Audio/Video Quality: The Story of J was presented in the most unusual 1.85:1 ratio anamorphic widescreen color, unlike virtually all porn shot these days. The cover pointed out it was shot in high definition but that really hasn't made a big difference in most adult movies using it to date, due in large part to the inexperience of the crew with the newer equipment although in time, I'm willing to bet it leads to some great photography. In this case, Celeste had famed director Robby D(allas) at the helm but even then, there's been a bit of mixed quality in the past. In this one, the picture alternated between looking so sharp you could see the hairs on Jesse's face at one point and then the video noise (with some grain) would come back and kill the effect. I tried watching this on a friend's plasma television set, my projection set, and even my computer monitor and the same issues would pop up (the better the system, the more issues). It did look better than a lot of similar releases by Digital Playground and Vivid, for example, but nothing like the press hype had led me to believe it "should" have looked like. At times, Jesse would look washed out and pale while at other times she'd look so hot the screen would be on fire; maybe in a year or so, the kinks will all be worked out of the HD system and everything will be great but that isn't the case yet. Other issues were how much slow motion was used, the sepia tone of the cue card segments, and the stylish considerations that so many consumers will either love or hate (I leaned towards hating, sorry!).
The audio was another story altogether. It was presented in 5.1 Dolby Digital English but no vocals were found here; only a series of interesting musical choices that generally were a couple steps ahead of the usual porn offerings. From a operatic solo, to a lullaby styled piece to a technobeat work and a couple of piano/violin pieces, I can't say that the music was as overlooked as usual. That didn't mean I loved it (or hated it), it just meant that it was interesting in most cases. Personally, I prefer hearing the moans and groans of the cast having sex and that meant I wasn't as happy with this one as I could have been. There was a fair amount of separation between the front speakers and the use of bass not bad but it was far from the kind of 5.1 audio track that I think porn should evolve to within the next several years. I do applaud the effort put into this one though and the use of cue cards to tell the story was a bit unusual (I give points for unusual sometimes).
Body of Review: Jesse Jane, is one of the most attractive gals in porn these days and as a contract performer for the famous Digital Playground, that means you'll only see this former Hooters gal in their movies. I've paid attention to her work over the last couple of years (although I haven't seen it all) and can honestly say that her sexual ability, as defined by the camera at least, has certainly grown to the point where I feel safe saying she should appeal to most heterosexual men. She started off a bit weaker than I had hoped (I've been up close and personal to this hotty so I know how she can work up a crowd), she has since become a very talented sexual being. Her latest movie, The Story of J, pays homage to the time tested classic The Story of O, with Jesse playing the lead role. Essentially, she is brought to a community of sexually promiscuous people that engage in various sexual fetishes, including bondage and discipline, lesbianism, and partner swapping, to learn more about the desires that she needs to bring forth to please her mate (played by Mick). If you've seen the original movie that this one so heavily borrows from (thematically at least) or even read the book, you'll know why the concept appealed to me. With Celeste in the director's chair, the movie certainly looked like it would be an entertaining show to watch but it had a fair amount of stylish limitations too. Here's a general look at the movie without getting to mechanical in terms of breaking down the scenes by performers and sex acts (it was my New Year's resolution to try something new once in awhile):
Most of the sex in the movie was between the gals (who, thankfully enough, were easily identified by the trailer) as they trained Jesse in the various acts of submission and in lesbian love. Toys were used, glass dildos of various types came out (well, in and out), and even a leather whip was employed although it was far too tame a scene for a whip; if you're going to spank, whip or otherwise use rougher sex, you need to do it for real or it comes off looking lame. Anyway, each of the mini-vignettes was labeled with a cue card and the gals genuinely seemed to be having fun with one another. That doesn't mean there was a lot of chemistry between them (in most cases, there wasn't a lot of connection between the cast) but I did notice a fair amount of energy and even the slow motion aspect of the scenes wasn't bad.
The scenes that most fans will care about were the ones where a gal took on a guy; this included Jassie taking care of Ben, Jesse taking care of Mick (once in a full scene and once a blowjob only scene), and the vaunted Jesse meets Eric scene. None of them were Jesse's best (or Jassie's for that matter) and Jesse didn't do anything she hadn't before (otherwise the advertising would proclaim it I'm sure) but fans like myself could at least console themselves that Jesse was Jesse. If you're looking for tons of anal sex, circus act sex, gang bangs or the like, you'll want to look elsewhere. If, on the other hand, you're looking for something somewhat derivative of Andrew Blake, you'll find this only a few degrees separated for some of his lesser works. For the most part, The Story of J is not a bad movie but it isn't my favorite from Digital Playground by a long shot. I like style but only in small doses when I'm watching porn; Celeste went overboard here and while I'm sure it will work for an audience of couples that have grown a bit tired of movies from Adam & Eve, it reminded me of why I like Robby's comedies or Nic's dramas so much. I'm going to rate this one as a Rent It for anyone that likes Jesse but the ground it covered was overly familiar and even for a first effort, it lacked that magic I've come to associate with Digital Playground's previous works.
Summary: The Story of J will probably be a great movie for some of you out there but it lacked the passion I seek in a movie even if it did have more footage of the lovely Jesse Jane than any other release on the market. The artistic manner that was used to shoot the movie, the rarity of male on female sex, and the lack of chemistry between most of the gals limited it me even more than the lack of extras on the disc. If you're a fan of Jesse, by all means give it a look but don't expect it to be her best movie. I hope Digital Playground realizes that one artistic director (that'd be Joone) is plenty in such a small company (especially since he's so much better at it on average) and puts more of Robby's time into his own releases. The Story of J should win lots of awards but more for what it attempted than what it succeeded at; a fact I hope isn't lost on those who'd suggest that Digital Playground is on the road to decline (whereas I think they're just regrouping). I also hope that gimmick's like using only a cast of gals with the letter "J" in their name fall by the wayside for future releases.