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Joel Schumacher
Demi Moore, Rob Lowe, Andrew McCarthy
Writing Credits:
Joel Schumacher, Carl Kurlander

Just out of college, a group of friends struggles with adulthood.

Box Office:
$10 million.
Opening Weekend
$6,128,157 on 1204 screens.
Domestic Gross

Rated R.

Aspect Ratio: 2.40:1
English Dolby TrueHD 5.1
French Dolby TrueHD 5.1
Spanish Dolby 5.1
Portuguese Dolby TrueHD 5.1
Supplements Subtitles:

Runtime: 108 min.
Price: $19.98
Release Date: 8/11/2009

• Audio Commentary with Co-Writer/Director Joel Schumacher
• “Joel Schumacher Remembers” Featurette
• Original Making-Of Featurette
• Deleted Scenes
• Music Video
• Previews


-LG OLED65C6P 65-Inch 4K Ultra HD Smart OLED TV
-Marantz SR7010 9.2 Channel Full 4K Ultra HD AV Surround Receiver;
-Panasonic DMP-BD60K Blu-Ray Player
-Chane A2.4 Speakers
-SVS SB12-NSD 12" 400-watt Sealed Box Subwoofer


St. Elmo's Fire [Blu-Ray] (1985)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (September 30, 2020)

My parents’ generation viewed the exploits of the “Rat Pack”, a group of cooler-than-cool folks that included Frank Sinatra, Sammy Davis Jr. and Dean Martin. My generation got stuck with the “Brat Pack”, underachieving whiners that included Judd Nelson, Emilio Estevez and Andrew McCarthy.

We wuz robbed.

With 1985’s St. Elmo’s Fire, we see the origins of this informal assemblage of actors. The movie introduces us to a group of college pals who struggle to find their way after graduation.

That’s it – that’s your synopsis.

Oh sure, I could offer more specifics. After all, the ensemble comes with seven leads involved, so if desired, I could provide details about their various situations.

However, none of those specifics really matter in this case – or those notes don’t seem like I need to formally discuss them in my synopsis. We know what to expect from this sort of multi-character piece, so I don’t need to go in depth, as our interest lives or dies with how we attach to the roles.

In this instance… well, I won’t call the end result “death”, but it’s closer to that than “life”. A mix of melodrama and annoying characters, the film hasn’t aged well over the last 35 years.

Essentially a reworking of 1983’s Big Chill, co-writer/director Joel Schumacher tries to depict life among folks in their early 20s and fails miserably. The 30-somethings of Big Chill felt younger than these stuffy mopes.

Schumacher was 45 when he wrote and directed the film, and brings a 45-year-old’s idea of youth. Not a single moment rings true.

Fire hit screens in June 1985, right after I graduated from high school. That makes me a few years younger than the movie’s characters, but not so much junior that I shouldn’t be able to relate.

I don’t. They offer some weird cartoon of early adult life and don’t feel real in the slightest way.

Even if we ignore the fact all these 22-year-olds seem like they’re 15 years older, Fire fails to paint them as believable, engaging characters. Most just seem smug and annoying, and the film never paints them as anything more than one-dimensional clichés.

The actors fail to add anything to their thin roles either. I remember all the hype about the Brat Pack, so much that it seems semi-remarkable to realize that not a single member of the Fire cast became a true “A-list” star.

Sure, some had very good careers, and I guess Demi Moore briefly landed on the A-list in the early-mid 1990s, but there’s no one here we can look at as a true Major Star.

And it’s not like this generation didn’t birth some huge actors. All the main castmembers were born between 1959 and 1964 – most in 1962 – and that era also includes folks like Brad Pitt, George Clooney and Tom Cruise.

A-listers or not, I don’t think anyone could save this dud. A dull, messy mix of monologues and melodrama, Fire seems badly dated after 35 years.

Footnote: it still seems odd to see Judd Nelson and Ally Sheedy here only a few months after they played high school kids in The Breakfast Club. At least that beats Andrew McCarthy’s path, as he’d be back in high school a year later via 1986’s Pretty in Pink.

The Disc Grades: Picture B/ Audio B-/ Bonus B

St Elmo’s Fire appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 2.40:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. Overall, the image held up fairly well.

General sharpness was fine. Though some softness impacted the occasional wide shot, the majority of the film boasted nice clarity and accuracy.

I saw no signs of jaggies or moiré effects, but some light edge haloes appeared at times. Print flaws also didn’t disturb the presentation.

Fire featured a fairly warm palette, and the colors appeared to be acceptably concise and vivid. They offered reasonable pep, with a ruddy, autumnal feel most of the time.

Black levels seemed to be fairly deep and solid, and shadow detail was opaque without heaviness. Low-light situations looked good, as they appeared appropriately defined but not excessively thick. Though it showed its age, the image still worked pretty well.

The Blu-ray boasted a Dolby TrueHD 5.1 remix. Don’t expect the latter to reinvent the wheel, however, as it lacked much ambition. A few decent examples of localized audio or movement occurred, but a lot of the track stayed either centered or spread to the sides in a general way.

The music worked best in this regard, as the score and songs featured good stereo imaging. Effects showed less breadth and failed to deliver much involvement, though they added a little pizzazz at times, especially during bar scenes.

Audio quality was dated but decent. Though speech could be reedy, the lines were acceptably natural most of the time, and they showed good intelligibility. Music became reasonably lively and full.

Effects were also fine given the movie’s age and budget, as these seemed fairly concise and didn’t cause problems. This turned into a workable multichannel remix for a character drama from the 80s.

As we move to extras, an audio commentary with co-writer/director Joel Schumacher opens the set. He offers a running, screen-specific look at the project’s development, story/characters, cast and performances, sets and locations, costumes, music and related domains.

Schumacher mostly focuses on the cast, as he offers thoughts about their work and personalities. He touches on other topics at times, but the ‘Brat Pack” actors remain the focal point. I might prefer a broader orientation, but Schumacher remains engaging through the chat, so this becomes an enjoyable track.

We get more from the director during the 14-minute, 21-second Joel Schumacher Remembers St. Elmo’s Fire. Here Schumacher discusses the project’s roots and development, story/characters, cast and crew, and other production memories. Inevitably, some of this repeats from the commentary, but Schumacher still provides a good overview.

An Original Making Of Featurette spans eight minutes, 43 seconds and involves Schumacher, producer Lauren Schuler, and actors Rob Lowe, Ally Sheedy, Mare Winningham, Demi Moore, Judd Nelson, Emilio Estevez and Andrew McCarthy. Heavy on film clips and light on substance, this becomes a bland promo reel.

12 Deleted Scenes fill a total of 15 minutes, 41 seconds. These mostly offer a little more character exposition, along with a few jokes. Other than more between Wendy and her dad, nothing meaningful emerges, but fans will likely enjoy these tidbits.

The disc also includes a music video for John Parr’s “Man in Motion”. The video mixes movie clips with lip-synch shots of Parr as he emotes, though the main cast shows up for exclusive material by the end. I hated the song 35 years ago and that sentiment doesn’t change now.

Previews offers ads for A River Runs Through It, Ghostbusters (1984), The Da Vinci Code, Assassination of a High School President, Adoration and Easy Virtue. No trailer for Fire appears here.

One of the more ridiculous “coming of age” films committed to celluloid, St. Elmo’s Fire finds nary a true note. Instead, it substitutes cheap soap opera shenanigans for actual character development and drama. The Blu-ray brings generally positive picture and audio along with a mix of bonus materials. Fire just plain stinks.

Viewer Film Ratings: 1 Stars Number of Votes: 2
0 3:
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