The Meatballs Blu-ray release is a mixed bag with decent audio and video transfers but disappointing in the features department especially considering the making-of featurette was not transferred over (no doubt due to the rights being with Sony). Even so, given how cheap Lionsgate Blu-rays can get, if you can pick this up for less than $10, it’s worth it.
Lionsgate | PG – 94 min. – $14.99 | June 12, 2012
Directed by: Ivan Reitman
Writer(s): Len Blum, Dan Goldberg, Janis Allen, Harold Ramis (written by)
Cast: Bill Murray, Harvey Atkin, Kate Lynch, Russ Banham, Kristine DeBell
Theatrical Release Date: June 29, 1979
Number of Discs: 1
Audio: English (DTS-HD MA 2.0)
Video: 1080p/Widescreen 1.78
Subtitles: English SDH, English, Spanish
Disc Size: 22.8 GB
Codec: MPEG-4 AVC
THE MOVIE – 3.5/5
Plot: Tripper (BILL MURRAY) is a wisecracking, rule-bending head counselor at Camp North Star. Whether playing pranks on Camp North Star’s clueless director, wooing a female counselor (KATE LYNCH), or scheming against the rich brats at a rival camp, Tripper delivers fun and mayhem in a laugh-filled summer his campers will remember forever.
Quick Hit Review: Shockingly, and despite having the DVD in my collection for many years, I had yet to watch Meatballs. While I don’t think it’s the second coming of comedy or anything, the film has a feel good vibe about it. There’s a little risqué humor but it’s quite mild, especially for the 1970s (today it would be rated a tepid PG-13) and quite funny, albeit nothing that will have you rolling in laughter…
The film excels thanks to a star-making role in his first starring role (and only his fourth feature film). He’s funny, energetic but unlike certain comedic actors today (*cough* Zach Galifanakis *cough*), he doesn’t go overboard or overstay his welcome.
Directed by Ivan Reitman, in only his third feature film – along with writers Len Blum, Dan Goldberg, Janis Allen and Harold Ramis – Meatballs does a great job showing that nostalgia feeling of going off to summer camp, something that is cross-generational. I don’t consider this to be an amazing piece of comedy or anything but it’s got a few funny lines and has plenty of replay value.
SPECIAL FEATURES – 1.0/5
Unfortunately the only feature ported over from the Sony-released DVD is a Feature Commentary with Director Ivan Reitman and Co-Writer/Producer Dan Goldberg while a 17-minute retrospective featurette was left off.
VIDEO – 3.25/5
Meatballs is presented in its original 1.78 widescreen aspect ratio and 1080p high-definition. By no means is this an amazing transfer as it does show a fair amount of artifacts and general film grain, but at the same time, it was made over 30 years ago and probably not using the highest quality film stock so it’s understandable that it won’t be a pristine picture. I haven’t looked at the most recent DVD but I have to think it’s a slight improvement especially in the color department which has a nice pop to it. The detail levels, both up close and in the background, is decent enough though nothing incredible.
AUDIO – 3.25/5
The disc comes sporting a 2.0 DTS-HD Master Audio track which, like the picture, isn’t overly impressive but gets the job done. Given this is a comedy all I was really looking for was clear audio which this provides especially, for the dialogue levels which sound nice and clear while other elements, idle chatter/background noise, can be muddled but not distracting.
OVERALL – 2.75/5
Overall, the Meatballs Blu-ray release is a mixed bag with decent audio and video transfers but disappointing in the features department especially considering the making-of featurette was not transferred over (no doubt due to the rights being with Sony). Even so, given how cheap Lionsgate Blu-rays can get, if you can pick this up for less than $10, it’s worth it.
Brian Oliver, The Movieman
Check out some more screen caps by going to page 2. Please note, these do contain spoilers.