DVD Review HTF REVIEW: Stripes: Extended Cut

Discussion in 'DVD' started by Aaron Silverman, Jun 16, 2005.

Tags:
  1. Aaron Silverman

    Aaron Silverman Executive Producer

    Joined:
    Jan 22, 1999
    Messages:
    11,008
    Likes Received:
    681
    Location:
    Florida
    Real Name:
    Aaron Silverman
    [​IMG]
    Stripes: Extended Cut[​IMG]

    US Theatrical Release: None (Original cut: June 26, 1981) (Columbia Pictures)
    US DVD Release: June 7, 2005
    Running Time: 2:02:48 (28 chapter stops)
    Rating: R (Sexuality/ Nudity, Language and Some Drug Use)
    Video: 1.85:1 Anamorphic (Extra Features: 4:3 non-anamorphic)
    Audio: English DD5.1 (Extra Features: English DD2.0)
    Subtitles: English, French (Extra Features: None)
    TV-Generated Closed Captions: English
    Menus: Brief (skippable) animated transitions plus some background animation
    Packaging: Standard keepcase with cardboard slipcover; single-sheet insert has cover images for other titles on one side and a cut & fold EM-50 RV Super-Weapon on the other.
    MSRP: $19.94

    THE WAY I FEEL ABOUT IT: 3.5/5

    An iconic comedy of the early 80s gets a second DVD release, sporting a new 5.1 mix and 18 minutes of previously deleted scenes, in Stripes: Extended Cut. Many people counted the original film among their favorites of the era, and it catapulted Bill Murray from TV popularity to movie stardom. (Of course, it's a long way from John Winger to Steve Zissou!)

    One could say that Stripes is quite dated, which is both a good and a bad thing. All told, the film has held up pretty well, and the "new" material is funny, if not brilliant. It's got an element of nostalgia too. On the other hand, this is state-of-the-art 1981 humor, originally written as a Cheech & Chong vehicle. Take that for what it's worth.

    John Winger (Bill Murray) and Russell Ziskey (Harold Ramis) are two ne'er-do-wells whose random wanderings eventually lead them into the US Army and basic training. Of course, they clash immediately with their tough-as-nails drill sergeant, the appropriately named Sgt. Hulka (Warren Oates). Hulka certainly has his work cut out for him, as the unit is filled with eccentric characters for whom discipline is a foreign concept (including John Candy, Judge Reinhold, and John Diehl in early roles). He also has to put up with his goofy and immature commander, Captain Stillman (John Larroquette).

    Fortunately for John and Russell, who can't seem to stay out of trouble, the base is patrolled by a pair of softies -- Stella Hansen (P. J. Soles) and Louise Cooper (Sean Young, in her major film debut). These two young MPs can't help but be charmed by the lovably irreverent recruits, and manage to keep them out of the stockade. As an added bonus, the guys get a chance to temper their otherwise harsh training regimen with a little nookie.

    The comedy in Stripes runs the gamut from simple gratuitous nudity and physical slapstick to witty innuendo ("Have you ever had the Aunt Jemima Treatment?" and fairly inspired one-liners ("We're not homosexual -- but we're willing to learn!"). Nothing here is going to tax anyone's brain -- it's just good solid silliness. Those seeking wit at a more intellectual level should look elsewhere.

    There are a few dramatic moments too, mainly involving Winger and Sgt. Hulka. Rather than feeling like the humor is being sidetracked, as with many other comedies that get caught up in trying to resolve a meaningless plot, these scenes serve to ground the characters and give them a bit of heart. They bring the film a touch of depth while being brief enough to not drag the pace down.

    Unfortunately, Stripes does go a bit astray in the third act. A la Full Metal Jacket and many other true war films, the action moves from the training base to an actual military incident -- in this case involving an armored, rocket-armed recreational vehicle(!) that travels between Italy, Germany, and Czechoslovakia as though they were LA, Anaheim, and Burbank. There are still laughs to be had during these sequences, but the low-rent action scenes don't really add much to the overall experience. And considering the 2 hour-plus running time of the new cut, a shorter film that simply had a different ending set up at the training base wouldn't have been out of the question.

