This is yet another double-dip, the second on Blu-ray, offering the same content, including audio and video, as the 2009 release. Don’t get me wrong, this is a wonderful movie, a favorite of mine since I saw it back in the 90s, but if you already own the other Blu-ray you can skip this release all together. However, if you haven’t picked it up, now’s a good enough time with a relatively low $20 SRP.
Genre(s): Comedy, Fantasy, Drama
Fox | PG/Unrated – 104 min. / 130 min. – $19.99 | December 10, 2013
Directed by: Penny Marshall
Writer(s): Gary Ross & Anne Spielberg (written by)
Cast: Tom Hanks, Elizabeth Perkins, Robert Loggia, John Heard, Jared Rushton
Theatrical Release Date: June 3, 1988
Features: Featurettes, Deleted Scenes, Theatrical Trailers, DVD Copy
Number of Discs: 2
Audio: English (DTS-HD MA 5.1), French (Dolby Digital 2.0), Spanish (Dolby Digital 1.0), Portuguese (Dolby Digital 1.0)
Video: 1080p/Widescreen 1.85
Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish
Disc Size: 37.6 GB
Codec: MPEG-4 AVC
Note: Much of this review was copied over from my original review of the initial Big Blu-ray release.
THE MOVIE – 4.5/5
Plot: All twelve-year-old Josh Baskin wants is to be big. But when his wish is granted beyond his wildest dreams, Josh finds a new face in the mirror… his own, at age 30. Now, aided only by his boisterous best friend, he’ll have to keep the secret of his true age as he tries to fill his own oversized shoes. But as his innocent charm help him rise to the top of the adult world, Josh will face the biggest decision of his life – return to his own age, or remain big forever.
Every kid always imagines what it would be like to be an adult and wish they could grow up quicker… of course once they grow up, at least a small part of them wish they could go back to their childhood days. Big examines the mindset of a young soon-to-be teenager as he takes notice of the opposite sex and propels him into a cynical and cutthroat adult world.
Not only is Big a funny movie but it’s also notable for a great performance by Tom Hanks who by 1988 was known for light-hearted comedies like Splash, Bachelor Party and The Money Pit (and even after ’88, he still had Joe Versus the Volcano), so from 1984 through 1990, Tom Hanks was coming into his own and it probably was Big that showcased what we would later see in Apollo 13, Philadelphia and Saving Private Ryan.
Nominated for a Best Actor Oscar, Tom Hanks gives an absolutely charming performance that very few even gifted actors could achieve. Watching the film for the first time in many years, I not only noticed how great Hanks was but how well mapped out the character development from writers Gary Ross (the man behind the semi-underrated Dave) and Anne Spielberg.
Of course, Big wasn’t exactly a new idea as so many other movies of the late 80s dealt with the whole body-swapping (18 Again, Vice Versa, etc) but it probably was the most well done of them all. Although I’m sure the others had good intentions, Big just felt real even through the unexplained fantasy elements (kind of like Groundhog Day, it just “happened”).
Also of note are some solid performances from Elizabeth Perkins and, especially, Robert Loggia who is a part of one of the most iconic 80s scenes as he and Hanks dance on a large keyboard performing “Heart and Soul” and “Chopsticks”.
SPECIAL FEATURES – 3.0/5
This “25th Anniversary Edition” release is merely a repackaging of the 2009 release with a DVD Copy and a fold-out on the front of the slip cover which has a rendition of “chopsticks”. That’s all that is new and all the features have been ported over:
Extended Cut is 26-minutes longer and while certainly good adding extra dimensions, I kind of prefer the theatrical version, though I know others enjoy this one more…
First up, is an audio documentary with writers Gary Ross and Anne Spielberg and also feature tape recordings of their initial ideas. There’s some commentary about the writing but there’s quite a bit of recordings so this may not be the best track for fans of commentaries.
Next up are 5 featurettes which I will quickly rundown for you:
Big Beginnings (16:30) where the aforementioned writers talk about the origins of the project and later joined by producer James L. Brooks
Chemistry of a Classic (23:45) goes over bringing the pieces together from the director to the brilliant casting of Tom Hanks and even how Robert De Niro was in the mix (I like De Niro, but that would have been a disastrous choice)
The Work of Play (9:54) is about the toy business intertwined with footage from the movie
AMC Backstory: Big (21:15) and Carnival Party News Wrap (1:33) are just some basic older (well, the AMC one was probably filmed for the initial DVD release) promotional features.
Deleted Scenes (13:42) – There are eight scenes here, most if not all were included with the extended cut. Most of the scenes are fine but admittedly the one dealing with the best friend’s home life was not needed. I did like the scene between Robert Loggia and Tom Hanks was good. Some are available with optional commentary from Penny Marshall.
Lastly the theatrical trailers and TV spots were also included.
VIDEO – 3.5/5
I’m all for giving ‘older’ films the high-def treatment, but rarely are they worth the upgrade over sometimes an already respectable special edition DVD. Unfortunately as great a film that Big is, I’m not sure if it’s worth buying if you already own the “extended edition” on DVD. The movie is presented in 1080p high-def with its original 1.85 aspect ratio and while the video isn’t bad to look at, detail levels are not the greatest as some shot seem a bit fuzzy.
AUDIO – 3.5/5
Even though Fox does provide a 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio, it’s not the greatest sounding track I’ve heard and when watching the extended version, it’s also uneven. But even when watching the original version, I wasn’t that impressed with various things from dialogue levels to ambient noises. Still, it’s I suppose adequate enough, just nothing extraordinary.
OVERALL – 3.75/5
Overall, this is yet another double-dip, the second on Blu-ray, offering the same content, including audio and video, as the 2009 release. Don’t get me wrong, this is a wonderful movie, a favorite of mine since I saw it back in the 90s, but if you already own the other Blu-ray you can skip this release all together. However, if you haven’t picked it up, now’s a good enough time with a relatively low $20 SRP.
Brian Oliver, The Movieman
Check out some more screen caps by going to page 2. Please note, these do contain spoilers.