The Runaways (Blu-ray Review)

I just so happened to miss this one during its brief stint in the theaters this year so I was overjoyed to find out that Sony would be providing me with a Blu-ray review copy of The Runaways.  However, I will let you in on a little secret.  Do you want to know the real reason why I wanted to see The Runaways so badly?  Well, even if you don’t, you know me; I’m going to tell you.  It’s because I wanted to check out one of my favorite actresses, Scout Taylor-Compton, and see how she is doing. Ever since Rob Zombie’s Halloween II and Beyonce’s Obsessed, I have been missing Scout tremendously.  I can’t wait to see what she does next.  But yes, anyway… I present to you a little rock ‘n’ roll fable called… The Runaways.


The film’s screenplay, written and directed by Floria Sigismondi, was based on the book Neon Angel: A Memoir of a Runaway by the band’s original lead vocalist Cherie Currie.  Cherie Currie is portrayed by the coming of age, silver screen actress, Dakota Fanning.  I will talk a little more about her in a few.  Kristen Stewart plays the legendary rhythm guitarist and vocalist Joan Jett, while my girl, Scout Taylor-Compton, plays the rock goddess Lita Ford.  Michael Shannon (Bug) portrays the band’s manager and founder, Kim Fowley.

I don’t think it takes a degree in rocket science to figure out what this movie is all about.  Simply put, the film depicts the early formation of the band in 1975 and focuses not only on the relationship between Currie and Jett (the things I did not know… wow!), but also the turmoil, the shows, the drugs, the sex and ultimately, Currie’s departure from the band.  We pretty much all know the musical history of how Joan Jett went on to become an icon of her own, and of course Lita Ford too, but how it all went down in the early years is what this film brings to the table.  Ready to eat yet?  Well, just hold on one minute.  I promised to talk about Dakota a little more and that’s exactly what I’m going to do.  A promise is a promise, after all.

My, has time flown by when one talks Dakota Fanning.  I mean, it seems like only yesterday I was watching this sweet innocent little girl in 2005’s War of the Worlds.  Well folks, she’s not innocent anymore.  Stewart may be the legendary Joan Jett in this film, but this movie is really about the rise and fall of Cherie Currie, um… I mean… Dakota Fanning’s coming of age.  If you are not ready to see how fast she has grown up, then this probably isn’t the film for you.  If you don’t mind seeing Dakota in sexual situations, doing drugs and dressing like every parent’s worst fear regarding their teenage daughter’s ever expanding wardrobe, then by all means have a look-see.  Just like any other movie she is in, Fanning steals the show here.  Great casting choice!

This film isn’t necessarily the best bang for your buck on Blu-ray, but it’s much better that some of the other rockumentary choices out there.  However, I’m just not sold on how much replay value this disc has to the curious Blu-ray buyer out there.  I’m happy to add this film into my Blu-ray collection, but casual fans may want to give this a rental first.  If you are a Fanning, Stewart or a Taylor-Compton fan, like myself, then maybe you just might want to pick this one up.  After all, the price is right on this disc and everyone loves a little rock ‘n’ roll, don’t they?


This is a hard category here to judge.  The film’s AVC MPEG-4 encoded video faithfully lives up to the director’s intent, so I hear, and nicely portrays the gritty time period of 1975.  I use the term “gritty” on purpose, as the films flat colors and intact grain structure accurately depicts the 1975 theme going on here, but it sacrifices the razor sharp clarity that everyone has come to love on the Blu-ray format.  However, I can’t believe I am saying this; the lack of razor sharp visuals didn’t really bother me here.  After all, I was watching a period piece.  Shouldn’t it look that way too?  The black levels were all deep and the flesh tones were spot on.  I could not find any blemishes or noise in the print.  This one really is what it is.  It’s a grainy look back at the mid 1970’s.  It’s done right, albeit just not a reference disc on the Blu-ray format.  The Blu-ray picture is framed in 2.35:1 aspect ratio.


Probably the most impressive aspect of this Blu-ray release is found in the disc’s audio department.  Sony brings The Runaways to the Blu-ray format with an in your face, balls-to-the-wall rock ‘n’ roll 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio surround track.  Besides the deep strong bass present throughout, one thing to put high on a platter here is the dialog levels.  They are unbelievably clear, loud and audible throughout.  Very impressive!  It’s a rock ‘n’ roll story, so the music should be in the forefront, no?  Well it is!  The musical scenes kick a$$ here.  Just about everything is done right on this track.  One scene, in particular, struck my fancy when you can hear the flame so accurately lighting up a cigarette.  It’s very tempting to give this one a perfect score, but let’s face it; it’s not a high-octane action movie with things blowing up all around you.  However, to me, a 4.5 is a perfect score for a film like this.  If nothing else, you’re going to want to check this film out for its sonic audio track.  Kudos Sony!

Special Features  

The special features department is where the Blu-ray disc suffers the most.  Simply put, there’s not much meat here at all.  I guess I should at least point out and be happy in the fact that both of the disc’s featurettes are in high definition.  That’s something to boast about, right?  Well anyway, let’s tackle the special features below.

Here’s a screenshot of the Blu-ray disc’s main menu.  The images in the background constantly rotate.  Guess who that gal is below?  If you guessed Fanning, then you are so right!  Good job!

Here’s another screenshot below of the disc’s icon when inserted into one of the BEST Blu-ray players money can buy, a Playstation 3!

  • Audio Commentary – The commentary track features the real Joan Jett, Kristen Stewart and Dakota Fanning.
  • Plugged In: Making the Film (HD) – This 15-minute featurette features the cast, crew and members of the real Runaways.
  • The Runaways (HD) – This very fast 2-minute featurette is sort of the same thing you just watched above.  Not sure why they included this?
  • movieIQ+sync – This feature allows users to access real time information on the cast, music, trivia and more while watching the movie via BD-Live.
  • 1080p Trailers – Let me tell you, these trailers are present when you first put the Blu-ray disc in and I thought they were never going to end.  Here you can find trailers for Chloe (I’m watching this tonight… can’t wait!), The Square, The Bounty Hunter, Harry Brown, The Pillars of the Earth, Get Low and Youth in Revolt.  Gosh, my head hurts after naming all those.  Anna, did you notice I used the word “gosh?”  Don’t worry folks, its a little inside joke between me and a friend of mine.

Final Thoughts  

This is a tough call folks.  I’m a disciple of rock ‘n’ roll and Joan Jett so the fan in me says “buy this Blu-ray release.”  However, the naysayer in me says everyone is not going to like this.  For once in my life I am going to have to let go of the bias that controls my aura and recommend a rental of this first if you are curious about this one, but don’t have the courage the pull the trigger on a purchase.  For all the fans of the film and the music of The Runaways, c’mon, you know this is a no brainer for you.  What do you have to lose?  With the exception of the Special Features department, this Blu-ray disc delivers with an outstanding A/V presentation, an excellent cast and if Dakota Fanning in lingerie is up your alley, then by all means click the buy it now link below.  Call me old fashion, but I still like to remember the little innocent Dakota Fanning of yester years.  Her performance definitely brings to life The Runaways #1 one hit of all time, “Cherry Bomb.”  Until next time, keep it reel.


The Runaways arrives on Blu-ray July 20th!  Pre-order yours now!



Comments are currently closed.