    The disc provides the option of watching either the original or the extended cut of the film. However, there is a minor irritation either way. When viewing the extended cut, a small subtitle (i.e., "Bonus Scene Begins/ Ends" briefly appears at the beginning and end of each restored scene. This cannot be turned off. In addition, on some players (check the later posts in this thread for details), the regular subtitles will automatically turn on each time one of these scene markers appears. When viewing the original cut, there is a momentary pause, similar to a layer change, at each transition where one of the deleted scenes appears in the extended version. So which version to watch? The extended material is, for the most part, on par with the rest of the movie, so it's worth checking out. (On the other hand, some of it is a bit too "extended,"such as an 8-minute sequence of the guys parachuting into an unnamed Latin American jungle.) The "Bonus Scene" subtitles are distracting, but they're not that bad, and those who watch the film with the subtitles or closed captions on will hardly notice them.

    THE WAY I SEE IT: 2.5/5

    The image is passable, but it isn't going to win any awards. Detail is fairly soft for the most part. There's noticeable edge enhancement and digital noise, but not enough to be awful. On the other hand, colors are rich and realistic. Blacks are pretty good, although there is room for improvement. Occasional specks and scratches from the source print are visible. The overall picture quality is a bit inconsistent -- some scenes look much better than others, which is likely partially due to the age of the source.


    THE WAY I HEAR IT: 4/5

    Although the original mono track is not included, the 5.1 remix is very nicely done. Things are mainly front and center, with the front sides and rears used for embellishment of music and effects. The LFE channel is also used appropriately. The mix is well put-together, with clear dialogue and OK dynamic range. Ivan Reitman mentions in the commentary track that the original 3-track music masters were used, and it shows. When a 5.1 mix is created to replace a mono source, this is what it should sound like.


    THE SWAG: 3/5 (rating combines quality and quantity)

    Commentary With Director Ivan Reitman And Writer/ Producer Dan Goldberg

    Reitman and Goldberg turn in a chatty, slightly above-average track. They go into a good amount of detail, although there are a few brief dead spots. Annoyingly, they reference a number of outtakes and suggest that the viewer check them out on the DVD, but they're nowhere to be found (unless they're hidden in an Easter Egg somewhere -- I hate Easter Eggs). Selecting the commentary track will automatically play the extended cut of the film.

    Stars And Stripes Part I (28:13)

    A collection of interviews with most of the major players in the film about the experience of the production, with a number of film clips mixed in. There's a lot of compliments being passed back and forth, but it's actually pretty entertaining, as this is a colorful bunch of characters in real life in addition to being wacky in the movie.

    Stars And Stripes Part II (27:28)

    A continuation of interviews and film clips. More of the same, obviously split up to keep things under the magic 30-minute limit. It's not the deepest making-of documentary, but it is fun and fans will want to watch it anyway.

    Deleted Scenes (17:44)

    These six scenes are simply the material that was re-inserted to create the extended cut of the film. They're anamorphic and have DD5.1 audio, which is always nice to see in the extra features, but watching them separately isn't really necessary after having watched the extended cut. Unfortunately, other outtakes referenced in the commentary aren't included.

    Previews:

    Four trailers are included. They can be selected from the main menu or the Special Features menu.
    • Stripes (2:15) (DD2.0; 1.33:1 non-anamorphic)
    • D. E. B. S. (1:56) (DD2.0; 1.78:1 anamorphic)
    • 80s Hits (Ghostbusters, The Big Chill, The Karate Kid, St. Elmo's Fire, Stripes, & Stand By Me (2:52) (DD2.0; 1.33:1 non-anamorphic)
    • Hitch (2:27) (DD5.1; 1.78:1 anamorphic)
    SUMMING IT ALL UP

    The Way I Feel About It: 3.5/5
    The Way I See It: 2.5/5
    The Way I Hear It: 4/5
    The Swag: 3/5


    With the incredible amount of double-dipping going on these days, it's nice to see a re-release that adds some substantive value and that doesn't appear until several years after the first disc. (I did not get a chance to compare the releases directly, but I have heard that the A/V quality of the new disc is far superior to that of the original.) Although Stripes doesn't really qualify as a true classic, it is a funny and much-loved film that shouldn't raise eyebrows by getting the Special Edition re-release treatment. With two cuts of the film, a nice presentation, and extra features that are worth checking out, despite the one annoyance of the forced "Bonus Scene" subtitles, Stripes: Extended Cut is worth picking up for any fan of the film.
     
