Tags: Bill Murray, Blu-ray, Chris Makepeace, Cindy Girling, Harvey Atkin, Ivan Reitman, Jack Blum, Kate Lynch, Keith Knight, Kristine DeBell, Lionsgate, Margot Pinvidic, Matt Craven, Sarah Torgov, Todd Hoffman
has an average rating of 5.8 on IMDb
1080p in AVC MPEG-4 on a 25gb disc
DTS-HD 2.0 Master Audio
only includes an Audio Commentary
– 91 minutes
This uses 21.0GB for the movie out of 22.8GB total.
Overall Verdict – Good Film / Decent Presentation
— Review written by: Justin Sluss —
The Movie Itself was directed by Ivan Reitman who would later go on to direct films like “Stripes” (1981), “Ghostbusters” (1984), “Twins” (1988), “Ghostbusters II” (1989), “Kindergarten Cop” (1990), “Junior” (1994), “Father’s Day” (1997) and most recently “No Strings Attached” (2011). The screenplay was co-wrote by Harold Ramis who co-starred in & co-wrote some of the films that Reitman would later direct mentioned above as well as would direct his own films.
The story here focuses on one zany head camp counselor named “Tripper” (played by Bill Murray) that works at a summer camp called “Camp North Star” ran by a man named “Morty” (played by Harvey Atkin). It’s the first day of camp when we’re introduced to our main character as well as the rest of the camp staff. Morty calls all the camp counselors together and discusses what he wants from them this summer and goes over the basics with the new counselors in training (CIT’s). After that they get the yellow school buses together and head to a parking lot to pick up the kids who will be attending camp that summer. Here we see Tripper acting very crazy and even managing to get on the news pretending to be part of the rival camp. After this we’re introduced to a camper, a boy in his teens by the name of “Rudy” (played by Chris Makepeace), that is having a hard time fitting in. Tripper immediately notices him sitting on his suitcase when all the other kids have got off the busses and headed toward their bunks. Our nutty main character decides to take the boy under his wing so-to-speak and tries to make him feel more comfortable about being at camp. He drops Rudy off at his bunk and goes about his business of trying to get fresh with a female counselor he has the hots for by the name of “Roxanne” (played by Kate Lynch). He makes all the moves on her but she just doesn’t seem to want to have anything to do with Tripper. He figures she’s just playing hard to get and continues to make advances at her throughout the summer.
Meanwhile you’ve got some other wild camp counselors trying to have themselves a good time and get a little action as well. The two most memorable are a dork named “Spaz” (played by Jack Blum) and an overweight lovable guy named “Fink” (played by Keith Knight). These two are quite the team of sorts trying to spy on the female counselors and always trying to check out the girls — whom they have no chance with, but that doesn’t stop them from trying. There’s some other wild camp counselors in the mix as well like “Crockett” (Russ Banham), “A.L.” (Kristine DeBell), “Candace” (Sarah Torgov), “Wendy” (Cindy Girling), “Wheels” (Todd Hoffman), “Jackie” (Margot Pinvidic) and “Hardware” (Matt Craven). All these counselors are here to have a good summer and with the help of head counselor Tripper they’re going to. Be it playing pranks on the camp owner Morty or on the rival camp or telling stories around the campfire or trying to hook up with the opposite sex; they’re out to have one memorable summer.
Along the way our goofy head camp counselor Tripper manages to make a friendship with the kid Rudy he met on the first day of camp. He talks the boy out of running away from camp and they start a routine of jogging together every morning, which will eventually pay off. They also manage to discuss Tripper having the hots for fellow counselor Roxanne as well as play some games of blackjack for peanuts. All along the way having a good time and having some good laughs together.
“Meatballs” now 33 years after its release still proves to be a very funny and enjoyable film that folks of most ages can relate to. The zany head camp counselor that Bill Murray plays here is one of his more memorable early roles. In fact, it was his first leading role in a film. Many would follow and he’d also be in some very memorable films over the next 3 decades. Director Ivan Reitman would go on to direct some of those films Bill Murray would be a star or co-star in like “Stripes” (1981), “Ghostbusters” (1984) and “Ghostbusters II” (1989).
