A film like this showcases Robin Williams at his best.
What kind of Special Edition doesn't include a commentary track?
Good Morning, Vietnam is the true tale of Adrian Cronauer (Robin Williams), a radio disc jockey who comes to Vietnam from Crete, is loved by the soldiers who listen to him, but is disliked heavily by the management team who don't approve of his methods and broadcasts. The central theme in this film is that of Vietnam being a war that nobody really wanted to admit was going on. At the time this film takes place, the U.S. was mainly supposed to be there as advisors. Cronauer, never one to sit idly by, spends his downtime hanging out with a Vietnamese boy and his sister. Through these sorts of interactions we get to see the real situation happening in this country, and in the end, the distinct voice of Cronauer isn't stomped out, but merely forced out. The finally broadcast, done via tape, is priceless comedy and this movie really showed that Robin Williams could play a normal guy; who just happened to have a knack for making people laugh a lot.
In the theater, on VHS, on DVD and now in this Special Edition, Good Morning, Vietnam has held up really well over the years.
Featuring Robin Williams (who else?) we get to see the master in action. Whether he's talking about Ho Chi Minh, food, bombs, bullets, or whatever else, if you give Robin Williams a stage he will perform. I have often wondered if he likes being on all the time? Maybe he acts the way he does because he feels that that's what's expected of him? Or, perhaps that's why ended up in rehab? Whatever the case these are definitely worth a look if for no other reason than see Williams doing some quality work.
This segment is made up of the following 6 featurettes: "How the Movie Came to Be," "Actor Improv," "Music of the Movie," " "Origin of the Good Morning, Vietnam! Sign-On," "Shooting in Thailand" and "Overview of the Film a Year Later." This is a fairly comprehensive look at this movie from the ground up. We see how the project got put together, what the shoot was like, the film's soundtrack, and the effect of the film after it was released to the masses. All in all, Touchstone gets heavy kudos for putting this segment together.
Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1 - Widescreen. For a period film, Barry Levinson seems to have really gone the restrained route. This movie isn't told with many camera tricks, and he seems to even have Robin Williams on a short leash, however amidst that restraint something very special seems like it was created. The DVD transfer looks really solid and with this movie being almost 20 years old, that is certainly saying something. Also, the period elements of this movie never get in the way and I didn't feel that Levinson ever let the camera's linger to try and show off what he had created.
English Dolby Digital 5.1. A big part of what makes this film so memorable is the soundtrack. In fact, one scene in particular shows a perfect melding of musical and moving images. It is when we get to hear Louis Armstrong's "What A Wonderful World." I know that I am supposed to be analyzing all the sound employed in this movie, but this 3 minute montage is so powerful and strong, I honestly feel it says a lot about this film and the audio on it as a whole.
The almost iconic shot of Robin Williams posing as Uncle Sam is utilized on this front cover. As I recall, this was the same image used when this movie was released. The back has some images from the film, a description of what Good Morning, Vietnam is about, a Special Features listing, a cast list, and system specs. Like the film itself, they have even exercised restraint with the packaging.
This might sound completely inane but this film really increased my understanding of the Vietnam conflict. At the age of 14, after seeing Platoon and Full Metal Jacket (and even watching Apocalypse Now multiple times), I felt that I really understood the war at least in cinematic terms. However, sitting in the theater watching Good Morning, Vietnam, I recall talking with my Mom about the film, and realizing for the first time that there were two different sides in the fight and they were basically involved in a civil war. Years later, and much more knowledgeable (I hope) about the Vietnam War, it was insightful to sit back and look at this film with the benefit of history and more information in my corner.
Good Morning, Vietnam is a very good movie.
Good Morning, Vietnam was released December 23, 1987.