Note: the following review is much like the new version of the original, essentially the same with some window dressing to spice it up. I added pictures and links to the trailer for the show, the bottom line being the Blu-ray version looks better and sounds better, the amount of the upgrade depending on your home theater as much as anything. I hope you enjoy it as a "blast from the past", noting many of the cast have moved on to other projects and companies.
Audio/Video Quality: Devon: Erotique Blu-ray was presented in widescreen color was an aspect ratio of 1.78:1 using the 1080i resolution of the AVC codec for this high definition upgrade. The show was shot in High Definition by the talented Robby D years ago (one of the first for the company IIRC) but like many of Digital Playground's other releases shot that way, it wasn't the clearest picture they've ever made but compared to projects from other companies shot at that time, it was very nice indeed. The slow motion photography used here is something I put up with more than appreciate but the composition of the shots and way they were lit worked better than in The Story of J. When director Celeste (AKA: Bunny Luv) wanted the audience to see detail, you could see the small hairs on the arms just as when she wanted the audience to get a glimpse of the bigger picture, the detail became less apparent so as to pull us out from the trivial in favor of the grander scheme of things. The colors were accurate, the black & white photography very interesting, and the other technical matters great but like all such stylish presentations, you'll either love it or hate it with little middle ground.
The audio, on the other hand, was presented in a crisp 5.1 Dolby Digital Surround in 448 Kbps and a 48 kHz sampling rate that gave my speakers a bit of a work out yet it was mired in the lack of a vocal track so many of us hated when the company released the title originally. I cannot stress enough how much I hate this approach to porn but my former significant other told me she found great favor with the lack of fake moaning and groaning most porn employs. Leaving aside the matter of preference for now; the music was a combination of stringed instruments, piano, and horns that were very nicely arranged and appropriate to the scenes themselves (rather than seeming like canned music as most porn uses), giving me the idea that the music was actually scored for the scenes rather than tossed in nonchalantly as an afterthought.
Body of Review: As one of the more prolific porn reviewers here at Xcritic.com, I often get the chance to see a wider variety of porn than most people could ever imagine. The up side of this is that I get to take a lot of chances on titles that "might" not appeal to me and the down side is that I can sometimes be too harsh on a genre that I'm not currently into, judging it less for its merits than what "I" need in order to get off. This is why I take time off on a regular basis, so as to keep from glossing over the problems with everything I review or, conversely, hating everything I review, examples of which can be found all over the various "review" (cough) websites I've come across in the last ten years. Digital Playground has sought to evolve over the last five years or so to allow for their former style of couples friendly porn (credited to Celeste) as well as Robby D's harder gonzo flavors (both complimenting Joone's rare but swell blockbusters). Celeste's initial release with the company was the flawed but interesting Story of J; a movie showcasing not only Jesse Jane's incredible beauty but Celeste's style of direction (some of us tend to forget that last part). In her second outing for Digital Playground, Devon: Erotique Blu-ray, she picks up the series where former staff director Nic Andrews left off so long ago with Jesse Jane: Erotique, a showcase of Jesse Jane like no other when it came out.
The movie seemed almost an attempt to quell the rumors that Devon, one of Digital Playground's longest serving contract stars, was not on the way out as the rumor mills would lead us to believe, and was instead an attempt to reactivate her career a bit; something noteworthy since most of the company's recent releases have featured newer contract performers or even outsiders (Devon eventually left but it was well after making other featured titles like this one). I've long liked Devon for her pretty face, curvy body and cute demeanor, not to mention a kindness she displayed to me in person a few years back, but with fewer roles to star in, it has been difficult to fully appreciate her talents. In any case, Devon: Erotique Blu-ray is a series of unrelated vignettes that feature both her and Jesse Jane as well as a lovely cast of hotties in a stylish presentation of scenes that all seem to be set in a place decades past. If you like slow motion, artistic, visuals combined with a solid musical score far better than you'll hear on the releases of the competition, read the following breakdown of scenes by cast and action to see why I liked this one so much:
Scene One: Devon, the long time Digital Playground contract star displayed on the front DVD cover, and Christian XXX, looking like a porn version of Mr. Clean, were up first in a scene around the outdoor swimming pool. Initially, Jesse Jane, Nautica Thorn, and Teagan Presley were sunning themselves and I thought this was going to be an ultra cool scene where the lucky jerk was going to be overwhelmed with hotties but I'm guessing the insurance wouldn't cover killing him this way (at least he would've gone out with a smile). In any case, Devon sported an old style blue rubber swimming cap as she swam about with him, eventually ending up on the edge of the pool giving him a sultry blowjob; stroking him off to keep him hard. The couple then boned for a few minutes and she did some pussy to mouth (PTM) before the pop shot. I prefer hearing vocals and seeing the sex at regular speed but I thought she did a good job opening up the sexual escapades of the movie. As a long time fan, but not a slavering fanboy, I can tell when she's at her peak and while she wasn't given much room to work with, she did a fine job here.
