Wednesday, March 21, 2007

PLANES, TRAINS AND AUTOMOBILES: Blu-ray (Paramount 1987) Paramount Home Video

Neal Page (Steve Martin) cannot believe his luck. Hurrying home from a business trip to be with his family on Thanksgiving, he encounters one reckless setback after another. But the worst of it is that Neal can't shake his very own ‘bad luck’ charm, Del Griffith (John Candy), a brutally lovable salesman. After befriending Del, Neal makes every attempt to ditch his loud-mouth companion, but to no avail.


Enduring fire, flood and being stranded in the middle of nowhere with someone he absolutely hates and – as time wears on – begins to suspect is the cause of all his worldly woes, Neal decides that he will abandon Del at the first possible chance – even though apart each is doomed not to reach their respective destinations.


Under anyone else’s direction the misadventures of this hilarious twosome might have degenerated into garish slapstick. Yet, what emerges from the sum total of John Hughe’s Planes, Trains and Automobiles (1987) is much more the poignant buddy/buddy flick than mishmash served up from its topsy-turvy fallout. Charmingly original and masterfully directed, the film was a huge critical and financial success upon its initial release. To date, it remains the work for which Steve Martin has said he is most proud.


Paramount Home Video’s Blu-ray is a Walmart exclusive. I'm still trying to figure out the logic of that decision. What is infallible is Paramount's commitment to this transfer. It glows. We get a superb 1080p incarnation with rich, bold colors, solid contrast levels, accurately produced film grain and a lush smattering of fine details throughout. The audio is 5.1 DTS - a winner. 


Better still, Paramount has lavished us with some sparkling new extra features. Four featurettes, on the making of the film, John Hughes career, the impact of the movie and a tribute to John Candy round out our appreciation. We also get a deleted scene. The extras, it should be pointed out, are also presented in HD. This is a real class 'A' effort from Paramount. It's a wonder we don't get more like this from our good buddies on 'the mountain'.


FILM RATING (out of 5 - 5 being the best)
3.5

VIDEO/AUDIO
4

EXTRAS
3.5

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