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Chris Columbus
Elisabeth Shue, Maia Brewton, Keith Coogan, Anthony Rapp, Calvin Levels, Vincent D'Onofrio, Penelope Ann Miller
Writing Credits:
David Simkins

She thought babysitting was easy money - until she started hanging out with the Andersons.

Get ready for the adventure of a lifetime with the 25th anniversary edition of Adventures In Babysitting, starring Academy Award nominee Elisabeth Shue. Experience all the laughter and excitement in a whole new way on Blu-ray with a sensational new digital restoration! When Chris Parker (Shue) agrees to babysit, she expects a night of TV and boredom. But when her frantic friend calls and pleads to be rescued from a downtown Chicago bus station, Chris and the kids pack up and leave their safe suburban surroundings for the heart of the big city. It's a frighteningly funny expedition no one will forget!

Box Office:
Domestic Gross
$34.368 million.

Rated PG-13

Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
English DTS-HD MA 5.1
Spanish Dolby Digital 2.0
French Dolby Digital 2.0
Supplements Subtitles:

Runtime: 102 min.
Price: $20.00
Release Date: 8/7/2012

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Panasonic 50" TH-50PZ77U 1080p Plasma Monitor; Sony STR-DG1200 7.1 Channel Receiver; Panasonic DMP-BD60K Blu-Ray Player using HDMI outputs; Michael Green Revolution Cinema 6i Speakers (all five); Kenwood 1050SW 150-watt Subwoofer.

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Adventures In Babysitting: 25th Anniversary Edition [Blu-Ray] (1987)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (August 13, 2012)

Although the two films came out within weeks of each other, you would be hard pressed to recognize Vincent D'Onofrio in both Adventures In Babysitting and Full Metal Jacket. In the former, he plays a buff blond dude who resembles Thor, God of Thunder, whereas in the latter he portrays tubby moron Pvt. Gomer Pyle. I'd say it's unlikely any actor has ever looked so entirely different in two films that came out so close together.

Why discuss this topic? Because I have to write a review of Babysitting and I have almost nothing to say about it other than "it bites". Yes, this trifle from the poofy hair days of the late Eighties has hit Blu-ray, which inspires the question: why?

I suppose the film offers a small historical footnote since it features the directorial debut of banal panderer Chris Columbus, who would later go onto much greater success - financially if not creatively - with movies like Home Alone and Mrs. Doubtfire. Do you think that if his parents had named him "Bob" he wouldn't have felt the need to take out his pain on us? For the record, Doubtfire was watchable and mildly entertaining but only because of a good performance from Robin Williams; without the presence of Columbus behind the camera, I'd bet it would have been a much better film.

Babysitting doesn't benefit from the talents of any comic geniuses; the best we get is the lovely Elisabeth Shue. Unfortunately, she doesn't look too luscious here. Oh, she looks cute and I'd be happy to have her babysit me any time, but she lacks much sex appeal. You know where she really shined? In the "Body Wars" ride at EPCOT. She plays a doctor in the film that accompanies the attraction and she does so as she wears a tight bodysuit. Oh, mama! Five minutes of Shue in "Body Wars" beats her in the whole 102 minutes of Babysitting.

It probably doesn't help that the film is a puerile mix of inanities that might entertain those 10 and under - emphasis on might. Bizarrely, the filmmakers chose to get a "PG-13" rating for Babysitting simply because they decided to use the "F"-word twice. That language seems badly out of place and makes no sense. Yes, I realize that a "PG-13" won't keep many kids out of a theater - in fact, it may have added a slight cache to the film that a "PG" would lack - but I think the foul language stands out badly and seems completely out of place in this kind of picture.

If that was the only miscalculation made by the filmmakers, I could perhaps forgive it, but it's just another dumb choice in a bad movie. Babysitting offers virtually no entertainment value or humor and is just a big bore.

The Blu-ray Grades: Picture B+/ Audio B-/ Bonus D-

Adventures in Babysitting appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 1.85:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. Only the movie’s inherent “80s-ness” held it back, as this offered an otherwise strong transfer.

Sharpness was pretty positive. The nature of the photography and the era’s film stock meant it never looked razor-sharp, but it showed more than adequate definition. The only notable softness popped up in a couple of wide, establishing shots; those were mushy but fleeting. No issues with softness arose, as the film remained accurate. No issues with jaggies or shimmering occurred, and I saw no concerns with edge haloes or noise reduction; the film featured a natural but not overwhelming sense of grain. Source flaws failed to become an issue in this clean presentaiton.

Many films from this one’s period suffer from lackluster colors, and I can’t claim that Babysitting totally overcomes those challenges. Still, it showed reasonably natural hues; they weren’t especially peppy, but they demonstrated pretty good clarity. Blacks were fairly dark and deep, and shadows showed nice delineation. Honestly, any “problems” here came from the 80s film stock; I thought the Blu-ray provided a solid representation of the source.

Virtually the same can be said for the film's DTS-HD MA 5.1 mix: it offered a piece that demonstrated the restrictions of its era. The soundstage was acceptable for a picture from 1987. Dialogue clung closely to the center, as did most effects, though they also spread to the sides and occasionally to the rears when necessary; this occurred with decent but not great results. Music occupied the lion's share of the side and rear speakers and did so well enough to add a little oomph to the image.

Quality was generally fine, though the track was never particularly vivid. Dialogue seemed intelligible but could be a bit edgy and thin at times. Effects came across in a similar manner; they were acceptably realistic but tended to lack much power. Music was reasonably full and lively, though the score was never especially impressive. All in all, this was a “B-“ mix based on its age.

Unfortunately, I’m unable to make direct comparisons between this 2012 Blu-ray and the original DVD from 2000. That said, I’m sure the Blu-ray offers substantial improvements, especially in terms of picture quality. The DVD lacked 16X9 enhancement – and looked mediocre even on the 27-inch TV I used 12 years ago. I’d bet it’d look thoroughly awful on my current 50-inch widescreen set, so there’s no question that the Blu-ray provides a tremendous visual upgrade – and likely delivers improved audio as well.

Despite the “25th Anniversary Edition” moniker, the Blu-ray includes virtually no extras. It opens with promos for Frankenweenie and Who Framed Roger Rabbit. Sneak Peeks also provides ads for Castle and other TV on DVD/BD products. No trailer for Babysitting shows up here.

I've had easier recommendations to make, but not many. Adventures In Babysitting offers a dull, witless film that might have some nostalgia value but that’s about it. The Blu-ray provides very good picture and perfectly competent audio but lacks supplements. This is a pretty awful movie, but at least the Blu-ray makes it look and sound better than ever.

Viewer Film Ratings: 4.625 Stars Number of Votes: 8
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