The Sure Thing appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 1.85:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. This was a somewhat up and down presentation.
Sharpness mostly looked positive. Wide shots could appear soft throughout the movie, and other parts of the film also occasionally came across as somewhat ill defined. Still, most of the movie appeared fairly accurate and distinct.
I noticed no issues connected to jagged edges or moiré effects, and edge haloes remained absent. However, print flaws were a distraction, especially during the ugly opening credits. Matters improved from there, but the movie still came with a mix of occasional specks and marks.
Many Eighties movies display iffy colors, and Thing demonstrated some of the usual moderate roughness I associate with the era. However, the hues mostly came across as acceptably dynamic and tight; they could look a bit drab, but they usually were fine.
Black levels also seemed slightly tame but they mostly looked dense and solid, while low-light situations demonstrated good definition and detail. A good clean-up would’ve helped this image, but as it stood, it earned a “C+”.
Adapted from the movie’s original monaural soundtrack – which also appears on the disc – the DTS-HD MA 5.1 mix of The Sure Thing opened up the audio slightly. However, the soundfield remained essentially monaural much of the time.
Some music spread decently to the sides, and occasional examples of effects also popped up in those speakers. At times, vehicles moved from side to side, and a few other sequences like a rainstorm made acceptable use of the soundfield.
Nonetheless, the elements stayed close to the center the vast majority of the time, and surround usage appeared inconsequential most of the time. A few shots used the rear speakers to fair effect, but they popped up infrequently.
Audio quality was generally fine, though the elements showed their age. Speech could be a little dull, but the lines always remained intelligible and reasonably natural.
Music lacked great range but was reasonably clear and distinctive. Effects seemed accurate and clean, though they didn’t display a lot of dimensionality. Overall, the soundtrack of The Sure Thing was perfectly solid for this sort of film, but it never became anything more than that.
How does the Blu-ray compare to the the 2003 Special Edition DVD? Audio was similar; the lossless track boasted a bit more range, but given the limitations of the source, there wasn’t much room for growth.
Visuals also lacked great improvements, as the nature of the original photography meant limitations came to the fore, and the print flaws didn’t help. That said, the Blu-ray delivered stronger colors and improved delineation, so this became a decent step up in quality, even if some clean-up would’ve made it better.
The Blu-ray repeats a lot of the extras from the 2003 DVD, and we open with an audio commentary from director Rob Reiner, who gives us a running, screen-specific piece. The veteran of many tracks, Reiner usually doesn’t do well with the format. Though better than the average Reiner commentary, his discussion of The Sure Thing remains flawed.
Actually, the chat starts well, as Reiner tells us of his discomfort during the casting of “the sure thing” herself, and Reiner later occasionally gives us good notes about the way the actors worked, with a particular emphasis on Cusack’s improvisational style. He also relates thematic connections among many of his movies.
Unfortunately, these highlights appear infrequently. Much of the movie passes without any information from the director, and when he does speak, he often just tells us the names of actors, praises people and film elements, or relates the on-screen action. To be sure, this commentary seems better than Reiner’s worst offenders, but he still comes across as a generally dull and uninformative commentary participant.
Next we get a “retrospective featurette” called The Road to The Sure Thing. The 26-minute, 16-second program offers info from Reiner, actors John Cusack, Daphne Zuniga, and Nicollette Sheridan, writers Steven L. Bloom and Jonathan Roberts, producer Roger Birnbaum, former Embassy Pictures executive Lindsay Doran, casting director Jane Jenkins, production designer Lilly Kilvert and casting director Janet Hishenson.
As with Reiner’s commentary, “Road” starts strong but peters out quickly. At the beginning, we learn of the script’s genesis and difficult path to the screen. Once the project gets the green light, however, the featurette becomes less interesting. The remainder covers how Reiner and the main actors joined the project, and we also get some notes about the flick’s legacy.
Many of the notes about Reiner and the director already appear in his commentary, and much of the rest consists of little more than praise for Reiner. We find a lot of remarks about his talent and special qualities. Good for him, but this makes “Road” only moderately and sporadically useful.
Next we get another featurette entitled Dressing The Sure Thing. It runs eight minutes, 48 seconds and concentrates on costume designer Durinda Wood and her work. We see short clips from the movie and get notes on what she wanted to do with the characters’ clothes. Since Thing took place in a contemporary setting, one might not think it required a lot of effort to dress people, so it seems fascinating to hear the specifics of her attempts. “Dressing” provides a tight and informative program.
Casting The Sure Thing takes seven minutes, 18 seconds to examine the obvious topic. We hear from casting directors Jenkins and Hishenson as they discuss how they do their job in a general way and go into more specifics about Thing. They mostly skip the obvious notes about the leads, which is good since we’ve already heard those remarks elsewhere. “Casting” covers its subject in an efficient manner and gives us some interesting information.
For the final featurette, Reading The Sure Thing runs five minutes as writer Bloom reads his original story treatment. We see movie segments that generally correspond to Bloom’s writing. This presentation seems a little odd, as I’m not sure why we didn’t get the material in stillframe form, but it’s still cool to hear the tale in its earliest version, especially since it has only a smidgen in common with the final product.
The disc finishes with the film’s trailer. From the old DVD, the Blu-ray loses a good trivia track as well as some Easter eggs. It’s a shame these don’t port over to the Blu-ray.
In an age that was filled with cheap and crude sex comedies, The Sure Thing offered a teen flick that dared to treat matters with a little class and maturity. That’s probably why so many folks still view it fondly 30 years after the fact and also why it remains amusing and likable despite a wide selection of dated fashions and songs. The Blu-ray offers erratic picture and audio along with a decent array of supplements. This doesn’t become a great release, but it’s an acceptable version of an enjoyable film.
To rate this film, visit the DVD review of THE SURE THING