June 26, 2024

Revisiting PURPLE RAIN in 4K

PURPLE RAIN 40th Anniversary Edition (4K UHD)
1984 / 111 min
Review by Mr. Paws😼

Man, talk about your period pieces…

In the time honored tradition of pop stars making that jump to the big screen, Purple Rain was the feature film debut of Prince. And for all intents and purposes, it remains his only significant contribution to American cinema. But what a contribution it was.

As “The Kid,” Prince certainly doesn’t embarrass himself like Neil Diamond did a few years earlier with The Jazz Singer. Nor do I think he was reserving a spot on his shelf for an Oscar (at least for his acting). What he does do is turn his style, persona and music into a pop culture phenomenon. Even today, 40 years later, when we think of Prince, it’s the music & imagery from Purple Rain that generally comes to mind…


…perhaps even more than the film itself, which has always been sort of a mixed bag. Arguably a bit darker than the typical “soundtrack” movie of the 80s, it’s nevertheless a derivative story that’s sporadically engaging, with an overall aesthetic which dates it far more than the music. Speaking of which, the music overshadows every other aspect of the film (as it should), mostly presented through dynamic performances, not just by the Purple One himself, but Morris Day and Apollonia 6.

When the stage is littered with Legos.
The musical numbers are also the best reason for Prince fans and lovers of all-things-80s to check out Purple Rain in 4K. These sequences are visually vibrant and colorful, greatly enhanced by the remixed 5.1 audio track (the original 2.0 audio is also an option). But considering this is the film’s 40th anniversary and Prince is another musical icon who died way too young, some new retrospective bonus material should have been included, Sure, the videos are nice, as is the brief featurette, but how about a little something on the film & artist’s legacy?

Watching Purple Rain today is kind of like opening up a time capsule that you personally remember burying. While the soundtrack album is arguably more iconic (and timeless) than the movie itself, the latter captures a moment in time when Prince’s cultural impact extended beyond the music. As such, this is one of those 80s films that's probably best appreciated by those who were there.


FEATURETTE - First Avenue: The Road to Pop Royalty.

AUDIO COMMENTARY - By director Albert Magnoli, producer Robert Cavallo & director of photography Donald E. Thorin.



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