FERRIS BUELLER’S DAY OFF Studio: Paramount Year: 1986 Rated: PG-13 Film Length: 1 hour, 43 minutes Aspect Ratio: 1080p High Definition Widescreen (2.35:1) Audio: English 5.1 Dolby TrueHD, French Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround, Spanish Mono Subtitles: English, English SDH, French, Spanish, Portuguese Release Date: May 5, 2009 The Movie ( out of ) Ferris Bueller’s Day Off is writer-director John Hughes’ fantastic story of three teenagers and their heroic and amusing efforts to ditch a day of school. The improbably named Ferris Bueller (Matthew Broderick) is a high school senior who knows all of the tricks to fool his parents and teachers into believing that he is deathly ill in order that he can have a day of frolic and pleasure in downtown Chicago. Along for the ride are Ferris’ girlfriend Sloan (Mia Sara) and his best friend Cameron (Alan Ruck), a hypochondriac who, thanks to Ferris’ machinations, is forced to deal with his parental issues before the day is over. Unfortunately for Ferris, school Principal Ed Rooney (Jeffrey Jones) is not so easily fooled, and Rooney takes at least as much pleasure in his efforts to catch teens ditching classes as Ferris takes in enjoying his fabulous day off. Ferris must also contend with his sister Jeanie (Jennifer Grey), who resents Ferris for his popularity and success, and who has her own plans to catch her brother and make him pay for having fun while she suffers in high school. Charlie Sheen has one of his earliest film appearances here as a stoner who comes into conflict with Jeannie in her efforts to expose her brother. This film is also noteworthy for the appearance of Ben Stein as the ultimate monotonous high school teacher. Eagle-eyed viewers will also see a number of future stars and character actors such as Kristy Swanson and Del Close. Ferris Bueller’s Day Off was released theatrically in 1986 when writer-director John Hughes was in his heyday as the creator of teen comedies that speak truth. In spite of some of the fantastic elements of the story, like Ferris becoming the star of a parade in downtown Chicago, this film is significant not just for its broad comedy elements but also for the universal truths sprinkled into this fantasy. This film succeeds in capturing the sweet melancholy of that moment when a high school senior comprehends the fact that he (or she) will finally finish high school, but that victory will be mitigated by the loss of friendships that will change, for better or for worse, at the end of high school. Ferris Bueller’s Day Off also includes the theme, common to other Hughes comedies of that time, in which teenagers makes the transition to adulthood when they learn to stand up to their parents and be respected for their beliefs and opinions. Ferris is the self-confident person we wish we had been in high school and his friend Cameron is the awkward teenager we probably were in high school. Although music and fashion have changed remarkably since 1986, the themes presented in this film are universal and are relevant to every generation. Video ( ½ out of ) The movie is in 1080p high definition in a 2.35:1 aspect ratio. Colors are vibrant although flesh tones tend to be pale. An appropriate level of film grain is present. Curiously, the film image appears soft even though there is no apparent digital noise reduction applied to the transfer. The quality of film stock used in the 1980s produced a softer looking image than we see in current films, so the softness of the image is probably not attributable to excess DNR. This film has never looked better on home video but it falls far short of reference quality. Audio ( out of ) The English 5.1 Dolby TrueHD tracks have a richness of sound that is surprising. Dialogue comes through strong front and center and the ambient sounds of traffic, people, and music give a full immersive surround sound experience. The school scenes make good use of directional dialogue and the music tracks (like “Twist and Shout”) have probably never sounded better than they do here. Special Features ( out of ) Notably absent is the excellent director’s commentary provided by John Hughes for the 1999 DVD release. The deleted scenes that have been sought after by fans for years are also missing in action, although videotape footage of filming of a deleted scene in the “Chez Quis” restaurant is included with the “Lost Tapes” special feature. Trailers for the film are also absent from the special features. The special features on this disc are identical to those included with the 2006DVD release. The special features are in 480p in their original 1.33:1 aspect ratio and include all of the following: Getting the Class Together: The Cast of Ferris Bueller’s Day Off (27:45): John Hughes and the cast offer individual interview footage about what the film meant to them in footage shot mostly in 2005. The actors who played Tom and Katie Bueller (Lyman Ward and Cindy Pickett) talk about how playing the parents of Ferris Bueller led to them being married to each other in real life. The Making of Ferris Bueller’s Day Off (15:29): John Hughes and the cast offer individual interview footage about their experiences making the film in footage shot mostly in 2005. Who Is Ferris Bueller? (9:12): The cast talk about the character of Ferris Bueller and how his actions move the story forward. The World According to Ben Stein (10:51): Ben Stein talks about his experience as an actor in this film as well as his work as a speechwriter for Presidents Nixon and Ford. Vintage Ferris Bueller: The Lost Tapes (10:16): Matthew Broderick, Alan Ruck, Mia Sara, and Jeffrey Jones interview each other on the set during the making of the film. This feature also includes videotape of filming a scene in the "Chez Quis" restaurant that was cut from the film. Class Album: Series of 18 promotional still photographs to cycle between using the left and right arrows on your remote control. Conclusion ( out of overall) Ferris Bueller’s Day Off is a fun film about high school (and escaping high school) that resonates with some true human experience in spite of its broad comedy and fantasy elements. The video and audio qualities on this Blu Ray probably could not be better on this transfer but the special features are disappointing, not for what is included, which is great stuff, but for what has been left out. There are no trailers for the film nor any deleted scenes. If you have the 1999 DVD version, that version is worth keeping for the excellent director’s commentary provided by John Hughes, which would have been a nice inclusion on this disc. In spite of the special features that should have been included but were not, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off is a great comedy that has never looked or sounded better than it does on this Blu Ray edition.