Judge Joel Pearce has had enough Christmas for one year.
10 holiday favorites!
Ah, the classic Warner Home Video collection of animated holiday television specials. Going through this set was certainly a nostalgic blast from the past, though I'm not sure everyone will have the same response. Let's take a close look at this festive collection:
The most numerically adept among you will have already noticed that I've only listed eight titles, rather than the promised ten. There's a very simple reason for this: someone at Warner Bros. had a bit too much egg nog while they put together the set, and put the wrong disc in. Instead of the promised edition of the classic animated The Year Without a Santa Claus, the more recent live action disc has slipped its way into this digital stocking. That means that fans of Rudolph's Shiny New Year and Nestor, the Christmas Donkey can start venting some of their holiday rage now—you won't find them anywhere in this collection.
The good news is that there is still some great material on the rest of the discs. The highlight is still definitely How the Grinch Stole Christmas, which remains a short, catchy holiday classic. Those who grew up in the same era that I did will also recall Rudolph and Frosty's Christmas in July with some fondness, though some of the others are less familiar to me. I've definitely never seen The Leprechauns' Christmas Gold before, and now I know why: St. Patrick's Day and Christmas just don't go that well together. Frosty's Winter Wonderland hasn't aged that well, either, given its almost complete lack of conflict. I'll avoid lobbing any of my critical venom at The Year Without a Santa Claus, since it wasn't even supposed to be here in the first place. I'll only mention that the live action version doesn't have a place in this collection, and Martin Lawrence with elf ears doesn't have a place anywhere. Ever.
Despite the variable quality of the content, the collection is bound to be a pleasant surprise for people who grew up in the right era. It will bring back memories of annual holiday television on small black and white televisions, though their children may be baffled at why these movies are such a big deal, at least those past the age of seven.
Thankfully, Warner remains one of the best studios for remastering in the business. These DVD editions of the films look as good as any of them have ever looked. The color and saturation levels are flawless, and the detail is surprisingly good for television animation this old and cheap. It doesn't make the artwork more impressive, but they have all been given new life. There are also a handful of extras on the first disc. Disc one comes with a commentary track on animation, as well as a few featurettes. None of the other discs have anything, though there were supposed to be more featurettes on disc 2.
For some people, Classic Christmas Favorites will be a solid buy, despite the mixup with Disc 2 (I really wanted to see that donkey movie, too). There's a lot of kid-friendly holiday entertainment on these discs. That said, many of these films have already been released on DVD, and a couple are simply older collections tossed in a shiny new package. If you only need a couple of the films to complete your collection, it might be easier to pick them up individually. If Warner Bros. starts to pack the right discs in, it will also represent a more substantial buy.
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