Plot: What’s it about?
Depending on your point of view, the 80’s were either the best decade for movies or the worst. As a child of the Reagan-era, there are a few films that stick out: Ghostbusters, Raiders of the Lost Ark, Back to the Future and so forth. But the “teen” movie was really born (and as of this writing, has never left) here and the man behind it was John Hughes. Hughes, best-known for coming of age films like The Breakfast Club, Pretty in Pink and Weird Science went outside his usual casting with Ferris Bueller’s Day Off. The film, starring a then relatively unknown Matthew Broderick, would be one that would define his career. As much as I want to love The Breakfast Club, darn it if my favorite John Hughes film isn’t this one. Is there such thing as a perfect day? According to Ferris Bueller, yes there is.
For those that don’t know, the plot is painstakingly simple and it might be said that the title says it all. Ferris (Matthew Broderick) has nine sick days and figures he needs to make his last one of the year really worth something. He convinces his parents that he’s ill but his charade doesn’t get past his sister (Erin Grey). We watch Ferris as he convinces his best friend, Cameron (Alan Ruck), steals his dad’s car and away they go to baseball games, art museums and fancy French restaurants. Of course, this really wouldn’t be a classic if we didn’t have the high school principal (Jeffrey Jones) hot on his trail. Always one step behind, Principal Rooney manages to miss Ferris and friends. Will Ferris have the day of his life, marry his girlfriend and get Cameron out of his perpetual funk or will Principal Rooney make his greatest catch ever?
Seeing this movie in the theater, I loved it. I was in Junior High at the time, but even years later this movie does hold a special place in my heart as I’m sure it does for everyone who’s seen it. This is, perhaps, the ultimate teen movie for the past generation and not many come close to it’s success as an immediate cult classic. Ferris Bueller’s Day Off showed that, like Hughes’ other films, kids are capable of a lot more than we give them credit for and how to turn a lovely spring day in Chicago into one of the best days of your life.
Video: How does it look?
I’ve always found this film to look good. For some reason it just never really seemed to resonate “80’s” film to me. That being said, there’s no reason it can’t look its best and Paramount has finally given this to us in 4K. Certainly there’s a palpable quality to this new transfer that left me feeling warm and fuzzy. It’s good. I found little to no grain, colors seemed a bit more bold and detail has been improved as well (Ferris’ leopard print vest has never looked so divine). Dolby Vision helps as well, giving the entire image more depth and dimension than previous versions. I hate to speak in clichés, but this one was worth the wait.
Audio: How does it sound?
In addition to the upgraded visuals, we now get a new Dolby Atmos mix that’s sure to please. Granted, this film hasn’t ever been that heavy on the audio, but there are a few moments in which is does shine. The “Twist and Shout” sequence sounds great as does the jazzy ensemble when Ferris is running home trying to beat his parents to the house. Dialogue is very clean and while not that active, surrounds are active from time to time. The audio sounds solid and it’s a nice upgrade, but compared to some modern films – this does pale in comparison. But…do we care?
Supplements: What are the extras?
The supplements are the same as previous Ferris editions with the exception of the audio commentary. It’s been out for a while, but not available since 1999. It’s nice to have everything in one package.
- Getting the Class Together: The Cast of Ferris Bueller’s Day Off – This 30 minute feature shows the casting process and some vintage with the now late John Hughes.
- The Making of Ferris Bueller’s Day Off – Has some more vintage and a look at the movie as a whole. Fun fact: John Hughes wrote this movie in less than a week.
- Who is Ferris Bueller? – We get the skinny on the man and the name.
- The World According to Ben Stein – A look at Stein who rose to fame via this movie (he’d previously been a speech-writer for Richard Nixon).
- Vintage Ferris Bueller: The Lost Tapes – We see actors Matthew Broderick and Alan Ruck messing around on the set.
- Class Album – Some promotional publicity photos.
- Audio Commentary – This is, obviously, the same track that appeared on the DVD back in 1999 but it’s been (re)included here. It’s a great one and well worth the listen.
The Bottom Line
Ferris Bueller’s Day Off is a title that’s been readily available on DVD, Blu-ray and now 4K for years. There really hasn’t been a definitive edition…until now. This one’s got it all. Improved visuals, a new Dolby Atmos mix and the original audio commentary that’s been missing since 1999 – all in one package. If, for some reason, you’ve been holding off and waiting for the de facto edition – your wait is over.