They came! They conquered! They looked fabulous! With a contract to perform a drag show way out in the Australian desert. Tick [Hugo Weaving], Adam [Guy Pearce] and Bernadette [Sir Terence Stamp], each has his own reason to wanting to leave the safety of Sydney. Christening their battered, pink tour bus “Priscilla,” this wickedly funny and high-drama trio heads for the outback . . . and into crazy adventures, in even crazier outfits. All I can say is, “You go girls!”
FILM FACT: It was screened in the “Un Certain Regard” section of the 1994 Cannes Film Festival and became a cult classic in both Australia and abroad. The film received predominantly positive reviews and won at the 1995 Academy Award® for Best Costume Design at the 67th Academy Awards. It was nominated for a Golden Globe® Awards for Best Picture and Comedy or Musical. Meanwhile, for his role as Bernadette, Sir Terence Stamp won the Seattle International Film Festival Award for Best Actor. He was nominated also for the 1994 Golden Globe® Awards for Best Actor and Motion Picture Musical or Comedy. Priscilla subsequently provided the basis for a musical, “Priscilla Queen of the Desert,” which opened in 2006 in Sydney before travelling to New Zealand, the United Kingdom, Canada, and New York City's Broadway.
Cast: Hugo Weaving, Guy Pearce, Sir Terence Stamp, Rebel Penfold-Russell, John Casey, June Marie Bennett, Murray Davies, Frank Cornelius, Bob Boyce, Leighton Picken, Maria Kmet, Joseph Kmet, Alan Dargin, Bill Hunter, Julia Cortez, Julia Cortez, Daniel Kellie, Hannah Corbett, Trevor Barrie, Ken Radley, Sarah Chadwick, Mark Holmes, Tim Chappel (Drag-Queen in Barber's Chair uncredited), Al Clark (Priest uncredited), Stephan Elliott (Doorman uncredited), Lizzy Gardiner (Naughty Maid at Hotel uncredited), Margaret Pomeranz (Adam's Mum uncredited), Christian Stead (uncredited) and Nikki Webster (uncredited)
Director: Stephan Elliott
Producers: Al Clark and Michael Hamlyn
Screenplay: Stephan Elliott
Composer: Guy Gross
Cinematography: Brian J. Breheny
Video Resolution: 1080p
Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
Audio: English: 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio, French: 5.1 DTS, Portuguese: 2.0 Dolby Digital, Italian: 5.1 DTS, German: 5.1 DTS, Catalan: 5.1 DTS, Hungarian: 2.0 Dolby Digital, Polish: 2.0 Dolby Digital, Thai: 2.0 Dolby Digital and Turkish: 2.0 Dolby Digital
Subtitles: English SDH, French, Spanish, Portuguese, German, Cantonese, Dutch, Italian, Mandarin (Traditional), Polish, Thai and Turkish
Running Time: 103 minutes
Region: Region A/1
Number of discs: 1
Studio: 20th Century Fox / M-G-M
Andrew’s Blu-ray Review: Beneath the wigs, the film is about quintessential Australian values: self-deprecation, blunt humour and determination in the face of adversity. The “Road Movie” finally goes drag in Stephan Elliott's 'The Adventures of Priscilla: Queen of the Desert.' And like any good “Road Movie,” the journey through the Australian outback slowly reveals itself as a spiritual awakening for all those involved and a kind of contemporary walkabout for the more open-minded, progressive age. A job offer to perform at a hotel casino resort in a far-off, secluded town prompts three Sydney friends to face one of the planet's most sweltering and dangerous terrains. Using only their wits and humour to survive, they each discover a little more meaning to their lives; if not at least a different perspective and respect for the world they live in.
Then again, we can't positively pinpoint what exactly the youngest of the trio takes away from the experience. Though it doesn't mean we can't speculate based on what the writer/director Stephan Elliott provides. Guy Pearce makes his big-screen debut as the ultra-confident and flamboyant Adam [aka Felicia Jollygoodfellow], who exudes a great deal of pride and assurance in his lifestyle. The story never criticises or looks at him in a disapproving light and he actually brings out most of the movie's comedic elements, and Guy Pearce is outrageously marvellous in the role. But there's definitely something being said when the character sees fit to mask the homophobic hatred directed at him and his friends by painting their bus lavender.
