Platoon – Blu-ray Review

Blu-ray Review

Platoon

Directed by: Oliver Stone
Cast: Charlie Sheen, Tom Berenger, Keith David, Forest Whitaker, Johnny Depp, John C. McGinley
Running Time: 2 hrs
Rating: R
Due Out: May 24, 2011

PLOT: A young soldier (Sheen) learns about the dark side of morality when he signs up to serve a year-long stint in Vietnam.

WHO’S IT FOR?: Collectivists of films that have won “Best Picture,” or those who can enjoy a gritty character study about American soldiers in Vietnam.

MOVIE:

Platoon champions itself as the one of the “first honest films about Vietnam,” and there’s certainly some merit to that. Writer/director Oliver Stone takes some very personal experiences he had while in service in Vietnam and melds them into a captivating character study. Whilst doing this, he strips away any glorification of war, and also in some way or the other, a sense of immediate patriotism. On either side of “good guys” or “bad guys,” Platoon posits soldiers as men fighting one another for the simple sake of survival. Stone’s surrogate, played by an impressive young Charlie Sheen, eventually changes his goal from fighting for his country, to simply being able to get out of there alive.

Ever the flag carrier of the liberal party, Oliver Stone’s politics in Platoon don’t seem to be about whether Vietnam should have happened or not. Instead, it’s more about the emotional politics each soldier faces as they navigate through a section of the world where morals seem to be scarce, and when the lines that cry out “war crime” become even more difficult to fall back on. The debate of Platoon is not about understanding the actions of whole governments, but instead the souls of the expendable men who gave their innocence for an ultimate cause American history may never agree on. However meandering Platoon may be in its ruminations, it still carries along our full attention.

As for the Blu-ray itself, although Platoon won an Oscar for “Best Sound,” no one is going to be praising the sound quality of this Blu-ray transfer. In certain moments, the audio quality can sound a bit scratchy, which is distracting from enjoying the other aesthetics of the film. Georges Delerue’s haunting score sounds great in this Blu-ray, but the same can’t be said for a few scenes of conversation that can sound a little rough.

MOVIE SCORE: 7/10

EXTRAS

Audio Commentary by Director Oliver Stone
Audio Commentary by Military Advisor Dale Dye
Deleted and Extended Scenes with Optional Commentary by Oliver Stone
Flashback to Platoon – Snapshot in Time 1967 – 1968; Creating the ‘Nam; Raw Wounds: The Legacy of Platoon
Documentaries: One War, Many Stories; Preparing for ‘Nam
Vignettes: Caputo & the 7th Fleet, Dye Training Method, Gordon Gekko
Theatrical Trailer and TV Spots
DVD Copy of Platoon

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