Blu-ray Review: Full Metal Jacket 25th Anniversary

STUDIO: Warner | DIRECTOR: Stanley Kubrick | CAST: Matthew Modine, Vincent D’Onofrio, R. Lee Ermey, Adam Baldwin, Vincent D’Onofrio, Dorian Harewood, Arliss Howard
BLU-RAY RELEASE DATE: 8/7/2012 | PRICE: Blu-ray $34.99
BONUSES: commentary, featurettes, documentary
SPECS: R | 117 min. | War drama | 1.77:1 widescreen | PCM 5.1/Dolby Digital 5.1 | English, French and Spanish subtitles

RATINGS (out of 5 dishes): Movie | Audio | Video | Overall

First things first: Warner’s new Full Metal Jacket: 25th Anniversary Blu-ray Digibook does not contain a new Blu-ray ed of Stanley Kubrick’s 1987 Vietnam war drama, but rather the same version that was issued in the 2007 Full Metal Jacket Deluxe Edition Blu-ray and 2011’s subsequent Stanley Kubrick Limited Edition Collection. That said, it’s remains an outstanding transfer.

Full Metal Jacket movie scene

R. Lee Ermey (r.) drills Matthew Modine in Full Metal Jacket.

Also not new are the bulk of the bonus features—the commentary by actors Adam Baldwin (TV’s Chuck), Vincent D’Onofrio (Kill the Irishman) and R. Lee Ermey (The Boys in Company C) and critic Jay Cocks and the Between Good and Evil featurette—which have both appeared on previous incarnations.

So what’s new on the 25th Anniversary Digibook? Well, the book, for starters. It’s 48 pages long and contains several essays on the film, a profile of Kubrick and the cast members, a remembrance by star Matthew Modine (Hemingway’s Garden of Eden) and a bunch of color and black-and-white pictures, many of them taken from Modine’s personal collection. It definitely makes the Blu-ray a handsome piece that collectors will be psyched to get their hands on.

Also new to disc is a standard DVD version of Stanley Kubrick’s Boxes, an hour-long, 2008 TV documentary by filmmaker Jon Ronson. It’s a first-person piece that follows Ronson (who also narrates) as he accepts an invitation to the late Kubrick’s estate to look through a slew of Kubrick’s files that he kept carefully cataloged for decades. The files are held in boxes, thousands of boxes, and contain scripts, press materials, films clips, screen tests (including a snippet of Sue Lyon reading for Lolita), advertising materials, memos, fan letters and much, much more. The contents detail most of Kubrick’s projects and development plans from 2001 onward and are a real treat for fans of the legendarily obsessive filmmaker, who appears to have kept versions (originals and copies) of virtually everything he ever wrote down or created or that ever came his way concerning himself of his work.

There are many fascinating bits to be seen here, including info on Kubrick’s unsuccessful lawsuit against the 1975 sci-fi TV show Space: 1999, footage of Kubrick kvetching to his crew about their frequent tea breaks on the set of Full Metal Jacket, fan letters that are meticulously filed by location and coded as per the writer’s temperament, and even a hat montage featuring the cast of A Clockwork Orange as they try on various lids to satisfy Kubrick’s search for the perfect derby.

There’s so much in the files and so much that we aren’t afforded a chance to see that one wishes the Boxes ran two hours long instead of one!


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About Laurence

Founder and editor Laurence Lerman saw Alfred Hitchcock’s North by Northwest when he was 13 years old and that’s all it took. He has been writing about film and video for more than a quarter of a century for magazines, anthologies, websites and most recently, Video Business magazine, where he served as the Reviews Editor for 15 years.