Hebrew, Czech, Polish, Hungarian, Russian, Portuguese, English - Hearing Impaired, Turkish, Icelandic, Croatian, Danish, Swedish, Norwegian, Finnish, Romanian, Bulgarian
20th Century Fox/20th Century Fox Home Entertainment .
R4 . COLOR . 113 mins .
PG . PAL
This brings back memories. Back in high school, I played the trombone in the concert band and can quite vividly remember the interrogations, trials and tribulations of rehearsals and performances – even the best player can get unnerved by an entire band of your peers looking at you while you play a specific number of bars.
Whip it! Whip it good!
In some ways, this film is like a band version of Bring It On, however just in the school contest arena – that’s it. But Drumline is not about trombones either, it’s about drumming if you hadn’t guessed it already. Featuring stunning marching band sequences with lively percussive music in interesting compositions, Drumline is one of the most unique and entertaining films this reviewer has seen in quite some time. At times, the music is like a light version of dance artists Safri Duo minus the pulsating dance beat. Set in Atlanta, Georgia, Drumline tells the story of Devon Miles as he graduates from high school and heads south on a full scholarship to college at Atlanta A&T. The real quibble that I have with the film is with Miles’ attitude. It’s part of the story of the film, but that cocky look in his face, like a “gangster wannabe” is enough to make you cringe. After all, it is Dr. Lee who says:
"One band! One sound!"
Now while we’re speaking of doctors, that’s another memory from school. In my final year, we received a new director of music, who just happened to be a doctor. Call him a mister and you’ll find out in a hurry that he is a doctor. Anyway, this film has that exact same line in it – funny stuff. I think most of the appeal, for me anyway, is its familiarity with particular concepts and ideas, and something that many band members may be able to appreciate more than those who have not been in a band. Still, the band program at A&T is much different to that which yours truly was in – this program seems more like boot camp than college. Give me Australian tertiary education any day over American colleges with dorm rooms.
The film opens with a school graduation as Devon Miles graduates and heads down to Atlanta on a full scholarship, granted by Dr. Lee (Jones in a brilliant role). From very early on, we see that the A&T marching band is in close competition with that of Morris Brown, a nearby college, and the rivalry is stiff, nasty and fierce. Any guesses as to who the finale of the film is with? Drumline focuses in on Miles and his journey as an arrogant and strong-willed drummer, who has trouble with authority. But this is just one of the inner conflicts within the film, and a form of conflict that the film successfully deals with. Drumline shows us about arrogance in extreme situations, and that no matter how cool and confident you appear, there still are times to falter. Drumline is Miles’ story, and saying any more here would really give the story away.
And we have lift off!
Presented in Drumline’s original 2.35:1 aspect, this anamorphically enhanced transfer is a real beauty that is so close to perfect it’s not funny. Colours are rich and bold, with superb shadow detail that is only, at times, a little murky. Film artefacts are nearly absent, with those visible minor, and grain is not an issue at all. Spanning nicely over two layers, the layer change occurs briefly, discretely and succinctly just after the halfway part of the film, generously dividing the movie among the two layers. It shows, as compression artefacts are absent, and posterisation effects not a problem at all. The English for the Hearing Impaired subtitles are good to follow the film with, but are at times a little abridged.
Pretty simple to guess which stick goes where...
From the opening of the film you know you’re in for an aural experience, with a thumping sweep coming over the audience with rich, bassy clarity. Dialogue is consistently clear and audible throughout, with only one minor case of poor ADR noted, and that is still on the background action. Each and every speaker gets a heavy workout, as one would expect with a film about a marching band, with the surrounds carrying severe ambience and clear directional effects. The subwoofer too gets plenty to bark about with a beautifully detailed bass channel ripping through the living room. John Powell’s (The Bourne Identity) score is so suitable for the film, even if it is not totally memorable, it does stir the right emotions at the right time, and build up the intensity in moods so well.
Yeah, well, um next! Oh and by the way, the menus are static yet 16:9 enhanced.
A unique and entertaining film is presented on this disc with a stunning transfer from 20th Century Fox. What more can be said? Well give us the extras on the retail version and you’ll keep this guy happy.