Plot: What’s it about?
When you think of the harsh and untamed outback of Australia, do transvestites and drag queens also come to mind? Maybe not, but that won’t stop Mitzi, Felicia, and Bernadette from braving the heat and wilds of the outback to perform at a show in the middle of nowhere. While the show is not something the three have to do, each has their reasons for taking the journey into the wilderness. Bernadette (Terence Stamp) is an aging transvestite who looks to live life to the fullest, Mitzi (Hugo Weaving) is the assumed leader of the group, and Felicia (Guy Pearce) is the flashy, outrageous one. The three travel through the outback in Priscilla, their beaten up tour bus which is serviced by Bob (Bill Hunter), the mechanic on this voyage. With their safe and plush lives left behind in Sydney, the three are on a mission, and nothing is gonna stop them from achieving their goals.
This is a hilarious movie, which also features excellent music and costumes. While some might pass this by as a “gay” movie, it really isn’t, and holds a little something that everyone can enjoy. The disco soundtrack moves with the movie without a hitch, and the dancing is just plain entertaining. One factor that helps the movie succeed is the casting, which turns some men into drag queens that you would never expect. I mean, who would have guessed we’d see Terence Stamp in a dress? This adds even more humor to the already hilarious writing, which really makes for an enjoyable movie. The visual style of the film exudes fun, with heavy use of bright colors and decor. The costumes are very impressive, even winning the movie an Oscar for Best Costuming. I recommend this movie to comedy and musical fans, and suggest a viewing for all readers. While the subject matter may turn some away, I think the movie defies the limitations of being a “gay” or drag queen movie. This new Extra Frills Edition has a new transfer, new soundtracks, and a slew of supplements, so of course, an upgrade is mandatory for fans.
Video: How does it look?
The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert is presented in 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen. This is a solid treatment, but isn’t that impressive. I know, I have been spoiled by all the high definition content out there, but even by normal DVD standards, this isn’t a home run. The image is clean, with minimal debris and only minor grain, but detail isn’t as sharp as I’d like. This is by no means soft, but I expected a little more depth. The colors however look excellent, with plentiful rainbows of hues that shine with rich vibrancy. No troubles with contrast either, as black levels are well handled. All in all, this is a more than passable transfer, but don’t put your expectations too high.
Audio: How does it sound?
A new DTS surround option is found here, but this movie isn’t the kind that rocks the house. Well, at least not in terms of action packed surround presence. This movie is rockin’ in one way that is the disco driven music, which comes through with depth and presence to spare. So when the music kicks in, the surrounds open up and make us feel like we’re on the dancefloor ourselves. The rest of the audio isn’t as dynamic, but dialogue sounds clear and that’s what counts. This disc also includes a French language track, as well as subtitles in English and Spanish.
Supplements: What are the extras?
Stephen Elliott provides his director’s insights and proves to be candid and informative. He never shies away from his points, even at the risk of offending others, when it comes to his point of view. He discusses the production of course, but also the world in general, so quite a broad session. The film’s fans will be delighted to find never before seen deleted scenes, not to mention a reel of bloopers to boot. This disc also includes a behind the scenes featurette, a sizable collection of production photos, and the film’s theatrical trailer.