DVD Movie Guide @ dvdmg.com
Review Archive:  # | A-C | D-F | G-I | J-L | M-O | P-R | S-U | V-Z | Viewer Ratings | Main


John Carpenter
Keith Gordon, John Stockwell, Alexandra Paul
Writing Credits:
Bill Phillips

A nerdish boy buys a strange car with an evil mind of its own and his nature starts to change to reflect it.

Box Office:
$9 million.
Opening Weekend
$3,408,904 on 1045 screens.
Domestic Gross

Rated R

Aspect Ratio: 2.39:1
English DTS-HD MA 5.1
French Stereo
Italia Surround
German Stereo
Portuguese Monaural
Russian Stereo
Castilian Monaural
Latin American Spanish Monaural
Chinese Traditional
Supplements Subtitles:

110 min.
Price: $19.99
Release Date: 9/29/2015

• Audio Commentary with Director John Carpenter and Actor Keith Gordon
• 20 Deleted Scenes
• “Fast and Furious” Featurette
• “Finish Line” Featurette
• “Ignition” Featurette


-LG OLED65C6P 65-Inch 4K Ultra HD Smart OLED TV
-Marantz SR7010 9.2 Channel Full 4K Ultra HD AV Surround Receiver
-Panasonic DMP-BD60K Blu-Ray Player
-Chane A2.4 Speakers
-SVS SB12-NSD 12" 400-watt Sealed Box Subwoofer


Christine [Blu-Ray] (1983)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (April 29, 2020)

Noted horror director John Carpenter met up with famed author Stephen King in this 1983 adaptation of Christine. The flick opens in 1957, as we see a red Plymouth Fury fresh off the assembly line.

First a worker’s hand gets caught when the hood falls on it, then another employee perishes in the front seat after he carelessly drops his cigar ash. Coincidence? No – foreshadowing.

With that we jump to 1978 to meet nerdy high school student Arnie Cunningham (Keith Gordon). Even though he hangs out with his cooler jock buddy Dennis (John Stockwell), Arnie gets no attention from the ladies and no respect from the other guys. He also suffers under the controlling arm of his domineering mother (Christine Belford).

Arnie sees that ’57 Fury rotting in an old dude’s front yard and falls in love with it immediately. He learns the car’s called “Christine” and immediately buys her even though she’s in terrible shape. Arnie’s love may be irrational, but he goes for it anyway, and he devotes himself to Christine’s restoration.

All of this impacts Arnie’s personality. He becomes cockier and more aloof, and Dennis hardly sees him anymore. The change does benefit Arnie in the dating department, as he starts to date cute new girl Leigh (Alexandra Paul), but otherwise, Arnie becomes something of a prick, as the effect of Christine brings out the worst in him. We soon see more nefarious side effects from the car, as it demonstrates a decidedly evil side.

Most King novels work better on the printed page than they do on the big screen. I’m not quite sure why this is, since it’s not like King writes in a way ill-suited for the movies. However, not too many of King’s horror stories have fared well when they made the leap to the cinema, and Christine becomes another disappointment.

Many of the problems relate to the manner in which Carpenter tells the tale, and Christine suffers from point of view problems. At the start, it shows us events from Dennis’ perspective, but he soon becomes an afterthought.

We then leap to Arnie’s POV but much of the second half doesn’t really come from any particular viewpoint. It just blithely depicts events without any real angle. This makes the movie seem unfocussed and scattered.

In addition, Christine displays awkward character development, as Arnie literally makes the leap from nerd to psycho jerk overnight. We don’t see a natural progression as he changes.

Perhaps one could argue that Christine has such a strong effect on Arnie that he does become a different guy in no time at all, but it doesn’t feel right.

Honestly, the movie leaves the impression that it’s missing scenes. Arnie starts to work on Christine and all of a sudden the car’s done, he’s dating Leigh and he’s an arrogant jerk. Couldn’t we see some of Arnie’s evolution?

Maybe no one thought Gordon could pull off a smooth transition. During the first act, the actor plays Arnie like a cartoon nerd, and then he quickly turns the character into a one-dimensional jerk/psycho nutbag. There’s no subtlety to either side of the performance, and the flick falters.

I think Christine might’ve worked better if it painted a psychological picture. Since it imbues Christine with magic powers, it plays as a fantasy, a tone that just becomes too goofy much of the time. If the flick stayed with Arnie’s POV and didn’t make Christine’s amazing abilities clear, it might’ve been more compelling.

It’s also weird how readily everyone seems to accept Christine’s supernatural powers. When the cops investigate, they seem to suspect the car more than they do Arnie!

His pals also fear the car’s abilities without much thought toward the absurdity of that concept. Movies usually take the other approach and show characters who don’t accept unnatural properties despite vast amounts of proof to the contrary, but Christine heads too far in the opposite direction. Everyone buys into the “magic car” theory way too easily.

Some good scenes emerge in Christine, but the whole becomes much less than the sum of its parts. Perhaps a lot of my complaints relate to the original novel.

I don’t think I ever read it, so I don’t know how closely the film adheres to the source. Whatever the case, I just don’t feel the flick succeeds.

The Disc Grades: Picture B/ Audio B/ Bonus B

Christine appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 2.39:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. Though a little dated, the image largely held up well.

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, and edge haloes failed to appear. Print defects also never occurred in this clean presentation.

Christine went with a fairly natural palette, and it boasted good reproduction of the hues. They felt full and rich throughout the film.

Blacks showed good depth and darkness, while shadows offered nice clarity and delineation. Outside of the softness, this felt like a solid image.

In addition, the movie’s DTS-HD MA 5.1 soundtrack also provided a positive affair. This meant a pretty impressive soundscape for a movie from 1983.

Music boasted nice stereo engagement, while effects manifested around the spectrum in a satisfying manner. The horror/action beats became the most impressive, but the soundfield also provided a nice sense of atmosphere as well.

Audio quality worked well, with speech that came across as largely natural. Some of the lines felt a bit hollow, but no issues with edginess or intelligibility occurred.

Music was largely full and rich, while effects seemed accurate and dynamic, without much distortion. All of this added up to a more than satisfactory mix for a 1980s flick.

How did the Blu-ray compare to the 2004 DVD? Audio seemed more accurate and immersive, while visuals were tighter, cleaner and more film-like. The Blu-ray brought us a solid upgrade over the mediocre DVD.

Most of the DVD’s extras repeat, and 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 25 minutes, 20. 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. Fast and Furious goes for 28 minutes, 55 seconds and brings comments 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.

Finish Line lasts seven minutes, 17 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, Ignition goes for 11 minutes, 52 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 disc 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.

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 out of first gear. The Blu-ray presents pretty good 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.

To rate this film, visit the DVD review of CHRISTINE

Review Archive:  # | A-C | D-F | G-I | J-L | M-O | P-R | S-U | V-Z | Viewer Ratings | Main