Ultra HD: Recommended
3.5 Stars out of 5
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List Price $19.70
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Release Date: September 11th, 2018
Movie Release Year: 1983
MPAA Rating: Restricted
Release Country: United States
COLLAPSE INFO -

Christine - 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray

Review Date September 5th, 2018 by
Overview -

At the heart of Christine, the 1983 cult horror favorite based on the Stephen King novel and directed by horror filmmaker legend John Carpenter, is the forbidden love story of a boy and his car. Although the narrative feels episodic, Carpenter does an excellent job of maintaining Arnie's dark progression and Christine's evil murdering rage into a devilishly fun ride. Celebrating its 35th Anniversary, the vintage car roars onto the superhighway of Ultra HD with an excellent 4K HDR10 presentation and a satisfying Dolby Atmos soundtrack, offering a welcomed restored and refurbished upgrade over the Blu-ray. The same set of supplements are joined by a couple of theatrical previews, making this a Recommended HDR package of a cult horror favorite. 

OVERALL
Recommended
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  • TECH SPECS & RELEASE DETAILS
    Technical Specs:
    4K UHD/Blu-ray/Digital Copy
    Video Resolution/Codec:
    2160p/HEVC,HDR10
    Length:110
    Release Country:United States
    Aspect Ratio(s):
    2.39:1
    Audio Formats:
    English Dolby Atmos
    Special Features:
    Deleted Scenes
    Commentary with Director John Carpenter and Keith Gordon
    “Christine: Ignition”
    “Christine: Fast and Furious”
    “Christine: Finish Line”

Story Review Storyline: Our Reviewer's Take

4 Stars out of 5

At the heart of Christine, the 1983 cult horror favorite based on the Stephen King novel, we find a love story. It's a rather familiar and well-known tragic tale of two lonely souls finding one another at the right, opportune time. Just when they each feel at their lowest and most vulnerable, forsaken by the cruelty of the world, the cosmos perfectly aligns in order to bring this pair of destined lovers together. And like any typical love story, their love-at-first-sight "meet-cute" is a contrived happenstance that should feel fortuitous, a chance encounter that could have played differently if prior events hadn't placed each other on the proper road for the two to meet. Of course, this story adds one significant twist to the archetypal formula; King's plot, with minor alterations by screenwriter Bill Phillips, is the forbidden love of a boy and his car.

The boy is Arnold Cunningham (Keith Gordon) — about as sweet, innocent and All-American as a name could ever possibly be. He's the stereotypical nerd, a clumsy buffoon with black, thick-rimmed glasses who can't seem to carry a garbage bag without spilling the contents all over the driveway or even open his school locker. Mousy, timid and easily frightened, he's the sort of character commonly seen in the background of most high school based movies, the one always being picked on by the popular kids. Not much has changed here, except he's been brought to the forefront as the lead, and Gordon does a splendid job as the nervous, cowardly type who never has any luck with the girls, carrying the entire film with a charismatic presence. That fascination changes as the narrative progresses and Arnie grows darker, yet Gordon remains just as captivating and interesting.

The car is a fiery red 1958 Plymouth Fury named "Christine" by its fragile-looking seller (Roberts Blossom). We're told she's only had one owner since the first day she rolled off the assembly line, but the man had suffered a string of fatal tragedies since the vehicle came into his life. A major difference between the original book and John Carpenter's retelling of it is the car's backstory. Whereas King gives a possible reason for it being possessed, Carpenter leaves the origins of Christine's evilness a mystery. She was simply born that way. In fact, the film opens on the day of her manufacturing, slowly moving along the assembly line behind other similar models while George Thorogood's "Bad to the Bone" plays overhead. Only, she stands out as the lone shiny red beauty. She's also the type of vehicle that demands respect, crushing the hand of one man for looking under her hood and chassis without permission and killing another for dropping cigar ashes all over her new leather interior.

It's an amusing start for a unique supernatural thriller that establishes the car with a menacing personality and a sense of her own independence, but her distinctive temperament doesn't take away from her need to be loved and appreciated. And the fates are in her favor, uniting her with Arnie twenty years later when the two are feeling the least respected and valued. Arnie is coming off the worst first day ever as a high school senior, bullied by the switchblade-wielding Buddy Repperton (William Ostrander) and his gang of hooligans, leading to their expulsion. Christine has also been having a bad day, looking like a derelict piece of forgotten junk in the middle of an overgrown lawn, but Arnie notices her and sees her potential, purchasing the car on the spot in spite of his best friend's (John Stockwell) objections. It's love at first sight with the two taking an immediate liking to each other.

