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Madonna - The Immaculate Collection

review by Ren C.

Not Rated

Studio: Warner Bros.

Running Time: 60 Minutes

Starring Madonna

Retail Price: $24.99

Specs: 1.33:1 Standard, English PCM Stereo, English Subtitles

For the last twenty years, one of the biggest household names on the planet has, without question, been Madonna. Since her debut in 1983, Madonna has managed to find her way into every corner of our lives, through her music, movies, and electric personality. The Immaculate Collection represents an approximately eight-year period in Madonna's career, covering videos from 1983-1990.

The collection begins with "Lucky Star", which, while it is not Madonna's first video, is really the one that made the public start to take notice. It also shows Madonna sporting the fishnet look that inspired thousands of "Madonnabes". This video starts a trend that continues throughout the disc, namely the incredibly good video quality for these videos. From there, we move on to "Borderline", which showcases Madonna's continued evolution, but above and beyond that isn't really a distinctive video.

Then, it all changed. The next video is "Like A Virgin" which is the point where Madonna exploded into the mainstream consciousness. This is also the video where Madonna shows that she is setting out to break all the rules. "Material Girl" is up next, and is essentially Madonna's homage to Marilyn Monroe. This video, which features Robert Wuhl (Arliss), of all people, is very, very pink and the colors show through well.

Next up is "Papa Don't Preach", which is really Madonna's first message song and video, where she begs her father to forgive her because she's keeping the baby. Nice storyline, but I'm still confused by the cuts to Madonna dancing alone in a room for no apparent reason. Moving on, we come to "Open Your Heart", which to quickly summarize, features Madonna as a stripper with a heart of gold. Watching this, you quickly learn why Madonna is the master of reinvention.

"La Isla Bonita" is the classic "Madonna sits in a room and sings the song" video, although "La Isla Bonita" will never be remembered as one of Madonna's best songs, let alone videos.

"Like A Prayer" cannot have enough said about it in terms of what it did for Madonna's career and music video in general. Come to think of it, that can apply to a lot of Madonna's videos. There is something offensive for everyone here, as Madonna takes everything controversial that she can possibly find and flaunts it. If you've never seen the video, I won't spoil all the offensive surprise for you, but rest assured "controversial" does not do enough to describe this video.

"Express Yourself" is the first of three videos on the disc directed by David Fincher (Fight Club), and each of them shows Fincher's ingenuity as a director. This video showcases Madonna as a sort-of bizarre dominatrix, female boss. Words can't do it justice, but when I say that it is one of Madonna's best, considering her catalogue that is saying something.

"Cherish" was directed by Herb Ritts, who is a famous fashion photographer, and also known for directing Chris Isaak's "Wicked Game" video. There is definitely a similarity here, with the beach theme. Above and beyond that, there isn't anything particularly notable about this video. "Oh Father" is the second video directed by Fincher, and is a very classy looking video to accompany a very good song. It's a shame that this video didn't get more airplay as it is truly one of Madonna's overlooked gems.

The disc wraps up with a double shot of "Vogue". The first is the video for "Vogue", again directed by Fincher. There is very little that can be said about this video that would be original, but it definitely deserves its high placement on all of the "best video" lists. Any video that can single-handedly start a dance craze has my respect, although considering that would mean I respect the Macarena, so I retract my previous statement. This is immediately followed by a "live" performance of "Vogue" at the 1990 MTV Video Music Awards. I put live in quotation marks because it is obvious that Madonna is lip-synching the song, even more so considering that I had just seen the video of "Vogue". However, this is entertaining because of the intricate dance routine put together for it.

As I stated earlier, the video looks really impressive for videos this old. The colors are bright and vibrant, and there was barely a flaw to be found. Even a 10-year-old TV performance looks good, and everything looks much better than it ever has on television.

Only a stereo track is provided, so while it sounds good, I wonder how much better these videos would have sounded had a 5.1 track been provided. However, what is here is more than enough to make these songs sound excellent, almost as though they were being performed for the first time.

The only thing on this disc that could be considered a feature is the subtitles/lyrics that are provided for each song. Definitely an area that could be improved, as there were some other things that could have been included. There are still some Madonna videos that have not been released on DVD, either on this, or the companion disc, Madonna Video Collection 1993-99. Off the top of my head, "Burning Up", "Dress You Up" and "Justify My Love" go unreleased. Any of these would have made a nice addition. Also, while the VMA performance was nice, I would have loved to see the 1984 VMA performance of "Like A Virgin" that sent Madonna into the stratosphere.

No one will ever question the historical or artistic relevance of these videos. This is a very nice collection, but at twenty-five dollars for an hour, the price is a bit steep. However, if you are a music fan with any interest in Madonna videos, or music videos in general, this is the place to start. Recommended.

(4/5 - NOT included in final score)




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