Blu-ray Review: PLATOON

MGM Home Entertainment
Release date: May 24, 2011
MSRP:  $29.99

Director: Oliver Stone
Stars: Charlie Sheen, Tom Berenger, Willem Dafoe, Keith David, Forest Whitaker,

The impact of Platoon can’t be overstated. When it prevmiered, vets stumbled out of theaters, tears streaming in their eyes, memories brought back to the surface because of filmmaker Olvier Stone’s amazing realism.

Unlike many previous war films, Platoon does not glorify war. We see a diverse group of soldiers dealing with not just the dangerous, foreign land they have been placed in, but with each other.

Private Chris Taylor (Charlie Sheen) is a rarity: A young man with well-off parents that decides he wants to serve his country and enlists at a time in which many were doing all they could to avoid being drafted. We see just what a new recruit goes through and the difficulties of acclimating to a very different world that is full of enemies.

I think most have seen Platoon, or know about it so I am not going to go into too much detail about the story. I will say it is Stone at his finest. I did not see Platoon until I was in my early 30s. I went into it knowing all of the hype and feeling a little blase about the film, I felt it would surely fall short of the pedestal many have put it on.

But by the end, I was moved and troubled. It hurts to be reminded of the things that happened over there…and the fact that many similar things have likely happened in Iraq and Afghanistan. Stone does an excellent job of humanizing the soldiers and, as a result, we feel for them and are troubled when they crack under pressure.

Platoon is a powerful film that features a talented cast telling a story that is all too real. It certainly deserves all of the praise it has received.

Video:
The picture is presented in 1080p AVC encoded 1.85.1 widesreen, The transfer is pretty good, certainly better than any of the DVD releases. Visiually, the jungle looks amazing with all of the added detail. Honestly, this is a film that really should be seen in HD. Many films look better, but being upgraded does not change the viewing experience. That certainly is not the case here, you get a better feel for the hostile world that these soldiers are in.

Audio:
There is a DTS-HD 5.1 master track that sounds fine. While that may seem like faint praise, this was shot at a time when they simply could not imagine what the future would hold in terms of audio technology. Honestly, it sounds as good as something from this time is going to.

The following tracks are also available: Spanish, French, German, Italian and Russian DTS 5.1, Portuguese and Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1, and Czech and Hungarian Dolby Digital 2.0. Subtitles are in English SDH, French, Spanish, Portuguese, German, Italian, Czech, Danish, Dutch, Finnish, Greek, Hungarian, Korean, Mandarin (Simplified), Mandarin (Traditional), Norwegian, Polish, Russian, Swedish, Thai and Turkish.

The Extras:
We get the extras from the DVD Special edition. This is a nice collection that includes commentary tracks from Stone and advisor Capt Dale Dye as well as featurettes, trailers and deleted scenes.

Even if you own multiple DVDs, I recomend upgrading to BD. As I said, the details and color of the jungle are fantastic and really add to your viewing experience. You can’t go wrong picking up this excellent copy of one of the most powerful Vietnam films ever made.

Jeremy Lynch