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Peggy Sue Got Married (1986)

Image Entertainment
Blu-ray Disc Released: 7/30/2013

All Ratings out of
Extras: No Extras

Review by Mike Long, Posted on 8/7/2013

What was going on with movies in the mid 1980s? Clearly there was some sort of need for nostalgia thing (did it have to do with the Baby Boomers?) which drove filmmakers to create unique time-travel movies. In 1985's Back to the Future, the main character finds himself in the 50s, where he must ensure that his parents fall in love. Robert Zemeckis' film is a fish-out-of-water piece, as Marty must deal with a world which is familiar, but very strange. While it contains some new ideas, the movie is decidedly science-fiction. Francis Ford Coppola took a much more down-to-Earth approach with 1986's Peggy Sue Got Married, a film which is ostensibly about time-travel, but has much more to do with regret and second chances.

Kathleen Turner stars as the titular character in Peggy Sue Got Married, a women who going through a mid-life crisis. She has left her husband, Charlie (Nicolas Cage), after she discovered he was having an affair. Despite this, Peggy Sue is determined to go to her 25th high school reunion. There, she runs into old friends like Carol (Catherine Hicks) and Maddy (Joan Allen). Peggy Sue is named Queen of the reunion, but when she goes on-stage to accept, she passes out. When she comes to, she finds that it is 1960 and that she's a high school student again. While she's excited to see her parents and grandparents, she also has no desire to do high school over again. Instead, she sets out to right the wrongs in her life. She befriends local genius Richard Norvik (Barry Miller) and tells him of inventions from the future. More importantly, she distances herself from Charlie, determined that she won't make the same mistake twice. However, she soon realizes that even with free-will, it's hard to change fate.

Peggy Sue Got Married comes from Director Francis Ford Coppola and, at the time, it represented a departure for him. The man who had made violent gripping dramas with The Godfather, The Godfather Part II, and Apocalypse Now, found himself turning to a whimsical fantasy film which was really like nothing he'd made before. (Although, in the same period, he directed the Michael Jackson short Captain EO -- doesn't Coppola seem like an odd choice for that?) And while this is certainly a departure for him, Coppola does a good job with the material here, allowing the funny moments to be organic and not over-the-top and hitting the emotional beats without slapping us in the face with them.

I seem to remember that at the time of its release, Peggy Sue Got Married was referred to as an arthouse version of Back to the Future and that's a fairly apt comparison. However, the differences are readily apparent. Back to the Future put a lot of emphasis on Doc Brown's car and the invention of a time machine, while Peggy Sue's time travel results from a bump on the head. (Didn't the same thing happen to Bugs Bunny?) The main difference lies in the dramatic emphasis of the film. Back to the Future is much more of a comic-adventure, as Marty must adjust to life in the 50s. Peggy Sue Got Married is more bittersweet, as Peggy Sue is thrust back to 1960 and feels that she has a chance to live her life over again, while also marveling at what life was like 25 years before, taking in the good and bad of the period. The film is decidedly about a mid-life crisis and regret and while it has some funny moments, it is also quite depressing in many ways.

Peggy Sue Got Married is certainly an interesting experiment from Coppola, but in the end, it's a mixed bag. Kathleen Turner, who had already proven herself as a screen siren, may seem like an odd choice for the role, but she does a surprisingly good job playing the youthful Peggy Sue. The odd point in the film is Nicolas Cage, who has opted to use an incredibly annoying nasal voice for his character -- if Coppola weren't his uncle would he have gotten away with this? The movie's true downfall is the ending. Not only do we not get any clear answers on Peggy Sue's "time travel", there's also a sense that nothing has been accomplished. While not exactly downbeat, the ending doesn't gel with the rest of the movie. Despite these faults, Peggy Sue Got Married has a great cast (look for a young Jim Carrey) and is a fairly sold dramedy which will hit home with those who have a tendency to look backwards instead of forwards.

Peggy Sue Got Married won't get many laughs these days from its Edsel joke on Blu-ray Disc courtesy of Image Entertainment. The film has been letterboxed at 1.85:1 and the Disc contains an AVC 1080p HD transfer which runs at an average of 25 Mbps. The image is fairly sharp and clear, although it does display some mild grain. There are no obvious defects from the source materials. This is a very colorful movie and the colors look good here, with only the slightest bit of fading. The image is never overly dark or bright. The level of detail is adequate, as is the depth. The Disc carries a DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track which runs at 48 kHz and an average of 2.1 Mbps. (Actually, that 2.1 Mbps is nearly constant with little fluctuation.) The track provides clear dialogue and sound effects. This is a solid track for a film of this nature, as we get occasional stereo and surround effects from crowd noise and musical cues. A storm in the third act offers some mild subwoofer effects. Otherwise, it concentrates on the dialogue and the center channel.

There are no extra features on the Peggy Sue Got Married Blu-ray Disc.

Review by Mike Long. Copyright 2013.