The Good

New packaging deftly sums up the experience of being in school in the 1980s.

The Bad

This is just a repackaged version of a DVD set that was already released.

While normally the thought of a movie/music package from the 1980s would make me very excited, The Brat Pack Movies and Music Collection is basically the exact DVD set that was already released in another form called the High School Reunion Collection. In fact, other than this new collection coming with a CD of music from that time, and a six question pop quiz inside the “school folder-like” packaging, this set is exactly the same. Containing such seminal teen movies as Weird Science, Sixteen Candles and The Breakfast Club, this is a great set but it sadly seems like it’s another bit of DVD repackaging to get your hard earned dollars. I will give them credit, at least they completely repackaged this thing before they put it out in the marketplace.

However, if you own the High School Reunion Collection or you own each movie separately, there really isn’t a reason why you would need to own this.

Features

The Brat Pack Music CD

This is really the only “new” thing about this DVD set, but something tells me that they should have done more. Either that, or they are milking these movies until they are going to be forced to release them with a lot of supplemental materials. Featuring songs like “True” by Spandau Ballet, “Weird Science” by Oingo Boingo and “Don’t You Forget About Me” by Simple Minds if this 8 CD doesn’t take you back then nothing will. I hate that they have “Oh Yeah” by Yello on this CD even though it is a quintessential 80s tune.

Video

All of the movies in this 4 disc set are in the Anamorphic Widescreen - 1.85:1 format. Also, as an aside, they also all top out a little after the 90 minute mark. As these were the pioneering 1980s movies, they have that dated look that seems like all the drama unfolded on a Friday or Saturday night. All three titles were directed by John Hughes and as such they all look pretty similar. Classical framing and close-ups without (thankfully) any camera tricks trying to be employed behind the scenes. The movies hold up well and on DVD you know that anytime you want to return, relive, reacquaint or just watch these films they are only a click away.

Audio

All three movies have English Dolby Digital 5.1 sound. They also have Spanish 2.0 as well as English DTS 5.1. All the films are captioned in English and Subtitled in Spanish and French. The moment that I heard the opening strains of Simple Minds “Don’t You Forget About Me” or The Psychedelic Furs “Pretty In Pink,” I knew that these DVDs weren’t going to have to do too much to make me enjoy them. While overall I think the sound is used in a pretty conventional manner, there is the music during The Breakfast Club when all the characters are shown doing their own things (playing with their clothes, sleeping, playing air guitar, etc), that I think has been copied in many films since this scene first played.

Package

All 4 discs that make up this set come in a blue, 3 ring binder that is exactly like the ones I used to have for school. The cover mainly features the cast of The Breakfast Club, but also lists the other movies that make up this set. The back features a description of this DVD, the tracks on the CD, images of everything else in this set (probably for people who pick this up in the store but can’t open it because it’s shrink-wrapped, but also know that this is just a repackaging job) and technical specs for each disc. The way some of the information is written is also supposed to speak of High School in the 1980s. Inside is a description of each film, each disc has it’s own page/cover holder that you just flip through to get the disc you want, and lastly is a 2 question “Pop Quiz” for each film. The answers are at the bottom of the page. I feel special that I went to school at a time when styles weren’t retro. I am not saying that my time was better or worse than anything happening now, I can just say that I went school when things were “original.” I may not have been in High School at the time, but I was in school nonetheless and I was watching these movies.

Final Word

I really do love the “folder” packaging that has been employed for this cover. It just has the look and feel that I remember when I was a student in the 1980s. In fact, I think I had the exact same cover that they are mimicking here. I feel sort of bad slamming this collection because I don’t want people to think that I don’t like these movies. That is quite the opposite. As a child of the 1980s and someone who is even making a film about the 80s (titled 1985-1986), all three of these films were indelible parts of my life. In fact, I was deep in my purity then because I just went to the movies. The ideas of box office, reviews or anything like that never entered my thought process.

So, if you don’t already own these movies then certainly pick up this new The Brat Pack Movies and Music Collection. If you do own these movies, take heart in the fact that they are starting to release the John Hughes oeuvre with extras. Click HERE to see what I am talking about.

Sixteen Candles was released May 4, 1984.