The Breakfast Club appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 1.85:1 on this single-sided, double-layered DVD; the image has been enhanced for 16X9 televisions. The movie featured a pretty lackluster transfer.
Sharpness varied. The movie usually looked acceptably detailed but rarely much more than that. Not too many scenes were really ill-defined, but few came across as particularly distinctive, as most of Club was acceptably concise and no more. Jagged edges and shimmering caused no concerns, and edge enhancement was absent.
Colors seemed erratic. They displayed the usual Eighties murkiness at times, but they also occasionally looked more vibrant and distinct. For the most part, the hues came across as somewhat flat. Black levels tended to appear decent – if a little inky - while shadow detail was acceptable. Neither of those elements excelled, but they weren’t bad.
A mix of source flaws interfered at times. I noticed a mix of light specks and marks. None of these seemed excessive, but they created distractions. Given the movie’s age, I thought this was good enough for a “C+”, but that was about it.
Nothing special emerged from the audio of The Breakfast Club either. The DVD featured both Dolby Digital 5.1 and DTS 5.1 soundtracks. The pair seemed virtually identical – and redundant, since this wasn’t exactly a flick with a lot of sonic ambition.
A chatty movie, the soundscape didn’t open up too much. Music disappointed, as the pop/rock songs and score remained essentially monaural. They boasted a little reverb in the side and rear speakers, but that was all; there was no real stereo imaging in terms of music.
Effects broadened matters in a minor way. A few scenes made slightly more active use of the various channels, and I even heard one or two split-surround elements. Nonetheless, the flick really concentrated on dialogue, so effects didn’t have much to do. This was a track with a narrow focus.
At least audio quality seemed good. While the absence of stereo music disappointed me, I did think the songs and score sounded positive. Those elements showed good range and depth, so the tracks reproduced them well.
Effects remained a minor part of the mixes, so they didn’t stand out in any way. Those elements seemed accurate enough, but they weren’t memorable. Speech was natural and concise, without edginess or other issues. Not enough happened here to elevate my grade above “C+”, but other than the absence of stereo music, the audio was perfectly fine.
For this “Flashback Edition” of The Breakfast Club, we get an audio commentary with actors Anthony Michael Hall and Judd Nelson. Along with moderator/DVD producer Jason Hillhouse, the pair sit together for this running, screen-specific chat. They discuss cast, rehearsals and performances, working with director John Hughes and the other filmmakers, sets and locations, and a few production stories.
Though the track starts out well, it loses steam after too long. During its early moments, the actors offer good reflections on their experiences. Unfortunately, as the commentary progresses, we hear more praise, less information, and too many dead spots. Fans will still find some good observations here, but this ends up as an inconsistent discussion.
Next comes a 12-part documentary called Sincerely Yours. In this 51-minute and nine-second piece, we get the usual mix of archival elements, movie clips and interviews. We hear from Hall, Nelson, Heathers director Michael Lehmann, Juno screenwriter Diablo Cody, Washington Post writer Hank Stuever, costume designer Marilyn Vance, Pretty Persuasion director Marco Siega, Fast Times at Ridgemont High director Amy Heckerling, and actors Ally Sheedy and John Kapelos. “Yours” looks at director John Hughes and his take on teen life, musical choices, aspects of the script and story, rehearsal, characters and performances, costumes, and the film’s reception/legacy.
“Yours” mixes good facts with lots of fluff. Much of the program simply discusses the greatness of John Hughes, as well as the wonderfulness of Club itself. We do find a reasonable amount of interesting information along the way, but the package gets a bit tough to take. I think there’s enough useful material here to make it worth a look, but it’s an inconsistent program.
In addition to the film’s trailer, we find a featurette entitled The Most Convenient Definitions: The Origins of the Brat Pack. This five-minute and 34-second short includes notes from Lehmann, Stuever, Sheedy, Hall, Nelson, Kapelos, New York Press editor-in-chief David Blum, and Tiger Beat and Bop magazines associate editor Marc Cuenco. We learn about how the “Brat Pack” moniker came into being and aspects of that term’s usage. It’s a short but interesting piece, largely because term inventor Blum appears.
While The Breakfast Club lacks the relevance it boasted for me when it hit in 1985, it still has its moments. I could live without all the melodrama, but there’s enough good material here to make it interesting. The DVD provides generally average picture and audio as well as some decent extras. This isn’t a great release, but it’s acceptable and will probably be enjoyed by the flick’s fans.
Note that you can buy The Breakfast Club either on its own or as part of a three-movie “High School Flashback Collection”. In addition to Club, this package includes Sixteen Candles and Weird Science. With a list price of $39.98, the set is a good deal for fans of the flicks; essentially, it acts as a “buy two, get one free” deal.