Biloxi Blues (1988)

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Released 24-Dec-2001

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Comedy Theatrical Trailer
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 1988
Running Time 102:18
RSDL / Flipper No/No Cast & Crew
Start Up Language Select Then Menu
Region Coding 2,4 Directed By Mike Nichols
Studio
Distributor

Universal Pictures Home Video
Starring Matthew Broderick
Christopher Walken
Case ?
RPI $19.95 Music Georges Delerue


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
German Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.85:1
16x9 Enhancement
Not 16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.85:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English for the Hearing Impaired
German
Dutch
Swedish
Norwegian
Danish
Finnish
Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

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

Plot Synopsis

    Biloxi Blues is a comedy written by Neil Simon and is in my opinion a strange sort of film.Pronounced as 'Bluxy' and not By-Loxy (which is what I've always called it anyway), it was made in 1988 and set in 1945, but it at times feels like it was made in 1958. It oozes 'budget production' at every turn. There are few outdoor scenes and when the action does move outdoors, there is a distinct lack of army props and extras.

    Matthew Broderick plays the fresh-faced Eugene Jerome, a young man recently drafted into the army at the end of World War II. He gets shipped off to basic training in Biloxi, Mississippi. He's really not prepared for training and even less prepared for the antics of platoon sergeant Toomey (Christopher Walken). Being a film that is basically about basic training (or a boot camp) the usual well-trodden archetypal misfits are present and accounted for in the supporting cast. You know the ones - the mad crazy drill sergeant (Walken), the gung-ho soldier wanna-be - Wykowski (Matt Mulhern), the nerd who really doesn't belong there - Epstein (Corey Parker), and the homosexual - Hennesey (Michael Dolan). There is even the innocent young town-girl whom Eugene tries to woo (Daisy played by Penelope Ann Miller). They all help Eugene move from one dilemma to another, as he struggles to come to grips with the training (and the prospect of losing his virginity).

    This is apparently based on the Broadway play by Neil Simon, which was also based on his own experiences in the army. There are a couple of laughs, but it all seems so forced and cheap. I think it must have worked much better as a play when it could all be done indoors.

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Transfer Quality

Video

    Overall, I was quite disappointed with the quality of the video transfer on offer here.

    We have the pleasure of experiencing this film in its original theatrical aspect of 1.85:1, but unfortunately it is lacking 16x9 enhancement.

    This is not an overly sharp transfer, with a general diffuse and soft quality to the overall picture, though there is no edge enhancement to worry about. Shadow detail suffers at times, though again it is not really a problem. Grain is present throughout and at times is extremely noticeable. See the bathroom scene at 40:09-41:30 for possibly the worst case. There is no low level noise.

    Colours are mostly well rendered, though the skin tones seem to fluctuate between a pale pink to a bright red. Not an overly vivid transfer, but likewise there are few problems to report.

    I noticed no MPEG artefacts, but there is plenty of light shimmer on a variety of surfaces throughout (the train tracks at 4:40 and the power lines at 8:50 are a couple of early examples). Severe aliasing is actually pretty well-controlled and considering the lack of 16x9 enhancement, this came as a bit of a surprise. There are also only a small number of film artefacts (of the usual small and barely noticeable variety). This also was surprising and made up just a little bit for my dissatisfaction at the lack of 16x9 enhancement.

    There are seven subtitle options, mostly for the continental European countries (it is a dual-coded Region 2 and 4 disc). I sampled the English for the Hard of Hearing track and found the subtitles to be excellent. The subtitles are presented in a nice clear bold typeface, and are nicely accurate to boot.

    This is a single sided, single layer disc only, and hence there is no layer change to worry about.

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

Audio

    There are two audio tracks available, both Dolby Digital 2.0 efforts, in English and German. I listened to the English track in total and briefly sampled the German track. This is a fairly unremarkable soundtrack that sounds much, much older than its 14 years of age. I don't know whether this was as a result of the film being almost entirely dialogue-based and hence lacking the need for any real dynamics, or whether this was because there simply wasn't a large enough budget to produce the film. I suspect the latter. Like the video, the audio sounds cheap.

    Having said all of the above, the dialogue is clear and there are no audio sync problems.

    The music is pretty unremarkable - a few big-band sounds from the era are pretty much it.

    Being only a stereo track, there is no surround channel or subwoofer use at all.

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

Extras

    A theatrical trailer is the only extra on this disc.

Theatrical Trailer

    Presented in an aspect ratio of 1.33:1 it is not 16x9 enhanced and runs for a total of 1:24 minutes. This trailer basically condenses all the reasonably good gags in the film to 90 seconds. Average quality video that is perhaps slightly less grainy than the actual film, though the shadow detail is severely lacking. The Dolby Digital 2.0 audio is on par with the main feature.

R4 vs R1

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

    I can't find any reference to this title having been released in Region 1 at this stage.

Summary

    Biloxi Blues is a mostly forgettable film. It manages a few laughs, but it has all been done many, many times before. The quality of the overall production seems remarkably low even by 1980s standards.

    The video is below average, mostly due to the lack of 16x9 enhancement.

    The audio is also unremarkable.

    The extras? A trailer doesn't really count does it?

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Darren Walters (It's . . . just the vibe . . . of my bio)
Wednesday, January 02, 2002
Review Equipment
DVDLoewe Xemix 5006DD, using RGB output
DisplayLoewe Calida (84cm). Calibrated with Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials.
AmplificationHarmon/Kardon AVR7000.
SpeakersFront - B&W 602S2, Centre - B&W CC6S2, Rear - B&W 601S2, Sub - Energy E:xl S10

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