The Movie: 9/10
It’s Platoon. What else can I say?
Alright. There are war movies and then there are WAR movies that get frozen in time, in our memories and just linger there for some reason. Platoon is one of THOSE war movies. I looked up a list of war related movies on Wikipedia, and wow, not only was I surprised at the number of movies, but the number of wars that movies have been made about. I bet, if you set a mission to watch them all you would find that the theme is often the same, just like Platoon. Young men sent to the meatgrinder of war for reasons they don’t always understand. There is an ananomous power fueling the war machine and in the process humanity, the best and worst of, comes out in the story.
I don’t mean to minimize the power of Platoon, or other quality war movies, it’s just that if it wasn’t so horrific, it would be funny how we just keep doing the same shit over and over and over. Oliver Stone isn’t the first and won’t be the last to tell his story, or the story of the war he survived. He taps into some more viseral experiences and brings us images and moments that make us all shudder, or she should. Blood, guts, violence beyond the trappings of war, the human mind breaking down amongst the chaos, that’s what Platoon brings to the world of story telling and to the consciousness of an audience made up of mostly people who will never know war up close.
I can’t fault any of the performances, some might be a bit simplisitic compared to others, but it’s irrelavant. I won’t go into every character and actor, you just have to see it. (Willem Defoe and Keith David are awesome.) I’m not the kind of movie-talker who has to pick over every detail. The movie is powerful in that 80’s power movie kind of way. It has it’s moments of melodrama, yes. It has some heavy hitting comments on the Vietnam war and war in general, which is not unexepected. The thing I do like the most about it is that it never feels judgemental of anyone who’s on the front lines, not even the men in charge of each mission or platoon. They might seem like assholes, but it’s always twisted around in a way that makes it clear that these men are offerings to the meat grinder as the soldiers of lower rank.
I will mention that the scar they put on Tom Berringer’s face is awesome. I wanted to know what the heck happened to him through the whole friggin’ movie!! That was some good make up for the times.
My favorite moment is when Charlie Sheen’s Chris character defies his fellow soldiers in a horrible moment and he is astonished as he tells them that the people of Vietnam are human beings, and he is almost choking on it himself for his own behavior just moments before. That sums it all up for me.
- Audio Commentary by Director Oliver Stone – Stone doesn’t really grab me when I’m just listening to hime. He stutters around a lot and seems pretentious, but if you are a lover of the man, you will really appreciate the commentary.
- Audio Commentary by Military Advisor Dale Dye – This guy I like. He trains the whiny little actor boys to be better at maybe possibly portraying a soldier at war.
- Deleted and Extended Scenes with Optional Commentary by Oliver Stone – I would say there is quality in every drop of this movie in some form or another. Therefore, the deleted scenes are worth watching.
- Flashback to Platoon: Snapshot in Time: 1967 – 1968; Creating the ‘Nam; Raw Wounds: The Legacy of Platoon – These are all good behind the scenes and history lesson type extras that I really can’t get enough of.
- Documentaries: One War, Many Stories; Preparing for ‘Nam – Oliver Stone was in Veitnam, and he talks about what kind of bootcamp and the lack of training they actually had before shipping out to the distant country. Other military men talk about their experiences. Again, this one is a must watch for me.
- Vignettes: Caputo & the 7th Fleet; Dye Training Method; Gordon Gekko – More from the training master, tid bits about Oliver Stone’s writing process, and more history…can’t go wrong.
- Theatrical Trailer and TV Spots – It’s interesting to see how movies are sold to the public in different times through just my lifetime…watch it..it’s not that long ago!!
- DVD Copy Of The Movie – A copy of the movie for that time you have no access to a Blu-Ray player.
Cover Art and Menus: 10/10
If I were desiging covers for DVD’s and movie posters I would have this cover as a prime example of perfect…yes….perfect. It’s uncomplicated, straight to the point of the movie, and it’s just plain powerful. It means more once you see the movie, and that’s part of the appeal. I would most definately have this as a poster, in fact, I hope my husband (Ascully) puts this on my birthday list 🙂 The menu is images and navigation, nothing special.
Audio & Video: 7/10
Fans of Platoon, let’s face it they will be the main buyers of this disc, will either be thrilled or really disappointed by Fox’s Blu-Ray offering. Let me explain, the transfer looks incredible, almost too good for a movie of this age. That means that Fox either did an awesome transfer job or some DNR (Digital Noise Reduction) was used. I can’t really tell if this is the case, but I’m sure someone out there will complain about it. To my eyes the movie looks the best I have ever seen it and that’s the point of Blu-Ray right?
The DTS-HD Master Audio on this movie is the weak point of the release. The audio seems really shallow through the entire movie. Surround does come off well but moments with music do not sound alive like they should. There are even a couple of moments where the audio seems out of sync with the mouth movement, most notably the scene where they are emptying the latreens. Overall though, for a movie that is 25 years old, the sound is quite good. It’s just not the showcase material I was expecting.
It belongs in your collection. Save up a few bucks and put it on your shelf for an annual Willim Defoe Appreciation Party! It’s only $15!! That means you can get a few others to go along with it, maybe something more light hearted like Apocalypse Now 🙂
Overall Score 9/10