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Planes, Trains and Automobiles Blu-ray Review

  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • 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: R
  • Run Time: 92 Mins.
  • Discs: 1 (1 x Blu-ray)
  • Studio: Paramount Home Entertainment
  • Blu-ray Release Date: September 25, 2011
  • List Price: $19.99

Overall
[Rating:3/5]
The Film
[Rating:4/5]
Video Quality
[Rating:3/5]
Audio Quality
[Rating:3/5]
Supplemental Materials
[Rating:3.5/5]

 

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]

Planes-Trans-Automobiles-BD_01

Steve Martin and John Candy are Neal Page and Del Griffith, two men from different backgrounds who ultimately partner up in hopes of getting home to Thanksgiving. Page is an advertising executive while Griffith is a salesman. The two run into each other after Page’s flight to Chicago is cancelled. With both wanting to get home, the two embark on a cross-country ordeal that may seem ordinary. Add in varying modes of transportation and you have a comedy not only with the late, great John Candy, but also one that makes you smile at the pure heart found within.

Perhaps because the talented man was taken far too soon from us, I’ve always had a place in my heart for John Candy films. Candy typically has that charm, that style that reminds me of an average Joe you’d meet anywhere. He can make us laugh, make us smile, heck make us even almost shed a tear of joy (more his role in Home Alone than here). So in going through his films recently, I was shocked to learn that I had never seen Planes, Trains and Automobiles (yes, yes I know)! When given the opportunity to review this, I jumped at the chance. The end result? Planes is a downright great film that not only makes us laugh quite a bit, but actually tugs at the old heartstrings.

Video Quality

[Rating:3/5]

Planes-Trans-Automobiles-BD_02

Planes, Trains and Automobiles arrives on Blu-ray with an AVC MPEG-4 transfer that takes up roughly 25.7GB of the BD-50 Blu-ray Disc the film is supplied on. With this being the third 80s comedy Paramount Home Entertainment has decided to release, the results are the worst out of the three. Contrast levels are fairly accurate while flesh tones looked mostly natural. There are a few moments where the characters do have a kind of ‘glossy’ look to them, in particular some of the interior opening moments, making me wonder if a bit of DNR was applied here. A little layer of grain is present throughout, but nothing that doesn’t look natural on film. The color palette does feature mostly fine blacks, although there are a few darker sequences where detail is lost. Daytime detail is just fine. All in all I expected more here, but I do suppose fans will be pleased as this the best Planes, Trains and Automobiles will ever look.

Audio Quality

[Rating:3/5]

Planes-Trans-Automobiles-BD_03

Planes, Trains and Automobiles’ DTS-HD Master Audio track is a solid improvement over the DVD counterpart, however, there just isn’t that much here to benefit from a lossless track. Dialogue is well reproduced, if a bit low at times, with no real instance of dropout. Surrounds are mostly absent, only occasionally creeping their head up during a few key moments. LFE does offer a bit of low end during the car crash, but is quiet outside this instance. For the most part, the film focus is on more of a frontal experience versus opening the rears. This isn’t an issue with the track itself, more the film’s limitations. All in all, akin to that of the video, this is the best this movie will ever sound.

Supplemental Materials

[Rating:3.5/5]

Planes-Trans-Automobiles-BD_04

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

The supplements provided on this release are:

  • Getting There is Half the Fun: The Story of Planes, Trains and Automobiles
  • John Hughes: Life Moves Pretty Fast featuring John Hughes: The Voice of a Generation [HD]
  • Heartbreak and Triumph: The Legacy of John Hughes [HD]
  • John Hughes for Adults
  • A Tribute to John Candy
  • Deleted Scene: “Airplane Food” [HD]

The Definitive Word

Overall:

[Rating:3/5]

Planes-Trans-Automobiles-BD_05

Paramount Home Entertainment has brought another 80s comedy classic to Blu-ray. Even though the video/audio leave something to be desired, the included features make this one worth snapping up.

Additional Screen Captures

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Planes-Trans-Automobiles-BD_11

Planes-Trans-Automobiles-BD_12

Overall
[Rating:3/5]
The Film
[Rating:4/5]
Video Quality
[Rating:3/5]
Audio Quality
[Rating:3/5]
Supplemental Materials
[Rating:3.5/5]

Shop for more Blu-ray titles at Amazon.com

 


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