Blu-ray: Recommended
3.5 Stars out of 5
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Release Date: March 10th, 2015
Movie Release Year: 1985
Release Country: United States
COLLAPSE INFO -

The Breakfast Club: 30th Anniversary Edition

Review Date March 9th, 2015 by
Overview -

They were five students with nothing in common, faced with spending a Saturday detention together in their high school library. At 7 a.m., they had nothing to say, but by 4 p.m. they had bared their souls to each other and become good friends. John Hughes creator of the critically acclaimed Sixteen Candles, wrote, directed and produced this hilarious and often touching comedy starring Emilio Estevez, Anthony Michael Hall, Judd Nelson, Molly Ringwald and Ally Sheedy. To the outside world they were simply the Jock, the Brain, the Criminal, the Princess and the Kook, but to each other, they would always be The Breakfast Club.

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  • TECH SPECS & RELEASE DETAILS
    Technical Specs: BD-50 Dual-Layer Disc,Region Free
    Video Resolution/Codec: 1080p/AVC MPEG-4
    Length:97
    Release Country:United States
    Aspect Ratio(s):1.85:1
    English Descriptive Audio: English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1,French DTS 2.0,German DTS 2.0,Italian DTS 2.0,Japanese DTS 2.0,Spanish DTS 2.0
    Subtitles/Captions: English,Arabic,Danish,Dutch,Finnish,French,German,Hindi,Icelandic,Italian,Japanese,Norwegian,Portuguese,Spanish,Swedish
    Special Features: Audio Commentary
    Featurettes
    Trailer
    Movie Studio: Universal
    Release Date: March 10th, 2015

Story Review Storyline: Our Reviewer's Take

4.5 Stars out of 5

What separates the John Hughes' teen films from the countless others released before his directorial debut with 'Sixteen Candles' is the genuine respect he showed for the adolescent characters being portrayed and the young audience watching his films. The people occupying the fictional town of Shermer, Illinois act like real teens, with legitimate concerns about those awkward years between childhood and the world of adults. His plots are infused with a general understanding and experience many viewers can relate to. Hughes' films don't treat teenagers condescendingly or portray their emotional lives as superficial or shallow plot devices. In his films, teens are allowed to speak their minds with a unique, authentic voice all their own. No film demonstrates this better than 'The Breakfast Club,' a movie frequently celebrated for defining teen culture.

The structure of the narrative is near brilliant. The film commences with a comedic atmosphere that subtly and cleverly establishes each character's stereotype and social group, including that of Principal Vernon (Paul Gleason). Andy (Emilio Estevez) is the school jock with a great future as long as he does what he's told. Claire (Molly Ringwald) is the popular girl, the princess, everyone thinks is perfect. As the brain and the youngest of the bunch, Brian (Anthony Michael Hall) is seen as the most innocent and harmless. Allison (Ally Sheedy) is the basket case with little to say and who doesn't seem to care what others think. Bender (Judd Nelson) is the troublemaker, a future criminal, who might just be trying to appear tough.

30th Anniversary Edition (top)

25th Anniversary Edition (bottom)

Once Hughes has our attention, the story slowly turns into a serious and somewhat unexpected drama about the modern teenager. Their relationships with their parents are shown in the first few minutes. It's no accident that Bender is seen walking to campus by himself, and Allison's parents just drive away without even looking at her. When the characters sit down, they do so according to preconceived notions of each other. It doesn't matter if anyone in the audience has ever directly experienced a Saturday detention like the one put on screen. The point is to confront the social hierarchies of high school and discover their similarities, and Hughes does this by locking a group of kids up in the library. It's a space where they will eventually have to talk and face up to their stereotypes — not just of each other but also of themselves. "In the simplest terms and the most convenient definitions."

Their shenanigans and tomfoolery during those eight hours is more a consequence of their growing openness and letting down of their guards. With each moment that they reveal more about themselves and their inner thoughts, they also become more rebellious and less fearful of acting according to their prescribed social circles. If we're being just as honest as these kids, then we should admit that cliques are ultimately an effect of fear — afraid of being alone and unaccepted because it's easier and more comfortable to be a part of a group. To resist that pecking order requires at least a small bit of rebelliousness. Of course in one very intimate scene towards the latter part of the story, they admit that come Monday morning high school life will resume as before, suggesting that as much as we are aware of the hierarchies, we continue to abide by them into adulthood. The principal and Carl (John Kapelos) are proof of that fact.

Hughes clearly did something right with 'The Breakfast Club,' since kids today are still watching and enjoying the film. They continue to find a connection with the characters and dilemmas of high school life. In many respects, the 80s teen classic appears to be an accurate portrait of adolescence, a film that doesn't feel condescending or artificial. It digs deeper into what concerns kids most — a desire to talk, be heard, and make friendship, and because of this, 'The Breakfast Club' remains incredibly influential and respected.

The Blu-ray: Vital Disc-Stats

Universal Studios Home Entertainment celebrates the 30th Anniversary of the John Hughes teen classic on Blu-ray with a Region Free, BD50 disc housed in the standard blue keepcase, an UltraViolet Digital Copy and a new slipcover. At startup, viewers are taken directly to an animated menu screen with full-motion clips and music playing in the background. 