The horror of Christine begins soon after. It's not necessarily the sort that delivers chills down the spine as much as it is able to successfully entertain with an admittedly silly supernatural concept supplemented by psychological horror elements. As Arnie restores Christine back to her former glory, he slowly transforms to the surprise of everyone, especially his parents and Dennis (Stockwell), from the twitchy, cowardly nerd to a cheeky, intimidating hood. Meanwhile, Christine grows possessive and protective of her new owner, jealous of Arnie's girlfriend Leigh (Alexandra Paul) and murdering those intending Arnie harm, which attracts the attention of Detective Junkins (Harry Dean Stanton). Although the editing gives the narrative a sometimes distracting episodic feel, Carpenter keeps Arnie's dark progression well-paced and wickedly titillating while creatively making Christine a mischievous monster, from the throaty rumbling of her engine to the cleverly suitable rock tunes which act as the voice of her intentions.

Vital Disc Stats: The Ultra HD Blu-ray

Sony Pictures Home Entertainment brings John Carpenter's Christine to Ultra HD Blu-ray as a two-disc combo pack with a flyer for a Digital HD Copy. When redeeming said code via sonypictures.com/MAredeem, Movies Anywhere or through VUDU, users only have access to a 1080p HD copy with Dolby Digital 5.1 audio. The dual-layered UHD66 disc sits comfortably opposite a Region Free, BD50 disc, and both are housed inside a black, eco-vortex case with a glossy slipcover. At startup, the UHD disc goes straight to an interactive menu screen that changes when switching between the usual options while music plays in the background.

  • TECH SPECS & RELEASE DETAILS
    Technical Specs:
    4K UHD/Blu-ray/Digital Copy
    Video Resolution/Codec:
    2160p/HEVC,HDR10
    Length:110
    Release Country:United States
    Aspect Ratio(s):
    2.39:1
    Audio Formats:
    English Dolby Atmos
    Special Features:
    Deleted Scenes
    Commentary with Director John Carpenter and Keith Gordon
    “Christine: Ignition”
    “Christine: Fast and Furious”
    “Christine: Finish Line”

Video Review

4 Stars out of 5

Brought back to life and fully restored as if fresh off the assembly line, John Carpenter's cult classic drives the means streets of Ultra HD with an excellent HEVC H.265 encode, boasting a notable upgrade over the Blu-ray. Likely coming from the same remaster used a few years ago, the 35-year-old film enjoys a welcomed uptick in definition for a majority of the runtime while awash with an ultra-fine layer of natural grain, giving the 2160p transfer an awesome film-like quality. The lettering on signs and books are nicely detailed while the fine lines along the possessed car's interior and exterior are razor-sharp, exposing the fine stitching and tiniest imperfections. Individual hairs are distinct, the wrinkles in the fabric of clothing are crystal-clear, and facial complexions are often revealing. However, due to age and the condition of the source, the movie comes with its fair share of poorly-resolved sequences and softness. Instances of mild noise reduction, which tend to make faces look a tad waxy, are still apparent, and there are hints of moiré patterns along Christine's front grille. 

Interestingly, overall contrast remains comparable to its HD SDR counterpart, which could be due to a deliberately creative aesthetic or a possible limitation of the film stock used at the time. In any case, the 4K presentation remains upbeat and spirited with several stunningly vivid daylight exteriors, swimming in crisp, brilliant whites and allowing for superb visibility in the far distance. Specular highlights offer a more notable upgrade, delivering radiantly narrow peak luminance while still exposing fine details within the brightest spots, like the headlights or the gas station explosion. The chrome trim of cars sparkles in the sun with a glittering shine while the bodies come with a true-to-life resplendent, gleaming glow. Black levels are oily and silky throughout, providing the 2.39:1 image with a lovely cinematic appeal and appreciable dimensionality. On the other hand, as seen on the BD, the satiny, midnight shadows tend to come off a tad strong in some areas, obscuring the finer details in the darkest corners of the frame, but thankfully, several gorgeous nighttime sequences make up for the more lackluster moments. 

