Published on March 31st, 2020 | by Chris O'Connor
The Big Chill Blu-ray Review
Summary: What our younger selves thought we would be when were older doesn't always match the reality, for these college friends reunited over tragedy reflecting on who they were and who they are now is best done with friends.
I’m not sure I ever saw The Big Chill before but it’s one of those movies that stands out and kind of holds a place in pop culture that means most people will at least have heard of it if not seen it. So this was my chance to jump the fence of having just heard of it, to having also seen it (it’s possible I saw it when younger when my parents rented it from the video shop… you know, when they existed).
The story begins with college friends coming together for the funeral of a friend, but after the funeral they all share a house and reflect on who they used to be, who they are now and what has happened with their lives. For me the film was interesting on many levels, the two main ones probably being that I’m now probably roughly the age they are supposed to be at the funeral and also I’ve worked as a funeral director so I have some familiarity to how a funeral can affect people.
I think part of the strength of the film is that it has enough characters to capture many different personality types… but it doesn’t play any of them too hard into the stereotype range. You have a Vietnam veteran who clearly has been changed by his experience… but it’s not the only thing that defines him. You have a lecherous journalist but he is more than his groinal motivations. The TV star isn’t full of himself, in fact if anything he has doubts about his true ability (not uncommon for actors, despite what you might think… imposter syndrome is a common condition). Each character has plenty of depth, layers to who they are. They show strengths and frailties we can see ourselves in, relate to or at least sympathize with.
The Blu-ray is taken from a new 4K film transfer and it shows… you have the graininess of film… but also the detail and clarity that you would expect of a recent release. Not surprisingly the vibrancy is a little lacking… but in some ways that adds to the charm of this film and in many ways fits the mood of friends reuniting over a funeral for a friend. The audio is stated as 5.1 but also notes LPCM 2.0… that latter one seems far more relevant here. To be fair there isn’t a lot of need for a full surround soundtrack, but one particular scene with a bat/s flying around the characters heads could have really jumped out with surround and yet it was very much just front focused, again, not a huge issue with a dialogue heavy film.
Testament to it’s place in cinema history is the special feature offerings here with nearly an hour worth of retrospective feature and deleted scenes. The featurette is a great way to get to know the origin of the film and the impact it has made.
Buy it for Kevin Costner’s wrist? Enjoy it for the fantastic ensemble cast and heartfelt self reflection. An excellent movie and an excellent copy to add to your collection.
Head over to the Via Vision Entertainment Facebook page for the latest releases, giveaways, great deals and more!
Director Lawrence Kasdan
Film Genre Drama
Label Via Vision
Audio English (Dolby Digital 5.1)
Aspect ratio 1.78:1
Region Coding B
TV Standard HD
Consumer Advice Adult themes, drug use, low level sex scene, low level coarse language
Year of Release 1983
Primary Format – Movies/TV Blu-Ray