DVD & Video

Purple Rain

Dearly beloved, we are gathered here today to get through this thing called Prince—a man with three feature films being released on DVD. The most notable, of course, is a new two-disc special edition of Purple Rain, showcasing the performer at the height of his creative and commercial success. The story may be somewhat threadbare (yet still fresh enough for Eminem to rip off liberally in ''8 Mile''), and the makeup and wardrobe selections a bit on the ridiculous side (what’s with all the ruffles?), but the performances are nothing short of magical. (C’mon, tell me you don’t get all choked up at the end of ''The Beautiful Ones.'') And Morris Day provides the perfect comedic foil for The Kid. As far as the extras go, they’re as good as one could expect without the direct involvement of His Purpleness: Revolution band members share memories, Eddie Murphy struts around half naked at the 1984 MTV premiere party, and we learn from director Albert Magnoli that ''When Doves Cry'' was actually a last-minute addition to the film. (Hey, nice save, Magnoli!)

But if Prince never meant to cause us any sorrow and never meant to cause us any pain, why the hell did he dare direct the horrendous sequel Graffiti Bridge? The Kid is still dueling with Day, but you’ll be fighting back giggles at this embarrassing and incoherent production. Only slightly less egregious is Prince’s foray into romantic slapstick, Under the Cherry Moon, in which he woos Kristin Scott Thomas in the Mediterranean. Neither has any real extras besides some music videos, and you know what? That’s just fine. ''Rain'': A– ''Bridge'': D– ''Moon'': C

Originally posted Aug 20, 2004 Published in issue #779-780 Aug 20, 2004 Order article reprints
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