  2. Bill Thomann

    Bill Thomann Supporting Actor

    Joined:
    Nov 2, 2003
    Messages:
    581
    Likes Received:
    1
    Great review. I too found the "bonus scene" subtitle slightly distracting but not enough to be annoying (the way X Men inserts their bonus footage is). I've always heard about the under 30 minute deal for docs but what exactly happens if they combined those into one 55:41 documentary? Is there more $$$ that they have to shell out to the participants? Also, they show About Last Night in the 80's trailer but don't specifically refer to it when talking about the other 4 new transfers. Is About Last Night also going to get one?

    Definitely glad I double dipped on this one.
     
  3. Aaron Silverman

    Aaron Silverman Executive Producer

    Joined:
    Jan 22, 1999
    Messages:
    11,008
    Likes Received:
    681
    Location:
    Florida
    Real Name:
    Aaron Silverman

    I hope so! I'll keep my eyes on the upcoming release list.

    Glad you liked the review!
     
  4. Bill Williams

    Bill Williams Screenwriter

    Joined:
    May 28, 2003
    Messages:
    1,699
    Likes Received:
    0
    I saw this at the store the other day and thought about getting it. Every time I've seen this film on TV, I found myself watching it and getting into it, it's that much a part of my youth. When I saw the previous DVD release at the store, I said to myself, "They can do better than this." Looks like they have! And your review's pretty much sold me on it, Aaron. Thanks! [​IMG]

    "That's the fact, Jack!"

    "Gentlemen, it's party time, Italian style!"
     
  5. Jeff D Han

    Jeff D Han Supporting Actor

    Joined:
    Mar 2, 2003
    Messages:
    566
    Likes Received:
    0
    Thanks for the review, Aaron.[​IMG]

    I watched the extended cut, and in this case, longer
    isn't better. Reitman and the editor made the right trims
    to the movie for the theatrical release.

    I'll be listening to the commentary track soon.
     
  6. MarcoBiscotti

    MarcoBiscotti Producer

    Joined:
    Sep 2, 2003
    Messages:
    4,799
    Likes Received:
    1
    I'm a little torn on what to do with this new release...

    Stripes is one of my favorite Reitman comedies that I grew up watching as a kid andabsolutely love. It's one of those perfect Sunday morning hangover flicks that you can rewatch every weekend.

    But I'm concerned about a few things that I read about the Extended Edition DVD...


    First of all, from almost all accounts, the reinserted deleted scenes add nothing of value to the film and slow down the pacing and make for awkward continuance. I'm interested in seeing them in place, but in all likelihood will probably not rewatch the film as such more than once.

    I'm really interested in this new DVD for the newly mastered and improved anamorphic transfer, and commentary. Those are my draws.

    From what I've read about the deleted scenes, there is actually an on-screen marker which pops up as indication and stays throughout the remainder of the scene while viewing the extended cut. I find this ridiculous and sounds very distracting. The whole point of movie watching is to escape your reality for the hour and a half that the film is screening and be wholly absorbed in the world of the movie. I don't want on-screen reminders and pop-ups littered throughout my DVD!

    That's one HUGE turnoff for me.


    But, thankfully we still have the regular theatrical cut. This is the version I'll almost always chose.

    But... I've read some less than positive comments about this cut as well.

    Apparently, it's just an edited version of the extended cut of the film and so while viewing, it simply cuts out the extended scenes in a choppy editing fashion and leaves a very awkward and offbeat flow and progression to the theatrical cut.

    This is what worries me the most and is why I am bringing this thread back up. I'd like tohear more opinions on this because I'm not even sure if it'd be worth upgrading if this is how the movie's going to be presented...

    Can anyone please tell me exactly how bad it is, without getting overdramatic or exagerrating the circumstances, is it really noticeable that the cut of the movie you're watching has been tampered with?

