Christine appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 2.35:1 on this single-sided, double-layered DVD; the image has been enhanced for 16X9 televisions. Though never great, the transfer seemed at least adequate.
A few concerns with sharpness arose. Though most of the flick appeared acceptably concise and well-defined, wide shots could come across as a bit soft. Those remained infrequent, though, and the film usually looked good. I noticed no issues with jagged edges or moiré effects, but a little edge enhancement cropped up through the movie.
Print defects demonstrated minor distractions. I saw sporadic examples of specks, marks, and nicks. Not a lot of these appeared, but they created occasional nuisances. Blacks showed good depth and darkness, while shadows offered nice clarity and delineation.
Colors were decent and that was about it. A few shots showed pretty good vivacity, but the tones usually seemed somewhat muddy, with an emphasis on slightly runny reds. Skin tones tended to be too ruddy as well. The hues weren’t bad, but I thought they weren’t as natural as I’d like. None of this created significant problems for Christine, so I thought it ended up as a “C+” transfer.
Along the same lines, I felt the Dolby Surround 2.0 provided an average affair for a flick from 1983. The soundfield opened things up to a slight degree. Music showed decent stereo imaging and spread to the surrounds in a mild way. Speech tended to bleed to the sides a little, and that caused some distractions.
Effects used the front side speakers in a decent manner, though not much more than that. They added some movement and life, especially to scenes with cars, but they failed to bring out much dimensionality. Surround usage stayed minor, as the back speakers contributed largely inconsequential reinforcement.
Audio quality was dated but decent. Lines sounded reasonably natural; the lines lacked edginess or other flaws and always remained intelligible. Music sounded pretty good, as the score demonstrated acceptable range and clarity. Effects were less impressive, as they tended to be moderately thin and without much gusto. They weren’t bad, but they just didn’t show much pizzazz. All in all, this felt like a “C+” to me.
In terms of extras, we start with an audio commentary from director John Carpenter and actor Keith Gordon. Both sit together for this running, screen-specific piece. They discuss locations and sets, the adaptation of the novel, effects and stunts, cars, cast and characters, performances and relationships on the set, and stories from the shoot.
Carpenter and Gordon fit together well during this consistently enjoyable commentary. Not only do they provide a good look at the flick’s creation, but also they offer interesting tidbits such as filmmaking superstitions. Gordon’s subsequent work as a director allows him to give us a good dual perspective, and both men are frank and funny. I really like this track.
20 Deleted Scenes fill a total of 26 minutes. With so many sequences on display, you’d expect at least a few of them to be interesting, right? Nope – overall, they’re pretty dull. Many offer simple extensions of existing scenes, and we also get tedious material like additional takes of the bullies as they attack Christine. The most useful show the growth of the relationship between Leigh and Dennis; I think these are unnecessary, but at least they’re mildly worthwhile. Most of the segments don’t contribute anything.
Three featurettes follow. Christine: Fast and Furious goes for 28 minutes, 52 seconds and mixes movie clips, archival elements and interviews. We hear from Carpenter, Gordon, screenwriter Bill Phillips, producer Richard Kobritz, stunt coordinator Terry Leonard, and actors John Stockwell and Alexandra Paul. “Fast” covers actors, characters and performances, locations and the cars, effects, changes from the novel, the film’s depiction of violence, stunts, and some shoot specifics.
Since the commentary covered so much, repetition becomes inevitable, but repeated elements remain minimal. Most of the material is fresh, and the added perspectives help. I think the featurette doesn’t flow terribly well – it jumps from one subject to another without much logic – but it informs and remains enjoyable.
Christine: Finish Line lasts seven minutes, 15 seconds and features Phillips, Carpenter, Kobritz, Paul, Stockwell, and Gordon. “Line” looks at the movie’s music as well as the film’s reception and how it’s held up over the years. I like the notes about the score and source music, but the other parts tend to be a bit dull. A few good tales emerge, such as when Carpenter describes his dismay when he realized how egotistical posters plastered with his name looked, but the featurette doesn’t include a ton of solid information.
Finally, Christine: Ignition goes for 11 minutes, 51 seconds and includes notes from Kobritz, Carpenter, Phillips, Gordon, Stockwell, and Paul. We learn about the novel’s path to the screen, how Carpenter came onto the project, the book’s adaptation and changes, finding and renovating the cars used in the flick, casting and performances. “Ignition” gives us a lot of good info and proves satisfying, but I can’t figure out why the DVD presents it last. It really should’ve been the first featurette in the sequence, not the final one, since it deals with pre-production elements. Well, if you read this before you watch the disc, just view this one and then “Fast” and “Finish”. Despite its odd placement, “Ignition” offers many interesting notes.
Some basics fill out the disc. We find Filmographies for Carpenter, Gordon, Phillips, Stockwell, Paul, author Stephen King, and actor Harry Dean Stanton. We also get Previews for Hellboy, Asylum of the Damned, Secret Window and Stephen King Presents Kingdom Hospital. No trailer for Christine appears here.
Christine features a good premise and a few effective sequences, but it sags too much of the time to succeed. From awkward storytelling to an over the top lead performance to weird suspensions of disbelief, the movie never really gets into first gear. The DVD presents acceptable picture and audio as well as a nice roster of supplements. I’m not wild about the movie, but fans should be happy with this release.