Studio: Warner Brothers
Film Length: 1 hour, 39 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 1080p High Definition Widescreen (1.85:1)
Audio: Dolby True HD, English Dolby Digital 5.1, French Dolby Digital 2.0, Spanish 1.0
Subtitles: English, French, Spanish
Release Date: September 16, 2008
( out of )
“Risky Business” is probably best known today as the film that launched Tom Cruise as a movie star. This movie may be best remembered for the scene in which Cruise struts in his underwear into his parent’s living room to the sounds of Bob Seger’s “Old Time Rock and Roll”.
Cruise plays Joel Goodsen, a somewhat innocent teenager who lets things get out of hand after his parents leave him home alone for the week. Rebecca De Mornay plays Lana, the beautiful call girl invited by Joel into his home before she turns his life upside down.
Joel’s dream is to be admitted into Princeton. While Joel’s friends have making money as their highest priority after graduation, Joel says he wants to serve the needs of his fellow man. The fascinating theme running through this movie is the question of whether Joel is really an idealist or if he becomes corrupted by the system. This theme becomes even more poignant in the alternate ending, which is among the special features on this 2 disc Blu-Ray set. (The second disc contains a digital copy for download to computer or other portable media device.)
Various misadventures befall Joel and his high school friends as they become involved with Lana and her prostitute friends. 25 years after its original theatrical release, “Risky Business” stands up remarkably well. It succeeds in being an artifact of the early 1980s even while it transcends the year in which it was made. Joel’s hopes and dreams in 1983 are the hopes and dreams of high school seniors in any year.
( out of )
The movie is in 1080p high definition in a wide-screen 1.85:1 aspect ratio. The special features are in 1080i high definition. The video quality is excellent throughout. Although some reviews have criticized this Blu-Ray for having some graininess, the grain seems to be attributable to the original film and not due to a shoddy transfer. Film does have grain, after all. The film image does not resemble a film shot with camera technology in 2008 nor should it. The 1080p transfer makes the film look new again and any softness of the image seems to be attributable to the way it was shot rather than the result of DNR. This transfer has no visible edge enhancement or artifacts. I can find no fault with the quality of the video.
This is not necessarily a Blu-Ray disc you are going to use as a showcase for the quality of your home theater when there are flashier, more modern special effects-laden movies available for that purpose. That fact is attributable to the nature of this film and not indicative of a poor transfer here. The video quality is most evident if you watch the trailer and compare that image to the restoration apparent in the feature film. Although the trailer has obviously been treated to some restoration, the colors are muted in the trailer and the blacks are not as solid as they should appear on a first generation master. The picture images on the film are remarkably free of dirt and debris, and I can easily imagine that the original celluloid looked just this way when it was first run in movie theaters in 1983.
( out of )
This movie has audio remastered in Dolby TrueHD and Dolby Digital 5.1 in English. The French soundtrack is Dolby Digital 2.0 and the Spanish is 1.0. This film has probably never sounded better than it does in Dolby TrueHD. The audio quality stands out particularly during some of the musical interludes, with “In The Air Tonight” by Phil Collins and Bob Seger’s “Old Time Rock and Roll” sounding particularly rich and pure. I do not think the CDs of these songs sound this good.
( out of )
The special features are all on disc 1 with the feature film. Disc 2 is the digital copy for download to computer or media devices. The special features are all presented in 1080i high definition. They include all of the following:
Introduction to Commentary (1:24): Video introduction to the director’s commentary featuring director Paul Brickman, executive producer Jon Avnet, and Tom Cruise.
Video Commentary (1:39:04): Picture in picture video commentary featuring director Paul Brickman, executive producer Jon Avnet, and Tom Cruise. Brickman, Avnet, and Cruise offer some interesting behind the scenes trivia about the filming of this movie. The video commentary is not continuous lasting throughout the film like some director’s commentaries; the video commentary disappears periodically and appears again when the principals have new comments or anecdotes to offer during the movie. A disc icon with arrows on either side appears helpfully in the upper left corner of the screen allowing you to move forward and back to skip portions of the film not having commentary. This feature is available on Blu-Ray players having minimum profile 1.1 firmware
The Dream Is Always The Same: The Story of Risky Business (29:30) This documentary is offered as a 25th anniversary retrospective of the film discussing the cultural influence of this film with comments by the director, executive producer, actors, and film critics.
Original Screen Tests (14:33): These are the original screen tests by Tom Cruise and Rebecca De Mornay. These tests were filmed on videotape in 1982. This is the only special feature to have poor video quality, which is attributable understandably to the videotape source of the material. It is interesting watching the stars give readings of their dialogue that is much different from the same dialogue in the feature film.
Director’s Cut of the Final Scene From Risky Business (7:24): The original ending was considered too downbeat so a second, more conventional ending was filmed. Audiences attending test screenings in 1983 preferred the second ending and that is the ending we have seen for the last 25 years. The original ending is arguably the better ending and is definitely truer to the tone of the film. If this film were being released for audiences today, I believe the original ending might have remained in the film.
Original Theatrical Trailer (1:27): This trailer has been somewhat cleaned up but the muted colors are in direct contrast to the superior picture in the film itself.
( ½ out of overall)
“Risky Business” is an artistic, entertaining, snapshot of coming of age in the early 1980s. Some critics say films like Oliver Stone’s “Wall Street” capture the spirit of the 1980s. A good argument can be made that “Risky Business” is the archetypal 80s movie. This movie has more depth than I gave it credit for when I saw it 25 years ago. The original ending of the movie is much darker, is arguably superior to the regular ending, and is definitely worth a look. Even if you have seen this movie before, this 25th anniversary Blu-Ray edition deserves to be seen. You may possibly appreciate this movie more now, as I did, than you did all those years ago.