On Movies & Movie Collecting: Rewatching ‘Red Dawn’ & Doing Some ‘Housekeeping’ Chores with My ‘Star Wars’ Discs

(C) 1984, 2022 MGM-United Artists and Shout! Factory

Last night I rewatched the original 1984 Red Dawn, a Reagan-era action-adventure film about a small band of young Coloradans who become resistance fighters when the Soviet Union, Cuba, and Nicaragua invade the U.S. in an alternate version of the 1980s where NATO dissolves, Mexico is plunged into a revolution, and unrest and famine threaten to unravel the Soviet Empire.

Actually, I finished the rewatch of Red Dawn in its remastered 4K UHD glory that I started late on Wednesday night but stopped watching at the two-thirds point of the movie because I was dozing off. I have a lousy habit of staying at my computer until 10 or 11 PM – I don’t have anyone to talk to here, so I hang out online or play computer games to fill the empty hours – so by the time I get the urge to watch a movie on Blu-ray or DVD, or stream an episode from a TV series on Disney+, I start feeling sleepy almost as soon as I feel relaxed and I’m enjoying the show.

Anyway, even though I think the scenario created by Kevin Reynolds and co-writer/director John Milius is far-fetched and the Soviet Union collapsed under the weight of both its economic failures and heavy defense spending, Red Dawn is a movie I enjoy watching. Part of its appeal is that even though you have to suspend your disbelief regarding the geopolitical situation that allows the U.S. to be physically invaded by a hostile coalition, Reynolds and Milius tell a good, gritty story within that milieu.

The clips on this post refer to an earlier 2K Blu-ray release from Shout! Factory.

It also helps that Red Dawn featured a cast of relative fresh “up-and-coming” actors that included Patrick Swayze, Charlie Sheen, Lea Thompson, C. Robert Howell, and Jennifer Grey (who would co-star with Swayze in Dirty Dancing a few years later) and gave them a chance to shine onscreen in a story that shows their transition from scared civilians who see their small Colorado town invaded by Soviet, Cuban, and Nicaraguan troops to battle-hardened guerrilla fighters who call themselves “Wolverines.”

I already owned Red Dawn on standard definition DVD and the 2K high-definition Blu-ray released a decade ago by MGM to coincide with the release of the abysmal 2012 remake, but I have a 4K UHD TV and its matching Blu-ray player, so I pre-ordered the Shout! Factory’s 4K UHD/2K HD two-disc combo because the video quality is much improved over the older releases in my video collection.  And even though I only watched Red Dawn from the 2K (or “old-school”) Blu-ray – mainly because Shout! Factory and MGM-UA placed the legacy extras from the 2012 Blu-ray there – the images on that disc are sharper and cleaner than those on the older disc.

I’ll hold off on watching – and reviewing – the 4K disc for a while. I enjoy the movie, but even though Red Dawn was one of those movies I rewatched a lot when I first owned it on VHS, it’s not as engrossing now as it was in 1984 – when I saw it twice in theaters close to my townhouse in Miami[1]– and 1985, which is when MGM Home Entertainment released the VHS videocassette.

A promotional image of the 2020 ‘Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga’ 27-disk box set, a Best Buy exclusive. Photo Credit: Best Buy/Buena Vista Home Entertainment/Lucasfilm Ltd.

This morning I moved some of my Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga 2K Blu-rays from their visually appealing and collectible Digibook packaging (see picture above) into the more practical – and accessible – Star Wars: The Complete Saga multi-disc box from the 2015 reissue.

I not only collect Star Wars movies on Blu-ray, but also Star Wars action figures and other fun stuff. (C) 2020 Hasbro and Lucasfilm Ltd.

This was necessary because earlier this week – on Monday – I moved the 4K UHD discs from the Best Buy exclusive’s Digibook packaging into the less cumbersome packaging for the imported 2K Skywalker Saga set, but then I realized that by doing that, I would be able to watch the 4K discs more often (they’re easier to take out from the packaging), but now their 2020 2K Blu-ray counterparts (which have bonus features that are not present in 2011/2015 The Complete Saga’s Blu-rays) would be less accessible if I stored them in the larger 27-disc Digibook from the Best Buy set. So, since I rarely watch the older discs from 2015, I switched them with the newer discs from 2020, which I do like to watch more because of the new bonus features in the feature films’ Blu-rays.

This is a promotional shot of the 2015 “reissue” set of Star Wars: The Complete Saga that was the last set released by 20th Century Fox before the studio’s acquisition by The Walt Disney Company. I stored the 2K Blu-rays from the imported Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga set after I moved the 4K discs to the packaging for that set. Image Credit: 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment and Lucasfilm Ltd.

Other than that, I don’t have much to report, so I’ll close for now. Until next time, Dear Reader, stay safe, stay healthy, and I’ll catch you on the sunny side of things.

[1] Red Dawn is also noteworthy because it was the first film to be released with a PG-13 rating, which was adopted by the Motion Picture Association of America on July 1, 1984, partly at the urging of Steven Spielberg, after a backlash to gore and violence in such PG-rated movies as Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom and Gremlins.

Published by Alex Diaz-Granados

Alex Diaz-Granados (1963- ) began writing movie reviews as a staff writer and Entertainment Editor for his high school newspaper in the early 1980s and was the Diversions editor for Miami-Dade Community College, South Campus' student newspaper for one semester. Using his experiences in those publications, Alex has been raving and ranting about the movies online since 2003 at various web sites, including Amazon, Ciao and Epinions. In addition to writing reviews, Alex has written or co-written three films ("A Simple Ad," "Clown 345," and "Ronnie and the Pursuit of the Elusive Bliss") for actor-director Juan Carlos Hernandez. You can find his reviews and essays on his blogs, A Certain Point of View and A Certain Point of View, Too.

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