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10 Things I Hate About You (10th Anniversary Edition) (1999) Print E-mail
Saturday, 09 January 2010
ImageIt is difficult to bring Shakespeare into the 21st century.  However, I must admit, when I first watched "10 Things I Hate About You" I thought it was an exactly rendition of Shakespeare's "Taming of the Shrew."  Not only is it a story based on Shakespeare, it is also a remake of the 1967 film, "Taming of Shrew," which was the first attempt at turning Shakespeare's play into a modern film.

"10 Things I Hate About You" doesn't reinvent the story, but simply reinvents the characters in modern day.  While the tie to Shakespeare will be lost on most kids, those who are old enough or studious enough will immediately recognize the tie, and not only because of the characters' names.

In this modern film, Kat and Bianca are sisters that are at opposite ends of the high-school social hierarchy.  Bianca is the pretty, ditzy girl that wants to date.  Meanwhile, Kat is two years older and could care less about what people think of her and doesn't do anything to appease the masses.  The problem is that their father won't let them date until after they graduate, or until Kat starts dating.

Meanwhile, Cameron is the new guy in school that immediate develops a stereotypical crush on Bianca.  While Cameron does everything to try and win Bianca over, she is basically using him in order to go on a date with the pretty boy of the school, Joey.  Cameron gets Joey to hire Patrick, the resident school bad boy to take Kat on a date so that he can go on a date with Bianca.  Cameron is blind to this until the climatic party sequence.

The film is about high school puppy love, trysts and relationships.  The performances by Julia Stiles, Heath Ledger and the rest of the cast members all work harmoniously.  Unfortunately, this film does not get the attention that it deserves.  It has garnered more attention since the passing of Ledger.  Nevertheless, this is a solid film with great structure and nice pacing.
As 1999 film I expected a bit more from the video transfer.  However, there is always an upside.  The lack of tampering leaves the video looking life like and is a great film to play in a cinema home theater, because it really does resemble a 35mm print.  Film grain is frequency throughout the film, and while it generally offers texture to the image it does sometimes become distracting.  My biggest gripe with the film is the amount of dust, dirt and scratches on the source print.  As I said, the lack of tampering leaves the original feel intact, but it also leaves every flickering speck flashing all over the screen throughout the film.  Where this film truly shines is in the level of clarity and detail.  It beats the standard DVD by leaps and bounds.  The huge discrepancy between detail levels is how all Blu-ray counterparts should appear.  It is fantastic.  Every object has clear definition.  Colors are solid, though fleshtones do becomes flushed as various points in the film.  Black levels and brightness and contrast levels are all stable.  Dimensionality is better than I would have expected.  If it weren't for the poor source print I would give this video transfer a much higher rating.

The audio is only really as good as the source track.  The dialogue is nicely represented and all but a lone or two is perfectly audible.  The pop soundtrack is nicely balanced and livens up the soundfield.  There is one discreet effect in the surround channels throughout the film (when dad shoots his exercise band through his neighbor's window.  Ambience is mediocre and acoustics are lacking.  The LFE channel only exists over short portions of the film.  I can't really criticize this audio track, but I can't really praise either.  Still, the average listener will find the track more than adequate.

The Blu-ray comes with three bonus materials, which is more than the zero contained on the original DVD release.  Still, I think I expected more for a 10th anniversary edition.  First there is a new audio commentary from the writers and a handful of cast members, including Andrew Keegan, David Krumholtz and Larisa Oleynik.  This is an informative track with several anecdotes.  I would suggest giving the track a chance.  The new documentary "10 Things I Love About '10 Things I Hate About You' 10 Years Later" is a retrospective look at the making of the film and the relationships with the actors.  This section also features never before seen test screen footage of Heath Ledger.  Despite the separate bullet point on the rear cover, the deleted scenes are only accessible via the above documentary.

I have to highly recommend this film.  The audio and video qualities are definite upgrades from the poor standard DVD.

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