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Ferris Bueller's Day Off Blu-Ray Review



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#1 of 14 Neil Middlemiss

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Posted August 02 2011 - 03:18 PM


John Hughes ruled the 80’s. He wasn’t the most prolific or active of directors in that decade, nor was every one of his films a hit (She’s Having a Baby anyone?), but he struck a nerve with films that seemed to effortlessly understand the 80’s teenager; never pandering or pretending, but always genuinely heartfelt and funny whether it was the wacky Weird Science or the quintessential The Breakfast Club. He just seemed to ‘get it’. The 1980’s were a golden age for comedies, churning out classics (though that term may be driven more from personal preference) like Police Academy, The Naked Gun, The Blues Brothers, Tootsie, Spies Like Us, Coming to America, and a big bag of genuinely great films from John Hughes, chief among them the simple tale of a popular kid, Ferris Bueller, who fakes sickness to skive off from school with his girlfriend and best friend and enjoy a fantastic day away from high school.

 


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Ferris Bueller’s Day Off: 25th Anniversary

Bueller….Bueller….Edition


Studio: Paramount Pictures
Year: 1986
US Rating: PG-13
Film Length: 102 Minutes
Video: MPEG4-AVC 1080P High Definition 16X9


Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
Audio: English 5.1 Dolby TrueHD, English 2.0 Dolby Surround, English Mono


Subtitles: English, English SDH, French, Spanish and Portuguese


Release Date: August 2, 2011

Review Date: August 2, 2011


“Life moves pretty fast. If you don't stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it”


The Film: 4.5 out of 5


Ferris Bueller (Matthew Broderick) isn’t your average High School senior; he’s popular, clever, savvy and innocently mischievous in ways others can only envy. Tired of the rigmarole of high school, Ferris decides to feigns illness, putting one past his all too trusting parents, to provide himself, his sweet girlfriend Sloane (Mia Sara), and his dour, down-in-the-dumps, hypochondriac best friend Cameron (Alan Ruck) a fun day gallivanting throughout the wonders of the windy city. They will adventure from the Art Institute of Chicago to Wrigley field – with an impromptu, crowded street song and dance routine, while Bueller evades his Captain Ahab-like principle. Bueller easily freelances his way through Chicago, works on saving his best friend Cameron from himself, and inadvertently becomes the beneficiary of the ‘Save Ferris’ campaign sweeping his high school. It’s a grand day out!


Ferris Bueller’s Day Off is a perfect comedy with a wealth of delightful and memorable performances from everyone involved. Broderick is terrific – almost dashing – as the slyly astute teen. Hughes employs the rarely used convention of the lead character talking to the audience (by looking directly at the camera) – and Broderick is natural and comfortable dancing on either side of the breached fourth wall. Mia Sara is sweet and innocent, happily ebbing and flowing with the jaunty Broderick, while Ruck, whose Cameron character slips between depressed and begrudgingly complicit in Bueller’s affairs, is equally good. The persistent Principle Rooney, played with just the right level of mania by Jeffrey Jones, serves as a humorous caricature antagonist to Bueller’s easy mischief. Certain that Bueller is lying the Principle flaunt with breaking and entering, stalking, and larceny before all is said and done. Jones plays it very well and he’s a perfectly likeable foil. Jennifer Grey – of Dirty Dancing Fame, and former Nixon speechwriter (and Clear-Eyes guy) Ben Stein also star – with Stein now synonymous with the teacher who utters in the implacably monotone voice the instantly recognizable “Bueller…Bueller…Bueller…”


There is earnestness about Ferris Bueller’s Day Off that belies the simplicity of the hijinks, an earnestness of the kind that exists at the core of many of Hughes’ triumphs. In Bueller’s, the emotionally hollow relationship between Ferris’ best friend Cameron and his never seen father gives Hughes the canvas to deal with the subject of emotionally distant parents, scarred kids, and the inevitable rebellion that comes from such parental oppression and sterility. These are themes that Hughes explored in most of his 80’s directorial efforts; how individuals deal with their station in life, how we are deeply affected by those closest to us, and how important it is to look a little deeper than the surface to know someone (Hughes’ Planes, Trains & Automobiles taught us that perfectly).


John Hughes wrote and directed Ferris, showing off his adept comedic writing skills honed by the likes of National Lampoon’s Vacation, Class Reunion and Mr. Mom. As is frequently his inkwell, Hughes embellishes his story with fanciful moments that are just a little larger than life (like the aforementioned song routine, or Bueller’s backyard sprint to beat his parents home), and each moment is indelibly planted in our consciousness.


