GOOD MORNING VIETNAM
Review by Mark Wiechman
Technical specs by Michael Jacobson
Stars: Robin Williams,
Director: Barry Levinson
Audio: DTS HD 5.1
Video: Anamorphic Widescreen 1.85:1
Features: See Review
Length: 121 Minutes
“GOOOOOD MORNING VIET
What does a disc jockey do
when he is suddenly transferred from
Robin Williams’ monologues were based on written material but obviously he improvised continuously. Not only is he brilliantly funny, but instead of just complaining about war and life in general as actors do on MASH, he made jokes about well-known figures of 1965. It is revealed in the extras that most members of the production crew were either Asian or British, and they had no idea who most of the jokes were about. Williams assumed he was bombing every day since no one laughed other than the Americans. He earned his first well-deserved Oscar nomination for the role. While the film can be seen as a vehicle for his talent, it is a profound story of soldiers trying to keep sane in the madness of war. It is also about censorship, hypocrisy, and the good and bad in every culture.
It is also different from
MASH in that it has a fantastic 1965 soundtrack. Many lesser-known hits
such as “Game of Love” “Sugar and Spice” and “
We also get to meet the real Adrian Cronauer in the extras, and he reveals that almost all of the movie is fictional, but that he did in fact play rock ‘n roll on Armed Forces Radio and was indeed very popular as a DJ.
Even though the
comparisons to MASH seem obvious to me, they were not obvious to most
movie studios, and the writers had to endure many rejections of their “comedy
Some of the actors and other production team members say in their interviews that making this movie presented many challenges but was more than worth it, and a very pleasurable experience. This movie also proves that assembling a great team to work on a great project and then leaving them alone yields excellent results, just as it did with the original MASH movie.
The menus are also interesting if only because we get to hear highlights of Alex North’s hauntingly beautiful score, which was usually overwhelmed by the film’s monologues and rock ‘n roll soundtrack.
Nicely done...this 80s film does have a few muted moments and some darker images with a touch of grain, but overall, the sharpness and clarity preserve the visual experiences nicely on Blu-ray.
There's some good punch with this 5.1 offering...between the soundtrack of great songs and the explosive sounds of war coming too close, the uncompressed audio delivers a tremendous listening experience. And really, how can any movie starring Robin Williams NOT be dynamic?
An extensive production diary is marred by hyperactive editing in which one interviewee barely gets to say more than a few words before moving to the next one. Director Barry Levinson obviously knows his stuff but also does not seem to like being interviewed. We do get to meet most of the production team and Cronauer himself, but the extras are not necessarily well-produced themselves by modern standards. No commentary track.
The highlight of course is
the “Raw monologues” which show bits of the brilliant Williams which did not
make it into the film, such as his speculation that Nikita Khrushchev was one of
the three stooges and news about an unmanned probe of Uranus. He also mentions
how a cease-fire occurred between
Also included is the
original theatrical trailer. It has a great monologue which was not in the
movie and includes
One of the best movies of the 1980s and its great soundtrack finally arrive in a presentation worthy of Blu-ray release that will please previous viewers and new ones as well.