St. Elmo's Fire BRAY Cover Art
SRP $28.95 2.40:1 Dolby TrueHD 5.1 SONY
 

For those only vaguely aware of which actors constituted the BratPack of '80s films, "ST. ELMO'S FIRE" is now available on blu-ray from SONY. 
 
Director Joel Schumacher has always been overrated. Even for the few films that had more favorable than negative aspects(FLATLINERS, 8mm, FALLING DOWN) it was due to the script and actors rather than his direction. The biggest problem with "St. ELMO'S FIRE" is that neither the script or generally limited talent of its cast(at that time)could offer much to differentiate it from the plethora of mediocre teen-drams of the '80s. 
 
Judd Nelson, Rob Lowe, Andrew McCarthy, Demi Moore, Ally Sheedy, Emilio Estevez and Andie MacDowell star in what could be laughably be called a poor man's "SINGLES" without the directorial or screenwriter's talent or humor of Cameron Crowe. 
 
In this drama loaded with every conceivable cliche', Nelson plays Alec, a politician trying to build the correct superficial appearance needed for his career, but exposing himself to peril through cheating on his girlfirend, Leslie,(Sheedy)and switching his party for money, rather than ideology.   Lowe plays Billy, caught up with reliving his college days, instead of the heavy responsibilities he faces as a husband. "One" of many ridiculous problems within the script lies in making Billy a "Saxophonist." A "saxophonist?" Really???  Lowe has since proven his abilities as a fine actor(BAD INFLUENCE), but never for a moment, does the "saxophonist" aspect of his character feel slightly believable.  Oh, and Leslie, troubled by Alec's attitude, is becoming intrigued by the overtures made by aspiring reporter, Kevin(McCarthy). Estevez plays Kirby, a waiter at "St. Elmo's," the bar where all of the main characters are drawn to. Kirby is smitten with the seemingly out-of-reach Dale(MacDowell).  Moore plays "Jules," the sexual butterfly burying herself in coke and alcohol to make the openly sexual, vapid lifestyle she's living feel more comfortable. 
 
None of these scenarios feel fresh or well thought out, and none of the actors(well, perhaps Estevez)comes across as convincing in their roles. But, it's hard to discern whether these actors had just not yet acquired the abilities they displayed in later films(McCarthy was terrific in "JOY LUCK CLUB") or if their talent just couldn't be noticed under the weight of a crappy script and equally dumbfounding direction!
 
SONY has provided the correct 2.40:1 aspect ratio for this 1080p AVC MPEG-4 blu-ray.  It's a surprisingly sharp transfer for a 24 year old catalogue title! Colors are solid, and while not always deep, they appear vibrant in various scenes. The contrast is impressive with blacks that aren't inky, but deep enough to hold definition in darker scenes. The level of depth varies from scene to scene, with outdoor sequences offering notably better detail than indoor scenes. There are more "jump-off-the-screen" depth-filled moments than flat ones, but this isn't anything that can stand out amongst the best SONY blu-ray releases. However, it's far better looking than many catalogue releases from SONY and other studios.
 
SONY has provided a Dolby TrueHD 5.1 mix.  The upgrade to a lossy mix has some advantages and disadvantages. The score, a dominant aspect of the film's appeal, with the title song being a major hit upon the film's original debut, sounds terrific!  Bass and overall fidelity really shine in this regard. However, while dialogue is typically intelligible and free from distortion, there are moments wherein balance is flawed, giving too much emphasis to the music over dialogue.While there has been a concsious attempt at creating a 360 degree atmosphere, few of the ambient effects feel natural.
 
An audio commentary with Schumacher is offered. While he offers plenty of info for die-hard fans of the film in regards to the film's development and "themes," it's a very dry, detached commentary and not easily recommended.  Deleted scenes(could this film have felt even longer?)and a music video(MAN IN MOTION)are offered in 480p.