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Blu-ray Review HTF BLU-RAY REVIEW: The Breakfast Club

Discussion in 'Blu-ray and UHD' started by Kevin EK, Aug 3, 2010.

  1. Kevin EK

    Kevin EK Well-Known Member
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    The Breakfast Club

    25th Anniversary Edition


    Studio: Universal

    Year: 1985

    Length:  1 hr 37 mins

    Genre: Teen Dramedy


    Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1


    BD Resolution: 1080p

    BD Video Codec: VC-1 (@ an average 33 mbps) (gets up to 50 mbps at times…)

    Color/B&W: Color


    Audio:

    English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 (@ an average 3.5 mbps) (up to 5.1 mbps at times…)

    French DTS-HD 2.0


    Subtitles: English SDH, French, Spanish


    Film Rating: R (Language, Discussion of Sexuality, Drug Use)


    Release Date: August 3, 2010


    Starring:  Emilio Estevez, Paul Gleason, Anthony Michael Hall, Judd Nelson, Molly Ringwald, Ally Sheedy

    Written and Directed by: John Hughes


    Film Rating:    3/5



    The Breakfast Club arrives on Blu-ray in its fourth or fifth DVD-era release, this time incorporating elements of two prior releases to create a “25th Anniversary Edition”.  In reality, what you’re looking at appears to be a combination of the 1080p VC-1 picture transfer from the HD-DVD, a new encode of the sound mix in DTS-HD MA, and the special features created two years ago for the “High School Flashback Edition” in the red faux-locker packaging.   It’s not a bad disc, but there’s nothing new under the sun here, and if you already have the prior releases, you’ll really want to think about whether you truly need the upgrade.


    That said, this is still a film that I enjoy and appreciate as a kind of memento from my youth.  As written and directed by John Hughes at an early peak of his writing/directing career, the movie is an in-depth look at five teenagers stuck in detention on Saturday.  Things start with the most stereotypical presentation of each of them, and as the movie progresses, we learn a lot about what lies under the surface of each of the kids.  As I noted in my review of the “High School Flashback Edition” (from which I’ll pull some relevant material for the special features below), John Hughes had a gift that combined a basic understanding of simple slapstick comedy with a deeper understanding of teen anxieties.  And he had an ear for teen dialogue that spoke to teens in their own language.  This film made an impact in 1985 because it was a way of directly addressing a series of teen anxieties without creating an artificial comic scenario to cloak them.  Instead, the film makes the characters and the audience sit with each other long enough for the various armors to come down.  The eventual monologues that come from the teenagers lurch from self-importance to something much rawer, but there’s an undercurrent of real feeling that permeates the film.  And it’s that undercurrent that continues to give the film life today. 


    The Breakfast Club is being released today on Blu-ray with what I described today as a recombination of materials and transfers previously available on earlier releases – with the caveat that the sound has been re-encoded to DTS-HD MA.    The special features from the “High School Flashback Edition” are included here in standard definition, along with the usual Blu-ray functionality, including BD-Live and the My Scenes bookmarking function.


    I need to repeat a note I made on the 2008 review, which is that while it’s nice that a commentary track has been included here, along with a couple of collections of interview snippets, the special features here really suffer from the absence of both John Hughes and Molly Ringwald.   The absence of Ringwald is bad enough, but the absence of Hughes means that any idea of a full perspective of how this film was conceived or made is impossible to find here.  



    VIDEO QUALITY   3/5

    The Breakfast Club is presented in a 1080p VC-1 1.85:1 transfer that I believe comes directly from the prior HD-DVD release.  It’s not a bad transfer, and in fact Robert Harris gave it a thumbs-up here on this forum when the HD-DVD made its debut.  The bitrates go a little higher than I would have thought, given that the source print is a bit dirty and that this wasn’t a high-budget production.  I’ve read some complaints elsewhere about the jumpiness of the opening credits, but this didn’t bother me that much.  (I recall an identical issue watching video releases of Poltergeist.)     I should note that I am watching the film on a 40” Sony XBR2 HDTV. If anyone is watching the film on a larger monitor and is having issues, please post them on this thread.



    AUDIO QUALITY   3/5

    The Breakfast Club is presented in an English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 mix, which mostly comes to life during the musical sequences, when Simple Minds’ “Don’t You Forget About Me” plays through all the channels and the subwoofer.  The dialogue is fairly clear, and the mix primarily lives in the front channels, as you might expect from a film set in a detention hall.  A French DTS-HD 2.0 mix is also presented here, which looks like it’s a re-encode of the French Dolby Digital Plus 2.0 mix from the HD-DVD.


