Platoon (Two-Disc Blu-ray/DVD Combo) Review, a 1986 movie directed by Oliver Stone starring Charlie Sheen, Tom Berenger, Willem Dafoe, Keith David, Johnny Depp, Kevin Dillon, Dale Dye, and Forest Whitaker.
Release Date: May 24, 2011
Platoon is an illuminating yet polarizing journey of one United States Marine Corps private during the Vietnam War, a wartime neophyte who eventually is forced-fed many lessons and conduct edicts, both fortuitous and detrimental ones, dependent upon the situation. Private Chris Taylor (Charlie Sheen)’s two “fathers” during his tour of duty, Sergeant Elias (Willem Dafoe) and Staff Sergeant Barnes (Tom Berenger), create a new version of Private Taylor: weathered, aggressive, and less afraid of his own shadow.
Private Taylor is the classic entry character for script writers: a virtual blank slate through which the experiences of the film are written on. He is the character through which the audience is introduced into the world of the film and its inhabitants just like FBI Special Agent John Myers was in Guillermo del Toro‘s Hellboy. Private Taylor performs this perfunctory function within the first act of Platoon.
Like Private Taylor, the viewer will be unaccustomed to this Vietnam War presented by director Oliver Stone. It’s soldiers on both sides become morally and physically altered in varying degrees by Vietnam War stimuli, depending on the personalities they came into the war with. This scarring is exemplified in Staff Sergeant Barnes, who never hides his facial mutilation, most-likely earned at the hands of the Vietcong (or National Liberation Front / NLF) before the events in Platoon. Sergeant Barnes is the film’s Ahab but his white whale is something he can never kill. It is insatiable.
Sergeant Barnes has turned inward, into his own blackness, its harbinger residing within the twisted tissue of his face. One half is damaged, the other half pristine. Sergeant Barnes is both light and darkness. He is able to tap into either at will with no moral qualms e.g. killing a Vietnamese woman then holding a gun to her daughter’s head, attempting to wrestle Vietcong intelligence for the mouth of the dead woman’s husband. Sergeant Barnes is a representation of the road many went down and one Private Taylor could as well if he loses sight of the humanity he entered the war with.
I watched the Blu-ray of the film in this edition, not the DVD. The Blu-ray video for this edition of Platoon is free of the scratches, artifacts people have come accustomed when viewing this film on television. Its been cleaned up or the original high definition master was used. The viewer will notice it more during the day time scenes than the night time scenes.
Everyone that has seen this film knows its morose score created by Georges Delerue a mile away once they hear it. For this edition of the film, that soundtrack is presented in English 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio, Spanish Mono, and French Dolby Surround.
Platoon Bonus Features
Disc 1: Blu-ray Feature
Audio Commentary by Director Oliver Stone
Audio Commentary by Military Advisor Dale Dye
Deleted and Extended Scenes with Optional Commentary by Oliver Stone
Many of the sub-characters in Platoon get more screen time in the deleted scenes, including Johnny Depp. Basically some character moments cut out are able to be viewed.
Flashback to Platoon: Snapshot in Time: 1967 – 1968; Creating the ’Nam; Raw Wounds: The Legacy of Platoon
Documentaries: One War, Many Stories; Preparing for ’Nam
Vignettes: Caputo & the 7th Fleet; Dye Training Method; Gordon Gekko
Theatrical Trailer and TV Spots
Disc 2: DVD Feature
Great presentation for the film, especially since you get two formats of the film (DVD and Blu-ray). I wish there was a Digital Copy version as well for laptops or smart phones. This is probably the definitive package for the film to date, especially with the plethora of extras included.