Wall Street: Special Edition (1987)
Audio Commentary-Oliver Stone (Director)
|Year Of Production||1987|
|RSDL / Flipper||RSDL (50:03)||Cast & Crew|
|Region Coding||2,4||Directed By||Oliver Stone|
Twentieth Century Fox
|Pan & Scan/Full Frame||None||
English Dolby Digital 5.1 (384Kb/s)
English Audio Commentary Dolby Digital 2.0 (96Kb/s)
|Widescreen Aspect Ratio||1.85:1|
|Video Format||576i (PAL)|
|Original Aspect Ratio||1.85:1||Miscellaneous|
|Annoying Product Placement||No|
|Action In or After Credits||No|
Little more than a glorified telemarketer, Bud has set his sets on something better. If he can get his foot in the door of the mega-dealer Gekko, he believes that he has got what it takes to make it big. After calling him for 39 days straight, on the fortieth day, Gekko's birthday, he turns up with a box of Cuban cigars: Gekko grants him an audience, and seeing something in Bud that reminds him of his own background, takes him on as a protégé. Thus starts a rollercoaster ride for Bud, with women (Daryl Hannah), drugs, and all of the pleasures that money can buy. But does he have the bottle to take the good with doing the bad? And for how long can he ignore his conscience, voiced by the concerns of his father.
Playing as a morality tale, Wall Street is not subtle, and often a little cheesy, but some of the dialogue is spot-on for the world that has been created. Oliver Stone's camera roams around and after the characters, getting into their space, and this generates a pace that is matched by some of the frantic scenes on the stock exchange floor and in the offices of the brokers. Although there are some complex financial dealings taking place, Stone never allows the details to become confusing, allowing the viewer to be as swept up in the action as Bud is. Love him or hate him, he is a director that always challenges the norms, and although there are plenty of flaws, there is still some genius there.
Whatever the skill exercised by the director, though, it would have been nothing without the Oscar-winning performance of Michael Douglas as the slimy, evil Gekko. He commands every scene that he is in, as no doubt his character was supposed to command every room that he entered, and any images that remain of the movie in my mind feature him. On the flip-side, though, is an absolutely terrible performance from the hopelessly miscast Daryl Hannah - the less said here the better. Breaking even is Charlie Sheen, who sometimes manages to hit the right notes, but he really doesn't have the range to fully pull off the role. The Sheen name, though, is saved by Martin, who makes the best of a small role. Terence Stamp also makes something of an impressive reappearance as Gekko's nemesis, and is cool and calm in counterpoint to Michael Douglas' heat and anger.
Despite appearing to be almost painfully dated, Wall Street held up to revisiting reasonably well, and as a landmark film of its time, deserves to be recognized as such, even if its time wasn't necessarily something that you wish to revisit.
The picture is reasonably soft, but contains an acceptable amount of detail. Similarly, shadow detail is acceptable, without reaching any great heights. The big problem, though, is grain, which is almost constant throughout the feature in the backgrounds. Even the 20th Century Fox logo at the outset is extremely grainy, and there is worse to follow, namely at (and I've only recounted the worst instances) 6:10 - 7:00, 9:00 to 12:50, 38:08 to 39:02, and 47:26 to 52:16. Thankfully, there was no low level noise to speak of, unless it was hidden by the grain.
The colour palette was reasonably well represented, although it seemed to be a little faded with age. The director favoured an orange hue throughout most of the scenes featuring natural light, giving the impression that the scenes were taking place in the late afternoon, with the light being filtered by the New York smog line. Occasionally, other colours would take precedence, such as blue, but in the main, oranges and browns were it, almost giving the movie a sepia-like feel. Vibrant colours weren't really seen at all, despite some of the garish 80s fashions on show.
Aliasing appeared reasonably regularly on almost anything that could be expected to produce it: from 7:05 to 8:22 on Bud's pin stripe shirt, at 8:45 on some power lines, at 14:27, 25:24, 54:11, 70:33 and 96:38 on some blinds, at 36:50 on a car, at 113:41 on some roof shingles, and finally at 115:26 on some steps. There was also a moiré effect on a set of steel elevator doors. Instances of pixelization appeared to be apparent as well, however, most of the instances I suspected were during some fairly grainy scenes. Make up your own mind by having a look at 10:30, 50:38, and 115:40 until the closing credits. Also something of a major problem were film artefacts, which appeared in all shapes, sizes and colours throughout, and were in the nature of dust, nicks and scratches, sometimes of alarming proportions. Another phenomenon that I noticed was what appeared to be a vertical jitter in the frame. This occurred at 94:25 to 94:32, and then again at 109:20.
This disc is RSDL formatted, with the layer change coming between Chapters 7 and 8 at 50:03. It occurs between scenes, and would have been totally unobtrusive but for the short interruption to the audio.
Although the dialogue was always reasonably easy to understand, there were a few inexplicable occasions where volume was variable: either a quiet spot would happen in the middle of a sentence, or alternatively one or two words would jump out at higher volume. These events occurred at 19:05, 36:36, and 61:35. Also, on a couple of occasions bits of dialogue would hit distortion levels, even though they weren't that loud. The most notable example of this was at 70:01.
Although I was on many occasions suspicious of audio sync problems, I never quite did catch any specific problems, despite going over a few scenes a number of times, so in that case I have to say that it was OK.
The score was provided by Stewart Copeland, former drummer for The Police. There were occasional orchestral sweeps, but in the main, synthesized percussion was the order of the day. A number of songs were also performed by David Byrne of Talking Heads fame, a couple of which were produced in association with Brian Eno.
The surrounds were really hardly used, with the soundtrack, as noted above, sounding a lot like the original stereo mix. There was the occasional action in the way of the ambience associated with the buzzing stock exchange, and a little in scenes set out in busy streets, however when the surrounds were noticed, they never really sounded like anything more than I imagine that they would from a Pro-logic mix. Directional effects were rare at best.
The subwoofer was rarely called into action other than to provide some support to the lower end of the music, as well as for the occasional effect such as a thunder clap.
|Surround Channel Use|
NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.
|DVD||Toshiba 2109, using S-Video output|
|Display||Sony Trinitron Wega (80cm). Calibrated with AVIA Guide To Home Theatre. This display device is 16x9 capable.|
|Audio Decoder||Built in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with AVIA Guide To Home Theatre.|
|Speakers||Front: Yamaha NS10M, Rear: Wharfedale Diamond 7.1, Center: Wharfedale Sapphire, Sub: Aaron 120W|