Purple Rain Special Edition 2DVD
Warner Bros.
Catalog # B0002CTSUY
Release Year August 24, 2004
DVD Length 111 Mins.
Date/Venue Purple Rain 20th Anniversary Movie 1.85:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
Source NTSC
Menu YES
Quality EX++
UG2P Rating 4.25/5.0

Track Listing

Purple Rain Movie (Audio Commentary with Director Albert Magnoli, Producer Robert Cavallo and Cinematographer Donald E. Thorin)

First Avenue: The Road to Pop Royalty / Purple Rain: Backstage Pass / Riffs, Ruffles and a Revolution: The Impact and Influence of Purple Rain / 1984 MTV Premiere Party / Music Videos: Let's go Crazy - Prince / Take me with u - Prince / When Doves Cry - Prince / I Would Die 4 U-Baby I'm a Star - Prince / Purple Rain - Prince  / Jungle Love - The Time / The Bird - The Time / Sex Shooter - Apollonia 6 / Theatrical Trailer : Purple Rain, Graffiti Bridge and Under the Cherry Moon

Mike's Comments(rates this release 5.0/5.0)
This is without doubt the best rock'n'roll movie ever made.The 20th Anniversary edition looks excellent thanks to the digital remaster. The nightclub scenes are just brilliant, absolutely capturing the essence of a time when musicians could be daring and odd and still be loved for it. Check out some of the hairstyles and clothes of the audience members. The story-line is fairly auto-biographical, we all know that, and it's a fairly simple 'kid from messed-up family wants to break free thru his music' type scenario, but it's lack of a complex plot is more than made up for in the 'live' performances throughout the film. These bits capture Prince at possibly his most vibrant, electrifying and vital best. He engages both his audiences, us and the film one, through his performances, some of which are so damn foxy it hurts. The Darlin' Nikki bit anyone? There are some real tender scenes as well, I love the bit where he's talking through the puppet thing, and also some of the family scenes with his mom and the tragically sad story of his father. It's in these scenes we really see Prince's acting abilities, which through the rest of the film, it has to be said aren't always evident. The love story is a little flat, but I believe that's due to Apollonia not Prince. She's a little staged and it doesn't seem she could let herself go completely with him, even though they were lovers in real life I think? Morris Day is quite a comic talent, and along with Jerome Benton, their scenes are of a fairly good comic/slap-stick standard. The extras on this version are most interesting too. Particularly the 3 documentaries, First Avenue;The Road to Pop Royalty, Purple Rain; Backstage Pass and Riffs, Ruffles and a Revolution; The Impact and Influence of Purple Rain. Really good stuff on those. But was there really any need to stick on the awful footage of the MTV Premiere Party! Watch this once, and then never again! Also includes 8 great videos, one of which is the Vanity 6 all-time 'classic' Sex Shooter! This is a vast improvement on the bare bones FULLSCREEN version of PURPLE RAIN out there. Go ahead and trade those in! This is the real deal. Prince has never been more electric.

Comments(rates this release 3.5/5.0)
Purple Rain was the film that launched Prince into superstardom. Before that, he was merely a talented musician who was starting to gain a mainstream following with hits like "1999" and "Little Red Corvette," but he was the lesser-known competition to Michael Jackson. So Prince decided it was time to mark his arrival as a star in a big way, and what better way to do that than a semi-autobiographical big screen star vehicle? Some thought the idea was crazy but, as it turns out, in addition to being a phenomenally talented musician, Prince was also quite the shrewd businessman. Purple Rain went on to become the most successful music-oriented movie ever made and the soundtrack spent months high atop the Billboard charts. Now, debate has raged on for years between the Prince faithful and the casual observer as to whether Purple Rain is actually a good film. In my opinion, as a very big Prince fan myself, I can say that, as far as an overall film goes, it is a good film in that guilty pleasure sense of "good." Certainly, it's not a great film. The musical performances are among the most enthralling, incredible performances ever captured on film. Prince is a masterful performer and when he is on the stage, he quite simply owns that stage. No one comes close. As an actor, however, Prince leaves something to be desired. He's a bit hard to take seriously, especially in that metal studded purple coat he wears throughout most of the film. Still, Purple Rain alone tops anything Madonna ever did in the mega-pop star-turned-thespian category. When taken with a grain of salt as a guilty pleasure, Purple Rain is a really fun film to watch. Sure, the hairstyles, make-up and dress are a bit dated, but that's part of the fun. There are also a few scenes that just seem so out of place to the film and to Prince's character in particular. When Apollonia (man, what happened to her?) tells Prince that she is joining Morris Day's band, he savagely smacks her with a backhand. She falls against a dresser and, only a few seconds later, is back in Prince's arms. The intent of this scene is to draw a parallel between himself and his father, whose musical ambitions were never realized and who often took out his pain on his own wife, but it just plain doesn't work.

- Warner Home Video
The Purple Rain DVD Menu.

