Gather Round and Listen to "The Legend of Billie Jean"

The mid to late 1980s and early 1990 were the golden age of television for me. Every Summer I would go to my dad’s for three to four weeks to visit. I loved hanging out with him as much as I could. However, after he went to bed around 9:00PM every night, the TV came on and the world of cable was waiting for me to ferociously engulf anything I possibly could in the late hours of the night.

This period of my life molded my healthy appetite for movies about renegade robots, slashing killers, deadly monsters, troubled teens, and any number of classic actors taking pratfalls for my own pleasure. “The Legend of Billie Jean” just happened to hit HBO and Cinemax around the particular time I was most ready for it.

When “The Legend of Billie Jean” was playing every few hours during the Summer of 1986, I had just embraced skateboarding culture and discovered the world of punk rock music. Helen Slater’s transformation from homegrown Texan good girl to rebel outlaw really hit home for me subconsciously. Being 13, I highly doubt I put together the fact that I mirrored what I saw on the television. I was in the middle of finding my own identity at that time.

Mill Creek Entertainment recently released “The Legend of Billie Jean” Special “Fair is Fair” Edition. There’s two ways people should judge the movie. One is as an example of pop and teen culture in 1985. I would say it should get at least an “A” for this aspect. The second way to look at the movie is to gauge whether its message still stands up today. The recurring themes throughout the movie were “Always stand up for yourself no matter what” and “Don’t let people walk all over you, no matter how old you are.” I believe those principles are just as important today as they were some thirty years ago.

The Blu-ray version of “The Legend of Billie Jean” is presented in anamorphic widescreen (1.78:1 aspect ratio.) Its 2.0 Dolby Digital audio isn’t going to make consumers anticipating a solid upgrade to high-definition very happy. You would expect this cult classic to get a full 5.0 surround sound transfer, but it didn’t happen. The picture is clean and the dialogue is easy to hear. It would be nice to experience the great soundtrack pumping all around you, though.

There’s nothing much to “The Legend of Billie Jean” Special “Fair is Fair” Edition. It’s hard for me to justify the use of the word “Special” when so few extra features are included. The only bonus material we get for this Blu-ray release is audio commentary provided by Helen Slater and Yeardley Smith.

“The Legend of Billie Jean” is an accurate depiction of PG-13 films made for teens in the early and mid-eighties. There are a lot of kids using bad language. Helen Slater wears some skimpy clothes to attract the “target” audience. We also get some adult situations and violence to top it all off.

If you’re serious about getting the latest and greatest versions of your favorite classic films, then “The Legend of Billie Jean” Special “Fair is Fair” Edition is a must-have. If you are a stickler for special features and bonus content, you’ll be disappointed in this release. The movie itself is definitely worth a watch for anyone who lived through the 1980s or wished they did.

“The Legend of Billie Jean” Special “Fair is Fair” Edition is available in Blu-ray and DVD editions.