Who doesn’t know about the Peanuts gang by now? Anyone who grew up with watching Charlie and company will remember those low production cartoons airing on their TV. Among other things one can remember the characters, the different personalities, and the sticky situations they would get themselves in. A Charlie Brown Christmas remains one of the most unforgettable holiday classics and for this WB has released this wonderful treasure of a film on Blu-ray. Let’s take a look what this release has to offer.
Somehow Charlie Brown and the Peanuts gang have always managed to capture my attention. As a kid I would sit in front of the television and watch the predicaments that Charlie Brown would get himself in and all the problems he would find out of every normal situation. The humble production of each cartoon episode always remained the same nothing over the top and yet it managed to capture the viewers’ attention. The holiday specials were always my favorite and tended to be tradition to see this one air during the holidays.
A Charlie Brown Christmas begins with Charlie Brown finding himself in an odd predicament, a problem that he cannot figure out. Christmas is just around the corner, but he cannot figure out why he is depressed and not as excited as he should be. Even knowing that he should be happy, Charlie remains skeptical. Charlie’s frustration continues as his friend’s enthusiasm and happiness surrounds him. Charlie decides that he will be the one picking a Christmas tree for the play this time around. So Charlie goes out and he picks a small tree, one could say that is nowhere near a real Christmas tree, against the suggestion of Lucy to pick a big tree. When his friends find out the arguments begin. It isn’t until Charlie questions if anyone knows what a Christmas tree is all about. Linus reminds everyone where their focus should be. If you think about it, it’s pretty complex thinking for a bunch of kids. Heh.
You may think that this is just another kid cartoon, but I believe it’s much more than that. The troubles that Charlie goes through are not one for kids to have so early in their life, the questioning of the sole purpose of Christmas; this takes Charlie Brown to a whole step above. For this I do not believe the story is aimed solely at a younger audience. The dissection of commercialism and materialism ending with the origins of Christmas is the one thing the Peanuts must deal with and is excellently told by the production team. One may say the story of The Nativity is essential to the understanding the true meaning of Christmas and needed for this story to remain a classic. This special depicts everything rejected by a commercial world and provides an inspiring warm message.
The writing and story telling are simply fantastic, allowing the viewer to truly regain that essence of the holidays; the one thing that most cartoons have lost in the course of time. Regardless of the price, this release should make it to every Blu-ray collection.
A Charlie Brown Christmas arrives on Blu-ray with a 1080p VC-1 encode framed at 1.37:1. At first your initial thought may be “It’s a movie made a couple of decades ago, how much better can it possibly look?” well to put it in simple words, it looks fantastic. The film has received a major facelift from deeper black to brilliant colors it just doesn’t disappoint. The original material suffers from certain artifacts and imperfections among other things which are now obvious on high definition; however, all of this is kept at a minimum. This release is far from being the best animated transfer, but given the age of the original material and the effort by WB all I got to say is kudos for this fantastic looking transfer.
A Charlie Brown Christmas arrives on Blu-ray with a Dolby Digital 5.1 and Dolby Digital stereo. There’s really nothing to rave about in this section of the review, the studio repurposed previous tracks from the DVD and while it’s not the best it does its job. There are a couple of problems found throughout like the hiss noises, muffled voices, among other things. I believe a lossless track would have added a bit more depth, but all in all this should take some a nostalgic trip down memory lane to please the older audience while the youngsters really cant tell the difference nor really care. It obviously isn’t reference material, but again gets the job done.
I suppose studios these days don’t bother providing many extras, if any for that matter, for older films. This is the fate that A Charlie Brown Christmas has suffered. Perhaps, it’s not the studio’s fault, who knows? Anyways, going back to topic here are the supplements included in this release.
A Christmas Miracle – This is perhaps one of the best overviews I’ve seen. It deals with the challenges, the tight datelines, and the tough decisions made for this film. It’s very entertaining and you should take the time to watch it.
It’s Christmastime Again, Charlie Brown – This is another Peanuts holiday special, it is very identical and it’s definitely worth a watch.
Digital Copy – A digital copy of the film is included in this release.
DVD – Also a DVD version of the film has been included.
A Charlie Brown Christmas is an unforgettable holiday classic without a doubt. The video quality is fantastic for content of its age and WB managed to provide a solid transfer. Unfortunately the audio is not up to par with the video and the supplements are a bit lackluster. However, this shouldn’t stop anyone from picking up this classic title. I can’t help myself but to recommend this title, especially if you grew up with it.
Here’s a small video clip. Enjoy!