Not only does the violence seem out of character for Prince's character, The Kid, but it makes his character far less sympathetic. It seems like the scene is supposed to be a turning point for The Kid, but then he nearly gets violent with Apollonia again later in the film. And come on, let's get real, Apollonia would beat the crap out of the 100 pound, heel-wearing Prince. With that said, Purple Rain is very much a product of it's time. Certain scenes don't hold up well, but the incredible music and accompanying performances are timeless. When, towards the end of the film, the story is told through musical montages, things work much better. The main fault of the film is that it should have used the music more to tell the story instead of using it as interludes between a Prince autobiography. When Prince gyrates and flops around atop the amplifiers on "Darling Nikki," the moment is more powerful than anything that has come before it in the film. Musically, there are few better rock films out there.

Movie Score: 3.5 out of 5
- Warner Home Video
Ok, Michael, I'm calling you out!

The Video

Presented in 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen, Purple Rain shows its age, especially when compared against Warner's older THX 1138, which was thoroughly restored by Lowry Digital Images. The film overall is inconsistent. Some shots, especially in the outdoors, are quite good. Others are grainy and soft, almost out of focus, particularly the low light club scenes.Color levels are less than ideal. Black levels are murky and grainy in places. Skin tones look slightly off, and much of the color palate, which is overwhelmingly dark, looks a bit muted. There are only minor blemishes on the print, and edge enhancement isn't a problem. With all the dry ice smoke, the transfer still manages to avoid any edge enhancement problems. Compared to the 1997 pan and scan version, it's a major improvement. It's just not going to look brand new, that's all.

Video Score: 3 out of 5
- Warner Home Video
Playing guitar blindfolded is never easy.

Languages and Audio

Purple Rain has a Dolby Digital 5.1 track and audio tracks in English and French. Subtitles include English, French and Spanish. The soundtrack of Purple Rain is a classic and the music comes across much as it has on the CD I've owned for years. The sound is mostly in the front speakers, with very little surround effects from the rear. It's very acceptable but there's nothing revelatory here. It's a nice clean-up and update of a twenty year old film and it's leagues beyond Warner's poor movie-only edition.

Audio Score: 3.5 out 5
- Warner Home Video
The scary part is, he still looks like that today.

Packaging and Extras

Purple Rain: 20th Anniversary Special Edition comes packaged in a purple DVD clamshell keep case with two discs. On disc one we have the feature and trailers for Purple Rain and Prince's not-so-memorable follow-up vehicles Under the Cherry Moon and Graffiti Bridge. Also on disc one is a scene specific commentary by director Albert Magnoli, producer Robert Cavallo and director of photography Donald E. Thorin. The commentary is interesting and informative, especially for fans of Prince. The group fondly recalls funny memories from the production and talk about how the project came together. Since so little is known of Prince, there are some items on working with the star that I found fascinating. Those with a more casual interest in the film or Prince will probably lose interest.
- Warner Home Video
If Prince can have a comeback in 2004, why can't Apollonia?

On disc two we have the rest of the special features. First up is a twelve-minute short on the history of Minneapolis' legendary First Avenue nightclub. It's an informative little piece that details the start of the club and its '80s heyday. Wendy and Lisa, Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis and others discuss their memories of the club and Prince's rise to fame there. Next is the lengthiest extra, a 30-minute documentary on the production of Purple Rain and retrospective memories from some of the actors and filmmakers. Of course, the notable absence is Prince, who, not surprisingly, had no involvement in this DVD. Morris Day and Apollonia are also missing? Come on, you can't tell me they were too busy. One moment that I found pretty surprising is an interview with director Albert Magnoli where he talks about a scene from the film between Prince and his dad and how that was right out of Prince's actual life. Magnoli gets pretty choked up talking about it and nearly breaks down. Now that's director's passion!
- Warner Home Video
The Special Features menu.

The next two pieces are mostly about the fun retro kitsch factor of Purple Rain. Riffs, Ruffles and a Revolution shows some of the crazy fashions and make-up trends of the film and of that time period in general. It's a fun little fluff piece that '80s retro fans should enjoy.  Finally, we have what is easily the cheesiest extra and my favorite by far: The MTV Premiere Party. This stuff is so cheeseball and so dated, it's hard to believe this was only 20 years ago. MTV's Mark Goodman (remember that guy?) hosts along with his gigantic fluffy perm fro. He walks around the party harassing celebrities such as John Cougar (he was still Cougar back then) Mellencamp, "Weird Al" Yankovic and Little Richard. The funniest moment is with Eddie Murphy, who clearly wants to get away from Goodman and does little more than mimic Little Richard and avoid questions. Last up are a slew of videos from the film: Five from Prince, two from The Time and the lone video from the forgettable Apollonia Six. They're all pretty fun and actually have some pretty great music, primarily featuring scenes from the movie and concert footage.

The Extras: Score: 4 out of 5

Ratings Review:

  The Movie 3.5 Still a great if somewhat guilty pleasure, Princes on-stage performances are spectacular even if his acting leaves quite a bit to be desired.
  The Video 3.0 Pretty grainy and lacking in sharpness of color and detail. Could have been better.
  The Audio 3.5 A nice update but probably not as enveloping as it could have been.
  The Extras 4.0 It would have been nice to hear Princes thoughts on the film and some deleted scences, but this is still a nice collection of extras.
  OVERALL 3.5 (out of 5.0)


Copyright 2008 UG2P