Meatballs 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 2.0 (48kHz/24-bit)
- Subtitles: English, English SDH, Spanish
- Subtitles Color: White
- Region: A (Region-Locked)
- Rating: PG
- Run Time: 92 Mins.
- Discs: 1 (1 x Blu-ray)
- Studio: Lionsgate
- Blu-ray Release Date: June 12, 2012
- List Price: $14.99
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(All Blu-rayDefinition.com screen captures are lightly compressed with lossy JPEG at 100% quality setting and are meant as a general representation of the content. They do not fully reveal the capabilities of the Blu-ray format)
Still riding the success of his SNL days, Bill Murray (Fantastic Mr. Fox; The Darjeeling Limited; Rushmore) appeared in this late-70s comedy classic that marked the second feature-film for director Ivan Reitman (Stripes; Ghostbusters; No Strings Attached). Haliburton, Ontario, and Montreal, Ontario serve as the scenic backdrop to this whimsical camp comedy aimed squarely at teens putting the usual issues for teens squarely at the front, meaning good times, romance, and camaraderie. Bill Murray stars as Tripper, the camp’s head counselor tasked with training a motley crew of up and coming misfit counselors at the quaint Camp Northstar. The Real hijinks begin when the little campers arrive and Tripper, along with his love interest and co-counselor Roxanne (Kate Lynch), must muster the troops for an all-out battle against upscale rival Camp Mohawk. Meanwhile, Tripper has taken the young and shy Rudy (Chris Makepeace; My Bodyguard), who is embarrassed to associate with the other kids after blowing a soccer match, under his wing. Rudy’s training under Tripper will eventually be crucial when it comes to the wild final showdown of the season against Camp Mohawk, an Olympiad that includes a potato sack race, stacking dishes, and a hotdog eating contest among other competitions.
The easygoing feel of Meatballs makes it go by rather quickly and it is Bill Murray’s slapstick comedy and classic verbal acrobatics that drive the comedy here, towering over the rest of the cast like a skyscraper. No other cast member is a real standout, but Murray is strong enough to carry this classic bit of light teen fare on his own.
Meatballs is a little rough in parts, with source damage like scratches and specks of dirt showing up as well as some jumps in graininess and softness of detail. Still, the overall image quality is surprisingly good for a comedy from 1979, given that comedies never really have the greatest reference quality image in the first place. This AVC/MPEG-4 1080p/24 transfer from Lionsgate does have plenty of moments where colors look rather vibrant and film grain is just right, offering up a good amount of texture with little noise. The strongest scenes are obviously the numerous daylight scenes around the campgrounds, but darker indoor and outdoor scenes at night are also surprisingly strong with good shadow detail. This may never become a top reference title, but it is rather good for what it is, showing no signs of excessive DNR or edge enhancement.
The original stereo mix is offered up in DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 (48kHz/24-bit). The late-70s technology of the day doesn’t offer much here; stereo imaging is somewhat narrow and there is the slightest hint of crackle in dialogue, but mostly the sound is clean and intelligible.
The obligatory audio commentary is the only supplement provided on this barebones Blu-ray releases of Meatballs.
- Audio Commentary with Director Ivan Reitman and Writer/Producer Daniel Goldberg
The Definitive Word
Meatballs is still quite humorous and will bring on a feeling of nostalgia to anyone who had the pleasure of seeing it the first time around or actually experiencing away camp. The Blu-ray transfer from Lionsgate isn’t perfect, but it is more than adequate for the film. Recommended.
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