License to Drive appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 1.85:1 on this single-sided, double-layered DVD; the image has been enhanced for 16X9 televisions. While perfectly watchab;e, the transfer lacked a lot of strengths.
Among those weaknesses, colors tended to be pale and flat. I found it tough to figure out if some of this connected to visual design. The hues took on an airy, dreamy look much of the time, and I guess that made sense within the semi-fantasy tone of the film. However, enough examples of brighter tones occurred to make me feel that the drab, messy hues were a weakness and not a stylistic choice.
Blacks tended to be decent, though they were a little murky. Shadows seemed visible but not particularly dynamic; those elements usually looked a bit dense. Sharpness came across as erratic. Many shots seemed acceptably distinctive, but quite a few appeared moderately hazy and soft.
At least I noticed no jagged edges or shimmering, and edge enhancement created no concerns. In addition, the movie suffered from virtually no source flaws, as the transfer looked clean throughout the flick. This mix of ups and downs left the image as a “C+”.
I thought the Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack of Drive fell into the category of fine but not memorable. Audio quality seemed pretty good for the most part. Music was something of a weak link, as the many songs suffered from the treble-heavy, lackluster bass production typical of the era. Within those parameters, the music seemed acceptable, though the high-end emphasis made these elements less than terrific. At least the score contributed pretty decent low-end to the piece at times, though much of it seemed thin as well.
The rest of the audio seemed good. Speech was fairly natural and concise, without edginess or other flaws. Effects also came across with reasonable clarity. They never packed a great punch, but they showed solid enough range to work fine.
As for the soundfield, it added a little pizzazz to the package. The broadness of the comedy meant some exaggerated effects that spread around the setting. Localization seemed decent, though a little sloppiness occasionally occurred. The surrounds contributed some reinforcement of the general ambience but not a whole lot else. Some driving scenes were a little more involving at least. This was a satisfactory track for its age.
Drive comes with a surprisingly broad array of extras. We begin with an audio commentary from director Greg Beeman and writer Neil Tolkin. Both sit together for this running, screen-specific chat. They cover the project’s origins and path to the screen, the story, the script and inspirations, cast and performances, stunts and effects, locations and budgetary concerns, costumes, music and visual design, the altered ending and a mix of other production subjects.
Light and lively, this turns into a fun commentary. The guys joke with each other enough to entertain, but they also make sure we learn quite a lot about the flick. Too much of the commentary revolves around scenes that they like, but this remains a pretty solid chat.
One Deleted Scene lasts a whopping 14 minutes and seven seconds. In this long clip, we see a caper that involves a car which looks just like Les’s grandfather’s Caddy. It doesn’t make a ton of sense, though it might be more difficult to follow due to the abysmal quality of the snippet. It’s eminently forgettable in any case.
Two separate interviews with the stars appear here. We hear from Corey Haim (10:03) and Corey Feldman (17:33). The seriously porked-up Haim discusses his casting, his fellow actors and their work together, Beeman’s directorial style, his bizarre tendency to always act with his mouth wide open, and other aspects of the production.
As for Feldman, he chats about his relationship with Haim, how he came onto Drive, dealing with teen fans, working on the flick and trying to date Heather Graham, controversies and a few additional elements from the shoot. Both interviews offer pretty good notes about the flick, though Feldman’s proves more interesting. He comes across as a bit full of himself, but he also dishes a little dirt about how wild he and Haim were at the time.
In addition to two TV Spots, we find two trailers. DVD-ROM users can gain access to the film’s screenplay. Finally, the package includes an eight-page booklet. This presents production notes, cast facts, and trivia questions about the flick.
A dated teen adventure, License to Drive will appeal solely to those with nostalgia for the glory days of the Coreys. While not a poor film, it’s a lackluster comedic romp without the needed wit or cleverness to succeed. The DVD presents decent picture and audio along with a surprisingly interesting roster of supplements. If you like Drive, you’ll be reasonably pleased with this release, but I can’t recommend the disc to folks without a prior love for the movie.