Clueless – Blu-ray Review

Clueless

How has Clueless, a film that is so unequivocally 90s, stood the test of time for twenty-five years? Well, for one thing, Clueless uses Jane Austen’s timeless Emma as a source of inspiration for its story and themes. Several themes from Austen’s book can be found in the movie, such as love, self-discovery, and commentary on social classes.

Much like the book, Clueless comments on the conventions of love. Cher believes that she knows what love is despite being single and sixteen. She believes that because she lives an easy life (she’s rich), other people should live a life like hers too. Thus, she uses that naivety to match people who she deems compatible. Although she does hit it out of the park with Mr. Hall and Ms. Geist, her meddling with other people’s lives eventually leads her to some self-reflection and growth. This self-discovery is what ultimately drives and elevates the movie from any other dumb 90s teen comedy.

Complementing these themes is an intelligent and hilarious satire of the 90s teen lifestyle. Nothing is representative of the 90s teen lifestyle more than the slang-fueled dialogue that Amy Heckerling wrote. Phrases like “as if” or “what-ever” became ingrained in 90s pop culture thanks to Clueless. Yet these phrases were common for young adults and teens during this period. Thus, the dialogue fits with the setting and personality of all the characters. As a result, the movie became believable because the dialogue and performances are appropriate for the period. You might even recognize some of the personalities in the movie if you grew up in the 90s.

Characters had the opportunity to become stale or annoying, but the performances sold the movie. It became clear right away that despite the seemingly airheaded nature of Cher, there was some depth to her character. Cher is not simple, but instead, she is a deep character.

This description is suited to describe the movie as well. Heckerling weaves through some complex ideas in a palatable way. For some, Emma was a tough read, and the complex nature of the story will leave people confused. Luckily, Clueless takes the core story and themes from Austen’s novel and interprets it in a way that’s easier to digest and follow. Not to mention, being thoroughly entertained the entire time by the absurdity of the 90s. Oh, and if you’re wondering, we do not know why these lifestyle choices were popular either.

Overall, Clueless is a fantastic piece of 90s cinema. Much like Cher herself, the movie is smarter than it looks. Beyond the “as-ifs” and “whatevers,” Clueless gleefully tells the story of self-discovery and growth through a character that you cannot help but love. 

Movie Rating: 4.5/5 atoms

Clueless - Stacey Dash and Alicia Silverstone

Video

Clueless hits Blu-ray with a 1080p MPEG-AVC with a 1.78:1 aspect ratio. Unfortunately, this 25th-anniversary release doesn’t have a new scan. So yes, it’s the same transfer as Clueless’s 2012 release. Nevertheless, the video still looks fantastic because it seems as if Paramount’s Blu-ray releases look incredible. The picture has a nice linear contrast where the highlights are bright, and the shadows are an inky black. Not to mention, the brightness and black levels are consistent and have very few issues. The only real concern comes with scenes set during the night, such as the scene where Elton is driving Cher home. During these scenes, there are a large number of details lost in the shadows.

As you can imagine, the colors look incredible in 1080p. The vibrant palette of the 90s jumps off the screen, something that you can see in all of the outrageous outfits that the main characters wear. The detail clarity looks stunning too. Yes, there are soft edges because of the source material, but the overall look of the picture is still crystal clear. Since this is an older film, there are noticeable film grain thanks to the use of film back in the day. Digital wasn’t widely used in the 90s as they are now. Overall, the picture looks fantastic. Twenty-five never looked so good.

Video Rating: 4.5/5 atoms

Clueless - Paul Rudd and Alicia Silverstone

Audio

Clueless hits Blu-ray with a 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio track. As you probably expect, Clueless isn’t that type of film that warrants a dynamic audio mix. However, there are several times where sound playfully moves through the soundstage. One of those examples comes during the scene where Dionne is practicing driving around LA. Cars will whizz by from the front to the back, resulting in a fun audio moment to an already fun scene. For the most part, the audio mix relies on the music and atmospheric sound effects to liven up the soundstage. The school environment sound effects are distinct and immersive. If you’ve ever seen the film, then you know that the soundtrack is a good part of the film. After all, it is a history lesson on the music of the 90s. As a result, the music rocks the entire soundstage. Despite the loudness of the music, you can still hear the dialogue through all of that activity. Overall, the audio mix sounds great.

Audio Rating: 4/5 atoms

Clueless - Justin Walker and Alicia Silverstone

Special Features

Clueless‘s Blu-ray disc has the following special features on Blu-ray disc:

  • Clue or False Trivia Game
  • The Class of ’95
  • Creative Writing
  • Fashion 101
  • Language Arts
  • Suck ‘N Blow: A Tutorial
  • Driver’s Ed
  • We’re History
  • Trailers

Similar to the video transfer and audio mix, the bonus features are the same as Clueless‘s 2012 release. Although the trivia may seem like a simple slideshow trivia game, it’s more than that. The trivia game happens during the entirety of the movie. In a way, it follows a format similar to VH1’s old Pop-Up Video. Trivia questions relevant to the scene pop up, and you have around 10-15 seconds to pick an answer. If you choose the right answer, then you gain 10 points.

Sadly, the trivia game is the only featurette that doesn’t come from the DVD release of the movie. The Class of ’95 is a featurette that puts the focus on the cast. The actors talk about their characters, while Amy Heckerling talks about why she cast the actors in their respective roles. Creative Writing takes a look at the history of the film, from its roots at 20th Century Fox to production. As you’ve probably guessed from the title, Fashion 101 takes a look at costume designer Mona May’s work in the film. Mona May breaks down why she designed a particular costume for the character and what was the inspiration behind it.

If you’re someone that didn’t grow up in the 90s, then you might want to check out Language Arts. Arts takes a look at the slang used in the film. Not to mention, Amy Heckerling talks about where she discovered some of these slang words and the history behind them. Suck ‘N Blow teaches you the rules of Suck ‘N Blow, but it also shows you the behind-the-scenes look at this scene. Driver’s Ed takes a look at the freeway scene and the complexity behind filming this scene. We’re History focuses on the legacy of the film since it premiered back in 1995.

Special Features Rating: 3/5 atoms

Clueless - Steelbook Cover

Extras

Yes, the Clueless disc remains the same as the 2012 release. Yet Paramount is still celebrating the release of the film with a steelbook case featuring a simple yet appropriate cover. The steelbook comes with a semi-gloss finish that, thankfully, doesn’t get fingerprints on it quickly. The inside features a collage of happy photos taken from the film. 

Clueless - Inside of the Steelbook

Overall, Clueless is the quintessential film that depicts the 90s. Although the film was a parody of 90s teen lifestyle, it became a cultural phenomenon. Yes, the movie might not resonate with the Gen Z crowd, but they will certainly relate to the loveable characters in the film. Unfortunately, the video transfer, audio mix, and special features haven’t changed since the 2012 Blu-ray release. Fortunately, the video transfer and audio mix are still excellent. It’s just a shame that Paramount wasn’t able to add anything new to the special features for its 25th-anniversary. After all, there was a cast reunion from C2E2 that they could’ve conveniently recorded and put in this release. Alas, we’re stuck with the same dated featurettes from the DVD release several years ago.

Overall Rating: 4/5 atoms

This Blu-ray was reviewed using a retail/advance copy/unit provided by Paramount Home Entertainment.

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Mark Pacis
Mark Pacis 1613 posts

Self-proclaimed "Human IMDb" and comic book geek. Biggest Iron Man fan you'll probably ever meet.