The other two characters, we can tell, have had enough exposure to such contempt and bigotry that they know how to deal with it in their own way. Their days of sitting on top of a giant, glistening high-heel shoe in the most ostentatious and theatrical manner possible are already over. Or at least coming to a close, which is part of the dilemma afflicting Tick [Hugo Weaving]. As the unspoken-leader of this colourful motley troupe, he planned the entire excursion, but conceals the real reasons for it. Alice Springs holds a secret past which Tick has kept hidden, even from himself. Confronting it rejuvenates his passion for dressing in dazzling, gaudy frocks for the entertainment of a screaming audience.
Sir Terence Stamp gives one of the finest performances of his career as Tick's transgender best friend, Bernadette, which is also the most convincing of the entire film, though Weaving and Pearce do amazing in their respective portrayals. Retired from the limelight, Bernadette seems the most secure and composed of the group, finding little use for words useless spoken with the conviction and wisdom of a true cynic. Her concerns are more deeply internal. Her new status as widow raises questions of ever finding another love that's just as understanding. But as would be expected, their open-country voyage brings back hope in the guise of middle-aged mechanic named Bob [Bill Hunter] and out in the middle of nowhere!
There is no denying 'The Adventures of Priscilla: Queen of the Desert' is essentially a standard “Road Movie” fare, but with a lot of flamboyant panache, and an obvious pilgrimage towards self-discovery. But it's a flashy and fantastic adventure dressed up in high heels and ABBA tunes, the dramedy which introduced mainstream audiences to the world of drag queens. What it lacks in original plot device, it more than makes up in its hilariously unique characters and their personal journeys outside the comforts of Sydney. With impressive photography of the Australian outback by cinematographer Brian J. Breheny, director Stephan Elliott ['Easy Virtue'] delivers a terrifically memorable film of some unforgettable individuals. By the way, a reminder to people who have viewed the film before and forgotten what happens at the very end, with the brilliant End Credits, which are filled with joke references; for example, pic was supposedly filmed in “Dragarama,” Libby Blainey is credited for Title Design and Bad Acting , and Matt Inglis is Best Naughty Boy. But of course it is a totally brilliant great soundtrack, which includes all standards awesome hits by Village People, Lena Horne, Patti Page and, of course, Abba. If you really want to experience the full soundtrack experience, then I suggest you purchase the Compact Disc Soundtrack, like I did, as it has all the best pop songs in full and that way you get to experience some of the best big hits of its time and it is totally brilliant and my jewel case is in pink.
Blu-ray Video Quality – 'The Adventures of Priscilla: Queen of the Desert’ debut on the high-definition encoded image with a splendidly colourful 1080p encoded performance. Primaries are richly saturated and vividly rendered, bringing the movie's animated spirit to the forefront, while the other hues come across as more natural and accurate. Presented in its original 2.35:1 aspect ratio, contrast is bright and crisp, giving the transfer a brilliant glow and a sunny disposition. Black levels are on the money and often inky and shadow details are plainly visible in any given scene. Facial complexions appear healthy with excellent, revealing texture. Definition and resolution, to be frank, are extraordinary, with consistently clean and distinct lines in everything. Viewers can distinguish every intricate feature in the elaborate costumes as well as see clearly the rough, coarse arid terrain Priscilla drives on. The Australian outback has never looked so gorgeous and majestic. Only drawback is noticeable dirt specks that creep up in several scenes, but overall, the video presentation is totally fantastic on Blu-ray.
Blu-ray Audio Quality – 'The Adventures of Priscilla: Queen of the Desert’ also puts on a brilliant good show with this 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack. Though audio work is made more apparent by the higher resolution audio, dialogue reproduction is consistently strong and clear in the centre of the screen. Acoustics and fidelity are satisfying, giving the imaging a wide sense of space and airiness. The mid-range is clean and well-balanced, and bass is kept light throughout, coming in typically during the unique song selection. The sound mix is mostly a front-heavy affair, but there are moments when back speakers offer some pleasing atmospherics. It's not something that'll impress or create an immersive pull, but it makes for an enjoyable experience of an entertaining dramedy with a fun cast of characters.