    SPECIAL FEATURES      2 ½/5

    The Blu-Ray presentation of The Breakfast Club  comes with the usual BD-Live connectivity and My Scenes functionality, as well as the special features generated for the “High School Flashback Edition", all presented in standard definition.


    Feature Commentary with Anthony Michael Hall, Judd Nelson and Jason Hillhouse – Direct from the 2008 DVD, we get a scene-specific commentary for this film, but instead of John Hughes, we have Hall and Nelson being gently prodded along by DVD producer Jason Hillhouse. They relate some material about the location shoot and the rehearsals, but their observations are unfortunately limited. It’s a congenial chat between people that enjoy each other’s company, but there isn’t anything groundbreaking here. Much of what is discussed here also pops up in the featurettes.


    Sincerely Yours (51:09, Anamorphic, 480p) – This is a series of interview snippets in 12 parts, with Hall and Nelson, joined by John Kapelos and Ally Sheedy and others including Diablo Cody and Michael Lehmann. Again, some interesting material comes out here and there – Sheedy admits her on-set nickname for Hall, and all of them express their affection for Paul Gleason – but this is not that revealing of a piece. Once again, the absence of John Hughes and Molly Ringwald can really be felt here.


    The Most Convenient Definitions: The Origins of the Brat Pack (5:34, Anamorphic, 480p) – This is a brief discussion via interview snippets of the label “The Brat Pack” and how that applied to the various younger actors who became stars during the 1980’s. The origin of the term as related to the two films is revealed as coming from an article by David Blum on Emilio Estevez that blossomed into something else.


    Theatrical Trailer (1:28, Non-Anamorphic, 480p) – A non-anamorphic older copy of the trailer is included on the disc. It’s in decent shape, but there is some dirt and distress here and there on the print.


    BD-Live - The more general BD-Live screen is accessible via the menu, which makes various online materials available, including tickers, trailers and special events. 


    My Scenes - The usual bookmarking feature is included here.


    The film is subtitled in English, French and Spanish.  The usual pop-up menu is present, along with a complete chapter menu. 



    IN THE END...

    The Breakfast Club continues to be an interesting and worthwhile film, even its fourth or fifth release on DVD or high definition.  The current release combines the HD transfer from the HD-DVD with the standard definition special features of the 2008 DVD release.  John Hughes fans who have never owned the film on DVD may well want to pick this up, but anyone with a prior release in hand may want to rent it first.


    Kevin Koster

    August 3, 2010. 

     
  2. Powell&Pressburger

    Powell&Pressburger Well-Known Member

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    I will buy this edition after work today, but I can't help but wish those TV scenes could be added on a release as deleted scenes etc. Rumor is from an article that I read in I believe Premiere Magazine a few years back was that Universal owns the theatrical cut of The Breakfast Club, but John Hughes at the time when he was alive owned the longer cut of the film that has only ever been discussed and of course several scenes that made it into the TV cut that I loved.


    And yeah that is one high bit rate. at least no issues of degrading the transfer with DNR etc.
     
  3. Kevin EK

    Kevin EK Well-Known Member
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    One of my regrets about the 2008 edition (and thus this one as well) is that they didn't include the longer Hughes cut. It really would have been nice to see the footage, but maybe we'll get to see that in a Really Special Edition in another few years...
     
  4. David Deeb

    David Deeb Well-Known Member

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    Got this ordered & looking forward to receiving & watching this weekend. Nice review.


    I'm really surprised at the lack of attention given to truly special BD editions of all of the John Hughes films.

    Glad to get these interviews at least, but there has to be quite a bit of deleted scenes, behind the scenes, promotional material, retrospectives and other material waiting to be tapped for this film, Ferris, Weird Science, Planes / Trains, Uncle Buck, etc.

    SUBMIT
     
  5. Kevin EK

    Kevin EK Well-Known Member
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    You'd think there would be.

    The "High School Flashback Edition" DVDs in 2008 covered Sixteen Candles, Breakfast Club and Weird Science. Same basic treatment on all 3 - interview snippet collections and the odd featurette. Breakfast Club at least had the commentary track - it was the only one to get one.


    The only time that John Hughes did a commentary of which I'm aware was Ferris Bueller. I still have that DVD, specifically for that reason.
     

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