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Geeky student Arnie Cunningham falls for Christine, a rusty 1958 Plymouth Fury, and becomes obsessed with restoring the classic automobile to her former glory. But as the car changes, so does Arnie, and his newfound confidence turns to arrogance behind the wheel of his exotic beauty. Arnie's girlfriend Leigh and best friend Dennis reach out to him, only to be met by a Fury like no other.
For more about Christine and the Christine Blu-ray release, see Christine Blu-ray Review published by Jeffrey Kauffman on March 18, 2013 where this Blu-ray release scored 4.0 out of 5.
Starring: Keith Gordon, John Stockwell, Alexandra Paul, Harry Dean Stanton, Christine Belford, Roberts Blossom
Director: John Carpenter
» See full cast & crew
Christine Blu-ray Review
Would you buy a used salesman from this car?
Reviewed by Jeffrey Kauffman, March 18, 2013
Who would have thought that horror fans would be such avid collectors of films on home video, especially some films that frankly weren't that highly regarded in either their original theatrical releases or previous home video iterations. When Twilight Time debuted its "limited edition" model a couple of years ago, their first releases tended to be fairly high profile catalog titles like The Egyptian, and they continued to mine the archives at both Fox and Sony-Columbia for a rather splendid array of both well known offerings and relatively underappreciated gems. One of the things that has continued to surprise me over the years is that there aren't 3,000 people who want any given title, a surprise that actually has carried over from another medium that Twilight Time's creative team was involved in before matriculating to Blu-ray, limited editions of original soundtrack recordings. How could there not be 3,000 people in the world interested in buying, say, a classic soundtrack by the incredible Alfred Newman? And yet, looking over the now rather long history of both limited soundtrack releases and ultimately the newer phenomenon of limited Blu-ray releases, despite (or perhaps because of) the hew and cry that has been raised over both the limited edition strategy as well as the pricing, very few Twilight Time titles have actually sold out, and the ones that have sold out have tended to be horror (or horror related), including Fright Night and Night of the Living Dead (two other sold out titles aren't really horror films, but have what might be considered certain "horror" elements in terms of monsters and the like, including Journey to the Center of the Earth and Mysterious Island). Christine has joined that select few Twilight Time titles that have sold out, and in fact it sold out spectacularly quickly, something which might surprise at least some more cynical observers who might not think of the film as a semi-forgotten classic. The fact that Christine was directed by John Carpenter no doubt adds to its cachet, not to mention the always marketable fact that it was based on a Stephen King novel, but the cold hard truth is Christine was met with at best a mixed critical reaction during its theatrical run, and while it did okay at the box office, it was certainly no major blockbuster. And yet it has such a potent fan base that it managed to burn through the limited 3000 copy run in a matter of mere hours, while other, much better known (and remembered) films are still waiting to be snatched up by collectors. Such are the vagaries of the home video market, peculiarities that are perhaps ripe to be exploited by some future doctoral candidate in sociology.
As I discussed in my Cujo Blu-ray review, Stephen King loves to exploit our seemingly innate fear of the mundane in his stories. This fear may start when we're but children, frightened of noises we can't explain or of shadows that loom in our bedrooms that take on sinister meanings in our minds. King catapults those atavistic responses into completely new territory in many of his most famous novels and short stories, with everyday items, animals or people suddenly inhabited by some inchoate evil essence. In Cujo things were a bit more literal than usual, with a poor dog being infected by rabies and going on a murderous rampage. Other King outings posit evil in a slightly more abstract form, and that's the case in Christine. While King's source novel had a bit more "tangible" form of this evil (that being the spirit of a demented former owner of the car), in the film the bright red 1957 Plymouth Fury named Christine is bad to the bone (and/or grille) even as she rolls down the assembly line.
There's something just a little intentionally provocative about this plot conceit, given Americans' overt love affairs with their cars. This love is depicted as outright obsession in Christine, when nerdy teenager Arnie (Keith Gordon) stumbles on the ruined wreck of the car (in the 1970s) and decides he must have "her". His best friend, football jock Dennis (John Stockwell), tells him he must be crazy, and as Dennis will soon find out, that's a bit of an understatement. Christine has a mind of her own, and as Arnie begins restoring her, she "reaches out and touches" Arnie, sucking him into a new, cockier identity.
The film plays almost like the flip side of a John Hughes comedy, with high school bullies getting their comeuppance (and then some) at the hands of a car who (which?) has "decided" Arnie is her new partner and all others be damned. The film is notable in that, aside from one or two outright shock sequences, the horror here is not especially graphic. In fact, the film coasts much more on mood than anything that's actually depicted (again, with a couple of notable exceptions), which may be why it's both scary and weirdly charming.
Christine Blu-ray, Video Quality
Christine is presented on Blu-ray courtesy of Twilight Time with an AVC encoded 1080p transfer in 2.39:1. Columbia-Sony continues to provide exceptional looking high definition masters to Twilight Time and Christine is among the best looking yet, with bright, vibrant colors (take a look at Christine's gorgeous red hue!), excellent fine object detail and an overall nicely crisp, clear and sharp looking image. While there are no compression artifacts of any major concern, some may wish contrast had been just a tad stronger in some of the central sequences where things are dark (inside the shop and the long rainy segment, to give two examples). Otherwise, this is a stellar looking transfer that continues Twilight Time's winning collaboration with Sony-Columbia.
Christine Blu-ray, Audio Quality
Christine features a lossless DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track that may not be the most awesomely immersive sound mix in horror history, but which has a lot of excellent discrete channelization in some key moments. The track is very clear, with excellent fidelity, and a lot of the foley effects (like Christine's roaring engine), sound superb. The source cues utilizing a wealth of great rock 'n' roll tunes also sound excellently clear and boisterous. There are even a couple of nice bursts of LFE in a couple of key climactic moments, though generally speaking there's not a wealth of low end on this track.
Christine Blu-ray, Special Features and Extras
Christine Blu-ray, Overall Score and Recommendation
I have several rather odd collecting habits, and at least a couple of them are extremely spendy. While I understand some people's aversion to paying a lot for something, on a certain level I have a kind of different attitude about the "limited edition" phenomenon, which is, "If you want it, get it. If it's too much, don't". Of course this may seem insensitive to those who don't have a lot of pocket change lying around to spend considerable dough on an expensive release, and it also doesn't take into account the incredibly fast sell out that Christine experienced, which obviously caught a lot of people by surprise, leaving them to have to deal with incredibly expensive after market sellers (take a gander at the Amazon Marketplace prices listed above, but have your defibrillator handy). Does Christine intrinsically deserve this market adulation? Who's to say? A fan is a fan, and those with the wherewithal (either financial or internet accessibility wise) to secure this release probably couldn't care less what some mere critic might think. But the fact is, this is a rather breezy film with a piquant sense of humor, and for a King-based outing, it's surprisingly gore and even violence free, with hints of mayhem offered at least as much as any overt destruction. Carpenter directs with some unexpected grace in this film, and the performances are all relatively nuanced (or at least as nuanced as they can be given the kind of cartoonish ambience of the movie). This Blu-ray offers spectacular video, excellent audio and some wonderful supplements, and it comes Highly recommended.
Christine: Other Editions
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Christine Blu-ray, News and Updates
• Twilight TIme Announces March and April 2013 Releases - December 11, 2012
Twilight Time has officially announced at least some of its releases for March and April, including its first ever two disc Blu-ray release, the hotly anticipated Sam Peckinpah film Major Dundee. Four releases have been announced, with a fifth announcement ...
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