American Graffiti (Blu-ray)

A coming-of-age story set against the 1960s backdrop of hot rods, drive-ins, and rock 'n' roll follows two young men as they spend their last night in town before heading off to college. Cruising the streets to the howling sounds of Wolfman Jack, Terry (Charles Martin Smith) is on the prowl for a hot blonde (Suzanne Somers), while Steve (Ron Howard) tries to make up with his girlfriend after suggesting they see other people while he's away at college.

George Lucas is known for his Star Wars and Indiana Jones franchises, but this film was his first commercial success, and it earned five Oscar nominations, including Best Picture and Best Director. Not only is it wildly entertaining, it's a blast to see future stars Richard Dreyfuss, Harrison Ford, Cindy Williams, Somers before they became household names.

Video Highlights

  • VC-1/1080p encode on a BD50 disc
  • Digitally processed look with rampant edge enhancement
  • Grayish blacks
  • Bold color palette
  • Occasional softness

Audio Highlights

  • DTS-HD MA 2.0 soundtrack
  • Intelligible dialog
  • Tepid bass
  • Decent stereo spread

This looks to be minted from an older master with a fair amount of edge enhancement. That being said, this is the best the film has ever looked on home video, and the bold color palette really pops off the screen. The audio track is only stereo, but with Pro Logic IIx engaged on my pre/pro, it delivers an adequate surround experience.

Bonus Materials

  • U-Control PIP video commentary with George Lucas
  • The Music of American Graffiti
  • The Making of American Graffiti
  • Screen Tests
  • Theatrical trailer
  • BD-Live Enabled

While American Graffiti is no Star Wars, it shows that Lucas was anything but a one-hit wonder and really had an eye for spotting talented young actors and actresses. The video encode is a little dated due to the master, but fans of the movie will probably not mind too much.

Release Date: May 31, 2011
Studio: Universal

Movie: 8/10
Picture: 6/10
Sound: 7/10

Review System

Oppo BDP-93 Blu-ray player

JVC DLA-RS40 projector
Stewart FireHawk screen (76.5" wide, 16:9)

Integra DTC-80.2 pre/pro
Anthem PVA-7 power amplifier
Belkin PVA-PF60 power conditioner

M&K S-150s (L, C, R)
M&K SS-150s (LS, RS, SBL, SBR)
SVS PC-Ultra subwoofer

Monoprice HDMI cables (source to pre/pro)
Best Deal analog-audio cables
PureLink HDC Fiber Optic HDMI Cable System (15 meters) from pre/pro to projector

Acoustical treatments from GIK Acoustics