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Breakfast Club, The (25th Anniversary Edition) (1985) Print E-mail
Monday, 02 August 2010
ImageJohn Hughes is a legend when it comes to 1980s cinema.  They speak to the members of Generation Y, more specially those born in the late 70s and early to mid 80s.  Hughes' films were coming of age tales that are without a doubt considered dated in today's cinematic society.  In fact, those born beyond the late 80s rarely see the attraction of the film and its characters.

I am one of the lucky ones to have been born in the timeframe in which this film is appreciated.  While I can definitely see the age of the film sticking out like a sore thumb, the film always draws me back in.  These Hughes' films are a perfect definition of nostalgia.

"The Breakfast Club" is probably one of Hughes more notable 80s flicks.  It tops the list with "Ferris Bueller's Day Off," "Sixteen Candles" and "Pretty In Pink."  When viewed today there is nothing that stands out about this film.  The story is simply and contrived.  Characters are stereotypical and contain minimal development.  So why are we so infatuated with "The Breakfast Club?"  Well, it seems that the film just happen to strike a chord with the young of the time.

"The Breakfast Club" was timed perfectly with the angst and rebellion that teenagers were feeling during the mid 80s.  Take a look at many of the most popular films of the time period and they have to do with rebellion against grown ups and struggles to identify ones own self.  "The Breakfast Club" is precisely that.

Five completely opposite characters are thrown into Saturday detention together.  They are overseen by the dean of students (Paul Gleeson), representing the evil of the teenagers' world.  Their assignment for the day is to each write an essay describing who they think they are.  Throughout the film the students rebel, smoking pot, destroy property, etc.  In addition they rag on each other.  Judd Nelson portrays the tough guy who doesn't care about education.  Emilio Estevez is the jock who is on track to have a wrestling scholarship but isn't sure that is what he wants.  The popular girl (Molly Ringwald) is concerned with looks, shopping and watching her steps.  Anthony Michael Hall is the nerd of the bunch.  He is a yes man that is there to serve everyone else's purpose.  Finally, Ally Sheedy is the odd one that would almost be considered goth by today's standards.  She is internally repressed just waiting to bust out.
These five students find out along the way that they share more in common with each other than they think.  However, this doesn't mean that everything will change for them.  Will they really remain friends after this detention?  Probably not.

So, simply put, "The Breakfast Club" is not a remarkable film.  That is why it goes unnoticed by those not in the demographic.  But for those that remember, this film was perfect at the time.

Previous standard DVD releases of this film were plagued with video quality issues.  I am pleased to report that this Blu-ray presentation blows them all away, but that isn't saying for much.  The video quality on this Blu-ray still remains weak.  However, this is probably the best the film is ever going to look.  The original print is not in the best of shape.  Plus, the film wasn't exactly a high-budget production back in the day.  This fact shows through in the final video presentation.  It is obvious that the original transfer must have been overwhelmed with video noise because this Blu-ray has been washed.  The image is smeared due to noise reduction.  I am absolutely positive I would have preferred the noise be left intact.  The reduction has caused quite an unnatural image.  That being said, the details in the image are still much improved from the standard DVD.  What is really lacking is texture.  Costumes and faces lack any sort of dimensionality.  Other print source damage that was not fixed includes telecine wobble.  Specks of scratches and dirt are also prevalent from time to time.  Colors are natural for the most part.  The colors won't leap from the screen and the lack of stability in the colors is problematic.  On a few occasions colors are seen to automatically adjust in saturation and hue within a shot.  While this Blu-ray better than that an upconverted DVD, it is only better by a small fraction.

Probably just as disappointing as the video is the audio.  I wasn't expecting much and that is exactly what I got.  From the moment the film starts to the moment it ends the audio tracks sounds as if it were mono.  There is no stereo separation in the front channels and having it be a 5.1 mix is simply a joke.  And here is where I really got annoyed.  When the music hits come in, the LFE channel is thunderous.  It completely breaks the sonic experience.  I can deal with the audio track being mono-sounding, but for a fractional audio channel to be involved, well let's just say there is a reason why there isn't a 1.1 audio stream.  All that being said, the dialogue is preserved and is always intelligible.  Unlike a lot of the 1980s films that have been released on Blu-ray, this one does not have a boost in the high frequencies, which my ears were thankful for.  Well, this audio track is nothing special it is close to the original soundtrack.  However, I know that much more could have been done to liven up the track while still keeping it in the realm of 1980s feel.

The Blu-ray contains only a few bonus features, but they contain much information for those interested.  There is an audio commentary with Judd Nelson and Anthony Michael Hall.  The best, and main, segment on the Blu-ray is "Sincerely Yours."  This is a 12-part featurette that contains reflections from cast members and interviews with other filmmakers who talk about the cultural impact of "The Breakfast Club."  "The Most Convenient Definitions: The Origins of the Brat Pack" is the final featurette.  It is a brief five-minute snippet of cast members and journalists talking about the term "brat pack" and the impact it had on the careers of the actors.  The disc also contains the theatrical trailer and is BD-Live enabled.

I don't have to sum up much for this film.  Those that are in the demographic are going to get this film.  While the video and audio qualities are not screaming "high definition" they are adequate for the original production.  I recommend this disc for fans.

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