Ferris Bueller’s Day Off is just as genuinely engaging and lively a comedy as it was back in the 80s; though high school’s today look even more distant from this fanciful portrayal, there is, dare I say, a fairytale quality to the fun and that hasn’t aged a single day.


The Video:  4 out of 5


Framed at 2.35:1 and benefiting greatly from this high definition transfer, Bueller’s 25th anniversary edition is a gift. Superb detail compared to all previous home release iterations, superb color balance and, despite some detritus sprinkled throughout, a very impressive transfer.


Ferris Bueller’s Day Off marks the first film I have reviewed on my new, larger display – and I was curious to see how a now 25 year old film would hold up to the increased scrutiny. But this transfer is just gorgeous and a genuine surprise.



The Sound: 4 out of 5


Paramount has delivered Bueller on Blu-ray with a delicious English 5.1 Dolby TrueHD audio option.

The audio is impressive – good dynamic range, crisp dialogue, good balance throughout the audio sphere, even a surprising level of activity in the surrounds.


The playful soundtrack is a character in and of itself and the audio shows it off nicely!



The Extras: 3.5 out of 5


Getting the Class Together – The Cast of Ferris Bueller’s Day Off (27:45): Featuring reflective interviews with the cast members – and archival footage of the late John Hughes, this is a genuinely good walk down memory lane for how the actors came to be involved.  


The Making of Ferris Bueller’s Day Off (15:29): A look back at the making of the film – also featuring up-to-date interviews with cast and crew members – covers a lot of ground on how Ferris Bueller’s took off (and how Hughes wrote the screenplay in 6 days to avoid the complications of a looming writer’s strike). .


Who is Ferris Bueller (9:12): Again featuring archival footage of John Hughes (and others) discussing the easy going Ferris Bueller character.


The World According to Ben Stein (10:51): Ben Stein is a curious fella and this look at his unlikely rise in the film business (from a career in behind-the-scenes politics) is intriguing.  


Vintage Ferris Bueller: The Lost Tape (10:16): Revealing footage of Broderick and Ruck mucking about, as well as others missed with behind the scenes footage (note: Broderick isn’t the best interviewer)


Class Album: Navigate through images..



Final Thoughts


If you were in, getting ready to be in, or just coming out of High School in the 1980’s, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off is the perfect flight of fancy for the promise of what playing truant for one day can become. For others, buying into this day off as fabled imaginative endeavor is the perfect way to find new joy in this now 25 year old gem. John Hughes passed away almost 2 years ago – on August 6, 2009 – and his loss was tragic. But what he left us was a legacy of sweet, insightful, and very, very funny films.


Very much recommended!


Overall 4.5 out of 5


Neil Middlemiss

Kernersville, NC



"Equipped with his five senses, man explores the universe around him and calls the adventure Science" – Edwin Hubble
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#2 of 14 Adam Gregorich

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Posted August 02 2011 - 04:11 PM

Thanks Neil.  One of the best 80s films.  What display did you end up getting?



#3 of 14 Carlo Medina

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Posted August 02 2011 - 04:21 PM

It's a Cusack August for me! This and Better Off Dead! :D

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#4 of 14 montrealfilmguy

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Posted August 02 2011 - 04:27 PM

Thank you for the review. i'vw been wanting to buy this for a while. I have a question Is this only repackaging,what makes it different than the one Bluray that's been out for some time now ? Is there more extras ? for the record,although not one of his teen-themed films i did enjoy She's having a baby quite a lot.

#5 of 14 Radioman970

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Posted August 02 2011 - 11:46 PM

Was wondering if I should upgrade my DVD. I guess I WILL! :)
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#6 of 14 Michael:M

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Posted August 03 2011 - 02:11 AM

Didn't Hughes record a commentary for this film for one of the S-DVD releases? If so, it's a shame it's not included here, especially given his passing.
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#7 of 14 cafink

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Posted August 03 2011 - 02:16 AM

Yes, the original DVD release featured a director's commentary which has not appeared on any subsequent re-issue, which is a shame and a real loss. Personally, I'd trade all of the supplements on this Blu-ray edition for the commentary. Still, it's nice to have a good-looking, HD version of the film.
 

 


#8 of 14 Robert Crawford

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Posted August 03 2011 - 02:22 AM

If the extras are not in HD then it looks like this release is nothing, but a repackaged of the 2009 BRD release.








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#9 of 14 montrealfilmguy

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Posted August 03 2011 - 02:50 AM

That's what i thought. and that's great news cause the 2009 bluray is pocket change now.

