XenForo Template Platoon 20th Anniversary Collector's Edition Note: Special features in green font are carryovers from the 2001 Special Edition. Release Date: May 30, 2006 Studio: MGM Studios Year: 1986 Rating: R Running Time: 2h00m Video: 1.85:1 anamorphic (Special Features 1.33:1 unless noted otherwise) Audio: English DD5.1, English DTS 5.1, French DD2.0, Spanish DD2.0 (Special Features: English DD2.0) Subtitles: English, French, Spanish TV-Generated Closed Captions: English Menus: Non-animated with some transitions Packaging/Materials: Single disc keepcase with plastic slipcover; eight-page booklet MSRP: $24.96 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 against war. For the ability of balancing these three elements alone, "Platoon" is required viewing. Video Quality: 2.5/5 Print damage and dust and dirt specks are visible early but seem to diminish as the film progresses. Black levels are generally good, though tending to get a little muddy in the darker scenes. Colors have the muted quality typical of film stock used at the time, with fleshtones accurate overall. However many night scenes have a purple tint to them. I'm uncertain whether this is the intent, a result of the film stock or a combination of both. Minor edge enhancement is visible in scenes with the most extreme contrast. Wide shots exhibit a loss of background detail with occasional softness to the overall image. In comparison to the transfer on the 2001 Special Edition, the new transfer's image is a touch soft and less bright. Special Edition owners may want to hold onto their copies for the better picture quality, not to mention the inclusion of the original stereo audio track. Collectors with no existing copy may want to look to eBay or HTF's sale forums or wait for the film in HD. Audio Quality: 2.5/5 While a DTS 5.1 audio track is included I could discern no appreciable difference between it and the DD5.1, which also seems identical to that on the 2001 Special Edition. Dialogue sounds muffled and unclear at times, with a few instances of raspy or reverberent noise, seeming to bleed into the surround speakers. The mix is generally front-heavy, with surrounds engaging mostly with jungle environmental effects, helicopter flyovers and support for the score. The subwoofer kicks in with LFE minimally, even during the most heavy combat scenes. My overall impression is the audio track could use some restoration and purists would probably appreciate the option of the original audio format (which can be found on the previous Special Edition). The sound is serviceable as it is but the film deserves better. Special Features (Packaging): 3/5 Eight-page booklet providing a history of the film, with some production stills. Special Features (Disc 1): 3.5/5 Audio commentary by Director Oliver Stone: Throughout his commentary Stone shares 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: Dye’s commentary is the more interesting of the two, providing more stories from production along with his personal experiences from the war. At times he also lapses into on screen descriptions, but it doesn’t take long for him to return to interesting details about the film. Special Features (Disc 2): 4.5/5 Deleted and Extended Scenes (11m31s): Scenes are primarily character building moments that generally won’t be missed, though one scene 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. Video is 16:9. "Flashback to Platoon” (48m35s): The 2006 documentary is well made and informative. Users can play the piece in its entirety or jump into the following chapters: Snapshot in Time: 1967-1968: 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: 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: 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” Documentary (25m31s): Veterans relate 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 straightfoward, but deeply moving piece that gives viewers a chance to hear directly from those who were there. Definitely required viewing. "A Tour of the Inferno: Revisiting Platoon” Documentary (53m03s): Polished and well made documentary from 2001 covers casting, actors’ boot camp experiences, filming and public response to the film. Includes interviews with Willem Dafoe, John McGinley, Johnny Depp, Charlie Sheen and Tom Berenger. "Preparing for ‘Nam” Documentary (6m37s): Interviews with veterans about the military experience in Vietnam. Easter Egg: I found it purely by accident and I won’t share where it’s located. What I will share is it consists of a humorous anecdote from Editor Claire Simpson about the origin of Gordon Gecko. Photo Galleries: Over 30 behind-the-scenes production stills and posters. Television Spots: Three 32-second commercials for the film. Theatrical Trailer (1m51s) Previews: “James Bond Ultimate Collection,” “The Great Escape,” “Windtalkers (Director’s Cut),” “The Best of World War II Movies,” “The Patriot (Extended Cut),” “Raging Bull (Collector’s Edition),” “Black Hawk Down (Extended Edition)” Recap and Final Thoughts The Feature: 5/5 Video Quality: 2.5/5 Audio Quality: 2.5/5 Special Features (Packaging): 3/5 Special Features (Disc 1): 3.5/5 Special Features (Disc 2): 4.5/5 Overall Score (not an average): 3.5/5 If not for the slight step back in the feature’s picture quality and loss of the original stereo track, this would be an easy recommendation. As it is, collectors are once again faced with owning multiple copies of the film for different reasons - the 2006 Collector’s Edition standing out for its special features. Sticklers for picture quality will likely want to hunt down a copy of the 2001 release and forego this latest edition – or wait until the inevitable HD release. Equipment: Toshiba 42" CRT RPTV fed a 1080i signal from an Oppo DV-971 DVD player. Audio evaluation is based on an Onkyo TX-SR575x 5.1 AVR running JBL S26 mains and surrounds, JBL S-Center, and SVS 20-39 PCi subwoofer.