FERRIS BUELLER’S DAY OFF
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
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.
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.
( out of 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.