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Home Theater Movie Renter's Guide - February, 2012

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"Good Morning Vietnam" (Blu-ray) - Reviewed by Tyler Stripko

movie-february-2012-good-morning-vietnam210

Synopsis

As U.S. involvement in Vietnam is escalating, U.S. Air Force DJ Adrian Cronauer (Robin Williams) is brought to Saigon to inject some life into the stuffy local Armed Forces Radio station.  

Cronauer’s antics and disregard for authority quickly get him into trouble with his superiors, but the troops love him and the rock and roll he plays. 

Specifications

  • Touchstone Pictures
  • 1987, Color, R, 121 Minutes
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • Codec: AVC
  • 1080p
  • English 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio
  • Starring: Robin Williams and Forest Whitaker
  • Directed by Barry Levinson
Rating
  • Entertainment:
  • Video:
  • Audio:
  • Extras:
  • Violence: Yes
  • Sex: None
  • Language: Yes

Commentary

While certainly not Williams’ best work, Good Morning Vietnam plays to Williams’ strengths.  The part of the wacky radio DJ is similar to Williams’ stand-up comedy routines, i.e. all over the map.  As someone who appreciates Williams’ ability to shift comic gears at near machine-gun pace, I enjoyed the comedy bits throughout the film.  I also appreciated the storyline, which attempts to show the feelings of the Vietnamese, particularly through the eyes of young Tuan (Tung Thanh Tran).  While the plot is a bit predictable, it keeps a viewer interested and never drags.

Technical

For a film released in 1987, the overall picture quality is pretty good.  The picture is fairly sharp, with solid colors (sometimes a bit yellow-tinted) and good black levels as a base.  However, I noticed quite a few scenes where the actors faces had a bit of a waxy haze over them.  It is very likely that there was a bit of digital noise reduction used on the original print in an effort to clean things up for this release.  It is not terrible, but it does ruin the original film look and softens the picture to some degree.  There is still a good amount of film grain present, but it was obviously scrubbed a bit, particularly on close-ups.   In general this is the best I’ve seen this film look, though I think it could be even better with a bit more effort. 

The 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack is average.  The sound is clear and there are no issues at all with dialogue intelligibility.  There is little action of note in the surrounds and the few scenes that utilize the subwoofer channel are pretty weak.  Even the land mines that go off in the last act of the film lack punch.  The only real highlights are the classic rock tracks spread throughout the film, which punch through the front three channels nicely.

Extras

Included on this disc is a five-part production diary with sub-features on making the movie, Williams’ improve, the music, the origin of the movies tagline, shooting in Thailand, and a retrospective on the film.  There are also some raw monologues and the original trailers for the film.