Via Vision Entertainment bring the Seminal ‘Brat Pack’ drama to Blu-ray for the first time in Australia: St. Elmo’s Fire. The narrative of which turns out to basically be The Goonies, but for pretentious young adults.
Fresh out of college, seven close-knit friends living relatively well in Georgetown, Washington DC, are in an unnecessary rush to have their lives all mapped out despite the residual effects of adolescence still lingering within some. Much of the film’s initial criticism regarded the perceived unlikability of our protagonists which is thanks in part to the unreasonable expectations placed on them. While their poor attitudes and behaviour are understandable, I think more nuance regarding their struggles would’ve resulted in a more enjoyable 108 minutes we spend with them.
Regardless, any fan of 1980s cinema will find at least some of our cast members easy to root for such as Rob Lowe, who is in constant party mode as Billy. This character epitomises the graduate who’s yet to abandon the fraternity lifestyle, whereas the more grounded, Wendy (Mare Winningham) is his opposite. Andrew McCarthy is the odd man out as the lonesome, Kevin, who I related to the most even though my early 20s don’t really compare to his. However, his quiet writer exemplifies those of us who spent our initial years out of school aimless and undefined. Alley Sheedy and Judd Nelson are a yuppie power couple in the making, need I say more? Sheedy is adorable, but her character of Leslie isn’t exactly “warm”, and while Nelson excels playing god’s gift to politics as Alec, his infidelity and pretentious attitude is a major turn-off. Demi Moore as the reckless, Jules, lives life in the fast lane while Emilio Estevez as the lovesick and obsessed Kirby, stalks Andie MacDowell, who is for some strange reason, totally cool with it.
I’m very much in two minds about St. Elmo’s Fire, there’s a valid message within the story, yet it gets quite melodramatic and cheesy at times, especially when Rob Lowes all but breaks the fourth wall with the line, “We’re all going through this.” As he consoles a distraught Demi Moore. I suppose that’s life in your twenties. You miss it, but at the same time, you kind of don’t.
- Audio commentary by Joel Schumacher
- Joel Schumacher Remembers St. Elmo’s Fire – featurette (2009)
- Making St. Elmo’s Fire – featurette (1985)
- Deleted Scenes
The special features of this disc come ported from the 2009 US Blu-ray but nonetheless serve as entertaining companions for the film. Schumacher’s commentary helps add context to some controversial story elements, as well as provides behind-the-scenes trivia regarding the film’s iconic scenes and cast. For those not ready to sit through the entire film for a second time, just yet the director’s video interview offers an abridged version of the commentary’s main talking points. Flashing back to 1985, the vintage making-of provides short sit-downs with each of our seven cast members. Unfortunately, the classic featurette doesn’t go too in-depth with the interviews, but it does act as an interesting time capsule.
VIDEO AND AUDIO
Ported from the 2009 American release, Via Vision has added its signature menu screen for good measure and overall this release is still rock solid, and for a product that’s technically 14 years old. Presented in 2.40:1 and Dolby TrueHD 5.1, the soundtrack is really pumping, and the picture is pristine with great colour. English Subtitles are included.
(1985, director: Joel Schumacher)
direct blu-ray screen captures