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Fandango

Blu Ray

  • Score
    64
    from 1 reviewers
    Review Date:
  • Fandango: a brisk, entertaining cult classic on Blu-ray, despite A/V flaws & no extras.

    Fandango Blu-ray Front Cover

    Disc Release Date:

  • Video
    69
  • Warner Archive elevates Fandango with a new restoration, enhancing its drab visuals and limited textures. Despite its struggles with grain and noise in low light, bright scenes impress, offering a quality presentation that surpasses previous releases.

  • Audio
    69
  • Fandango's digital releases upgraded to 5.1, now with DTS-HD Master Audio, offering a front-loaded mix with clear dialogue and dynamic pop tracks, though not highly immersive. Includes English (SDH) subtitles.

  • Extra
    34
  • This release, in a standard keepcase with bland artwork and minimal extras, misses opportunities like including Reynolds' 'Proof' or deleted scenes. A charming theatrical trailer is its highlight.

  • Movie
    64
  • Fandango, a cult classic blending youthful recklessness and growth on a wild road trip, is both entertaining and emotionally poignant despite its rocky debut and Costner's age misfit.

    Video: 69

    Warner Archive's release of "Fandango" on Blu-ray presents a commendable effort at bringing the film to modern standards, though intrinsic limitations of the source material inevitably cap the visual fidelity. Key details, textures, and color saturation exhibit constraints, especially evident in low-light conditions where grain and noise significantly impair shadow detail. This issue is notably pronounced during scenes under crimson lighting and in areas devoid of strong illumination, leading to a loss of visual information. Despite these setbacks, the transfer shines under optimal lighting—daylight and certain dusk scenes reveal a clarity and richness absent elsewhere. The overall presentation, dominated by subdued earth tones and medium grays, aligns well with the film's aesthetic, from unkempt frat houses to unsavory restrooms, enhancing the narrative's gritty realism.

    Warner Archive has sourced this edition from a purported new restoration, likely entailing a 2K scan of the interpositive, which aligns with their reputation for quality transfers. This meticulous process results in a product free from blemishes and digital compression artifacts, preserving the filmic texture that fans would expect from such a physical media release. While "Fandango" may not serve as the ultimate demonstration piece for the latest in display technology, it undoubtedly surpasses previous iterations in terms of visual quality. The balance between preserving the original cinematic experience and optimizing for current home video standards is commendably managed, delivering a presentation that is both nostalgic and satisfying for aficionados.

    The handling of "Fandango" on Blu-ray by Warner Archive proves to be a respectful update, ensuring that the movie's visual aspects are as polished as possible within the constraints posed by its original shoot. Scenes blessed by natural light benefit most, showcasing the potential hidden within the movie's cinematography when not hampered by the inherent graininess of darker settings. This release represents a significant improvement over past home video formats, offering the best version yet for collectors and fans who value both authenticity and quality in their film libraries.

    Audio: 69

    The audio presentation for the Blu Ray of "Fandango" has been revisited with a DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 remix, an upgrade from its original Dolby Stereo mix. Despite this enhancement, the surround channels remain underutilized, resulting in a soundstage that is predominantly front-focused. This reliance on the front channels, however, does not detract from the overall clarity of the dialogue or the handling of background effects, which are balanced and clear. The discrete LFE channel lends a subtle boost to the audio, providing depth where needed without overpowering the mix. The soundtrack, benefiting greatly from the audio upgrade, presents pop tracks with a richness and dynamic range that stand out as a highlight of this presentation.

    The technical execution of the audio mix on the Blu Ray maintains a professional quality, with sound fields adjusting fluidly to reflect different environments within the film. This ensures that each scene's audio contributes appropriately to the viewing experience, whether through a concentrated focus or a wider dispersal of sound. Nevertheless, the overall presentation leans towards a conservative use of the available surround sound capabilities, possibly in an effort to stay true to the film's original auditory essence.

    Subtitling for the feature is provided in English (SDH), which is in line with standard offerings for home video releases. These subtitles are available for the main feature only, ensuring that viewers requiring them are catered to. This aspect, while not directly related to the auditory experience, complements the overall accessibility of the film's Blu Ray presentation. The professional and technical handling of "Fandango's" audio remix, despite its limited use of surround sound capability, is commendable for its clarity and fidelity to the source material.