  • TECH SPECS & RELEASE DETAILS
    Technical Specs:
    BD-50 Dual-Layer Disc,Region Free
    Video Resolution/Codec:
    1080p/AVC MPEG-4
    Length:97
    Release Country:United States
    Aspect Ratio(s):
    1.85:1
    Audio Formats:
    English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1,French DTS 2.0,German DTS 2.0,Italian DTS 2.0,Japanese DTS 2.0,Spanish DTS 2.0
    Subtitles/Captions:
    English,Arabic,Danish,Dutch,Finnish,French,German,Hindi,Icelandic,Italian,Japanese,Norwegian,Portuguese,Spanish,Swedish
    Special Features:
    Audio Commentary
    Featurettes
    Trailer
    Movie Studio: Universal
    Release Date: March 10th, 2015

Video Review

3.5 Stars out of 5

25th Anniversary Edition (bottom)

Much like the characters, my feelings about this 1080p/AVC MPEG-4 encode are torn between fully embracing this seemingly new remaster, supposedly from the original 35mm elements, and the previous 25th Anniversary release. If this is a new treatment for the John Hughes teen classic, then it's not much of an improvement because the difference is relatively mild and near negligible. A majority of the transfer is on the softer side with a few excellently detailed sequences sprinkled throughout, but much of this is due to the original photography. Sadly, several moments suspiciously appear to be the result of some trivial artificial touch-ups and sharpening where the faces of the young cast can look a tad waxy and a good amount of the natural grain is mysteriously missing.

The most notable and immediate difference is a change to a warmer color gamma. The 1.85:1 image shows more reds and oranges here, as oppose to the cooler blues and greens of the Blu-ray from five years ago. Facial complexions are rosier with a bit more of a glow, which, for the most part, is agreeable, and the entire palette is a tad brighter and bolder overall. It's nothing too exaggerated, and in fact, it's one of the presentation's more appealing aspects. Contrast remains well-balanced and comfortably bright, but brightness levels seem affected by the change, producing blacks that almost reach the point of crushing and the shadows, especially in the face of Ally Sheedy, expose some very minor banding. All things considered, fans won't be too disappointed, but owners of the previous edition have little a reason to purchase the film again. 

Audio Review

3.5 Stars out of 5

25th Anniversary Edition (bottom)

Although there are some mild differences in the video department, Universal, it seems, repurposed the same DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack from last time for this latest home video edition. With that being the case, my thoughts remain the same and repeated here.

It's no surprise that surround speakers are silent throughout as the film is a very front-heavy, character-driven presentation with great splashes of music. But the lossless mix exhibits plenty of strong clarity and detail with palpable fidelity in the soundstage. Dynamics and acoustics are much cleaner and can at times spread wide for those 80s song tracks. Low-frequency effects are also in good abundance to provide the music and the one moment of action some depth. Vocals are well-prioritized in the center of the screen and fluid from beginning to end. Channel separation is better than expected with minor but convincing off-screen movement between the fronts. Overall, the lossless mix is a good soundtrack.

Special Features

2 Stars out of 5

25th Anniversary Edition (bottom)

  • Audio Commentary — Stars Judd Nelson and Anthony Michael Hall team up for this commentary track. The discussion is full of some cool tidbits and stories surrounding the production, and their friendly banter is quite enjoyable and full of memories, just nothing we would call technical. Overall, it's a cool listen and comes with plenty of smiles.
  • Sincerely Yours (SD, 51 min) — This documentary is actually broken into 12 segments that can be watched separately or in sequence. It features interviews with cast and crew reminiscing on the production and working with the late John Hughes. A few of the segments are character-oriented, where actors talk about preparation for the role and motivation. Other interviews mull over the cultural impact and legacy of the film. This is a nicely done and comprehensive doc for fans to enjoy, but my one nitpick is that fact that Diablo Cody participates in the discussion. Personally, she's quite distracting and terribly feels out of place. Aren't her fifteen minutes way past due?
  • The Most Convenient Definitions: The Origins of the Brat Pack (SD, 6 min) — The piece is a quick and casual look at the origins of the phrase which became a disparaging label for almost every coming-of-age film throughout the 1980s. As the actors are given the opportunity to express their viewpoint on the label, most interesting is the interview with the New York magazine reporter who coined the phrase.
  • Trailer (SD)

Final Thoughts

25th Anniversary Edition (bottom)

The Breakfast Club' is arguably John Hughes' most celebrated motion picture, often viewed as defining 80s youth culture. The teen classic is a smart film which provides its adolescent leads with an authentic voice and doesn't treat them like caricatures. The immensely influential movie celebrates its 30th Anniversary on Blu-ray with a generally satisfying audio/video presentation and a nice collection of supplements. Taken as a whole, it's a strong package, and fans of classic 80s cinema will surely be happy with the purchase.

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  • Editors Note

    Portions of this review also appear in our coverage of Dunkirk on Blu-ray. This post features unique Vital Disc Stats, Video, and Final Thoughts sections.

  • TECH SPECS & RELEASE DETAILS
    Technical Specs:
    BD-50 Dual-Layer Disc,Region Free
    Video Resolution/Codec:
    1080p/AVC MPEG-4
    Length:97
    Release Country:United States
    Aspect Ratio(s):
    1.85:1
    Audio Formats:
    English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1,French DTS 2.0,German DTS 2.0,Italian DTS 2.0,Japanese DTS 2.0,Spanish DTS 2.0
    Subtitles/Captions:
    English,Arabic,Danish,Dutch,Finnish,French,German,Hindi,Icelandic,Italian,Japanese,Norwegian,Portuguese,Spanish,Swedish
    Special Features:
    Audio Commentary
    Featurettes
    Trailer
    Movie Studio: Universal
    Release Date: March 10th, 2015