Scene Two: Jesse Jane, the super starlet blonde that has taken the porn world by storm all over the world, and Jean Val Jean, the only porn stud to look more like Fabio than Evan Stone, went at one another in the back of a car set in perhaps the late 50's (I'm not a car buff). The way she playfully wrapped her lips around his penis was sweet and he appreciated it enough to reciprocate fully before they screwed doggy style. The slow motion bogged it down a bit but even then, I sure wanted to trade places with him for a couple of strokes (with Jesse, I'm sure I'd be a "two pump chump"). It ended after another position and an ending blowjob, with Jesse putting her wedding ring back on as though it were an extramarital affair (he did the same too). I thought they had some chemistry together and her usual energy was present too although the scene could've been more aggressive in displaying it.
Scene Three: Rachel Rotten, in a rare appearance without her significant other Rob, gave an entertaining masturbation sequence reminiscent of the Jack's Playground series except that she played the part of a little girl all by herself in a large room. Eating the rainbow Lollipop while she rode a hobby horse (complete with red sparkly dildo attached), I'd be hard pressed to come up with a better way to shoot this scene yet it was way too short for me.
Scene Four: Roxanne Hall, an attractive blonde that has been in porn for over ten years but doesn't show it half as much as many of her peers, was up next with studly Marco Duato on a contemporary living room floor. She crawled towards him with a horsehair anal plug stuffed inside her sweet ass and he brandished a riding crop as though fully in charge of her fantasy; leaving her expansive bit in her mouth as he went down on her. He did remove it to get some oral action from her but placed it back to begin the screwing of her pussy and ass. It ended with him jerking his load onto the bit in her mouth with some semen rubbed into said opening.
Scene Five: Jesse Jane, playing a housewife of sorts lounging around on the couch in her underwear seemingly from a 1940's noir film, had the following masturbation scene as she nursed a drink. I've long preferred seeing her in full action, riding a guy like there was no tomorrow, but this was one time when I came to fully appreciate Celeste's slower style for the sheer diversity if nothing else. The big band music really worked well here; even better than in most of the other scenes, and reminded me a lot of some of the classic porn loops (long before the days of features) of decades gone by. The only thing that weakened it in that sense was the use of the glass dildo (which I like in contemporary settings a whole lot) and stripper shoes as they took away from the concept slightly.
Scene Six: Nautica Thorn, playing a little schoolgirl all dressed up in white stockings, a matching shirt & uniform tie, and black skirt, had the next scene with older Scott Nails, also dressed in a stuffy outfit while reading a book as he oversaw her studying. She was bored and bugged him with paper airplanes and later made disrespectful faces but changed her tune when he caught her. Bending her over his knee to show her white cotton panties, he spanked her with a paddle but instead of it being punishment, she got dripping wet; soaking her panties enough to where he also became turned on. The scene then turned fully sexual with her blowing him and the two screwing before he rubbed out a load into her mouth. This was one of those scenes that pushed the edge conceptually since porn has long shied away from any scenarios where incest is concerned (it was never stated, just implied) but I liked it nonetheless (a lot).
Scene Seven: Devon, dressed like a vixen in a black corset, matching collar & shackles, fishnet stockings, and metal footware, took care of dominant Marco's feet orally before he spanked her and rubbed her to get her ready for him. He then gave some oral to her ass before she blew him even more heatedly than she took care of Christian earlier. It didn't last long and the couple boned a bit before he jerked out his load onto her crotch with the couple kissing at the end for effect.
Scene Eight: Jesse Jane, dressed in black underwear and a fishnet outfit, Nikki Benz, another blonde in a similar outfit, and brunette Tereza Ilova dressed likewise, were up next in a lesbian scene that employed red wine on the balcony of a mansion and the bottles too, in order to provide props for the gals to work with. I enjoyed it but it was far tamer a scene than I'm used to so while the gals looked fabulous; it was a less filling scene for me (even with talent like this!).
Scene Nine: Devon, wearing some fluffy red arm warmers (initially), leopard print stockings, red stripper shoes, and gold accessories with black panties, had a very short masturbation sequence with a red glass dildo after warming up in a chair. I can't imagine the wooden floor was comfortable but she often seemed in ecstasy as she inserted it in and out; looking at the camera once in a while to punctuate her feelings. In all, it gave some semblance of balance to the movie when taken as part of a larger whole (no pun intended) but was too short in length for me to appreciate fully.
Summary: Devon: Erotique Blu-ray was more than the sum of its parts, compelling me to rate it as Recommended, despite some technical limitations. I still remain vehemently opposed to slow motion photography (except in small doses) and a lack of a vocal track but a number of my friends found it adoringly different to the usual titles I watch. In that sense, Devon: Erotique Blu-ray, works to draw in people less into porn than a jaded old porn hound like myself and I can't deny that they have plenty of ammunition in their argument that this is designed for an audience not of perverts and raincoaters but of regular people that are more interested in adult entertainment they'd be willing to watch with others as much as use on their own. The title has firmly established Celeste as being conceptually closer to Candida Royalle rather than Mason (Candida being a "1" on a scale of 1 to 10 and Mason being a "10", with Celeste coming in around a "4" in terms of hardcore action; not quality) and I may yet become one of the converted but that might take some time.
---- You can email me with questions at Houstondon @ hotmail.com if you have any constructive criticism of the review too. :) Also you can follow me on twitter @HoustonDon