    Extra: 34

    The Blu-ray release of "Fandango," while sporting a rather uninspiring keepcase design without any inserts, presents a barebones collection of extras that leaves much to be desired, especially for fans and collectors hoping for a deeper dive into the film's creation and legacy. Noteworthy by their absence are any of Reynolds' original student films, such as "Proof," which would have added significant value, or the deleted scenes occasionally glimpsed in TV broadcasts. The only extra of note is the theatrical trailer, a brief but charming piece that offers a glimpse into the film's promotional efforts. This minimalist approach is somewhat disappointing, considering the potential richness of the film's behind-the-scenes and developmental history, making this release feel like a missed opportunity to fully celebrate and explore "Fandango’s" cinematic journey.

    Extras included in this disc:

    • Theatrical Trailer: A brief promotional piece offering insight into the film’s marketing.

    Movie: 64

    Kevin Reynolds' "Fandango," produced through Amblin Entertainment by Steven Spielberg (though he later distanced himself from the project), offers a nostalgic glimpse into the reckless yet transformational road trip adventures of five college friends, known as The Groovers. Embarking on a journey filled with episodic escapades, the film effectively captures the essence of youthful exuberance and the impending crossroads of adulthood in post-Vietnam War America. With Kevin Costner leading the ensemble as Gardner Barnes, the movie navigates through their misguided attempts at fun, which range from hitching a ride with a train to misguided skydiving, all while trying to avoid the inevitable responsibilities of graduation, marriage, and the draft. Despite some flaws in believability, primarily due to Costner's age, the movie benefits from strong performances and a memorable soundtrack featuring artists like Cream and Elton John.

    "Fandango" presents an engaging mix of humor and heart, transitioning smoothly from careless antics to moments of genuine character development and emotional depth. The Groovers, each with their distinct personalities, evolve through their misadventures, culminating in reconciliation and the hint of a more mature outlook on life. This balance between frivolity and sentimentality enriches the narrative, making it more than just a series of mishaps but a poignant reflection on friendship and coming-of-age.

    Reflecting on its initial release, "Fandango" may not have been a commercial success, partly due to Spielberg's withdrawal of support, but it has since garnered a cult following for its unique blend of comedy, drama, and superb musical accompaniment. Despite its portrayal as a seemingly aimless journey, the film stands out for its ability to encapsulate pivotal moments in young adulthood, delivering a story that is both entertaining and thought-provoking. The Warner Archive's Blu-ray release does justice to the film's visual and auditory elements, though it leaves fans longing for more in terms of special features.

    Total: 64

    Kevin Reynolds' debut film "Fandango," while not flawless, serves as an exhibition of his raw talent before his later, more mixed cinematic endeavors like "Waterworld" and "Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves." This early project, marked by an energetic narrative and featuring Kevin Costner in a leading role, thrives amidst its narrative and technical imperfections. The Warner Archive's Blu-ray rendition breathes new life into this cult favorite, offering a viewing experience that, despite some A/V shortcomings, remains genuinely engaging. The film's appealing ensemble cast, alongside its notable soundtrack and visual aesthetic, presents a package that, while lacking in supplementary material, delivers core content that is both captivating and nostalgically satisfying.

    The Blu-ray edition, though criticized for its absence of bonus features and certain audio-visual limitations, still stands as a testament to the film's enduring charm. The presentation showcases the movie's unique blend of humor and drama in a manner that accentuates its strengths, allowing its character-driven storytelling and distinctive atmosphere to shine. This release serves not just as a homage to the film but also as a reflection of an era in filmmaking, marking it as a worthwhile addition for collectors and enthusiasts who value substance and historical context over ancillary content.

    In conclusion, Warner Archive's Blu-ray release of "Fandango" offers a solid, albeit imperfect package that captures the essence of Kevin Reynolds' early work. While the lack of extra features and some audio-visual compromises might deter perfectionists, the essence of this cult classic remains untarnished. It stands as a significant piece for those interested in the evolution of Reynolds' directorial style or in revisiting a spirited narrative that continues to entertain decades after its initial release. This edition confirms that "Fandango's" legacy is well preserved, ensuring that new audiences and longtime fans alike can appreciate its undimmed vibrancy.