Platoon Release Date: Available now Studio: MGM Home Entertainment Packaging/Materials: Two-disc Blu-ray "ECO-BOX" with slipcover Year: 1986 Rating: R Running Time: 1:59:49 MSRP: $29.99 THE FEATURE SPECIAL FEATURES Video 1080p high definition 1.75:1 Standard and high definition Audio DTS-HD Master Audio: English 5.1 / Dolby Digital: English 4.0, Spanish 5.1, Portuguese 5.1, Czech 2.0, Magyar 2.0, / DTS: French 5.1, German 5.1, Italian 5.1, Russian 5.1, Castellano 5.1 Stereo Subtitles Feature: English SDH, Spanish, French, Portuguese, Danish, Finnish, German, Italian, Dutch, Norwegian, Russian, Castellano, Swedish, Czech, Greek, Chinese, Magyar, Korean, Polish, Portuguese, Hindi, Turkish Commentary: French, German, Italian Variable Note: This review contains material from my review of the 20th Anniversary Collector's Edition DVD. The Feature: 5/5 War is hell. Few people need convincing otherwise. In the Vietnam War film "Platoon" Director Oliver Stone elaborates on that common knowledge with an additional statement: "Hell is the impossibility of reason." And for the film's two-hour run time we see the extent of that impossibility, from the revelation that main character Chris Taylor (Charlie Sheen) volunteered for infantry on sheer principle, to the escalating acts of immorality in a village suspected of helping the enemy. By the film's end a singular act completes Taylor's loss of innocence, an act that on the surface seems just, but is as lacking in reason as the incident that spawned it. Ultimately he and the others who fought with him are left with the lifelong task of living with their experiences, trying to make sense of them. Stone, himself a Vietnam War veteran, offers no answers, offering only the wish that one's experiences can be used to help others. In this respect he sets a fine example in making "Platoon," an unmistakably personal film that never feels judgmental, honors the sacrifices made by so many, yet makes a clear statement about the senselessness of it all. For the ability of balancing these three elements alone, "Platoon" is required viewing. Video Quality: 4/5 The film is accurately framed at 1.85:1 and presented in 1080p with the AVC codec. The image has some inconsistencies to it, primarily in black levels and contrast, which can noticeably weaken during night scenes. However they can also look quite good in the same moments, suggesting those inconsistencies come from the source elements, not the transfer. Grain can get heavy as a result, though fortunately there have be no attempts to minimize it with noise reduction measures. Detail is decent, though wide shots lack a certain amount of definition; the format's higher resolution mostly becoming apparent in close ups. The picture tends to look the most stable and pleasing during daylight scenes, with colors that are muted but deep and contrast exhibiting the full range of values. The film also appears to have gone through at least a digital clean up, as the the occasional specs of dirt and damage that were visible on the DVD transfer are now gone. Audio Quality: 3.5/5 Dialogue in the 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio mix is generally clear and intelligible, though can sound a little muddled given the chaotic subject matter. Surrounds provide balanced and seamless environmental and directional effects, though certain scenes with droning insect noises could have been dialed back some. LFE is non-existent, and bass activity is a little weak considering the frequent number of explosions, but I can only assume that's due to the vintage of the mix rather than the track itself. Special Features: 4/5 The extras carry over most of the items from the 2006 Collector's Edition, though the omissions are fairly significant. The first is "A Tour of the Inferno," the hour-long documentary from 2001 that chronicles the making of the film. The other is the image gallery that had over 30 stills. Considering their absence, owners of the Collector's Edition will want to hang on to that version for the most complete set of extras. Audio commentary by Director Oliver Stone features the director sharing his actual experiences in relation to the events in the film. Though interesting, it often leads to him simply describing what is on screen. Audio commentary by Military Advisor Dale Dye is the more interesting of the two commentaries, providing more stories from production along with his personal experiences from the war. At times he also lapses into scene descriptions, but it doesn’t take long for him to return to interesting details about the film. Deleted and Extended Scenes (11:31, SD) are primarily character building moments that won’t be missed, though one gives more context to Taylor’s closing reference to Rah’s “battle over your soul” comment. The most interesting is the alternate ending which, in his commentary, Stone says is what he should have used in the film instead. The additional parts of the commentary, recorded in 2006, relate information about the real people behind characters like King and Rah. Enhanced for 16:9 televisions. Flashback to Platoon (48:38, SD) is a well-made and informative documentary from 2006. Users can play the piece in its entirety or jump into the following chapters: Snapshot in Time: 1967-1968 (19:15) provides historical background and analysis of the Vietnam War, in particular the year leading up to the Tet Offensive and the repercussions of that military victory on the political aspect of the war. Creating the ‘Nam (12:04) provides history of the production, from development to filming on location, and the challenges faced throughout. Includes interviews with Charlie Sheen, Editor Claire Simpson, Production Designer Bruno Rubeo and Producer Arnold Kopelson. Raw Wounds: The Legacy of Platoon (17:18) examines the affect the film had on Vietnam Veterans in particular and the American public in general. Includes interviews with combat veterans sharing their initial reactions to the film. One War Many Stories (25:32, SD) features veterans relating their stories after a special screening of the film, with Oliver Stone sharing his own experiences in a separate interview. Dale Dye stated in the previous documentary there will never be a definitive history of the Vietnam War given the length of the conflict and the number of individuals who served. "One War Many Stories" illustrates this point as the group of veterans share common but sometimes disparate experiences. This is a straightforward, but deeply moving piece that gives viewers a chance to hear directly from those who were there. "Preparing for ‘Nam” Documentary (6:36, SD) includes interviews with Vietnam War veterans talking about their military experiences. Caputo and the 7th Fleet (1:38, SD) is a brief interview of author Philip Caputo, who wrote "A Rumor of War," sharing his experience evacuating from Saigon at the end of the war. Dye Training Method (3:23, SD) features the military advisor describing the boot camp experience at Warriors, Inc. Gordon Gekko (1:06, SD) is an anecdote from Editor Claire Simpson about how "Wall Street's" Gordon Gekko got his name. Television Spots: Three 30-second commercials for the film. Theatrical Trailer (1:44, HD) DVD contains the feature presented in 1.85:1 anamorphic video and 448 kbps Dolby Digital 5.1 audio. There is also a Dolby Digital 2.0 Spanish language track and subtitle options of French and Spanish. The theatrical trailer is also included. Recap The Feature: 5/5 Video Quality: 4/5 Audio Quality: 3.5/5 Special Features: 4/5 Overall Score (not an average): 4.5/5 MGM Home Entertainment turns in a great presentation of Oliver Stone's deeply personal Vietnam War combat film. The special features package omits the hour-long making-of documentary from 2001, which is unfortunate considering this Blu-ray release could have easily been the definitive edition for the title. Nevertheless, the release's noticeably improved video and audio quality make it worthy of a purchase.