#10 of 14 Felix Martinez

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Posted August 03 2011 - 08:39 AM



Originally Posted by cafink 

Yes, the original DVD release featured a director's commentary which has not appeared on any subsequent re-issue, which is a shame and a real loss. Personally, I'd trade all of the supplements on this Blu-ray edition for the commentary. Still, it's nice to have a good-looking, HD version of the film.


I kept that DVD with commentary, which resides next to the 2009 Blu-ray.  If this "new" release is the same as the 2009 disc, why re-release?  Did they add the Image Constraint Token or something on this disc?  (I say that in slight jest...)




#11 of 14 Neil Middlemiss

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Posted August 04 2011 - 04:56 AM


I ended up with the Mitsubishi WD-73738 (73" 3D) and a new Panasonic DMP-BDT310. I've been super impressed with both so far. Next up is an upgrade on my receiver - but that may be a little while :)

Originally Posted by Adam Gregorich 

Thanks Neil.  One of the best 80s films.  What display did you end up getting?





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#12 of 14 ManW_TheUncool

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Posted August 07 2011 - 08:15 AM

Niiice.  Long live DLP? Posted Image  BTW, I'm happy w/ my Panny BDT110 (your player's little sibling) so far as well despite being not too happy w/ Panny that my 1.5-yo BD60 (seemingly like so many other units of that model) has been losing its touch at reading certain BDs of late (and thus forcing me to get a new player).  So what 3D glasses are you using w/ that Mits?  OR did it come w/ glasses included?  I may start shopping for a couple pairs in the not-too-distant future since prices seem to be dropping closer and closer to my threshold (and some of them don't even need an IR emitter for DLPs now?), especially since I have a 3D player that can output the checkerboard 3D format (for my Sammy DLP) now.



And yeah, I too was wondering if this is just a repackaging of the previous BD release.  Sounds like it then...



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PS: Sorry about getting OT w/ the gear talk there. Posted Image



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#13 of 14 Neil Middlemiss

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Posted August 08 2011 - 07:36 AM

I'm using the True Depth 3D DLP-Link glasses (that I had to purchase seperately) and have been pleased with the performance - no issues so far watching the Panasonic sample disc, Resident Evil: Afterlife, and some of The Universe: 7 Wonders of the Solar System disc.


I labored over which unit to get. I'd been extremely happy with my Toshiba projection TV for almost ten years - she was a 65" beauty and I just could not see myself going smaller than that. I have a 50" plasma in the bedroom and have been mostly pleased with it. I researched until my eyes were ready to fall out and decided upon the DLP I did for its consistenly strong reviews, superb value for the money, and my being ok with something that wasnt' only a few inches thick. Again, I'm still in awe at how glorious the images produced are - and paired with my new Panny 3D blu-ray, I'm in hog heaven.


As for the movie, the special features aren't in HD and the press release (and research) indicates this isn't a new master so this one really is for those looking to upgrade from their DVD (which included me). Such a great film - I really hope Some Kind of Wonderful makes it to blu sometime soon.


And as for my comment in the opening regarding She's Having a Baby - I actually loved that film when it came out - but I was in the minority (along with Montrealfilmguy, apparently) ;)

Originally Posted by ManW_TheUncool 

Niiice.  Long live DLP? Posted Image  BTW, I'm happy w/ my Panny BDT110 (your player's little sibling) so far as well despite being not too happy w/ Panny that my 1.5-yo BD60 (seemingly like so many other units of that model) has been losing its touch at reading certain BDs of late (and thus forcing me to get a new player).  So what 3D glasses are you using w/ that Mits?  OR did it come w/ glasses included?  I may start shopping for a couple pairs in the not-too-distant future since prices seem to be dropping closer and closer to my threshold (and some of them don't even need an IR emitter for DLPs now?), especially since I have a 3D player that can output the checkerboard 3D format (for my Sammy DLP) now.



And yeah, I too was wondering if this is just a repackaging of the previous BD release.  Sounds like it then...



_Man_


PS: Sorry about getting OT w/ the gear talk there. Posted Image






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#14 of 14 montrealfilmguy

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Posted August 08 2011 - 09:50 AM

Hey Neil, i got an idea,let's ask Kevin bacon if he liked doing it,and because of the whole Bacon six degrees,we'll be in the majority somehow. :D Me,i'm a giant sucker for " memories " sequences,any film even Johnny Mnemonic,so when that Kate Bush song comes up,i'm already in Niagara falls territory. If there would have been a sequence like that in Plan 9...ok,maybe not Plan 9. And i love the ending credits where a bunch of ordinary folks and celeb cameos ( Roy Orbison ? ) are trying to suggest baby names . And that includes Ferris and tons from other Hugues movies. But yeah,a great film all around.