The 80s were the peak era for the creation of countless classic teen movies that endure to this very day. The gentleman whom can almost singlehandedly be held responsible for most of these gems is the one and only John Hughes. Hughes was responsible for creating the “Brat Pack” series of films including timeless releases such as Sixteen Candles, The Breakfast Club and Weird Science. In the mid-1980s, Hughes wrote a story that was tailor made for his all-star player, Molly Ringwald, in which he tackled his bread and butter of young love and class inequality. Pretty In Pink was released in 1986 to immense success, but the real test of time has been the enduring passion the movie inspires from fans. After nearly fifteen years into the format, Paramount has finally given Pretty In Pink the high definition treatment that fans have been dreaming about.
For those who somehow do not know, Pretty In Pink is the story of Andie Walsh (Molly Ringwald), a young woman who lives with her unemployed father (Harry Dean Stanton) and is on the precipice of graduating. Andie is cool in her own way; she creates her own DIY clothes and works at the local hip record store with her trendy older friend, Iona (Annie Potts). Her best friend is Phil “Duckie” Dale (John Cryer), an un-self conscious, dweeb-ish guy who is utterly in love with Andie, but is too afraid to tell her. At their high school, there is a stark divide between the “richies,” who act like they own the school, and the normal working class kids. Andie and her friends are harassed by these sophisticates on a daily basis. The chief wealthy-kid on campus is the prickly Steff (James Spader), who is extremely resentful after unsuccessfully attempting to throw a move on our dear Andie. The only preppy kid that seems to have any kind of heart is Steff’s best friend, Blane (Andrew McCarthy), who takes a genuine interest in Andie. The attention from Blane is not unwelcome, but a confused Andie must decide if she is comfortable enough with what the world would think if she dated a rich kid.
The performances from our main cast are what really make this movie a classic. Molly Ringwald in truly endearing as our conflicted heroine. She makes Andie a believable, lovable character, especially when she has one-on-one scenes with her dad. The late Harry Dean Stanton is one of the all time great actors, and the way in which he dials in his natural intensity to something warm and heartbreaking is very impressive. The scene in which Duckie is confessing his feelings about Andie to him is one of the highlights of the movie based on his comforting reaction. Jon Cryer steals a lot of scenes as Duckie, but he never imbues him with anything that would make you feel like he is a good fit for Andie romantically. Andrew McCarthy, on the other hand, has the subtle confidence that makes him dreamy without being smarmy. You get frustrated when the oily James Spader gets into his head about the class difference, but you certainly understand why Andie is giving him the time of day. The script is not reinventing the wheel, but Hughes is a master of writing iconic characters, and the cast is up to the challenge of filling these roles.
Even if you are not viewing Pretty In Pink through nostalgia-goggles, the movie stands up to scrutiny extremely well. The pacing and editing of the film keeps things lively and interesting throughout. The film also has one of the better soundtracks with new wave acts such as Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark, The Psychedelic Furs and New Order among the multitude of amazing bands. Hughes was on fire with his output during this period of his career, and Pretty In Pink is a definite highlight. His collaboration with director Howard Deutch took a pretty well-worn formula and gave it new life with fleshed-out characters and genuine heart. There are a lot of laughs in the film, but there are just as many moments that tug at your heartstrings. This movie is the full-blown crowdpleaser that any romantic comedy strives to be. If you have somehow not seen it up to this point, you owe it to yourself to familiarize yourself with a slice of pop culture history.
Pretty In Pink makes its long-awaited Blu-Ray debut with a stellar 1080p transfer sourced from a 4K remaster. This presentation is a knockout that preserves the filmic look with proper film grain and texture throughout. The level of clarity and detail on this release is truly something to behold. There are very subtle details in the production design that are visible here for the first time from precise stitching on outfits to artwork on the vinyl at TRAX record store. The black levels are extremely deep and allow for true detail to come through. There are a lot of bold colors in the film including pastels that pop off the screen with an immaculate vibrancy. Skin tones are natural and lend themselves to showcasing an amazing amount of detail. Paramount has done an excellent job of restoring this, as all print damage has been cleaned up without messing with the natural look of the film. Those who have been waiting for this one to hit Blu-Ray should feel it was worth the wait.
The Blu-Ray comes with a DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 lossless soundtrack that sonically represents the film perfectly. The activity focuses heavily on the front channels with some quality 80s pop hits bumping out and filling the room appropriately. Music is used skillfully throughout the presentation, but it never overpowers the dialogue or other important information. The classic dialogue from John Hughes come through clearly and never falls victim to any digital anomalies. Rear speakers get some occasional activity with ambient sounds, but it is not a standout in that regard. There is a healthy amount of low-end support when the scene calls for it, as well. This track accomplishes everything it needs to do really well.
- Filmmaker Focus – Pretty In Pink: A nearly eight-minute newly filmed retrospective with director Howard Deutch where he reflects on the enduring legacy of the film, the original ending, working with John Hughes and more. A good, quick overview that would have been even better if it was expanded upon a bit more.
- The Lost Dance – The Original Ending: A twelve-minute featurette from the mid-2000s with the cast and crew discussing how the film originally had a completely different ending where Andie ends up with Duckie. Tales of horrible test screenings and on-set illness make for an interesting viewing along with the personal opinions of each ending from the cast.
- Original Theatrical Trailer: The minute and a half long trailer is presented in standard definition. This is mostly focused on Duckie’s “Try A Little Tenderness” scene interspersed with snippets from the film.
- Isolated Score Track: If you would like to watch the film with only the music, you can access this track under the “Settings” tab on the menu. This is presented in Dolby Digital 2.0 audio.
Pretty In Pink has stood the test of time as an essential entry into the pantheon of landmark high school films. All of the memorable characters and quotable lines from the mind of John Hughes continue to be a favorite of many. Paramount Pictures Home Entertainment continues its Paramount Presents line with the Blu-Ray debut of this classic with an outstanding A/V presentation and a few interesting extras. Fans of the film should buy with confidence! Highly Recommended
Paramount Presents Pretty In Pink is currently available to purchase on Blu-Ray.
Note: Images presented in this review are not reflective of the image quality of the Blu-Ray.
Disclaimer: Paramount Pictures Home Entertainment has supplied a copy of this disc free of charge for review purposes. All opinions in this review are the honest reactions of the author.
Dillon is most comfortable sitting around in a theatre all day watching both big budget and independent movies.