The Review at a Glance: ( max score: 5 )
Audio/Video total rating:
( Max score: 100 )
Studio and Year: Columbia Pictures- 1986
MPAA Rating: R
Feature running time: 88 minutes
Genre: Drama, Comedy, Adventure
Disc Format: BD-50
Encoding: AVC (MPEG-4)
Video Aspect: 1.85:1
Audio Format(s): English, French, Portuguese DTS-HD MA 5.1, Spanish, Dolby Digital 5.1, English Mono
Subtitles: English, English SDH, French, Spanish, Portuguese
Starring: Corey Feldman, Jerry O'Connell, River Phoenix, Wil Wheaton, Casey Siemaszko, Kiefer Sutherland, Richard Dryfuss
Directed by: Rob Reiner
Music by: Jack Nitzsche
Written by: Raynold Gideon & Bruce A. Evans (screenplay), Stephen King (novella 'The Body')
Region Code: A,B,C
Blu-ray Disc release Date: March 22, 2011
"I was 12 going on 13 the first time I saw a dead human being."
In a small woodsy Oregon town, a group of friends are in search of a missing teenager's body. Wanting to be heroes in each other's and their hometown's eyes, they set out on an unforgettable two-day trek that turns into an odyssey of self-discovery. They sneak smokes, tell tall tales, cuss 'cause it's cool and band together when the going gets tough. When they encounter the town's knife-wielding hoods who are also after the body, the boys discover a strength they never knew they had. STAND BY ME is a rare and special film about friendship and the indelible experiences of growing up.
I was 11 going on 12 the first time I saw 'Stand By Me'....
I remember seeing it in the theatrically, then many, many times when it came out on VHS. I was lucky enough to grow up in a time where taking off for the day, going on a journey and not being supervised was still normal. I related to these kids and how they related to each other, what it was like to go on a mission with just the boys, and no parents. I remember what it was like to have these experiences that helped us grow up naturally and on our own. These days, I cant even think of letting my kids take off without calling, texting, and without supervision. Man the world is just not as cool as it used to be.
Based on Stephen Kings novella 'The Body', director Rob Reiner (When Harry Met Sally, The Princess Bride) was pretty faithful to the source, with only a few minor tweaks to the story. They really captured the moments where kids grow-up here, and there is no doubt to any of the main characters self-revelations and conficts here; the actors all seemed made for their roles. When the insecure Gordie (Wil Wheaton), tough greaser Chris (River Phoenix), over-the-top Teddy (Corey Feldman), and the token chubby kid Vern (Jerry O'Connell), hear a rumor of where a missing teenagers body is, they go on a journey to find it and hopefully become home-town heroes. Along the way they encounter a group of rough and tough older boys, lead by the mean Ace Merrill who was perfectly played by Keifer Sutherland. These tough guys are also onto the same goal of finding the body. Yes, these older boys pose a threat and are the main conflict in the story, but to me the main conflict was growing up. Each character gets a real glimpse at themselves during this two day journey, facing their fears of their family and their place in society.
For me, revisiting this film as a 36 year old, who was in the same place as these boys were when the film was released was strange. It had me thinking of my life, where my childhood friends are now, just like the grown-up Gordie, played by Richard Dryfuss, was doing as he told this story from his youth. It had me sad that my children will miss out on some of the freedom and adventure I got to live as a kid yet had me excited to have the chance to one day watch it with them. I loved this film as a child and still love it in a different way as an adult. 'Stand By Me' is not to be missed and is one of those few special films that will live on.
Rated R for adult situations and brief strong language.
AUDIO/VIDEO - By The Numbers:
REFERENCE = 92-100 / EXCELLENT = 83-91 / GOOD = 74-82 / AVERAGE = 65-73 / BELOW AVERAGE = under 65
**My audio/video ratings are based upon a comparative made against other high definition media/blu-ray disc.**
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)
- Low frequency extension:
- Surround Sound presentation:
- Dialogue Reproduction:
- Black level/Shadow detail:
- Color reproduction:
'Stand By Me' comes to Blu-ray in its theatrical aspect ratio of 1.85:1 with AVC encoded video. I really would have hoped for Sony to give us a new re-master of such a great film, but this Blu-ray debut looks like it was cut from the same source as previous DVD releases. Thankfully things are not that bad, but the films age does show. Besides a natural coat of grain, video noise such as pops and scratches can be seen and do stick out as out-of-place on a Blu-ray release. The good is that the detail we crave is there, showing some nice definition all throughout the boys journey. Black levels can get inky, but are not consistent, occasionally losing definition. Colors fall on the over-saturated side of things and flesh-tones do look natural. As far as the issues I mention go, it's not bad by any means, and from what I remember, this does look as was filmed. The Lossless DTS-HD MA 5.1 surround sound was average. The original source was mono, and this track certainly does improve upon that (it is included for reference). Dialogue and the films great soundtrack does sound as expected, and is 99% in the front sound-stage. I didn't notice much in the effect channels, but seeing that it was a mono source, I assume the elements are not there to make that a priority. Don't expect monster bass or anything impressive here- this is a film that doesn't call for any amazing sound design. Bottom line is nothing stood out as bad, but then again, nothing stood out.
- Audio Commentary with Director Rob Reiner
- (HD) 25 Years Later: A Picture-in-Picture Commentary Retrospective with Director Rob Reiner and Actors Wil Wheaton & Corey Feldman
- (HD) "Exclusive Featurette "Walking the Tracks: The Summer of STAND BY ME including interviews with Stephen King and Rob Reiner"
- (HD) Stan By Me Music Video
- (HD) Trailers: Soul Surfer, How Do You Know, Inside Job, Country String
- Bonus View (PiP)
'Stand By Me' is a film that I will come back to, and every time I will smile, tear up and never get bored. For those who haven't seen it for years, I suggest a re-visit. To those yet to see it, what are you waiting for? I do wonder if an R rating was a bit harsh. Yes there is a dead body and a bunch of swearing, but I would guess a PG-13 to be sufficient these days. This is certainly not the end all be all as far as how great it could look, but it's still quite detailed and a nice step above the DVD. The "25 Years Later" Picture-in-Picture Commentary with director Rob Reiner, and actors Wil Wheaton and Corey Feldman was a super enjoyable addition, and a must see for any fan. It never drags and gives great insight into every scene. I am glad to have this in my collection and think you will too. Enjoy!
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Reference Review System:
Marantz SR5005 Receiver
Sony PS3 Slim Blu-ray Player (HDMI Audio/Video)
Artison Portrait Fronts and Artison LRS Surround Speakers
Martin Logan Dynamo 500 Subwoofer