By far, the video's best aspect is the markedly improved color palette, giving the somewhat ironically picturesque cinematography a charming vitality that goes against the darker subject matter. Reds, in particular, are standout and the most dramatic, looking far richer and dynamic with striking variation between the various shades. The toreador candy red of Christine really pops and glistens in practically every scene while Dennis's letterman jacket is more of a cherry crimson shade, and Arnie's jacket now comes in a menacingly deep, lipstick blood color. Blues are equally attractive and accurately rendered, and the greens in the surrounding foliage are animated and gloriously vibrant, providing the story with a lively energetic appeal. Secondary hues are a bit more nuanced and subtle, but the various 1970s clothing worn by the cast show much to admire while the earthy browns of the houses are a tad fuller. The soft and dreamy opening minutes have a more noticeable antiquated amber hue, and facial complexions come with a natural, lifelike rosiness. (Video Rating: 84/100)

Audio Review

4 Stars out of 5

Roaring onto the UHD superhighway, firing on all cylinders and loudly blaring the Golden Oldies, Christine creates some vehicular mayhem with a terrific Dolby Atmos soundtrack that nicely improves over the Blu-ray. Although the upgrade is much appreciated and enjoyed, the track is ultimately not that much different than its DTS-HD counterpart, nicely maintaining a stereo design that's more faithful to the original elements. 

The mid-range is surprisingly extensive and dynamic with sharp detailing and separation in the higher frequencies, sustaining notable clarity during the movie's loudest segments. The sometimes nerve-wracking crunch of metal, whether it's crashing or expanding back into place, is intricate and complex without a hint of distortion. John Carpenter and Alan Howarth's score noticeably benefits from the added breathing room, delivering every note and instrument with outstanding fidelity, precision and warmth while lightly bleeding into top heights, generating a half-dome wall of sound that's captivating. Low bass adds a great rumbling, palpable effect to Christine's engine, giving her a scary, menacing weight, and dialogue remains intelligible and well-prioritized from beginning to end. 

The front soundstage feels terrifically wide and broad with excellent channel separation. Cars speed across the screen smoothly from left to right and off-screen, creating an awesome sense of space and providing the action fantastic presence. Occasionally, the intense grumbling engines echo lightly all around and above the listening area with amusing effectiveness. Quieter moments keep things engaging as background activity discretely move across the three front channels and into the surrounds convincingly. Birds are distinctly heard chirping in the distance while the leaves of trees rustle in the wind. Many times throughout, those ambient effects travel into the overheads to subtly enhance the soundfield. Even though not particularly immersive or consistent, the design is nonetheless satisfying. (Audio Rating: 80/100)

Special Features

2 Stars out of 5

A couple of Theatrical Previews (2160p, 3 min) are exclusive to this package and only available on the Ultra HD disc while the Blu-ray carries the same set of supplements as before, which can be read in more detail in our review HERE.

Final Thoughts

At the heart of Christine, the 1983 cult horror favorite based on the Stephen King novel and directed by horror filmmaker legend John Carpenter, is the forbidden love story of a boy and his car. Although the narrative feels episodic, Carpenter does an excellent job of maintaining Arnie's dark progression and Christine's evil murdering rage into a devilishly fun ride. Celebrating its 35th Anniversary, the vintage car roars onto the superhighway of Ultra HD with an excellent 4K HDR10 presentation and a satisfying Dolby Atmos soundtrack, offering a welcomed restored and refurbished upgrade over the Blu-ray. The same set of supplements are joined by a couple of theatrical previews, making this a Recommended HDR package of a cult horror favorite. 

Sale Price $19.69
List Price $19.70
Buy
3rd Pary $12.99
Usually ships in 24 hours
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  • TECH SPECS & RELEASE DETAILS
    Technical Specs:
    4K UHD/Blu-ray/Digital Copy
    Video Resolution/Codec:
    2160p/HEVC,HDR10
    Length:110
    Release Country:United States
    Aspect Ratio(s):
    2.39:1
    Audio Formats:
    English Dolby Atmos
    Special Features:
    Deleted Scenes
    Commentary with Director John Carpenter and Keith Gordon
    “Christine: Ignition”
    “Christine: Fast and Furious”
    “Christine: Finish Line”

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