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St. Elmo's Fire

review by Zach B.

 

Rated: R

Running Time: 108 minutes

Starring: Emilio Estevez, Rob Lowe, Andrew McCarthy, Demi Moore, Judd Nelson, Ally Sheedy, Mare Winningham, Martin Balsam, Andie MacDowell

Written by: Joel Schumacher and Carl Kurlander

Directed by: Joel Schumacher

 

Studio: Columbia/Tri-Star

Retail Price: $19.95

Features: Audio Commentary with Director/Co-Writer Joel Schumacher, Making-Of Featurette, John Parr "Man In Motion" Music Video, Filmographies, Theatrical Trailers

Specs: 2.35:1 Anamorphic Widescreen, English Dolby Digital 4.0, English Dolby Surround, French Dolby Surround, Spanish Dolby Surround, Portuguese Dolby Surround, English Subtitles, French Subtitles, Spanish Subtitles, Portuguese Subtitles, Chinese Subtitles, Korean Subtitles, Thai Subtitles, English Closed Captions, Scene Selections (28 Scenes)

Released: November 20th, 2001

 

 

The film that more or less defined the "Brat Pack" in the 1980s, "St. Elmo's Fire" is sorta a landmark in that way and one of the most recognizable films from the 1980s. While it can be argued, there's no doubt in my mind and a lot of other movielovers' minds that "St. Elmo's Fire" is pretty iconic, and in a sense, defined the 1980s generation as far as celebrities, issues and people during that era. While "St. Elmo's Fire" is more beloved than it was originally, it also still holds up quite well today.

"St. Elmo's Fire" follows a group of seven friends and recent college graduates, who each have different stories that more or less intertwine and lead up with one another. They live in the Georgetown area in Washington D.C. and their hangout spot is the bar St. Elmo's (of course, there is also another St. Elmo's at the film's entertaining and dramatic climax). We have Jules (Demi Moore) a woman who needs some rescuing and needs to be a bit more stable, Leslie (Ally Sheedy) who is having problems with a once great relationship with Alec (Judd Nelson) while Kevin (Andrew McCarthy), a great writer, is yearning for Leslie. There's Wendy (Mare Winningham) who is a virgin and is toying with Billy (Rob Lowe), a guy who is lost and still searching for himself who also needs to be responsible. Finally, there's law student Kirbo (Emilio Estevez), who is persuing a beautiful hospital intern. Hard times, low times, great times and they all go through this together somewhat.

"St. Elmo's Fire" is not perfect, but given the time length of the film, it holds up and works rather well. I personally like Kirbo's plotline the best, and I think how it all plays out is a tad predictable, but works out rather well. Schumacher's script, written with a co-worker by the name of Carl Kurlander, is a little bit flawed. Personally, I would have liked more screen for some of the characters and some plotlines more fleshed out. But you do get a cross that each of these characters have their own identity and what they are going through. The film has some pretty poigant drama, not to mention some laughs. But it really entertains and moves at a great pace.

Yet perhaps why the film works so well despite the rather strong script is the ensemble acting. Yes, the Brat Pack... you know em and you love 'em or hate 'em. But each actor or actress truly fits their own role and gives them their persona. The chemistry all around is fantastic and you really get the sense that these people in the movie are real and really are friends, which is always a good thing. I'm sure we can all relate to one of the characters in the film, and at least know someone like some if not all of the others. With that said, "St. Elmo's Fire" is quite an entertaining movie that is easy to get into and a great watch. Good drama and writing, and strong acting and direction from Schumacher, it's a film that's always worth seeing.

 

 

Sporting a 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen transfer, "St. Elmo's Fire" looks rather wonderful and only has some minor flaws. Very impressive, considering the film is a little bit over sixteen years old now as of writing this. First off, I'll get the flaws out of the way. There are some pieces of dirt, blemishes and noise now and then. Thankfully, they are not distracting and don't add up to much in the long run. But what amazed me so much about this transfer is how sharp it is. Colors hold their own and are well saturated, while the disc brims with strong shadow detail, blacks and detail in general. Overall, very impressive.

 

"St. Elmo's Fire" features a new discreet surround English 4.0 track. It's nothing earth-shattering and a more standard remix, but it's not full blown out or incredibly limited either. It works well and that's what counts. Nothing is too overpowering here, while the more distinct effects (such as crowds and cars doing their things) bring good effects throughout. Dialogue sounds rather fresh and crisp too. The score from David Foster sounds quite good too as well as the various songs. There's some nice stuff going on in this track. Well done. Also included are Dolby Surround tracks in Portuguese, French, Spanish and English. You also get English closed captions, and an array of subtitles in Thai, English, Spanish, Korean, French, Chinese and Portuguese.

 

Okay, it's not jam packed, but I'm glad what Columbia/Tri-Star has included here and it compliments the film quite nicely... no one should be disappointed here. The main thing we're treated to here is an Audio Commentary with Director/Co-Writer Joel Schumacher. This is a surprisingly good, thorough and strong track that fans of the movie or 1980s cinema will truly enjoy. Schumacher is very open and offers great insight into the film and the 1980s era. He opens by talking about the 1980s, and the origin of where the term "Brat Pack" came from. While Schumacher is not always screen specific, that doesn't matter. He keeps things talking and talks about the film's bashing, the cast (with much praise), offers advice to up and coming filmmakers, the origins of the cast and the controversies. Nicely done and worth listening to for sure.

There's an EPK Making-Of Featurette that is a bit promotional, but does ring certain truths. Watch on the set and off the set interviews with producer Lauren Schuler, Joel Schumacher, Demi Moore, Mare Winningham, Rob Lowe, Emilio Estevez and all your favorite 1980s stars. There is a promo start to it, and the interviews discuss the movie and the themes of the movie... but what people say do seem a bit sincere. Lasting almost nine minutes, this is a decent watch. It also has your usual on-the-set footage and film clips.

John Paar's catchy Man In Motion Music Video is included... I must admit this is a good song (in my opinion) and I've watched this several times already. I should consider just buying the soundtrack or something. Anyway, there are also some Filmographies and Trailers for other favorites... "Jerry Maguire," "Groundhog Day," "About Last Night..." and "St. Elmo's Fire." Good stuff. Oh yeah, I really enjoyed the menus the disc has too.

 

 

An instant 1980s classic and one of Joel Schumacher's best, I'm personally very happy to finally have "St. Elmo's Fire" in my DVD collection. With a spiffy transfer, surprisingly booming soundmix and worthwhile supplements, fans of the film or 80s cinema will want to pick this one up, especially for the nice retail price of a mere 19.95. If you've never seen it... you don't know what you're missing.