The film that inspired generations of kids to skip school and have the adventure of a lifetime, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off comes home to 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray. After decades of repeated viewings, John Hughes’ iconic 80s comedy still holds up. Now with Dolby Vision HDR the film looks terrific picking up and running away with an often effective Atmos audio mix to match. Toss in legacy bonus features including the John Hughes audio commentary and you have something worth staying home for. Recommended
Before I dive into this portion of the review, I wanted to ask something - at this point has anyone not actually seen Ferris Bueller’s Day Off?
This 80s comedy staple has been a mainstay of all home video formats with countless broadcast and cable TV showings to the point that future generations don’t need to see the film because it’s been imprinted onto their parent’s DNA. John Hughes’ iconic comedy made Matthew Broderick a star and set the high bar for every day off from school. Of all the films I expect to get tired of or the nostalgia factor to wear off, this film surprisingly holds up. It has all of the familiar elements of 80s teen comedies from world-weary teenagers about to go to college, romance, and adults you love to hate. Of Hughe’s films, it’s probably his most fanciful and least personally poignant, but it’s still incredibly entertaining. As a kid, you love it because you want to have the same kind of wild carefree adventure as Ferris. As an adult, you love it because watching and enjoying the self-absorbed Mr. Rooney get his comeuppance means you (hopefully) haven’t become a jaded asshole who makes it their mission to ruin the lives of other people. Ferris Bueller's Day Off is one of those weird films where I never really set out to sit down and watch it for the hundredth time but somehow it ends up on the TV anyway and I can't stop watching. It's just good fun.
Now for a full review of the film - check out our 2009 Ferris Bueller’s Day Off Blu-ray Review
Vital Disc Stats: The 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray
Ferris Bueller’s Day Off drives away with its first single-disc 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray + Digital release from Paramount. Pressed on a BD-66 disc, the disc is housed in a standard black case with an identical slipcover. The disc loads to a basic main menu with standard navigation options.
Once again Paramount appears to have put away their old practices of “Paramounting” their catalog titles and delivers an exceptional Dolby Vision (and HDR10) transfer for this 80s comedy classic. Without any signs of obvious and troublesome smoothing (there may be some but it’s so slight you don’t notice), the image overall looks healthy with robust sharp details and a genuinely cinematic grain structure. Facial features, costumes, and all of the grand Chicago locations look immaculate and pristine.
The HDR grade for this is on point without bold colors, crisp clean whites and lovely black levels and shadows. Tak Fujimoto’s cinematography may not be his flashiest efforts but it can be quite beautiful at times. Primaries get plenty of attention, Cameron’s Red Wings jersey (in a Blackhawks town no less) is a lovely bright red with Blues and Yellows seeing plenty of attention with all of the 80s fashions and that beautiful trip to the Art Institute of Chicago. Skin tones are healthy and human without anyone looking too pink or peached. Blacks and whites are on point so there’s plenty of natural depth to the image. Much like Wayne’s World, this is a surprising 4K upgrade that looks far better than expected.
On the audio side, Paramount forgoes the previously available Dolby TrueHD 5.1 track and instead offers up a new Atmos mix. That would be awesome news if the film actually really did much with the format. While this is a solid mix with nary a serious problem to speak of, the film also doesn’t make much use of the extra channel spacing for long stretches. For much of the film, the Front/Center channels work most of the audio load with only occasional drifts in the soundscape to keep the surround channels somewhat engaged. There are stretches where rears enjoy little to no activity and the height channels equally don't come to life. Then you get sequences like the busy school hallways or the big parade or any time those low bass beats of Yello’s “Oh yeah…” kick in and that LFE comes to life, those rears slide in, and the height channels pop up nicely actually giving the film a reason to enjoy the Atmos upgrade. So maybe not the best or most necessary Atmos track ever, but a worthwhile upgrade over the anemic Dolby TrueHD 5.1 track we’ve endured for over a decade.
On the bonus features front, Paramount doesn’t go out of their way to add anything new but they’ve reshuffled things a bit. For this release, we get back the solid John Hughes audio commentary but drop the old image gallery. I’m fine with the gains and losses on this one as I’d hold a personal preference for a commentary track over filler content like an image gallery any day.
The 80s is a decade probably best remembered for Arnold Schwarzenegger movies, Rocky sequels, and amazing comedies. Of the comedies, there were many major players behind and in front of the camera, but John Hughes spoke to a generation of teenagers. Ferris Bueller’s Day Off may not be his greatest effort, but it’s one of his most iconic giving teens the perfect high school skip-day fantasy comedy. Paramount does right by its longtime and the next generation fans delivering a terrific 4K Dolby Vision transfer with a respectable Atmos upgrade. Bonus features may not be plentiful, but they’re better suited now that the John Hughes commentary has been included. After the same disc has been recycled again and again for over a decade, Paramount gives fans a reason to upgrade. Recommended