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A view on Blu-ray by Gary W. Tooze

Born on the Fourth of July [Blu-ray]


(Oliver Stone, 1989)



Review by Gary Tooze



Theatrical: Universal Pictures

Video: Universal



Region: FREE! (as verified by the Momitsu region FREE Blu-ray player)

Runtime: 2:24:13.478 

Disc Size: 45,886,049,153 bytes

Feature Size: 40,505,210,880 bytes

Video Bitrate: 29.37 Mbps

Chapters: 16

Case: Standard Blu-ray case

Release date: July 3rd, 2012



Aspect ratio: 2.35:1

Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps

Video codec: VC-1 Video



DTS-HD Master Audio English 4207 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 4207 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 5.1 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit)
DTS Audio French 768 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 768 kbps / 24-bit
DTS Audio Spanish 768 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 768 kbps / 24-bit
Commentary: Dolby Digital Audio English 192 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 192 kbps / DN -4dB / Dolby Surround



English (SDH), English, French, German, Spanish, none



• Commentary with Oliver Stone

From NBC News Archives: Backstory on Born on the Fourth of July (21:37 in 480i)

100 Years of Academy Award Winners (9:35 in 1080P)

• 100 Years of Universal in the 80's (15:03 in 1080P)

• My Scenes





Description: The second of three films by co-writer/director Oliver Stone to explore the effects of the Vietnam War (Platoon and Heaven and Earth are the others), Born On The Fourth Of July tells the true story of Ron Kovic (Tom Cruise), a patriotic, All-American small town athlete who shocks his family by enlisting with the Marines to fight in the Vietnam War. Once he is overseas, however, Kovic's gung-ho enthusiasm turns to horror and confusion when he accidentally kills one of his own men in a firefight. His downfall is furthered by a bullet wound that leaves him paralyzed from the chest down. He returns home, spends an appalling, nightmarish stint in a veterans' hospital, and follows an increasingly disillusioned and fragmented path that ultimately leaves him drunk and dissolute in Mexico. However, Kovic somehow turns himself around and pulls his life together, becoming an outspoken anti-war activist in the process. The film is long but emotionally powerful; many consider it Stone's best work and Cruise's best performance. Both were nominated for Oscars, as was the film itself, but only Stone, who co-wrote the film with Kovic from the latter's book, won for Best Director.



The Film:

This is an impassioned movie, made with conviction and evangelical verve. It's also hysterical and overbearing and alienating. Using Ron Kovic's autobiographical account of his lower-middle-class, small-town American upbringing, Stone stretches an epic canvas and splatters onto it all his beliefs about Vietnam, America, family, patriotism, and just about everything that's happened here in the last quarter-century.

Excerpt from Hal Hinson at the Washington Post located HERE

Taking ''Born on the Fourth of July,'' Mr. Kovic's fine spare memoir about this coming of age, published in 1976, Oliver Stone has made what is, in effect, a bitter, seething postscript to his Oscar-winning ''Platoon.''

It is a film of enormous visceral power with, in the central role, a performance by Tom Cruise that defines everything that is best about the movie. He is both particular and emblematic. He is innocent and clean-cut at the start; at the end, angry and exhausted, sporting a proud mustache and a headband around his forehead and hippie-length hair.

Excerpt from Vincent Canby at the NY Times located HERE

Image :    NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were taken directly from the Blu-ray disc.

Born on the Fourth of July must be the last of the, now defunct, HD-DVD titles that has finally reached Blu-ray from Universal.  Like that format - it is transferred in VC-1 but has a larger file size than the capacity of HD-DVD. This is dual-layered with a high bitrate and looks excellent in most visual areas. It exports more grain than I recall. Contrast is very strong - there is no definitive gloss or waxiness. Depth is not overly apparent. I imagine this 1080P rendering is accurate to the original theatrical presentation.  This Blu-ray has realistic colors, consistent detail and supports the film's period(s) art direction extremely adeptly.
















Audio :

The DTS-HD Master 5.1 track at 4207 kbps is awesome from John Williams score, all the period music pieces; "Soldier Boy", "My Girl", "The Times They Are a Changin" , "American Pie", and Mancini's memorable "Moon River" supporting a real sense of the timeframe and sounding crisp in lossless. Effects, in the battle sequences, shoot tightly to the rear speakers and there is a strong sense of surround even in the Convention crowds. There are optional subtitles and my Momitsu has identified it as being a region FREE disc playable on Blu-ray machines worldwide.


Extras :

Not a ton of extras but we do get the previous, and excellent, commentary with Oliver Stone and the 21-minute NBC News Archives: Backstory on Born on the Fourth of July. Universal include their two '100 year' pieces - on the Academy Award Winners and another on Universal in the 80's running 15-minutes. The disc has My Scenes and D-Box Motion Controls capabilities.



One of my favorite Oliver Stone films. Born on the Fourth of July is a brilliant epic extending through many layers of political philosophy and grand personalized statements on war. The Blu-ray is solid - supplying a wonderful Home Theater presentation. Absolutely recommended! 

Gary Tooze

June 23rd, 2012

About the Reviewer: Hello, fellow Beavers! I have been interested in film since I viewed a Chaplin festival on PBS when I was around 9 years old. I credit DVD with expanding my horizons to fill an almost ravenous desire to seek out new film experiences. I currently own approximately 9500 DVDs and have reviewed over 5000 myself. I appreciate my discussion Listserv for furthering my film education and inspiring me to continue running DVDBeaver. Plus a healthy thanks to those who donate and use our Amazon links.

Although I never wanted to become one of those guys who focused 'too much' on image and sound quality - I find HD is swiftly pushing me in that direction.

Gary's Home Theatre:

60-Inch Class (59.58” Diagonal) 1080p Pioneer KURO Plasma Flat Panel HDTV PDP6020-FD

Oppo Digital BDP-83 Universal Region FREE Blu-ray/SACD Player
Momitsu - BDP-899 Region FREE Blu-ray player
Marantz SA8001 Super Audio CD Player
Marantz SR7002 THX Select2 Surround Receiver
Tannoy DC6-T (fronts) + Energy (centre, rear, subwoofer) speakers (5.1)

APC AV 1.5 kVA H Type Power Conditioner 120V

Gary W. Tooze






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