Director: John Hughes
Cast: Molly Ringwald, Paul Dooley, Anthony Michael Hall
Release Date: April 14, 2020
A Review By: Kevin Lovell
Disc Rating: 9.5/10
For high schooler Samantha, her 16th birthday might be the worst day of her life. Her family has forgotten about it; her biggest crush has discovered an embarrassing “sex quiz” filled out by Sam; and to make matters worse, she is hounded by a relentless nerd. But Sam’s sweet sixteen isn’t over yet, and before the end of the night, all her birthday wishes could still come true…
The unforgettable coming of age classic from John Hughes, ‘Sixteen Candles’ tells the story of high schooler Samantha Baker (Ringwald) whose sixteenth birthday becomes anything but sweet as her day begins with her entire family forgetting, only to be potentially humiliated at school when a sex survey in which she named her dream guy vanishes. Unfortunately the day doesn’t get much better as it progresses, from being relentlessly hit on by the Geek (Hall) on the bus to being pestered by him further at the school dance. But as the night continues and she begins to give up hope of anything even moderately decent happening, she’ll just have to wait and see if things conclude as badly as she expects. Now, the teen comedy classic returns to Blu-ray better than ever, fully remastered and loaded with extras from Arrow Video.
Initially released in 1984, ‘Sixteen Candles’ soon took the world by storm and began to pave the way for the legacy of John Hughes and his impressive ability to capture the world of teenage angst like no other, leading to a reputation that definitely won’t find itself forgotten in the history of filmmaking. Benefiting greatly from the unique charm and relatable nature of Molly Ringwald and the masterful comedic timing of Anthony Michael Hall as well as the endearing chemistry between them, ‘Sixteen Candles’ still holds up in most respects as a masterfully made coming of age tale that dared to take a new approach. It’s impossible to deny that much of it has become somewhat, if not extremely dated (including but not limited to the almost painful levels of racist content within) but still gets a lot right and regardless of it all will undeniably still go down in history as one of the greatest coming of age films ever made.
The new Blu-ray release of this unforgettable eighties gem from Arrow Video is a worthy definitive Blu-ray edition of the classic, featuring a gorgeously remastered high definition video presentation from a 4K source and finally offering fans both the Theatrical Cut as well as the infamous Extended Version featuring the additional cafeteria scene reintegrated into the movie. Hardcore fans of ‘Sixteen Candles’ are also sure to thoroughly enjoy the collection of brand new interviews with the cast and crew created specifically for this release, along with a whole lot more (see the technical specifications section of the review below for more detailed information regarding the video, audio and special features) that all comes together to form one quite spectacular Blu-ray release that is almost certain to truly thrill the fans.
Overall, Arrow’s new Blu-ray release of ‘Sixteen Candles’ will easily claim the mantle as the definitive Blu-ray edition of the John Hughes classic and will probably be a must own for diehard fans of the film and of Hughes’ work as a whole. Arrow brings the film back to Blu-ray newly remastered in 4K and sporting spectacular high definition video and audio presentations for the Feature Film and even offering the option to view the Original Theatrical Version or the Extended Version with the cafeteria scene restored from new 35mm film elements (as well as the added choice to view with the alternate “home video” soundtrack). If that alone wasn’t enough, the impressive collection of bonus content is liable to seal the deal, featuring various new Interviews and more that were created exclusive for this release. For anyone who was already considering a purchase of this one but hasn’t yet picked up a copy, I can’t recommend it highly enough.
Arrow’s Blu-ray release of ‘Sixteen Candles’ features a full (and newly remastered) 1080p High Definition presentation for both the Theatrical and Extended Cut of the film with its original 1.85:1 Aspect Ratio. The presentation has been exclusively restored by Arrow Films from a new 4K scan. Below is a quote from page 34 of the included booklet which provides some additional details on the transfer:
“The original 35mm camera negative was scanned in 4K resolution on a Lasergraphics Director at EFilm, Burbank.
The film was graded on Digital Vision’s Nucoda Film Master and restored at R3Store Studios in London.
The extended version sourced additional 35mm materials for this section.”
The new video presentation looks quite wonderful altogether and provides a sharp, nicely detailed presentation that’s rich with grain and other welcome artifacts representative of its source material. It holds up beautifully every step of the way, even during the few heavily populated and/or darkly lit moments, never suffering from any noticeable faults or troubles along the way. Overall, this is a wonderful new high definition video presentation from Arrow that should downright thrill fans of this beloved eighties classic.
The Arrow Blu-ray release features the option of viewing the film with its original lossless mono soundtrack (a 1.0 DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack) or with a 5.1 channel DTS-HD Master Audio Soundtrack. Also available is the option to view with the ‘Alternate Mono ‘home video”’ audio presentation (also presented in 1.0 DTS-HD MA). I personally opted for viewing with the Original Mono presentation which sounds magnificent altogether, especially for its age and lack of available range. It offers a smooth, crisp and clean audio presentation throughout that perfectly juggles the dialogue, music and other audio activity without allowing one audio element to ever contradict another; balancing everything nicely throughout and making certain that every level is perfectly clean and audible. Overall, this is a great 1.0 DTS-HD MA mono soundtrack that only exceeds expectations and never falters or disappoints along its course.
Arrow’s Blu-ray release of ‘Sixteen Candles’ features a great collection of bonus content that should thrill the fans. In addition to the inclusion of both the Theatrical and Extended Cut of the film, it also offers an option to view the movie with the ‘Alternate “home video” soundtrack prepared for VHS and Laserdisc releases’, as well as the choice to view the additional ‘Cafeteria Scene’ from the Extended version by itself (running approximately 90 seconds in length). The release also treats us to numerous brand new interviews with the cast and crew, plus more created specifically for this release along with some archival extras. The brand new supplements include: ‘Casting Sixteen Candles with Jackie Burch’ (running approximately 9 minutes in length), ‘When Gedde Met Deborah with Gedde Watanabe and Deborah Pollack’ (running approximately 19 minutes), ‘Rudy the Bohunk with John Kapelos’ (approximately 6 minutes), ‘The New Wave Nerd with Adam Rifkin’ (8 minutes), ‘The In-Between with Gary Kibbe’ (7 minutes), ‘Music For Geeks with Ira Newborn’ (8 minutes) and ‘A Very Eighties Fairytale: An all-new video essay written and narrated by Writer Soraya Roberts’ (17 minutes). Also included is the archival Featurette ‘Celebrating Sixteen Candles’ (approximately 38 minutes), along with ‘3 Theatrical Trailers’ (approximately 7 minutes combined), ‘2 TV Spots’ (1 minute) and ’18 Radio Spots’ (14 minutes), plus a viewable copy of the final ‘Shooting Script’ and Image Galleries featuring ‘Production Stills’ and ‘Poster and Video Art’ for the film.
In addition to the notable collection of extras featured on the disc, first pressings of Arrow’s Blu-ray also include an ‘Illustrated Collector’s Booklet Featuring New Writings on the Film by Nikki Baughan and Bryan Reesman’, as well as a reversible cover art sleeve featuring the new artwork on one side and the Original Poster Art on the opposite.