Selena: Anniversary Special Edition

Selena: 10th Anniversary Special Edition DVD will hit the stands September 18, 2007. The two-disc Special Edition stars Jennifer Lpez in the title role of the 1997 biopic about the life and career of Tejano Superstar Selena Quintanilla Prez (1971-1995), who at 23 was about to become a crossover sensation, a dream tragically cut short.

DVD Special Elements:

The 2-Disc newly re-mastered 10th Anniversary Special Edition includes:

* Original Theatrical film
* Extended Film Version of the film, with never-before-released scenes.
* Making of Selena featurette
* Audio and Subtitles in English, French and Spanish
* Deleted Scenes
* Brand New Jennifer Lpez and Selenas family interviews
* Interviews with cast and crew

Film Review

“Selena” is the rather shallow melodramatic biopicture of the Mexican-American pop singer Selena Quintanilla, who was murdered in 1995. The character is played by two different actresses. As the adult Selena, Jennifer Lopez in her first major role, won accolades for a “star-making performance.” But the rest of the film, while somewhat charming, is a bit lackluster.

As directed and written by Gregory Nava (“El Norte,” “My Family,” “Bordertown”), “Selena” tells the story of the young pop star with all of the predictable elements of a rags-to-riches story. Unfortunately, there is little complexity or texture to hold the story together.

That said, the impact that Selena had on the music industry and among the ranks of Latino artists has been unique and significant. And Jennifer Lpez performance, which catapulted her to stardom, has powerful moments.

The plot unfolds as a love story and biopic, accompanied with Selena’s voice on the soundtrack. The film recreates the life of a little girl who dreamed big and whose concerts became electrifying events.

“Selena” follows the rise of a true-life heroine whose following has continued to grow even since her death. It charts the ascent of Selena and the entire Quintanilla family as they came to live the American Dream.

At 23, Selena had released two gold albums and one platinum, and she was recording the project that promised to launch her into the realm of true superstar success. Working with some of popular music’s foremost talents, Selena seemed destined to win millions of more fans with a breakthrough, crossover album, “Dreaming of You.”

And, indeed, she would, as fans made enormous hits of “I Could Fall in Love” and “Dreaming of You,” tender, mid-tempo ballads featuring Selena’s sensitive voice soaring sweetly. Unfortunately, these songs would be among the last recordings Selena would ever make.

Selena had risen from the suburbs of South Texas to become the brightest star ever to emerge from the regional music scene known as “Tejano” that integrates the traditions of polka, rock, R&B, pop and traditional Latin influences. She had transcended that genre and become one of the biggest Latina music stars in the world, charting hit after hit and supported by thousands of fans who would turn out to see her dazzling live performances. She had won a Grammy, the music industry’s highest honor, and had five albums on the Billboard charts at one time.

Selena’s family accompanied her on stage and on the road. She had launched a successful clothing line and string of boutiques. Her confident, exuberant and sensuous style was imitated by swarms of fans that sang her lyrics word-for-word and mirrored her dance moves wherever she went. For countless young dreamers, Selena was an inspirational symbol of pride and accomplishment.
However, on the brink of true superstardom, her rocketing ascent was cut short by a tragedy.

Edward James Olmos stars as Selena’s father, Abraham Quintanilla, Jr., a dreamer who nurtures his family’s ambitions against enormous odds. The sexy Jon Seda stars as Chris Perez, a rebellious guitarist who joins the family’s band and is captivated by Selena, eventually becoming her husband. Constance Marie plays the family’s devoted mother, Marcela. Jacob Vargas appears as Selena’s brother, Abie, and her sister, Suzette, is portrayed by Jackie Guera.

Directed and written by Gregory Nava (“My Family/Mi Familia”), “Selena was produced by Moctesuma Esparaza and Robert Katz(“Gettysburg,” “Lorca”) under their Esparza/Katz production banner. Selena’s father, Abraham Quintanilla, Jr., was the executive producer.

“Selena” is effective in portraying Mexican-American culture as a rich resource with its own flavor and character. But while Selena’s music is ultimately her legacy, the movie does a poor job of simply allowing the music to come through, electing instead to use unnecessary visual gimmicks like split screens and cutaways.

Reviewed by L. Miller and E. Levy