    How many scenes or overall minutes of the film are subjected to this and how long do the effects last?

    WHAT exactly are the effects -- pauses, frame jumps, etc?

    Are any actual scenes from the theatrical cut tampered with in a way that footage is actually cut due to this strange editing method?

    Again, Stripes is one of my favorite 80's comedies around and I'm really only looking to improve resolution and a/v quality for my H.T. setup (it makes a difference when viewing on a 100" front DLP setup), but I see no need in keeping 2 copies of the same film on shelf.

    If I buy the new one, I will sell the older disc simply because tghe reason I bought it in the first place was for the improved transfer over the old disc. That's all I care about and won't buy it to have it collect dust while I watch the older trsansfer...

    If I won't be watching the movie that I love in a convenient or enjoyable manner however, than I'll not bother with the new extended cut and stick with my older non-anamorphic transfer.

    So what do you guys think?

    Please give me your opinions - I really need your help in making a decision!


    Is it overall, worth the upgrade in light of the issues cited above? Does the editing really effect the flow of the movie and is it noticeable for more than 3 seconds here and there. Is it really that significant, especially to somebody that knows the movie so well?

    Please help me out.

    Thanks.
     
  7. Jeff D Han

    Jeff D Han Supporting Actor

    Joined:
    Mar 2, 2003
    Messages:
    566
    Likes Received:
    0
    Marco-

    I watched only the extended cut of the film, and
    the pop-ups marking the re-inserted scenes are there
    at the beginning and the end of the scenes only, not
    throughout the scenes.

    The picture transfer is OK, not great. Some scenes
    look pretty grainy to me. The extended scenes are
    more grainy than the rest of the film.

    I think it was a good thing that CTS included both
    versions of the film in this SE so collectors don't have
    to have to keep the old DVD for the theatrical cut.
     
  8. MarcoBiscotti

    MarcoBiscotti Producer

    Joined:
    Sep 2, 2003
    Messages:
    4,799
    Likes Received:
    1
    But Jeff, what about the iussues regarding the poorly inserted-edited theatrical cut from the longer extended version?

    THAST'S what really concerns me more than anything. Having apparent cuts from scenes where they normally would've been smoothly edited... that's what worries me and I want to know how significant it is.

    Would everyone agree that the picture is a marked improvement over the original... considering it being screened on a 100" projection screen?

    What's the verdict guys, I want your honest opinions on these issues?
     
  9. TonyD

    TonyD Who do we think I am?
    Supporter

    Joined:
    Dec 1, 1999
    Messages:
    17,295
    Likes Received:
    473
    Location:
    Disney World and Universal Florida
    Real Name:
    Tony D.
    i watched the xtended cut.
    i hardly noticed were the new scenes started and ended because i barely noticed any of the subtitle telling you it was a new scene.

    it is there for maybe a second.
    if you turn away for a sec you'll miss it.

    i thought the extra scenes were fine and didnt take anything awawy from the movie in terms of pacing or comedy.
     
  10. Jeff Whitford

    Jeff Whitford Screenwriter

    Joined:
    Dec 31, 1998
    Messages:
    1,254
    Likes Received:
    1
    I've decided to keep my original and trade away the extended cut. I cant tell a real difference transfer wise.The scenes really dont add much. Some are stupid. Some of the special features were interesting but not Bill Murrays interview.I have a Panasonic RP56 which is a great player in virtually every aspect for layer changes. Which you can always tell when you get to one. Well when watching the new disc with the theatrical version each time you get to where one of the extended scenes would have been its like a layer change. No thanks. I suggest renting the new one and checking it out for yourself.
     
  11. MarcoBiscotti

    MarcoBiscotti Producer

    Joined:
    Sep 2, 2003
    Messages:
    4,799
    Likes Received:
    1
    Thanks and good idea Jeff,

    I haven't been to a video rental outlet in a year and a half but I think I'll be making a trip this week. It'll give me a chance to sample a few other flicks I had second thoughts on picking up as well.

    Just to confirm though, the effects of the video editing from the extended feature appear as layer changes on the theatrical cut?

