Blu-Ray™ Review: Bill Murray in ‘Meatballs’ (1979)

Bill Murry in 'Meatballs,' 1979 - Lionsgate

Say hi to Bill Murray. I mean, Tripper.

Oscar® Nominee Bill Murrays first feature film and starring role debut in Meatballs (1979) – You wouldn’t know that Meatballs is a comedy if it weren’t for Bill Murray. But it is. This moderately funny summer camp movie directed by Ghostbusters Ivan Reitman. I am not sure what camp movies are supposed to be like. I can’t remember if I ever seen a camp movie where there wasn’t the possibility of a crazed lunatic with a chainsaw or hack saw was chasing sex-obsessed teenagers around trees, so this film came as a pleasant surprise.

Meatballs is a classic comedy that centers in and around Camp North Star–a summer retreat where parents hurriedly dropped of their misfits into the haphazardly welcoming arms of their camp counselors. Compared to their leader, Tripper (Bill Murray), they were more like the kids themselves–awkward, pranking each other and eventually all gather around the campfire as the best of friends. Quite honestly, the very best parts of the movie only occurred when Tripper was front and center. Aside for the sexual innuendos and dialogue much humor in the film bordered on political incorrectness,  awkward discussions about sex. There was some bullying, mostly directed at the camp counselors and the ‘geek’ of the group (Jack Blum). Of course, there is a love story somewhere in there along with the inevitable confrontation from a rival camp to give campers something to be riled up about.

The best moments in the film have to do with the moments where Tripper sort of mentors Rudy (Chris Makepeace), the camp outsider that just doesn’t fit in with the rest of the kids. You get to see two sides of Murray–the obnoxious and very funny camp leader, and a man you can tell is ultimately there for the kids.

Decent Blu-Ray™ transfer.

Meatballs, 1979

Although you can’t tell from the above picture, Meatballs presents nicely in all its Blu-Ray™ transferred glory. For a film that is over 30+ years old, it looks really good. Meatball is presented on Blu-Ray™ courtesy of Lionsgate spectacularly with AVC encoded 1080p transfer high-def 1.78.1. The greens were very green, and the colors were in vivid presentation. Except for a few scenes, like the ones filmed in the cabins where there was small specked effects in the darker areas. The film was surprisingly clear, and object details weren’t distorted. The overall cinematographic were “soft” compared to more modern day cinematography which is to be expected, but the colors are there.

Meatballs lossless 2.0 DTS-HD Master Audio sound quality wasn’t all that fantastic or booming. At first I thought something was wrong with the speakers at first. The sound seemed one-dimensional at times, mostly during conversations between two campers in an outside environment; to the boxed sound you would hear when the two campers conversed indoors. The morning announcements by Tripper seemed as though it were shot off set’ or voiced over in the shot but nonetheless, pretty decent audio.

The only special features on the disc were the director commentary from Ivan Reitman and his cowriter/producer Dan Goldberg. They provide adequate insights on the film. Overall, Meatballs is a pretty decent film. It’s a worthy addition to any Blu-Ray™ film collection.

Are you ready for the summer?

Source: The Fan Carpet, Lionsgate

Meatballs (1979)
  • Editor Rating

  • Rated 3 stars
  • Good

  • Meatballs (1979)
  • Reviewed by:
  • Published on:
  • Last modified: 2012-09-14

Review Summary:

Bill Murray stars as Tripper, the nutty leader of a motley crew of summer camp counsellors. Tripper's not your typical summer camp counsellor; he's locked in a bitter rivalry with another camp, and in hot pursuit of an attractive female colleague. Yet he still finds the time to take a special interest in an insecure camper named Rudy. Directed by Ivan Reitman, who went on to helm such hits as TWINS and GHOSTBUSTERS.

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