Mimsy Were the Borogoves

Movie and DVD Reviews: The best and not-so-best movies available on DVD, and whatever else catches my eye.

Mimsy Review: The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert

Reviewed by Jerry Stratton, June 22, 1999

I hereby christen this budget barby camper “Priscilla”, Queen of the Desert.

Special features

Cast Information5
Related Trailers6

Wild outfits, ping-pong balls, ABBA, and not a single kangaroo in sight. Priscilla involves three drag queens from Sydney driving a huge bus across some great Australian desert to a three-week gig at a tourist trap. Beautiful views of the desert. Wonderful costuming. The DVD is presented in both letterbox (2.35:1) and pan & scan, with English or French dialog and English and Spanish subtitles. The case slides out the bottom instead of opening up, and the DVD is not as easy to remove as it should be. Currently out of print, unfortunately. Hopefully it’ll come back with an Anamorphic transfer and commentary?

RecommendationPurchase Now!
DirectorStephan Elliot
Movie Rating9
Transfer Quality6
Overall Rating8
  • Letterbox
  • Pan and Scan

You absolutely must replace the DVD case. I hereby warn you: the disc will get scratched if you leave it in the “drawer” style case. Find yourself a leftover CD jewel case or something, but get this movie some protection! Note: “Priscilla” is being re-released by MGM and will hopefully come in a better case this time around.

This is a good example of a movie that could have benefited from anamorphic widescreen: the panoramic views of the Australian outback would look incredible on a widescreen television if they had done so (I’m sure it looks pretty damn impressive anyway; I don’t yet have a widescreen TV).

The case claims to present “in-depth” biographies of the cast, but there’s nothing special about the bios. They’re just text listings of their previous works, and a short blurb about them. Pretty much what you get on most DVDs.

Besides the trailer and teaser for Priscilla, you also get trailers for “When We Were Kings”, “Portrait of a Lady”, and “Fargo”. Good call on their part, I expect to rent at least two of those.

The DVD has one of the best chapter menus I’ve seen: you simply run the cursor along the bottom to automatically choose the chapters in groups of six; the chapter names and sample scenes are shown immediately up top. Simple, elegant, and a minimum of button pressing.

“Priscilla” opens with a great mouthing of “I’ve Never Been to Me” and goes on from there. Mitzi (Hugo Weaving, who you may have seen in “The Matrix”) gets a mystery phone call inviting him to play at a resort in the Australian outback (or across it, I’m not sure about the Australian geography). He convinces two of his friends, Felicia (Guy Pearce) and Bernadette (Terence Stamp) to join him. They travel from Sydney to Alice Springs in a huge bus codged from three Swedish tourists (Lars, Lars, and Lars) and discover that family is cool, Sydney is a lot safer than the rest of Australia, and Australia has some pretty big rocks.

This is a funny, fun, and almost touching movie (I laughed, I cried, my mascara ran and I looked like a raccoon). Everybody I know loves it. Give it a chance, I think you will also. This is one of my most-watched movies.

In parting, I warn you: do not take lightly my recommendation that you replace the case as soon as you buy this movie. Otherwise, it will scratch. This is the poorest design I’ve seen on a case, and fortunately is the only movie I have that has that design. (Note: now that MGM has re-released this movie, it comes in a more standard case.)

Recommendation: Purchase Now!

DirectorStephan Elliot
ActorsHugo Weaving, Guy Pearce, Terence Stamp
Spoken languagesEnglish, French
SubtitlesEnglish, Spanish
Special FeaturesCast Information, Related Trailers, Trailer
More links

If you enjoyed The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert…

For more about Hugo Weaving, you might also be interested in The Matrix.

For more about musical, you might also be interested in A Star is Born, Almost Elvis, Amadeus, Cabaret, Going My Way/Holiday Inn, Hair, Jesus Christ Superstar, The Blues Brothers, The Music Man, The Rocky Horror Picture Show, The Sound of Music, and The Wizard of Oz.