Stripes: Extended Cut

Stripes: Extended Cut (1981)
Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
Cast: Bill Murray, John Candy, PJ. Soles, Harold Ramis, Warren Oates
Extras: Deleted Scenes, Documentary, Assault Vehicle Cut-out

Ivan Reitman put together ’Stripes, ’ a hilarious military comedy starring some of the coolest comedians of the early 80s – namely Second City alumnis Bill Murray, John Candy and Harold Ramis. Sony Pictures Home Entertainment has new restored the movie and also re-inserted 18 minutes of additional footage into the film, including 6 deleted scenes, for your viewing pleasure on this DVD. The original theatrical cut is also included, of course.

Sony Pictures Home Entertainment presents ’Stripes’ in its original 1.85:1 widescreen aspect ratio on this release in a transfer that is enhanced for 16×9 TV sets. Despite being remastered however, the transfer is less than perfect. Speckles are still evident almost throughout and the film has a rather grainy quality. Color reproduction is faithful, but clearly shows the somewhat dated and faded 80s look that defines the period. Black levels are good but not as deep as you’d expect from a new transfer, maybe. Overall the release is an improvement over the previous fullscreen version but not markedly so other than finally offering a widescreen presentation.

The audio on the release is a remastered 51. Dolby Digital track. Since the film was never mixed for 5.1 audio however, the new mix is restrained and makes only infrequent use of the surround channels. Frequency response is good, but dialogues sound a bit harsh occasionally as a result of the original material’s limitations.

The extras on the release are solid and especially the one-hour two-part documentary is well worth watching as it features new interviews with the cast members, including Bill Murray. It covers a lot of ground and shows how some of his funniest performances came together.

Overall ’Stripes’ is a great release and a worthy upgrade to the previous DVD version of the movie. The extras are great and the presentation quality is definitely worth the price. After all this is one of Bill Murray’s funniest movies and overall an extremely hilarious comedy.