le 11 décembre 2015
GOOD MORNING, VIETNAM [1987 / 2015] [Special Anniversary Edition] [Blu-ray] [UK Release] The Best Military Film Since M•A•S•H!
Academy Award® winner Robin Williams shakes up 1965 Saigon as irreverent, non-conformist DJ Adrian Cronauer, imported by the army for the early morning radio show. DJ Adrian Cronauer blasts the formerly staid, sanitised airwaves with constant barrage of rapid-fire humour and the hippest tunes from back home. The GI’s love him – but soon offends the top brass, in the form of Lt. Steven Hauk [Bruno Kirby]. Meanwhile, DJ Adrian Cronauer shows a more sober side to his character in his romance with Trinh, a local Vietnamese woman [Chintara Sukapatana]. The film is riddled with side-splitting comic bombshells and studded with hot 1960s hits, and the film depicts DJ Adrian Cronauer raucous Saigon adventures and a world gone mad.
FILM FACT: Awards and Nominations: Golden Globe® Awards: Win: Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture Comedy/Musical for Robin Williams. American Comedy Awards: Win: Funniest Actor in a Motion Picture (Leading Role) for Robin Williams. Academy Awards®: Nominated: Best Actor for Robin Williams. BAFTA® Awards: Nominated: Best Actor for Robin Williams. San Jordi Awards: Nominated: Best Foreign Actor for Robin Williams. San Jordi Awards: Win: Best Foreign Actor for Forest Whitaker. Political Film Society Award: Win: Political Film Society Award for Peace for ‘Good Morning, Vietnam.’ BAFTA® Awards: Nominated: Best Sound. The film was shot in Bangkok, Thailand.
Cast: Robin Williams, Forest Whitaker, Tung Thanh Tran, Chintara Sukapatana, Bruno Kirby, Robert Wuhl, J.T. Walsh, Noble Willingham, Richard Edson, Juney Smith, Richard Portnow, Floyd Vivino, Cu Ba Nguyen, Dan R. Stanton, Don E. Stanton, Danny Aiello III, James McIntire, Peter Mackenzie, Tim O'Hare, John Goyer, Louis Hood, Christopher Mangan, Kenneth Pitochelli, Jonathan MacLeod, Gregg T. Knight, Ralph Tabakin, Sangad Sangkao, Vanlap Sangko, Mark Johnson (uncredited), John Marshall Jones (uncredited) and Richard Nixon (archive sound) (uncredited)
Director: Barry Levinson
Producers: Ben Moses, Harry Benn, Larry Brezner and Mark Johnson,
Screenplay: Mitch Markowitz
Composer: Alex North
Cinematography: Peter Sova
Video Resolution: 1080p [Color by Deluxe]
Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
Audio: English: 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio and French: 5.1 Dolby Digital Audio
Subtitles: English SDH and French
Running Time: 121 minutes
Region: All Regions
Number of discs: 1
Studio: Touchstone Pictures / Silver Screen Partners III
Andrew’s Blu-ray Review: ‘Good Morning, Vietnam’ is set in the period of 1965. Where find Adrian Cronauer [Robin Williams], an Armed Forces Radio disk jockey previously stationed in Crete, arrives in Saigon to breathe a little life into the local programming. Until Adrian Cronauer's arrival, the Armed Forces Radio Saigon station has depended largely on the music of Mantovani and Percy Faith and helpful hints on how to withdraw books from the Army's lending libraries, interrupted from time to time by sanitised newscasts.
Within several days of taking over his dawn show, Adrian Cronauer has become the biggest, most controversial personality in Vietnam. Out the window have gone Mantovani, Percy Faith, Bing Crosby and Perry Como, to be replaced by the raucous laments and urgent innuendoes of James Brown, Martha Reeves and the Vandellas and Wayne Fontana, among others.
Between recordings, in his on-air monologues, Adrian Cronauer goes down the route of his own manic consciousness. Adrian talks about sex, the drama inherent in weather forecasts in the tropics, body functions, Army regulations, politics and Richard Nixon, then the former Vice President. At frequent intervals, he conducts interviews with characters inhabiting the dark side of his brain, including an Army fashion designer who's distraught about the material used for camouflage uniforms. ''Why not plaids and stripes?'' asks the petulant designer. ''When you go into battle, clash!''
When in the height of his manic and controversial outrageous humour, Adrian Cronauer appears to be speaking in tongues, the stuff shirts of the military do not agree with his methods of speaking out of turn and feels he is far too familiar. At one time or another, he sends up just about every race, colour, creed and sexual preference. The stuff shirt Army brass is totally upset and outraged, but his army service listeners love him. Here, at last, is someone who knows the difference between a police action and a war. Reality has gained a precarious beachhead.
