10 Things I Hate About You… believe it or not, I never saw this film when it was first released. It may be because I wasn't a teenager at the time and this is definitely a teen flick. It could also be that there were so many other high school-related movies coming out at that time that I just decided not to bother. Whatever the reason, I'm glad I finally got to see this title because it was actually a pretty good story with some laughs along the way.
Taming of the Shrew?
Another reason this film is good is because its different from all the other similar films of the time… it's actually based on Shakespeare's Taming of the Shrew, albeit with a modern twist and set in modern times. The characters even get to say some lines directly from the Shakespearean play, which is a nice touch.
The story goes like this… Kat (Julia Styles) represents the shrew and she is a hard-core activist and feminist. She also has a younger sister named Bianca (Larisa Oleynik) who is the complete opposite – sort of a stuck-up princess who is more into her looks and boys than anything else. Their overprotective Dad (Larry Miller) has a rule that forbids Bianca to date until Kat starts dating. That's the premise of the story.
Now along comes Cameron (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) who falls head-over-heels for Bianca when he sees her for the first time in school, but can't ask her out. So he comes up with a plan to find a date for Kat, which consists of convincing high-school bad boy Patrick (Heath Ledger) to pursue Kat. You can probably figure out what happens in the end (if you haven't already seen the film), but watching the story unfold is the fun part. There's even one very poignant scene where Kat reads her poem (which is where the movie gets its name) in front of the class, and Julia Stiles really delivers on the first and only take. The director (Gil Junger) talks (in the bonus features) about how the entire crew was crying during that scene because it was so moving.
A Few Things About 10 Things on Blu-ray
While the high-def transfer of 10 Things I Hate About You isn't perfect, Touchstone still did a nice job of bringing more life to the film and giving it a better quality than what was found on the DVD. The colors are vibrant and the blacks are well-defined. There are some grainy areas in some scenes and while most of the skin tones are good, they sometimes look a bit washed out. Overall the picture looks good, just not perfect.
The English 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack is also done nicely, but still could have been better. What I mean by this is that the surround channels are not fully utilized. The audio quality itself is great – the dialog is clear, the music sounds good, and the over all sound of the movie is good but focused mainly in the front channels. Luckily, this doesn't really distract from the film since this is more about the story rather than being immersed in any kind of environment.
Only Two Things Included in the Bonus Features
The two bonus features included are nice, but yes, there are only two bonus features. There's the new audio commentary, which includes discussion from writers Karen McCullah Lutz and Kristen Smith as well as actors Andrew Keegan (Joey Donner), Larisa Oleynik (Bianca), David Krumholtz (Michael), and Susan May Pratt (Mandella). It's a great discussion and there are even some emotional times when they talk about Heath Ledger. In addition to the audio commentary, there is a 36-minute featurette entitled 10 Things I Hate About You 10 Years Later, which provides the director's and writer's perspective on what it meant to them to make the film. Old cast interviews (when they were still young and on the set) along with deleted scenes are included here. Personally, I would have liked this to be more about a reunion of the cast and some of the crew, having them look back at the film. This featurette was still interesting though.
Still a Good Film Even 10 Years Later
So while this isn't a perfect transfer of an old title and the bonus features are a bit sparse, the story and the film itself stand the test of time. I'm glad Disney and Touchstone decided to put out this Blu-ray edition because if they hadn't, I probably would have never scene the movie. The director knew back then that Heath Ledger and Julia Stiles were going to be stars and he was right. 10 Things I Hate About You helped them both launch their careers into the big time. If you happen to like teen films (or you have teens of your own), then you (and they) will enjoy this flick. Rent it or buy it, because it's worth watching.
For more information:
* 10 Things I Hate About You, 10 Anniversary Edition (Blu-ray)
* 10 Things I Hate About You, 10 Anniversary Edition (DVD)