Blue Lagoon, The (UK - DVD R2 | BD RB)
Chris checks out this coming of age tale courtesy of the new Eureka Blu-ray Disc
The lush beauty and splendour of a South Pacific paradise is vividly captured in this version of Henry De Vere Stacpoole’s 1903 novel.
Two small children and a ship’s cook survive a shipwreck and find safety on an idyllic tropical island. Soon, however, the cook dies and the young boy and girl are left on their own. Days become years and Emmeline (Brooke Shields) and Richard (Christopher Atkins) make a home for themselves surrounded by exotic creatures and nature’s beauty.
They learn to cope with the bewildering variety of physical and emotional changes that come with adolescence. As they begin to mature, their childhood affections lead to a sensitive and more profound love. But will they ever see civilisation again? (Taken from the official synopsis.)
Eureka’s release of The Blue Lagoon is sourced from the same Sony 4K master as the one used for Twilight Time’s US release and Sony’s own Euro releases. It’s another winner from Sony, offering a wonderfully detailed image and superb colour rendition that showcase the spectacular beauty of the idyllic Fijian locations. The palette is extremely varied and natural, from the lush greens of the jungle and burnt oranges of dusk, to azure skies and crystal clear water (not to mention the creatures that dwell therein). Black levels are solid (if not as inky as some), but never crush detail. There’s a fine layer of film grain on show throughout, with no sign of egregious digital filtering to spoil the party, and the encoding is up to the label’s recent high standards. Just about the only negatives I can pick out are a few minor film artefacts, some softness and occasional stability issues, but the latter two are inherent to the original photography rather than an issue with the presentation. On the whole I think it’s fair to say that this is an extremely impressive presentation of a film that is, by its very nature, already very aesthetically pleasing.
The Blue Lagoon’s DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 sound mix is an extremely immersive experience, with all five channels engaged in a very consistent manner. Things get off to a good start during the opening scenes aboard the ship, particularly after the explosion when you can hear the seamen crying out for help from various positions around the soundstage. Once the action reaches the island things open up even more, with ambient effects such as wind, crashing waves and the varied wildlife all serving to set the appropriate tone. Dialogue is prioritised effectively, never once becoming lost amongst the other elements, the same of which can be said for Basil Poledouris’s rousing score. As you might expect, there isn’t a lot of subwoofer activity, but it’s not exactly the sort of film that calls for it. Still, it’s a very pleasing sound mix overall.
Eureka has included a modest, but entertaining collection of bonus material on its release. I believe I’m right in saying that there’s nothing here that hasn’t been seen before, but the commentary tracks are worth a listen and Poledouris’s score sounds great. I always find vintage featurettes enjoyable as well.
- Isolated music and effects track
- Two separate audio commentary tracks, featuring director Randal Kleiser, Brooke Shields, Christopher Atkins and writer Douglas Day Stewart
- ’An Adventure in Filmmaking’ featurette on the film's production
- Theatrical trailer
The Blue Lagoon is not a great film by any stretch of the imagination, yet curiously there’s still a place for it in my heart. Back before the Internet gave adolescents instant access to all of the pornography that the horny little devils could ever want, people like me had to make do with this sort of thing for their formative experiences. I can’t imagine that there were too many pubescent boys who didn’t instantly fall in love with Brooke Shields upon seeing her in this film, as she was ever-so-slightly more exotic than the average teenage girl from your average town (no disrespect intended). Indeed, along with the likes of Ami Dolenz, Elisabeth Shue and Drew Barrymore, I had quite the crush on Ms Shields. Looking at The Blue Lagoon through adult eyes, well apart from being more than a bit silly, it’s also a little bit sleazy (even if body doubles were used for the majority of the nude scenes). Perhaps it’s just me being overly sensitive in the current climate, but what was once passed off as a touching story of ‘natural love’ now looks a bit dodgy… That wouldn't be so bad if the provocative subject matter weren't almost the only thing the film had going for it, but alas it is.
Anyway, that aside this is a pretty great Blu-ray release from Eureka. The visuals are especially good for an eighties catalogue title and the audio also sounds great. The bonus material isn’t what you would call exhaustive, but it is most definitely worthy of you time thanks to the involvement of both the filmmakers and actors. If you’re a fan this is an easy recommendation, but it’s not the sort of film I’d advocate buying sight unseen.
* Note: The images below are taken from the Blu-ray release and resized for the page. Full-resolution captures are available by clicking individual images, but due to .jpg compression they are not necessarily representative of the quality of the transfer. Additionally, at this time we do not know the actual release date for the Blu-ray.
Review by Chris Gould
Suitable only for persons of 15 years and over
Release Date: 10th April 2017
Disc Type: Blu-ray Disc
Audio: DTS-HS Master Audio 5.1 English
Subtitles: English SDH
Extras: Audio Commentaries, Isolated Music and Effects Track, Featurette, Trailer
Easter Egg: No
Director: Randal Kleiser
Cast: Brooke Shields, Christopher Atkins, Leo McKern
Genre: Drama and Romance
Length: 104 minutes
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