Blu-ray Special Features and Extras:
Audio Commentary: Commentary by Director Stephan Elliott: Stephan Elliott's commentary is well worth revisiting, as it covers all of the bases you'd expect it to, from where the idea for many of the scenes came from to what it was like working with the various actors on the film. He's got some interesting stories about the perils of location shooting and discusses the use of music and colour in the film a bit. All in all, it's a good talk with a nice sense of humour behind it, well worth a view.
Special Feature Documentary: Birth of a Queen  [480i] [29:20] This half-hour interview is a more concise summary of the commentary track, as Stephan Elliott discusses the origin of the film, the costumes, casting, soundtrack, and of course "tranny training." He also discusses how he became a filmmaker and the development/financing of 'The Adventures of Priscilla: Queen of the Desert’ and the casting, shooting on the bus and on locations, costumes, music selections, early screenings and reactions to the film.
Deleted Scenes  [480i] [4:3] Includes How Trumpet Got His Nickname [1:11] and trust me, you don't want to know. Check in at the Checkers Motel [1:28], An Outage Before Dinner [1:48] and Auntie Picks Up the Pieces [2:38]. All of these clips just offers a short addition to an existing scene, while the others add some minor comedic bits. In fact, “Outtage” provides the frightening shot of Stamp with an electric razor stuck to his armpit hair.
Special Feature: Titbits from the Set  [480i] [6:08] A series of thirteen single-question interviews with the director, producers, costume designers, and the stars of the film. We get snippets from Stephan Elliott, producers Al Clark and Michael Hamlyn, costume designers Lizzy Gardiner and Tim Chappel, and actors Sir Terence Stamp and Guy Pearce. A few good notes emerge. Elliott discusses his desire to make a new kind of musical, we see costume details, and we get some comments from Sir Terence Stamp about playing in drag.
Special Feature: The Bus from Blooperville  [480i] [9:35] The nine-minute and 35-second compilation offers a pretty standard set of goofs and flubs. The drag complications give “Bus” a slightly different edge but not enough to make the outtakes entertaining. It must be the longest blooper reel I've encountered yet this year and well worth watching.
Original Theatrical Trailers  [1080p] Includes the Theatrical Trailer [2:37] and the Teaser Trailer [1:52].
Finally, 'The Adventures of Priscilla: Queen of the Desert’ was a really daring film when it was released in 1994 and it has lost none of its potency later. Perfectly cast and loaded up with great disco tunes, it proves that little films can have tremendous lasting power, but the transfer looks better than it did in cinemas and that makes it a must-own for fans of this positively good and on top of all that, I think is not your typical conventional “Road Movie,” because we find out where the characters learn a great deal about themselves and each other, 'The Adventures of Priscilla: Queen of the Desert' is still an outlandishly good time from director Stephan Elliott. With hilarious performances by Terence Stamp, Hugo Weaving, and Guy Pearce, the dramedy features an engaging story and gorgeous cinematography of Australia's outback. The Blu-ray arrives with a great video transfer and a strong audio presentation, and while supplements are the same as before, the package is an excellent upgrade for fans and recommended viewing for the curious. But sadly it would have been nice to see some new supplements, but that didn't happen. Regardless, the movie holds up incredibly well and this release comes highly recommended for any fan of the film and I am a massive fan of this brilliant well thought out film that is character driven, which I like in a film. On top of all that, what also makes this film totally brilliant is all the fantastic music that was so well throughout your viewing pleasure and really makes you sometimes want to get up and boogie. If you want to get even more enjoyment out of this film, then I totally recommend the Compact Disc Soundtrack, as you get to hear the music and songs in full and is in a nice pink jewel case. So to sum up, this is a brilliant funny tour-de-force film that will entertain you throughout the 103 minutes and I know when the credits appear at the end of the film, you wished it would last a bit longer and so of course I am so honoured and proud it has been added to my Blu-ray Collection. Very Highly Recommended!
Andrew C. Miller – Your Ultimate No.1 Film Fan
Le Cinema Paradiso
WARE, United Kingdom