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A view on Blu-ray by Gary W. Tooze

Firstborn [Blu-ray]


(Michael Apted, 1984)



Review by Gary Tooze



Theatrical: Paramount

Video: Olive Films



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

Runtime: 1:40:38.032

Disc Size: 18,392,197,531 bytes

Feature Size: 18,241,812,480 bytes

Video Bitrate: 22.00 Mbps

Chapters: 8

Case: Standard Blu-ray case

Release date: July 31st, 2012



Aspect ratio: 1.78:1

Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps

Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video



DTS-HD Master Audio English 927 kbps 1.0 / 48 kHz / 927 kbps / 16-bit (DTS Core: 1.0 / 48 kHz / 768 kbps / 16-bit)






• None





Description: A teenager and his kid brother spar with their mother's shady new boyfriend in this dramatic thriller from veteran British... director Michael Apted. When her ex-husband remarries, Wendy (Teri Garr) feels despondent -- until she starts dating handsome, unctuous Sam (Peter Weller), an underemployed salesman with no shortage of big ideas. Excited to finally feel good about herself again, Wendy invites Sam to move in and offers to invest in his get-rich-quick schemes. None of this sits well with her sons, Jake (Christopher Collet) and Brian (Corey Haim), who remain unimpressed with Sam even after he convinces Wendy to buy Jake a motorbike. They're even less jazzed when Sam stops currying favor and turns disciplinarian even while pulling Wendy into his hard-partying lifestyle. Within a few months, Brian's on the verge of expulsion for picking fights at school, and even honor-role student Jake is mouthing off to his teachers. As for Wendy, she's too busy taking beatings and doing cocaine to notice that her family has fallen apart. It isn't until Jake gets wise to the industrial quantities of white powder squirreled away under the floorboards that he comes up with a plan to get Sam out of their lives forever. Although onetime Tiger Beat heartthrob Christopher Collet plays Firstborn's title role, the films' supporting cast is littered with actors whose stars would far eclipse his (Sarah Jessica Parker, Robert Downey Jr.) -- though in some cases only for a little while (Corey Haim).



The Film:

A teenager (Christopher Collet, The Manhattan Project) and his kid brother (Corey Haim, in his film debut) spar with their mother's shady new boyfriend (Peter Weller, Robocop) in this dramatic thriller from veteran British director Michael Apted (Gorky Park). Teri Garr (Mr. Mom) stars as the young divorced mother, trying to balance her relationship with her kids and her drifter boyfriend. The boys think they see the man for what he is and need to somehow save their mother from his clutches. The stellar cast includes future superstars Robert Downey Jr. and Sarah Jessica Parker.


It is to the credit of Mr. Apted, and to a cast including some very believable young actors, that ''Firstborn'' moves swiftly and smoothly enough to dispel much nitpicking about plot points, at least for a time. There's a lot about the story that finally doesn't add up, but the film manages to be engrossing all the same. For one thing, it has its share of built-in emotional force, since its key characters are a teen-age boy, his pretty, divorced mother and the new boyfriend whose presence threatens to disrupt the family. ''Firstborn'' doesn't do much of a job of examining this situation's Oedipal underpinnings, but it does succeed in exploiting them.

Excerpt from the NY Times located HERE

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

We seem stuck in that mid 80's crappy film stock that must have been cost-effective.  Nothing stands out well for Firstborn on Blu-ray from Olive Films.  Now I'm not saying it looks different from how it did theatrically but colors are pale, contrast weak and detail non-existent. There is frequent noise on the thick visuals. This is only single-layered and not a striking film by any stretch. This Blu-ray is probably the best Firstborn will ever look - and, unfortunately, that is not saying much.

















Audio :

The DTS-HD Master is in mono (original?) at a lowly 927 kbps. Dialogue is audible and there are few effect noises. Nothing else to report. There are no subtitles and my Momitsu has identified it as being a region 'A'-locked.


Extras :

No supplements - not even a trailer.



I wish I could say Firstborn had some real depth to it - but I can't. It's standard formulaic Hollywood without subtlety and sometimes appearing inconsistent or awkward. It's a strange choice to put to Blu-ray and at the price I don't see that too many would be keen. Don't get me wrong - I was entertained and might even revisit one day but there are, literally, 1000's of films that should reach 1080P before this one. 

Gary Tooze

July 7th, 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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