Ralph Potts reviews the Ultra HD Blu-ray debut of this horror classic from Director John Carpenter, based on the novel by Stephen King, that is celebrating its 35th anniversary.

The Review at a Glance:
(max score: 5 )

Film:
Extras:
Audio/UHD Video total rating:
( Max score: 100 )

88
Details:

Studio and Year: Sony Pictures - 1983
MPAA Rating: R
Feature running time: 110 minutes
Genre: Horror

Disc Format: BD-66
Encoding: HEVC
Video Aspect: 2.35:1
Resolution: 2160p/24

Audio Format(s): English Dolby Atmos/TrueHD 7.1, English DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio, English, French DTS-HD Master Audio Stereo, Spanish Mono
Subtitles: English, English SDH, Spanish, French
Starring: Keith Gordon, John Stockwell, Alexandra Paul, Robert Prosky, Harry Dean Stanton
Directed by: John Carpenter
Music by: John Carpenter
Written by: Bill Phillips based on the novel by Stephen King
Region Code: A,B,C


Release Date: September 11, 2018
"The Horror Classic Turns 35"
My Take:

I previously reviewed Christine on Blu-ray and have included my earlier comments here. Ratings for film, and bonus content will be the same, as they are identical to the original. New comments and ratings for the Ultra HD video and Dolby Atmos sound are below.

John Carpenter brings Stephen King’s best-selling novel to life in this chilling thriller. 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.

I remember back in the day when Stephen King was the only game in town when it came to bestselling novels making their way to the big screen. I wasn't an avid reader as a teenager so I didn't read many of his novels, Christine being among them. In that light, my experience for most of his works came through these films. I saw Christine when it was released theatrically and liked it, but it wasn't among my favorites. I liked the idea of focusing on the automobile and how the car itself was an integral character in the story. Despite Christine's unexplained innate evil, I never found the film to be scary, but more of a chiller/thriller.

All these years later it still very much feels the same but, I still find the film's engaging production elements, John Carpenter's signature direction, and Keith Gordon's standout performance to be as entertaining as ever. I am pleased to see that Sony is bringing catalog titles like Christine to Ultra HD Blu-ray.


Replay Value:
Parental Guide:


The rating is for violence, language, and thematic material.



AUDIO/VIDEO - By The Numbers:REFERENCE = 92-100/EXCELLENT = 83-91/GOOD = 74-82/AVERAGE = 65-73/BELOW AVERAGE = under 65

**My audio/video ratings are based upon a comparative made against other high definition media/blu-ray disc.**


UHD Presentation: 90
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)



  • HDR: Dark Highlights:
  • HDR: Bright Highlights:
  • HDR: Expanded Color:
  • Resolution: 
  • Visual Impact: 




Dolby Atmos Rating: 86
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)



  • Level of immersion: 
  • Soundstage integration: 
  • Audio object placement: 
  • Effectiveness: 
  • Entertainment factor: 



Christine comes to Ultra HD Blu-ray from Sony Pictures Home Entertainment featuring 2160pHEVC encoded video and lossless lossless Dolby Atmos/TrueHD 7.1 sound.

It's important to note that the ultimate goal for any release on home video is to present a film in the highest possible quality based upon its original elements. A film like Christine has an aesthetic that incorporates film grain and the use of optics that won't result in the type of high gloss, tack-like sharpness of a film shot using digital cameras. This isn't a problem and shouldn't be seen as such.

I have seen Christine in standard and high definition. Looking at the film's opening moments in the factory, the improvement in depth and delineation is noticeable but, not staggering. Things do get better though. While the increase in resolution isn't always on display, especially in wide angle effects shots, I believe that this is innate to the photography. In many respects, the image is emboldened with a discernible boost to definition. Color reproduction benefited from the wider color gamut, especially reds which pop nicely. The first close-up of Christine with her shiny new paint looks terrific. The daytime sequence at the school’s football field reveled lots of textures and wonderfully rendered earth tones.

In most cases close-ups looked terrific, delivering excellent nuance and lifelike rendering. Interior shots held up well too. I was struck by the finer details present in the repair shop where Arnie stored Christine. High dynamic range added a tangible visual element that visually enriched the image. Bright highlights, such as Christine’s headlights, sparks of light, or the explosions/bursts of flame during the infamous encounter at the gas station, appeared vibrant, while the film’s multitude of dark highlights were rendered with excellent dimension, especially when coupled with brighter visual elements.

There is no question that this is the best Christine has looked on home video. Kudos to Sony for giving this the treatment it deserves. Hopefully we continue to see this type of treatment of other titles from their extensive catalog.

The new Dolby Atmos mix uses the entire platform so as to broaden the soundstage. This includes off camera sounds and low-level ambience. The music is mixed over the sound field, adding natural depth to its orchestrated elements while complimenting the film’s thematic details. This is done to very good effect, correlating with the onscreen events quite nicely as the most minute audio cues are fully realized. I appreciated the fact that the sound designers didn't go overboard with the freedom of object versus channel-based mixing. The soundtrack retains much of its original essence with the Atmos mix adding a noticeable increase in scope.



For those not familiar with the details regarding Ultra HD Blu-ray you can refer to my article that includes some pertinent data on the subject. Here is the link:

Ultra HD Blu-ray Has Come to AVS Forum Blu-ray Reviews



Bonus Features:
  • Disc 1: Christine Ultra HD Blu-ray
  • Disc 2: Christine Blu-ray
  • 20 Deleted Scenes
  • Audio commentary with John Carpenter and Keith Gordon
  • Christine: Ignition featurette – 12 minutes
  • Christine: Fast and Furious – 29 minute featurette
  • Christine: Finish Line – 7 minute featurette
  • Digital HD Copy
Final Thoughts:

Stephen King's Christine is among the horror king's classic novels that were brought to the big screen during the 1980s. In the hands of director John Carpenter, it's an entertainment genre film that has excellent replay value. It makes its debut on Ultra HD Blu-ray from Sony Pictures Home Entertainment featuring excellent Ultra HD video, a complimentary Dolby Atmos immersive listening experience and, legacy supplements. If you’re a fan and are equipped to take advantage of the Ultra HD/Dolby Atmos upgrades this is highly recommended.
 
Ralph Potts
AVS Forum Blu-ray Reviews


Reference Review System:
JVC DLA-RS500 3D/4K Ready High Definition Front Projector
(Calibrated with Calman 5 & C6-HDR Meter from  Spectracal )
Stewart Filmscreen - Studiotek 130 G3 100” 16x9 Screen
Carada Masquerade Electronic Horizontal Masking System
Marantz AV7704 Audio/Video Processor
Emotiva XPA-7 Gen 3 Seven Channel Amplifier
Emotiva XPA-11 Gen 3 Amplifier
Oppo UDP-203 Ultra HD Blu-ray Player
Sony Playstation 3 Blu-ray disc Player
System Controller: Apple iPad/iRule Pro HD Universal Remote Control
Canton "Ergo" and Canton In-Ceiling Series Speakers
SVS Ultra Surrounds (Gloss Finish in Bipolar Configuration)
Dual SVS PC4000 Cylinder Subwoofers
Panamax M5400-PM Power Conditioner/Surge Protector
Wireworld, Better Cables (Silver Serpent) - Audio/Video/Speaker Cabling
AC Infinity Aircom T8 Component Cooling Systems