This movie is just is entertaining as it was when I first watched it in the movie theater!
I would like to have gotten a commentary track from Roy Scheider.
There are very few films that bring up memories of the 1980s like Blue Thunder. Heck, there are very few actors that scream 1980s like Roy Scheider. It isn't that he is trapped in some world of the past, he was just one of those guys whose star seemed to soar during that decade (or maybe it was just a continuation of his work from the 1970s?).
The plot of this movie is fairly straight forward. Roy Scheider is Officer Frank Murphy. A policemen who is brought in to learn the ins and outs of a new, highly equipped helicopter. Scheider has a problem with Colonel F.E. Cochrane (Malcolm McDowell), one of the men on the project that go back to their time together in Vietnam. When it becomes apparent that Cochrane is involved in some shady dealings, he and Scheider are put on a collision course in which only one of them will survive!
If that isn't eighties, I don't know what is.
Director, Editor, and Motion Control Supervisor Commentary
This is a commentary track with Director John Badham, editor Frank Morris and motion control supervisor Hoyt Yeatman. I was a little nervous at the thought of there being three voices on one track, but Morris and Yeatman seem all too happy to let Badham carry the day. He discusses the scenes as best he can and even seems to have a good sense of humor about some the funnier scenes.
Ride With the Angels: Making Blue Thunder Multi-Part Featurette
While this doesn't focus on the production as much as it focuses on the helicopter in which this movie is named, I still got a lot of it. Mainly, the amount of work that goes into putting together the kind of action sequences that this movie employed. I can't imagine what it must be like trying to piece together action scenes like these, but meticulous care seems like it was taken to ensure that that was pulled off.
"The Special": Building Blue Thunder - Making of the Helicopter
This featurette examines how Blue Thunder created. While I think they could have tied this in with the other featurette somehow, I enjoyed this a lot because the helicopter from this movie has always had an allure about it. As I didn't have a DVD with which to find out about this movie's mystique, it was nice to get a peak behind the curtain.
1983 Promotional Featurette
Even though these older featurettes are little more than puff pieces about the films, I really liked them. First of all, they are really simple and don't seem as phony as many of the featurette pieces today. There was something novel back then about shooting behind the scenes footage while a film was being made. If for no other reason, that makes this featurette better than most that come along now.
These storyboards are presented against other sequences in the film. I am starting to wonder if these "Storyboard Galleries" are really necessary? Especially because oftentimes what we see drawn is almost identical to what was shot. What is the point of that? So that we know people can follow directions? It would have been more interesting if these sequences had been captured in a behind the scenes manner and then presented alongside the film.
2.35:1 - Aspect Ratio. John Badham has crafted a film that just works. Blue Thunder is filled with amazing visuals and stunning photography that keeps this movie going at a spectacular pace. While this film doesn't have the artifice that someone like Tony Scott would have brought to it, I found that the bigness of seeing this movie when I was younger has very much translated to this disc.
Dolby Digital 5.1 - English. Dolby Digital 2.0 - French. This is a film that is highly dependent on it's soundtrack. Due to it's bigness (both with the audio and the images), this movie almost had to be larger than life. I think that because of this, it was hard for people to take it seriously. In today's highly "ironic" age, a movie like this probably seems laughable. And it is in the sense that Blue Thunder is a good time, but that doesn't make it a bad movie.
This cover is misleading only because they make this film look futuristic. Even the Blue Thunder helicopter doesn't look this hi-tech in the film. Putting images of some of the actors in the letters of the title is a nice touch, though. The back serves up some more shots from the movie, a description of what Blue Thunder is about, a "Special Features" list, a credits listing and technical specs. Overall, I am quite pleased to own this version of the movie even if my heart lies with the original cover.
I love the look of films from the 1980s simply because those that were set in Los Angeles seem very condensed. I am not saying the stories being told were chopped up or should have gone more in-depth (lord knows I think we get too much of that in today's "character driven" films), there was just something about the simplistic way that Los Angeles was captured that made it seem bigger. In fact, the only filmmaker that even comes close to recapturing that depth that L.A. has to offer (in my opinion) is Michael Mann. I think this solidness very much plays into the story and overall feeling that Blue Thunder has.
Filled with a lot of good extras, I think this new version of this DVD is what the fans have been waiting for.