‘Good Morning, Vietnam,’ which is directed by Barry Levinson of films like ‘DINER’ and ‘TIN MEN,’ succeeds in doing something that's very rare in films of this calibre, is showing us real characters who are really funny as they are supposed to be and not totally fictional characters. We also get a marvellous breakthrough from the comic genius of Robin Williams, who, for the first time in this film, gets a chance to exercise his restless, full-frontal over the top comic intelligence and genius. The director Barry Levinson, who totally appreciates the genius of Robin Williams comic over the top monologues, that provides us viewers with a context that enriches their meaning without upstaging them, and with the cross-cutting between Adrian Cronauer, broadcasting from his antiseptic radio studio, and the tormented, sometimes scenic Vietnamese countryside where his voice is being heard by all sundry.
Barry Levinson knows how to present the star Robin Williams without exploiting him to a point of diminishing returns. ‘Good Morning, Vietnam’ surrounds Robin Williams with a brilliant strong cast of supporting actors, including two recruits, and they are Bruno Kirby, as a polka-loving officer who longs to replace Adrian Cronauer as the station's star disc jockey, where he pronounces ''In my heart I know I'm funny,'' he says after his first disastrous broadcast, and of course J. T. Walsh, who is a staunch right wing Republican uptight “by the rule book” Sergeant Major who is totally offended by Adrian Cronauer's loose ways with his type of non-unregulated regulations. Also commendable is the brilliant Noble Willingham, who plays a remarkably free-thinking general, one of Adrian Cronauer's biggest fans; as well as the brilliant award winner Forest Whitaker, as Adrian Cronauer's sidekick; the also brilliant quirky Cu Ba Nguyen, as a Saigon bar-owner with a most singular sexual preference; the beautiful Chintara Sukapatana, as a young Vietnamese woman whom Adrian Cronauer is smitten by, and of course Tung Thanh Tran, as her brother, who is also secretly a go between Vietcong.
The technical aspects of this film are totally positive, and the film as you can expect from the director Barry Levison was actually darker than your previous Barry Levinson films. The music is an absolute highlight, including the magnificent use of Louis Armstrong's "What a Wonderful World." There are certain films that have certain moments that stick with you over time. Since its release in 1987, one can still appreciate Robin Williams leaning over the microphone and in his infamous energetic way screaming out "Gooooooooooood Morning, Vietnammmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm!" and always to me makes this film such a classic comedy war film, that has a rollercoaster ride from howls of laughter and some heart stopping moments when bombs go off in such a devastating way, that wars of this calibre never wins and the Americans finally woke up and smelt the coffee!
Blu-ray Video Quality – ‘GOOD MORNING, VIETNAM’ Touchstone Pictures 2015 Blu-ray release is presented in its original theatrical aspect ratio of 1.85:1 and has a brilliant 1080p encoded resolution image. Originally the film has always had lots of white speckles on previous home video release, especially on an inferior DVD release, so with this high definition transfer release constitutes a massive major improvement on what has been offered before. Sharpness is really good to very good, but occasionally some scenes seem slightly soft, but not detriment with the whole image presentation. Colour wise is nicely saturated and retains consistency throughout with pleasing flesh tones that fit the extremely with the hot conditions of Southeast Asia at the time of making the film. Black levels are fine, and the image is free from age-related artefacts. So overall it was a really enjoyable viewing experience.
Blu-ray Audio Quality – ‘GOOD MORNING, VIETNAM’ Touchstone Pictures 2015 Blu-ray release is presented with a brilliant 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio sound mix and offers some decent surround spread and effective bass management for a film for a 1987 film release, but naturally it can’t compete with action war comedy films of today’s releases. But it is helped with Robin Williams’ brilliant motor mouth running on overtime, and it’s important that the dialogue presented is clear and clean, which it is so fantastically presented for your audio ears that it is placed firmly in the centre speaker channel. The music, which is a brilliant rich selection of 1960s standards, that gives the sounds such a wonderfully balanced sound mix, which included such American and British pop classics as “Baby, Please Don't Go” by Them; "Danger! Heartbreak Dead Ahead" by The Marvelettes "Game of Love" by Wayne Fontana & The Mindbenders; ; "I Get Around" by The Beach Boys; "I Got You (I Feel Good)" by James Brown; "It's Alright" by Adam Faith; "Nowhere to Run" by Martha and the Vandellas; "Sugar and Spice" by The Searchers; "Puff, the Magic Dragon" by Peter Yarrow & Leonard Lipton; "What a Wonderful World" Louis Armstrong; "Yeh Yeh" by Georgie Fame & The Blue Flames and of course the brilliant "You Keep Me Hangin' On" by The Supremes.
