Director: John Carpenter
Screenplay: Bill Phillips
Cast: Keith Gordon, John Stockwell, Alexandra Paul, Robert Prosky and Harry Dean Stanton
Specs: Twilight Time March 12, 2013
Media: 50GB DL Blu-ray
Region: Region Free
Runtime: 110 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
Audio: English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1, DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0, DTS Audio 2.0
Subtitles: English (SDH)
She was born in Detroit on an automobile assembly line. But she is no ordinary automobile. Deep within her chassis lives an unholy presence. She is Christine a red and white 1958 Plymouth Fury whose unique standard equipment includes an evil, indestructible vengeance that will destroy anyone in her way. She seduces 17-year-old Arnie Cunningham (KEITH GORDON), who becomes consumed with passion for her sleek, rounded, chrome-laden body. She demands his complete and unquestioned devotion and when outsiders seek to interfere, they become the victims of Christine's horrifying wrath. Based on the book by Stephen King.
This Christine blu-ray is released by Twilight Time, if you're just now hearing about this company, you're not alone. All Twilight Time titles are fully pressed DVDs and blu-rays, produced typically from a restored transfer. Each title is a limited edition with only 3,000 copies of each format created, and these will not be repressed once they are sold out. This limitation is the agreement between Twilight Time and the movie companies that actually own the rights to the films. 3,000 copies of a movie for release to the world is not a lot, and this has a tendency to make these movies highly collectable. The Christine blu-ray sold out in just over five hours online through Screen Archives Entertainment, so if you would like to purchase a copy of this blu-ray, keep your eyes on places like eBay and Amazon, that will be the only places that you will have a possibility of locating a copy.
Now about the movie. Christine was released to the theater December 9, 1983 and is based on a book by Steven King and directed by John Carpenter, of Halloween and Escape from New York fame. It's rather unusual that two big names such as this come together in a movie. And Christine is generally considered to be one of the better screenplay adaptations of King's books. While there are discrepancies between the book and the movie, most notably the source of Christine's evil, the reasons for the differences are all in the time it takes to tell the story. The updated screenplay really only affects the beginning of the demonic car Christine, and does little to the rest of the current time of the story.
Considering that the original movie being released in 1983, I was really amazed with the quality of this blu-ray. Don't gauge the quality of this transfer by the opening scene of the auto assembly line. The color is more drab and the images are just a bit soft, but this was explained in the extras as the production team wanting an 'older look' to the birth of Christine presumably from 1957. The remainder of the film has an enjoyable color palette, which appears true and accurate. The colors pop wonderfully without being over-saturated. There is some grain throughout the film and occasionally is more noticeable in one scene compared to another, but this is a good thing in my mind. Christine was not DNR 'scrubbed' or subjected to edge enhancements which typically removes all grain and impacts detail and sharpness. There has been some work done to this film to clean it up, and while it's not the best representation of digital restoration, I highly doubt that you will ever see a better transfer on this format.
The special effects are wondrous! While there are not a lot of special effects in this film compared to today's movies, there are no signs of Christine's body pieces being manipulated as it repairs itself. However Carpenter managed to pull this off, it appears believable.
The audio is the only part of Christine that I have an issue with. From what I can discover, the original audio of Christine was Dolby Stereo, which means that the audio has been reworked to the 5.1 surround. The movie's dialogue is clean, clear and easy to understand, but is very front channel heavy. Rarely can you detect any dialogue coming from any other channel. During the rainy scenes, the audio completely distracted me from the movie. Never have I heard such a poor of a recording of rain, combine that with the fact that you can detect the shifting of the rain through the surround channels, killed any immersive qualities that the audio could hope to obtain. In a complete 180° turn, the music does sound amazing. George Thorogood's 'Bad to the Bone', The Rolling Stones 'Beast of Burden' accompanied with a collection of mid- and late-50's rock and roll and John Carpenter's own score all have been remixed to use the 5.1 surround well.
So the audio is a bit disjointed if you will. The portions that sound completely natural as 5.1 surround combined with heavy front channel dialog is not horrible. But when compared to modern blu-ray movies that were originally set with 5.1 surround or better in the theater, you will notice the difference.
Under the Extras section of the blu-ray are four Titles;
•Fast and Furious
Other than the Deleted Scenes, the remaining three sections are actually one long interview with the Writer, Director and Cast divided into sections. And as usual, these deliver tidbits of information of the making of the film. Also included is an 8-page booklet that also contains information on the film, and a few photos including the original theatrical poster image.
Yes, even after everything that I stated about the audio, I'm giving Christine four stars, I'm sure a lot of people will not be as nearly critical of the audio as I am. And just having a high definition version of this cult status collaboration between King and Carpenter with the great video transfer is worth the four star rating. If you are any sort of collector of horror or Carpenter, starting watching eBay and Amazon for a copy. It will be worth it! And if you don't want to pay the prices that Christine is going for, if I'm not mistaken, the license of this blu-ray expires in three years. Maybe Sony will release it then.