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Airplane! Blu-ray Review

  • Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
  • Video Codec: AVC/MPEG-4
  • Resolution: 1080p/24 (23.976Hz)
  • Audio Codec: English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1
  • Subtitles: English SDH, French, Spanish
  • Region: ABC (Region-Free)
  • Rating: PG
  • Run Time: 80 Mins.
  • Discs: 1 (1 x Blu-ray)
  • Studio: Paramount Home Entertainment
  • Blu-ray Release Date: September 25, 2011
  • List Price: $19.99

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Overall
[Rating:3.5/5]
The Film
[Rating:4/5]

Video Quality
[Rating:3.5/5]

Audio Quality
[Rating:3.5/5]

Supplemental Materials
[Rating:2.5/5]

 

Click thumbnails for high-resolution 1920X1080p screen captures

(Screen captures are lightly compressed with lossy JPEG  thus are meant as a general representation of the content and do not fully reveal the capabilities of the Blu-ray format)

The Film

 

[Rating:4/5]


Ted Striker (Robert Hays) is an ex-fighter pilot and taxi driver, who became traumatized during a recent war. Due to this Striker has a fear of flying thus leading to his girlfriend stewardess Elaine Dickinson (Julie Hagerty) leaving him. In the hopes of winning her back, he decides to buy a ticket on a flight from Los Angeles to Chicago she’s working on. Along the way much mayhem ensues including nearly everyone aboard becoming ill from a fish dinner. Co-stars Robert Stack, Leslie Neilson, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Lloyd Bridges all help to add to the film’s hilarity. Simply put, Airplane is one of those rare comedies that has stood the test of time. In fact I dare say the film has improved with age.

Some films will make us laugh, lead to a talk have a talk or two around the water cooler and then will disappear into the ether as another forgotten comedy. Then you have films like Airplane, one that is nearly as hilarious as the first time I saw it some 18 years ago. What exactly is so funny about it? It’s more than the jokes that were cutting edge for that time period still resonate today. The dialogue is as witty as ever and the acting is still great (it’s always great to see Robert Stack acting). Speaking of Stack, perhaps because of my fondness of his Lifetime show Unsolved Mysteries, I always find myself smiling whenever he’s on screen regardless of the film.

Bottom line, I don’t really have to go into more depth about why Airplane was called one of the greatest movies of the 80s. The film mixes clever dialogue, great actors, over-the-top situations and a truly funny plot. After all, how can a movie featuring an inflatable co-pilot NOT be funny?

Video Quality

 

[Rating:3.5/5]


Airplane arrives with an AVC/MPEG-4 codec that takes up roughly 25.85GB of the BD-50 disc the film is featured on. In comparing this to the DVD, the Blu-ray is a solid improvement over the roughly 11 year old DVD. At first glance, newbies to the format may scoff  at this transfer claiming the image is not ‘clean’ or looks overly soft. While that may be true for the first 10-15 minutes, once we enter the confines of the airplane, the transfer bursts to life. The color palette is more vivid and bold featuring solid contrast levels and fleshtones. Grain levels are kept in check looking very similar to the DVD. All in all this isn’t  a top of the line, grand slam image. More one that fans of the film will be quite pleased with.

Audio Quality

 

[Rating:3.5/5]


Airplane’s DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track is one that is a fair improvement over the DVD. With this being a comedy, especially one from the 80’s, the film tends to focus more on the frontal range. Dialogue is well reproduced as I didn’t notice any real sequence where anything becomes muddled. I will note that most of the dialogue is hilarious, in particular the opening banter between the PA announcers. LFE, surprisingly I might add, is deep at times. Nothing like Transformers: Dark of the Moon, but still more than I expected. Minus the fronts, the rears don’t really receive any kind of attention minus an occasional noise here and there. While it would’ve been a nice to see the original Mono track included, I can’t fault Paramount for this track. Fans will be pleased with this DTS-HD track.

Supplemental Materials

 

[Rating:2.5/5]

Paramount has included a few extras here, of which fans will appreciate.

The supplements provided on this release are:

  • Long Haul Version
  • Audio Commentary with Jon Davidson, David Zucker, Jerry Zucker and Jim Abrahams
  • Trivia Track
  • Theatrical Trailer [HD]

The Definitive Word

Overall:

 

[Rating:3.5/5]


 

Paramount Home Entertainment has finally brought a truly comedic gem to Blu-ray. Featuring quite good video and audio, a few features and a low, introductory price, this one comes very recommended.

Additional Screen Captures

BestBuy.com:
Airplane -

Shop for more Blu-ray titles at Amazon.com

Overall
[Rating:3.5/5]
The Film
[Rating:4/5]

Video Quality
[Rating:3.5/5]

Audio Quality
[Rating:3.5/5]

Supplemental Materials
[Rating:2.5/5]

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