Blu-ray Special Features and Extras:
Special Feature: Production Diary  [1080i] [1.33:1] [34:32] What you have with this special feature, is four title categories that you must press “Play All” as they cannot be watched separately, because when one item finishes it stops abruptly and goes back to the menu. The five categories are as follows: “How the Movie Came To Be;” “Actor Improv;” “Music Of The Movie” and “Origins of The Good Morning, Vietnam Sign-On.” From the start of the documentary is that we find out that in the process of making the film, it took the project over four and a half years in the works even before filming got started and of course we go behind-the-scenes to hear an in depth information on the process of getting the film started, as well as a lot of politics that went into the process, because originally the film was taken to loads of studios and a lot of them turned it down and vowed to not touch it, but eventually the Walt Disney Studios gave it the green light, because they were very enthusiastic on the project. But as we move on into this documentary we find out about the making of the film and all its difficulties and especially the humid heat, but in the process we get some nice contributions from the likes of Larry Brezner [Producer]; Mitch Markowitz [Screenwriter]; Barry Levison [Director]; Adrian Cronauer [Radio DJ]; Robert Wuhl [Staff Sergeant Marty Lee Dreiwitz]; Mark Johnson [Producer] and Bruno Kirby [2nd Lieutenant Steven Hauk]. What was also fascinating about this documentary is the way Barry Levison let Robin Williams have a free hand when doing his radio broadcasts and sometimes the filming sessions went on for about 25 minutes and eventually the film camera would run out of film. We also hear how the Robin Williams “Good Morning, Vietnam” shout out came about at the start of each broadcast, and Adrian Cronauer tells us his version on how it all started when he worked as a Radio DJ on the Greek Island of Crete and it was so long winded and totally pathetic, whereas Robin Williams “Good Morning, Vietnam” shout out is so far totally superior and so much more funnier. So all in all this was a really wonderful insightful special documentary and well worth viewing, and especially hearing all the fascinating anecdotes on the process of making the film ‘GOOD MORNING, VIETNAM.’
Special Feature: Raw Monolgues  [1080i] [1.33:1] [13:06] Here we get to hear Barry Levison [Director] talking about the business of Robin Williams improvisation when working on the film, especially when being filmed in the studio doing his radio broadcasts and we get to see a lot of brilliant filming. But what is so interesting about this special feature we get to see how Robin Williams worked with his banter in front of the microphone with his quick witted humour that was not scripted, and as I say Barry Levison encouraged Robin Williams to do what comes natural with his quirky hilarious humour and what we get to see is all of the outtakes clips that were not able to be used in the film and I can tell you it is the most funniest hilarious outtakes I have seen in a very long time and by the end of 13:06 I was aching with so much laughter and again I think Robin Williams is a comic genius who so sadly missed. One thing we are told is that some of the crew were British who were totally lacking in any kind of humour, as they did not laugh once while Robin Williams was doing his quirky hilarious humour while being filmed, and wow if I had been working on the film I would not of stopped laughing.
Theatrical Trailer  [489i] [1.33:1] [2:30] This is the Original Theatrical Trailer for ‘Good Morning, Vietnam’ and the quality is just about passable and such a shame they could not of found the proper trailer that was presented in the 1.85:1 aspect ratio, because it is such a shame, as what you view is a brilliant presentation and certainly gives you a flavour of what you would view when watching the film.
Theatrical Trailer  [480i] [1.33:1] [1:31] This is the Original Theatrical Teaser Trailer, for ‘Good Morning, Vietnam’ and once again the quality is just about passable and such a shame they could not of found proper trailer that was presented in the 1.85:1 aspect ratio, because it is such a shame, as what you view is a brilliant presentation and certainly gives you a flavour of what you would view when watching the film.
Finally, ‘Good Morning, Vietnam’ is a brilliant time capsule in showing that the Americans could never win this war and its eventual consequences. But having the comic genius of Robin Williams who plays real-life disc jockey Adrian Cronauer, which as you find out with the special features is not a true biopic of this Radio DJ, instead, it is strictly Hollywood style and a great cache in having Robin Williams in the main lead in this film. Overall, ‘Good Morning, Vietnam’ has in my opinion not aged one bit and still holds up better than it should have. Sure, Robin Williams feels slightly dated, but one still loves his brilliant performance in making it you enjoy this classic comedy war film, with a very rye twist of humour and you owe it to yourself to see this brilliant 2015 Blu-ray release. It’s a different perspective on the conflict, and it’s one that still resonates today with all the troubles in the world. Check it out if you haven’t seen it already, as you will enjoy the whole 121 minutes of sheer joy at seeing a film of our time that again I feel has not dated one bit. Highly Recommended!
Andrew C. Miller – Your Ultimate No.1 Film Fan
Le Cinema Paradiso
WARE, United Kingdom