    How many deleted scenes are there exactly and does the screen freeze up or pause just for a brief half second or more like 4-5 seconds?

    Anyways, thanks for the feedback. I'm hanging onto my old disc in the meanwhile just in case and I'll make it a point to rent the extended cut sometime this week.

    It's really a shame that Columbia didn't get this one right. I was highly anticipating it for some time now...
     
  12. Jeff Whitford

    Jeff Whitford Screenwriter

    Joined:
    Dec 31, 1998
    Messages:
    1,254
    Likes Received:
    1

    Probably 5 or6. That depends on how your player handles layer changes.
     
  13. Aaron Silverman

    Aaron Silverman Executive Producer

    Joined:
    Jan 22, 1999
    Messages:
    11,008
    Likes Received:
    681
    Location:
    Florida
    Real Name:
    Aaron Silverman
    Marco,

    Give it a rental and check it out. If it turns out that you like the new scenes, the markers are not terribly distracting -- they only appear for a couple of seconds at a time. Opinions on the new scenes are mixed, so only you (or someone who knows your tastes very well) will be able to say for sure whether you'll like them. Personally, I mostly liked them, although one is 8 minutes long and takes the story off on a very random tangent (it does have some good laughs).

    At any rate, the commentary and hour-long interview feature are certainly worth the rental, even if you decide that you don't like the extended cut.
     
  14. Craig Sherman

    Craig Sherman Stunt Coordinator

    Joined:
    Jul 10, 2002
    Messages:
    176
    Likes Received:
    0
    I find it fascinating that nobody's mentioned the true value (at least to me) in this extended cut.

    Sure, the jungle diversion during boot camp was silly and unnecessary, but how about the "honeymoon" sequence with John & Russell hooking up with the girls in Germany? In the theatrical cut, we see them greeted at the door, and the next thing, they're on their way out. Well, in this cut, we see much more of their vacation together, including topless P.J. Soles! It's like I tell my friends: "The stuff they cut out for the TV edition of Halloween, they've added to this extended cut of Stripes."

    Thoughts?

    CS
     
  15. WillG

    WillG Producer

    Joined:
    Jan 30, 2003
    Messages:
    5,724
    Likes Received:
    177


    They are not that bad by themselves, but every time a marker appears on my player, the regular subtitles automatically kick in. So, I have to switch them off several times during the course of the film. Anyone else having this issue?
     
  16. DaveyM

    DaveyM Stunt Coordinator

    Joined:
    Aug 12, 2003
    Messages:
    111
    Likes Received:
    0
    I haven't had any problems with the subtitles. This may be a stupid question, but i'll ask anyway. Since the "bonus scene begins/ends" markers are in the black bars at the bottom of the screen...shouldn't they be eliminated if you view the dvd on a widescreen tv?
    I don't have a 16:9 set to check and see if this is true or not.
     
  17. TonyD

    TonyD Who do we think I am?
    Supporter

    Joined:
    Dec 1, 1999
    Messages:
    17,295
    Likes Received:
    473
    Location:
    Disney World and Universal Florida
    Real Name:
    Tony D.
    davey, no.

    i dont know the aspect ratio but on my tv the image fills the screen.
     
  18. Aaron Silverman

    Aaron Silverman Executive Producer

    Joined:
    Jan 22, 1999
    Messages:
    11,008
    Likes Received:
    681
    Location:
    Florida
    Real Name:
    Aaron Silverman

    Nope; that's just the nature of how your player is compressing the anamorphic image to fit on your 4:3 TV. On a widescreen TV, where the image fills the screen, the subtitles appear over the picture.

    (Definitely not a stupid question!)
     
  19. Chet_F

    Chet_F Supporting Actor

    Joined:
    Mar 1, 2002
    Messages:
    776
    Likes Received:
    0
    Every time a bonus scene came on the subtitles were turned on. Talk about totally distracting. [​IMG]

    Guess I won't be watching the extended cut again.
     
  20. David M.

    David M. Agent

    Joined:
    Nov 9, 2003
    Messages:
    41
    Likes Received:
    0


    Frustrating is more like it. I sat with the remote in hand turning off the subtitles after every bonus scene marker came on.
     

Share This Page