Studio: Twentieth Century Fox
Film Length: 118 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 16X9 Enhanced Widescreen (2.35:1)
Subtitles: English and Spanish
Half time is game time
I am asking every person now reading this review to
put some faith in me right now. Are you ready to do
that? I am about to recommend that you immediately
go out to your local video retailer and rent (or
better yet, purchase) DrumLine, one of the
most exhilarating films best "feel good" films I
have seen in quite some time.
Stay with me folks....this is as good as it gets....
You know, back when I was in High School (how many
years ago was that?) band members were never given
the respect they deserved. They were considered
geeks who couldn't compete with the more popular
athlete crowd. Drumline swings the pendulum as far
the other way as possible, making talented band
members the big men—and women—on campus.
The story revolves around Devon Miles (Nick Cannon),
a gifted drummer who has just graduated from high
school in Harlem and is heading down to the Atlanta
A&T University on a full music scholarship. Through
a backstory we learn that Devon has a very affectionate
relationship with his mother and a nearly nonexistent
one with his father.
Once he arrives at AT&T University, he is thrown into
a sort of marching band "boot camp" where Devon
becomes the only freshman given a position on the
front line of the drum section. His musical gifts
and charisma are appreciated by his Atlanta Pounding
Panthers bandmates as well as by conductor Dr. Lee
(Orlando Jones). But his cockiness and seeming
disregard for authority keeps landing him in trouble.
Through the hostility of his band mates, and the love
of a young woman (Zoe Saldana), Devon begins to learn
the true meaning of teamwork as his group makes its
way to the band championship.
On the surface, this movie plays out like a worn
Rocky or An Officer And a Gentleman film.
However, first-time director Charles Stone III has
taken this tired formula and turned it upside down
with high-energy musical numbers featuring amazing
choreography and blaring tunes. Favoring high angles
and tight close-ups, Stone presents the drumline as
if it was a hard fought battle taking place on an
Never before have I witnessed a film that has taken
such an unusual subject matter and turned it into a
high-energy spectacle that had me almost out of my
chair and dancing along to the music. When was the
last time a marching band gave you that sort of
How is the transfer?
Perfecto! Oh...you want me to say more?
Want to know just how damn good this transfer looks?
All you need to do is queue up chapter 12 and
prepare to be tantalized by color saturation you
never thought possible. I was absolutely awestruck
with the vividly bold blue and yellow uniforms of
the marching band as they filled out a school football
field. Colors are extremely hyped here, yet all of
it is accurately rendered. Black levels are rock
deep and contrast is excellent. There is not a hint
of grain or video noise anywhere to be seen. This
is as good a transfer as it gets!
What really makes this DVD kick ass is its
ultra-dynamic and well balanced 5.1 Dolby Digital
mix. Through its excellent use of surrounds and
low end bass, this film's soundtrack had my heart
racing as I felt as if I was placed in the middle
of a marching band. I cannot begin to tell you
how many times I caught myself stomping my feet,
snapping my fingers or tapping a pillow. Baby,
I am in percussion heaven and you will be, too!
The film features a full-length commentary
by director Charles Stone III. I listened to bits
and pieces of this commentary that is a little
dully presented. The director often talks about
his geometric vision for his film, and how he
carefully designed his shots. The movie was filmed
in Georgia, and its surprising to learn that the
very-authentic looking Harlem subway station was
actually built on a Atlanta soundstage. Sadly,
its designer and builder passed away shortly after
the film was completed. Stone talks about some
of the difficulties filmmakers have when doing
many outdoor shots (as he has done in this film),
including making the sure the sun is in the part of
the sky it should be, as well as dealing with all
the various weather elements. A little dry, but
not short on information.
Ten deleted scenes are presented here for
your enjoyment. All of them are quite short, shown
in non-anamorphic workprint form (with synch meters).
Most of the footage is extended band rehearsel and
performance as well as a car driving lesson. There
is one in particular scene that director Charles
Stone III used to illustrate how bad a choice it
would be to use all-white band members instead of
black. There are also two alternate endings that
are pretty good, especially for the fact that one
of them reunites son with father. Enjoy!
The Making of Drumline is a 29-minute BET
Network featurette that's hosted by the film's star,
Nick Cannon. It's the usual fare that features
interviews with the entire cast and filmmakers who
talk about the central story and its characters.
We do learn that the film is based on the real-life
story of the film's Executive Producer, Dallas
(length: approx. 29 minutes)
There are two music videos included here:
I want a girl like you" by Joe, featuring
Jadakiss and Blowin' Me up by JC
What really irked me was the absence of the film's
trailer. Was there a music rights issue here perhaps?
In its absence, we get a trailer for Antwone Fisher.
While Drumline is a film you may have heard
little about during its release, it is a sleeper that
should awaken strongly on DVD. The film boasts a good
story, great music and a touch of soul.
It is absolutely the best "feel good" movie I have
witnessed in a long, long time. The DVD is also a
visual and sonic treat that will have you cheerfully
gazing at the screen while you tap your feet a little
Have I sold you on this film yet?
Release Date: April 15, 2003
All screen captures have been further compressed.
They are for illustrative purposes only and do not
represent actual picture quality