Video Quality on this release is in full 1080p using the AVC MPEG-4 codec on a BD-25 (25 gigabyte single layer Blu-ray Disc) in the 1.78:1 aspect ratio. According to IMDb‘s technical specifications this was shot on 35MM film using a spherical lens originally in the 1.85:1 aspect ratio. They’ve chose to eliminate the tiny black bars by cropping it to 1.78:1 aspect so it’ll fill a 16×9 (widescreen) monitor entirely. This choice might upset a few purists but for the most part I’m happy with the result. Things here visually start out looking pretty “rough” during the opening scene and credits. There’s a very, very soft picture quality here and the colors in the bright pink opening credits seem to come close to almost bleeding. The first bit of the film there definitely didn’t get as much attention in the digital transfer (perhaps slight restoration) as the rest of the film did but once we see the camp owner “Morty” walk up to the counselors huddled up in a circle you’ll start to notice things are looking pretty decent. Things look a whole lot more clear and if you don’t believe me have a look at these two screenshots. THIS screenshot is from the opening of the film and you’ll notice how soft it appears, whereas THIS screenshot is of the scene I just mentioned when things start to sharpen up.
Things do sharpen up as you can tell there, however there’s still a good deal of vertical lines, scratches, dirt and other imperfections that have been left on the film print and not totally cleaned up. There’s a great amount of film grain that has been perserved (left intact) here which relieves me and makes me able to say that I don’t feel much if any DNR (digital noise reduction) was used. There’s actually a somewhat impressive amount of detail here at times in the 35MM print to be a film from 1979; especially in close-ups of the cast members — as seen HERE in a screenshot. The black level here is solid for the most part, flesh tones are accurate and although it may seem a bit overly vibrant or like the contrast isn’t correct that is just because of the “loud” colors of the clothes worn in the late 1970s as wardrobe choices by the cast members. Thankfully none of these bright colors, especially reds or pinks, bleed or come close to bleeding like the opening title in the credits. For a film of this age and to have not been shot on the largest budget it turns out looking pretty good in its debut to Blu-ray Disc. It looks good enough to earn it a “3.5 Star Rating” for overall video quality.
Audio Quality on this release is presented in DTS-HD 2.0 Master Audio. The choice to keep this in a 2.0 Stereo sound configuration — as it was originally theatrically presented — is one I’m quite happy about; as it honestly really wouldn’t have made for the best lossless 5.1 mix. It does however make for a decent stereo lossless mix. The dialogue, music and sound effects never conflict here sharing the two channels. In fact most of the time when the music is playing there’s actually a pause in the dialogue, so that’s not even really able to be an issue. The sound effects come across pretty decent and sound about as lifelike as possible for a 1979 stereo source. Everything here in terms of sound co-exists nicely together. It’s nothing that will amaze you by any means but it does manage to get the job done. The memorable songs on the soundtrack like “Are You Ready for the Summer?” (sung by The North Star Kids Chorus) and “Meatballs” (sung by Rick Dees) sound pretty good here and are done somewhat justice. All and all this mix comes across decent as I said and earns itself a “3 Star Rating” for overall audio quality.
- Audio Commentary with Director Ivan Reitman and Co-Writer/Producer Dan Goldberg
Overall the bonus materials here are disappointing but not a total disappointment as we do get an audio commentary track with the director and co-writer/producer included. That’s better than nothing, I guess. A retrospective featurette or cast reunion would have been nice to see included but maybe they’re saving that for the 35th anniversary or something. Who knows?
Blu-ray Disc packaging:
NOTE: The full-sized 1920×1080 files are in a .PNG file format and uncompressed. Please be patient with the slow loading times, keep in mind these files are at least 1MB (1 megabyte) in size each.