Babar & Father Christmas (E1 DVD)/Dear
Santa (2011)/Money Matters
(2009/Image DVDs)/The Perfect Gift
(2011/Image DVD Set)/Thomas Kinkade
Presents Christmas Lodge (2011/Vivendi DVD)
C (Money: C-) Sound: C+ (Money: C) Extras: C/D/D/C-/C- Main
is supposed to be a wonderful time of the year, but that does not always extend
to video releases. Not only is the best
of the following five animated and for children (with the others often
childish), but the live action offerings here are as fun as spilled eggnog.
entry that manages to capture anything like that holiday spirit is Babar & Father Christmas on DVD
with the title tale and two bonus half-hours in The Gift and A Child In The
Snow from the original hand-drawn animated series. These are smart, charming and child-friendly,
good for the while family. It may not be
classic, but is just fine. The 1.33 X 1
color image is a little softer than I would have liked for being remastered, so
expect some strained images, aliasing and detail issues, but the Dolby Digital
2.0 sound is better. A mini-coloring
book is the only extra, though the package tries to do so with the other two
of a strain overall is Jason Priestley’s Dear
Santa (2011), the actor’s attempt to do a cutesy holiday telefilm about
writing the big red guy with Amy Acker, David Haydn-Jones and Emma Duke that
proves no one should ever send any letters to Santa at the 90210 zip code or
watch this run-on bore. It might have
worked if they tried to do something fun, energetic or different, but it goes
on and on and on. There are no extras.
Richmond’s Money Matters (2009) is
being issued during this holiday period despite having no direct such content,
yet its melodrama or a mother and daughter (Aunjanue Ellis and Terri Abney)
dealing with poverty, problems, distance and fake solutions never convinced me
much and a fake sense of family that never works. The actors are trying to make this work, but
it never does. The fact that a man is
directing this does not help and it is forgettable. There are no extras.
family-phony is Alvin Moore, Jr.’s The
Perfect Gift (2011) with Ruben Studdard and Golden Brooks is a Tyler
Perry-styled “feel good” morality play that also goes on and on and is not that
memorable as a troubled couple are visited by their parents on the
holidays. I never bought it; though it
had potential if had tried to go for something new. No such luck.
Extras include two featurettes, Photo Gallery and bonus CD of the music.
we have Thomas Kinkade Presents
Christmas Lodge (2011) with his one lodge not worth staying at. Erin Karpluk plays a woman at an old lodge
who is alone until she meets a guy played by Michael Shanks who may just surprise
her, but not us. As flat, formulaic and
dull as the last Kinkade release, I was not impressed. Extras include Trailer, Painting Gallery and
Making Of featurette.
live-action DVDs are here in anamorphically enhanced 1.78 X 1 frames that are
too soft (even with “Christmassy style” in most cases) and have their share of
motion blur, detail issues and Money
is especially soft in this respect. Kinkade has the biggest soundmix of the
four with a Dolby Digital 5.1 mix, but it is not better than the Dolby Digital
2.0 Stereo on the others and Money
has especially weak playback audio, so be careful of the levels at which you
play it save its so-so CD.
- Nicholas Sheffo