"10 Things I Hate About You" is a clever, if cliché, teen comedy made watchable thanks to brilliant ingenuity and great performances.
10 Things I Hate About You (1999, Blu-ray)
Directors: Gil Junger
Writers: Karen McCullah Lutz (written by) & Kirsten Smith (written by) William Shakespeare (play "The Taming of the Shrew") uncredited
Features: * Commentary * Featurette
Heath Ledger ... Patrick Verona
Julia Stiles ... Kat Stratford
Joseph Gordon-Levitt ... Cameron James
Larisa Oleynik ... Bianca Stratford
David Krumholtz ... Michael
Andrew Keegan ... Joey Donner
Susan May Pratt ... Mandella
Gabrielle Union ... Chastity
Larry Miller ... Walter Stratford
Daryl Mitchell ... Mr. Morgan
Allison Janney ... Ms. Perky
Available on Blu-ray January 5, 2010.
Portions of this film review were taken from the theatrical review "Mean Girls" written by former DVDFuture writer, Tina
Bravo! I did not want to see it. Truthfully, when this movie premiered at the theaters, I thought to myself, "You couldn't get me to that theater with a paperclip and some chewing gum" but I am pleasantly surprised.
This movie has pure, unadulterated wit. And, just for a little spice, the scriptwriter threw in some prose. True teenage angst clashes when one daughter will do anything to be popular while the other rebels against the entire high school social order.
The basic plot revolves around a deal that an overprotective father makes to his youngest daughter Bianca (Larisa Oleynik) that she can date when her older sister does. Unfortunately, her older sister Kat (Julia Stiles) makes daily practice of being the bitchiest girl in school. It's actually become and art form for her. She hides behind her amazing intelligence and beauty in order to prove that she will bow to no one. Hence, she doesn't make many friends, least of all of the male persuasion. So, how does Bianca solve her dating dilemma? Well, fortunately, a pining suitor (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) develops a plan for the richest guy in school (who also makes eyes at Bianca) to pay the toughest guy in school, Patrick Verona (Heath Ledger), to take Kat to the dance? Can he do it? Can the toughest guy in school tame the shrew?
Needless to say, young Verona falls head over heels for the heartless wench and the situation becomes tangled. Should he tell her about the money? Should he give up all together? Should he beat her senseless? Of course the film is predictable, but what remake isn't? This movie gives a very hip twist to a wonderful tale, and what better way to introduce high schoolers to Shakespeare when you know that they are not actually reading that required material.
I laughed. The one-liners came fast and furious and the plot never slowed. I have to state for the record that Heath Ledger is perfectly enchanting as Patrick Verona. He could charm my cat out from under the bed.
R.L. Shaffer’s Take
Tina’s right, "10 Things I Hate About You" is a charming, well-written intro to Shakespeare for younger fans and a great break-out film for the late Oscar-winner, Heath Ledger. Gordon-Levitt exudes his usual charisma and his supporting cast is absolutely terrific, particularly David Krumholtz as his smooth-talking, but socially inept friend.
Combine the cast with biting wit, clever dialogue and a oft-used teen comedy subplot turned on it’s heels and you’ve got a surprisingly refreshing, fun high school satire that’s held up well over the past ten years.
Film Report Card:
Entertainment Value: A
Film Value: A-
"10 Things I Hate About You" is presented in 1.85:1 widescreen using the AVC MPEG-4 codec on a dual-layered BD50 disc. The film itself consumes 24.3 gigs of space. Like most of teen comedies of the late ’90s, the print is a pretty murky, yucky visual experience, clogged with bad lighting, drab color design and flat visual direction. So, it’s not too surprising that this isn’t the finest Blu-ray out there.
The transfer is flawed by the unfortunate limitations of both the director and the film stock. The encode, however, is fairly clean, though I did note a hint of noise in a few spots, as well as minor compression grain. I also detected several white specks on the print, some more distracting than others. While this is easily the best "10 Things I Hate About You" has ever looked on home video, it’s far from a reference release.
Audio choices are English 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio, French and Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1 with French and Spanish subtitles and English captions for the hearing impaired. Again, like most ’90s comedies out there, flawless sound design is not a high priority. And thusly this high-res mix does little to create a three-dimensional sound field leaving audiences with a decidedly mediocre presentation. Thankfully though, this is a much cleaner presentation than we’ve ever heard for this film. Dialogue is crystal clear and effects are mostly balanced and stable, though nearly every element in the film seems locked to the front speakers.
Extras and Packaging:
The screener copy of the film, provided from Touchstone, came packed in a blue elite single-disc BD case, with a glossy slipcover, both feature the film’s theatrical artwork.
Extras are a bit slim, but informative and fun nonetheless. Co-writers Karen Lutz and Kirsten Smith, as well as stars Andrew Keegan, David Krumholtz, Larisa Oleynik and Susan May Pratt offer up a light and cheery commentary. The track details the shoot, the origin of the story, working with the late great Heath Ledger, and their thoughts on the film’s cult status. Even though the track is a little light on bigger players (Julia Stiles and Joseph Gordon-Levitt are sorely missed) fans should definitely give this commentary a spin.
Also on the disc is a 35-minute retrospective featurette. Join director Gil Junger, and writers Kirsten Smith and Karen Lutz as they walk you through the production complete with archival behind-the-scenes footage including original cast interviews, screen tests, deleted scenes and on-set B-roll. Again, this featurette is missing a few key players, but otherwise it’s an awesome look back at a great cult film.
Nothing. In fact, this edition is missing a digital copy available with the DVD version.
"10 Things I Hate About You" is a clever, if cliché, teen comedy made watchable thanks to brilliant ingenuity and great performances. This BD is now the best way to experience this cult classic.
Blu-ray Report Card:
HD Content: N/A
Recommendation: Worth owning.
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----R. L. Shaffer