Perfect (1985)

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Released 23-Sep-2003

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Drama Theatrical Trailer-2:06
Trailer-Blind Date (1:35)
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 1985
Running Time 115:08
RSDL / Flipper RSDL (78:05) Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By James Bridges

Sony Pictures Home Entertain
Starring John Travolta
Jamie Lee Curtis
Anne De Salvo
Marilu Henner
Laraine Newman
Mathew Reed
Jann Wenner
Case Amaray-Transparent-Secure Clip
RPI $19.95 Music Ralph Burns

Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
French Dolby Digital 2.0 mono (192Kb/s)
German Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Italian Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Spanish Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 2.35:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 2.35:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English
Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

    Never call a film Perfect. It sets standards that you'll never achieve. No film can ever be perfect.

    On the other hand, a film can easily be an exploitative piece with pretensions above its station. Absolutely.

    Back in the 1980s, when this film was made, health clubs were springing up all over. This was when the "aerobics" class was born, when leotards became colourful (and worn by people other than dancers and gymnasts). A number of films were made, attempting to capitalise on this new interest. Most of those films have, justifiably, vanished. This one is an exception — it hasn't vanished.

    It starts with Adam Lawrence (John Travolta — post-Saturday Night Fever, Grease, and Staying Alive, but pre-Pulp Fiction). Adam is a journalist. He started with obituaries at the Jersey Journal, where he was told that it was the last time he'd get to write something nice about someone, and now he works for Rolling Stone magazine. You could say he still writes obituaries, but now they are of live people. We watch him get a faceful of tomato juice from Carly Simon (played by the real Carly Simon) in payment for an article he wrote about her.

    Adam is working on a serious piece about a guy called McKenzie (Kenneth Welsh), who claims that the government framed him in a drugs bust. Adam is eager to get an interview with McKenzie, but he's refusing all interviews. When Adam flies out to LA to try in person, he also does some research on a possible story about health clubs being the "new singles bars". In wandering through the club he espies the gorgeous Jessie Wilson (Jamie Lee Curtis, looking very fit and very convincing as an aerobics instructor — she must have ball bearings instead of a waist!). This gives the camera ample excuse to ogle a lot of mostly attractive people (mostly women) gyrating to music in closely fitting clothing (not what a real aerobics class looks like, one suspects).

    So Adam has to try a bit harder in his pursuit of her, Jessie Wilson is given a painful past of being publicly pilloried by a reckless reporter. Adam even takes one of her aerobics classes — cue a very long passage of attractive people gyrating to music (John Travolta must have been grateful for the practice he'd had doing Staying Alive two years earlier) — it's made to look like extended foreplay between Jessie and Adam.

    To try to make this film more than it is, there's a second story-line in which Adam is being pursued by the prosecutors of the McKenzie trial, who want him to hand over tapes he made of his interview with McKenzie. Will he do it? They spin out this "noble" bit at some length.

    Perhaps the most entertaining part of the film is watching Jann Wenner, publisher of Rolling Stone magazine, playing Mark Roth, publisher of Rolling Stone magazine. He seemed to bring some credibility to the role.

    It's amusing to look at the computer he's using for his writing. It's prehistoric (and huge) by today's standards, but it was close to state-of-the-art when this film was made.

    In the end, this is a fairly standard romance, seasoned with a little conflict, and decorated with lots of sweaty bodies in multi-coloured lycra.

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Transfer Quality


    This transfer is presented in an aspect ratio of 2.35:1, 16x9 enhanced. That's the intended aspect ratio.

    The image is fairly sharp and clear. Shadow detail is mostly very good. Film grain is rarely visible, and never troubling. There's no low-level noise.

    Colour is well-rendered, and there's plenty of it. There are no colour-related artefacts.

    There are some film artefacts, but generally they are small; a sprinkling of sparkles, a few spots and flecks. Not bad for an eighteen-year-old film.

    There is some minor aliasing, but it's not distracting. There's no significant moiré. There are no MPEG artefacts other than a fair bit of low-level background shimmer.

    There are subtitles in 21 languages (with three pages of subtitle menus). I only watched the English subtitles. They are abbreviated (omitting phrases on occasion), but close enough to get the sense of the dialogue. The are well-timed, and quite legible.

    The disc is single-sided and dual-layered, formatted RSDL. The layer change comes at 78:05, and it is placed immediately after a poor cut, so it looks like it cuts off a song part-way through — that's not the case. The song is cut off by the cut, but it makes the layer change very noticeable.

Video Ratings Summary
Shadow Detail
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts


    The soundtrack is provided in five languages, including English. The English soundtrack is Dolby Digital 2.0, supposedly surround-encoded, but there's nothing to be heard from the surround speakers. The sound shows some frontal spread, but mostly collapses into the centre channel under the influence of Prologic decoding.

    The dialogue is clear enough to be comprehensible, but a little quiet, especially by contrast with the music in the aerobics studios. There are no audio sync issues.

    The score, from Ralph Burns, is reasonable fill material. It's often interrupted by up-beat songs, some of them for aerobics classes, others just as part of the score.

    This 2.0 soundtrack makes no use of the subwoofer (bass management will be the only way your sub gets any signal). The surrounds aren't noticeable.

Audio Ratings Summary
Audio Sync
Surround Channel Use



    The menu is static and silent, but nicely themed around the magazine image.

Theatrical Trailer (2:06)

    This trailer gives us a good idea of what the film could have looked like: full-frame and clouded with heaps of film artefacts.

Trailer: Blind Date (1:35)

    This is a fairly poor full-frame trailer for the film starring Bruce Willis and Kim Basinger.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

    The R1 version of this disc was released last year, much earlier than this one, but it's pan-and-scan, and only single layered. The only extras it gets are the exact same trailers as this one.

    This one is easy: a 2.35:1 film hacked into pan-and-scan, versus the same film in widescreen? The Region 4 disc is far superior.


    One of those movies that tried to ride the wave of a new fashion, and failed. Decent DVD, though.

    The video quality is good.

    The audio quality is good.

    The extras are negligible.

Ratings (out of 5)


© Tony Rogers (bio-degrading: making a fool of oneself in a bio...)
Sunday, October 05, 2003
Review Equipment
DVDPioneer DV-S733A, using Component output
DisplaySony VPH-G70 CRT Projector, QuadScan Elite scaler (Tripler), ScreenTechnics 110. Calibrated with Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials.
AmplificationDenon AVC-A1SE
SpeakersFront Left, Centre, Right: Krix Euphonix; Rears: Krix KDX-M; Subwoofer: Krix Seismix 5

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