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Reviews » DVD Video Reviews » Ferris Bueller's Day Off
Ferris Bueller's Day Off
Paramount // PG-13 // August 5, 2008
List Price: $14.98 [Buy now and save at Amazon]
Review by Michael Zupan | posted July 26, 2008 | E-mail the Author
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It's common practice for studios to release the same recycled discs in new packaging over and over again, but to re-release a bare bones disc when a special edition is already on the shelf? I honestly can't believe I'm writing a review for such a shameless dose of 'let's liquidate our inventory' sales strategy! Considering the first (and also apparently, the latest) release of Ferris Bueller's Day Off only offered a single commentary by director John Hughes, the Bueller, Bueller edition was light years ahead by actually offering some extras. It's time to throw logic out the window, because with the popularity of a VH1 show, we're getting the original DVD release with a slipcover that has 'I Love the 80's' plastered across the top. We'll need a new analogy in place of 'when pigs fly', because it's finally happened.

There's certainly no denying the fact that Ferris Bueller's Day Off was amongst, if not the ultimate 80's flick. It was an undeniably fun time, and it's quite possible Bart Simpson was inspired from none other than Ferris himself. Matthew Broderick had never earned a type-cast based on his role as Ferris, but I think it's fair to assume that's the character he'll be remembered for until the end of time. He's certainly not going to be remembered for his role in Godzilla.

Ferris Bueller's Day Off offers up a lot of fun based on an adventure that starts out real enough, but ends up wandering into fantastical territory. Sure, everyone can relate to wanting to cut a day of school near the end of their senior year. To understand what makes this specific scenario so special, just ask yourself this - Have you ever 'borrowed' a Ferrari to rescue your girlfriend from school posing as her father, so you can joyride in downtown Chicago and even become the life of a parade? Live vicariously through Ferris by watching this movie, and you'll understand this isn't just a classic film, it's also the birth of an 80's high school icon.

You may have come up with some clever gags to get out of a day at school and play hooky. You might have even dragged a friend or girlfriend along with you. Ferris Bueller however, goes above and beyond the norm. He has a knack for getting into trouble, to the point where his principal can actually be referred to as a nemesis, or villain. Bueller has taken the day off, yet his rival knows that Ferris is faking and he'll stop at nothing to prove it.

Bueller is an icon because he lives out the day we've only ever dreamed about. I'll refuse to believe there's anyone out there who's seen this film, without wishing they were Ferris himself. You can relate to waking up and trying to trick your parents into thinking you're sick so you can stay home and watch TV. Everything that happens after the fact is incredibly unbelievable, yet the premise is grounded so well, it certainly seems it could have been real enough. Watching the experience, is practically living it thanks to the vision of John Hughes.

The supporting cast completely adds to the grounded premise, by having the typical friend or girlfriend around we'd expect to deal with ourselves if presenting such a harebrained idea. Alan Ruck is the faithful and loyal friend that gets suckered into going along, yet he's a nervous, nagging boiling pot the entire way. Mia Sara is very deserving as the girlfriend for such a slick character. She was up for some fun but she had limits herself. She wasn't just a pretty face. She was a pretty cool cat herself.


Video:

I never owned the original release of Ferris Bueller's Day Off, but I think it's safe to assume that we've got the same repackaged transfer. With an image ratio of 2.35:1, the old transfer used on this disc actually holds up pretty well. Colors are surprisingly lush for a transfer that's been around so long. The image is sharp and black levels are decent, working well to provide good contrast. There are specks and dirt apparent on this transfer, showing its age. Also slightly noticeable is a fine film of grain over the picture throughout the film. The grain doesn't distract as much as a transfer this age should. It's minor enough to be passed as a film-like representation of what you may have seen in the theater.

This film never demanded to be demo worthy material, so you can skate by with this release based on its quality. As surprised as I was to see this release looks as good as it does, the Bueller, Bueller edition is still the best choice.


Audio:

I was surprised yet again! The surround track isn't something that's pushing itself throughout the entire film, but whenever that 80's music kicks in, or when Ferris is in the middle of a large crowd partying, I actually felt pretty good about what I was hearing. I wouldn't say I was 'enveloped' in the film, or that the subwoofer ever got a workout, but the 5.1 Dolby Digital track was more than satisfactory for a film from 1986. Also provided are stereo tracks in English and French.


Extras:

What extras? All we have is a commentary with John Hughes. He provides a very insightful look into his film, and he's happy to share a database worth of information with us, but who are we kidding? Once again the Bueller, Bueller edition stands in front of the room, waving its arms around frantically to say - 'I'm right over here you know'! John Hughes had asked Paramount to drop his commentary from the Bueller,Bueller edition. Unfortunately this means if you want everything that's been done for this flick to date, you'll have to purchase both versions.

A four-track compact disc is included. In a weak effort to further try and validate this release despite the fact it's repackaged material, it includes 80's songs! Not exactly a shocker now, is it?

-Lips Like Sugar - Echo & the Bunnymen
-Chains of Love - Erasure
-Need You Tonight - INXS
-Take On Me - a-ha

I don't know how many people would seriously consider downgrading from the Bueller, Bueller edition for this, so why not really go all the way and throw in some real nostalgia for this release? Why not include a cassette tape?


Overall:

Ferris Bueller's Day Off is a classic that's never going to lose its charm. Matthew Broderick has nailed being the cool kid while never over-acting the part. Although he gets away with a lot in this film and he's constantly being reminded that he may get in a lot of trouble, Ferris never appears to be confident to a flaw. He's always coming up with these crazy ideas, but always tries to justify it. It's definitely a human element the audience can relate with. For example, it reminds me of how numerous times, I'd be holding a DVD in my hand at the nearest video store, telling myself I shouldn't buy it. I always go into the round-about counter-argument that tries to validate spending the money I don't have.

I wouldn't have to think long and hard about this release though, just skip it. Ferris Bueller's Day Off is a great film that nobody should miss seeing at least once, but as I've pointed out numerous times, there's a release more worthy of your money with a better transfer, and lots of extras.
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