Police Academy: 20th Anniversary Special Edition (1984)

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Released 10-Nov-2004

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Comedy Audio Commentary-Filmmakers And Cast
Featurette-Behind Academy Doors: Secret Files Revealed
Theatrical Trailer
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 1984
Running Time 92:23 (Case: 91)
RSDL / Flipper Dual Layered Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 2,4,5 Directed By Hugh Wilson
Studio
Distributor

Warner Home Video
Starring Steve Guttenberg
Kim Cattrall
G.W. Bailey
Bubba Smith
Donovan Scott
George Gaynes
Andrew Rubin
David Graf
Leslie Easterbrook
Michael Winslow
Debralee Scott
Bruce Mahler
Ted Ross
Case ?
RPI $19.95 Music Robert Folk


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 1.0 (192Kb/s)
French Dolby Digital 1.0 (192Kb/s)
Italian Dolby Digital 1.0 (192Kb/s)
English Audio Commentary Dolby Digital 1.0 (192Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.75:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.85:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English
French
Italian
German
Spanish
Dutch
Arabic
Bulgarian
Romanian
English for the Hearing Impaired
Italian for the Hearing Impaired
Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

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

Plot Synopsis

    If you have never seen any of the Police Academy movies, then it is highly doubtful you would start watching them now. If you have already seen any of them, then you would be aware of the basic plotlines, so I could pretty much write anything I wanted below. Nevertheless, a recap is in order.

    With the crime rate rising rapidly, the mayor has decided to change the conditions of entry into the Police Academy. No longer will age, sex or weight be an issue. This has led to many new applicants for the police force, with a diverse range of people joining up.

    Leading the group is Mahoney, a reluctant recruit who was given the ultimatum of either joining the force or going to jail for the crimes he had committed. He brings along Jones, whom he met at the police station whilst under arrest. Jones has the unique talent of producing realistic sound effects using only his mouth.

    Hightower is a tall, menacing character who could crush anybody with his bare hands. He is a big softie at heart though, wanting to leave the flower business to become a cop.

    Tackleberry is a gun-happy maniac, who is moving on from a security job. He is a danger to everybody around him. Hookes is a quietly spoken woman, who has a surprisingly loud and commanding yell. Fackler is a bumbling buffoon. He is the slapstick character.

    There are several other characters, but their characters do not evolve past this first instalment. Perhaps they thought that one movie was enough. For the most part, they would be right.

    All are working under the command of Commandant Lassard and Lieutenant Harris. While Lassard is clueless, Harris is determined to get the top position.

    The film depicts the (mis)adventures of this diverse bunch of recruits during their training, with a number of classic comedy moments along the way.

Don't wish to see plot synopses in the future? Change your configuration.

Transfer Quality

Video

    The transfer is presented at an aspect ratio of 1.75:1 and is 16x9 enhanced. This is a slight alteration from the 1.85:1 theatrical ratio.

    The quality of the video presentation is very good indeed, due to the all-new digital transfer. Despite having some flaws, this is going to be the best you will have seen this movie in a long time.

    Colours are more vibrant than I ever saw on VHS. Flesh tones are accurate. Nonetheless, it still does have that typical feeling of an 80s movie. More recent movies look even better.

    There were no MPEG compression errors that I noticed. The movie and the extra features are contained within a single layer. Despite the relatively short hour and a half runtime, I was expecting this disc to be dual layered, but this was not to be. I am fairly certain that this would be to keep the costs of the collection down.

    Despite the restoration that the film has undergone for the new transfer, there was at least one particularly distracting film artefact on display. At 8:50, a cluster of dirt appeared in the middle of the screen, which was very disconcerting. Apart from other occasional non-distracting dirt specks appearing in outside sky shots, nothing else could be found wrong with the transfer. I congratulate Warner Home Video on putting in a bit of effort with this classic movie.

    All is not roses with this transfer, however. It is sad to note that edge enhancement is a prominent feature of this transfer. At 3:10 it makes its first noticeable appearance, with a door having an obvious white outline. This is the first of many occurrences, and if you are like me, once you spot this problem you keep looking out for it.

    A large number of subtitles are available on this disc; English, French, Italian, German, Spanish, Dutch, Arabic, Bulgarian, Romanian, English for the Hearing Impaired and Italian for the Hearing Impaired.

    The discs in this collection are encoded for Regions 2, 4 and 5.

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

    There is nothing to boast about in regards to the audio options available on this disc. Available languages are English, Italian and French, all in the form of Dolby Digital 1.0 monaural soundtracks encoded at 192kbps. Whilst they are nothing special, conversely there is absolutely nothing wrong with them.

    The movie is dialogue driven, with the dialogue being clear and easy to understand and in sync with the action on screen.

    There are no clicks or dropouts.

    The now-familiar theme music was composed by Robert Folk, who provides all the music for the entire series. Looking at his resume, there are very few other of his movies which have left such an impact on society. Try to recall themes from movies such as Lawnmower Man 2, Kung Pow: Enter the Fist or National Lampoon's Loaded Weapon 1. I even reviewed the latter recently, yet cannot remember any of the music.

    Being a monaural soundtrack, there is nothing in the way of surround sound. My Pro Logic II decoder could only send all the sound to my centre channel.

    The subwoofer is inactive for the entire runtime.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

Audio Commentary - Paul Maslansky (Producer), Steve Guttenburg, G.W. Bailey, Michael Winslow, Leslie Easterbrook (Cast)

    This is a great track. With Guttenburg and Winslow included, you just know that you'll be in for a good time. These two have the most fun out of the group, with the group often dissolving into fits of laughter, especially with Winslow and his sound effects. 20 years later this group has not lost their touch. It is a pity that this is the only commentary in this series - no others exist for any of the other movies. Another minor disappointment is that more of the cast was not involved in the commentary.

Featurette - Behind Academy Doors: Secret Files Revealed

    The number of cast members that came back for interviews about their experiences creating the movie is amazing. Guttenberg is the main cast member featured. It would appear that he came in on several occasions, as he has group interviews with certain members of the cast, then another group later. One notable absentee is David Graf (Tackleberry). He died in 2000 of a heart attack. A brief on-set interview is included, however it is unclear which film this interview is from.

Theatrical Trailer

    Released in theatres 20 years ago, this trailer has either undergone extensive restoration, or has been kept in very good condition in the vaults. The quality is amazing. If you were impressed by the quality of the Star Wars trailers restored for the recent box set, then this one will not let you down.

R4 vs R1

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

    It would appear that the same box set was released in Region 1 as is available here in Region 4.

    Police Academy previously had a single disc release here in Region 4, with a sub-par video transfer and no extra features. The original Region 1 release was a fullscreen transfer.

Summary

    The first in the series is almost unanimously voted to be the best. Personally, I am itching to watch the second movie, as it was always a favourite of mine.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Aiden O'Brien (Here are the results from my biopsy.)
Tuesday, February 08, 2005
Review Equipment
DVDSONY DVP-NS575P, using Component output
DisplayPanasonic TX-76PW60. Calibrated with Digital Video Essentials (PAL). This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Digital Video Essentials (PAL).
AmplificationOnkyo TX-SR500E
SpeakersJensen SPX-9 Front, Jensen SPX-13 Centre, Jensen SPX-5 Rear, Jensen SPX-17 Sub

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