The Original Christmas Classics Anniversary Collector’s Edition Blu-ray Review
“The Original Christmas Classics Anniversary Collector’s Edition” comes home just in time for the holidays.
For decades now, the Rankin-Bass specials have been holiday staples for people of all ages and it’s not hard to see why. Between the lovable characters and catchy tunes, the specials have a timeless quality to them. It should be no surprise then that several of these specials have been packaged together for a new Blu-ray release. What all is on this 7 special set? Read on for further details!
One. “Santa Claus Is Comin’ To Town” is undeniably a classic song, but the Rankin-Bass special is a bit weird and goofy. While Fred Astaire (who plays the narrator) and the stop motion animation shine here, the origin story that chronicles the life of Kris Kringle from baby to Santa Claus is filled with odd characters such as Winter and Burgermeister Meisterburger.
Two. “Mister Magoo’s Christmas Special” is a fun adaptation of the classic “A Christmas Carol.” The 2D animated musical features Magoo playing Ebenezer Scrooge and he turns out to be an inspired choice to play the iconic character.
Three. “The Little Drummer Boy” is a rather dark stop-motion animated special that features a young drummer boy (Aaron). Not only were his parents killed, but he’s forced into a circus! Of course, it does have many touching and inspiring moments in the end which gives the story a lot of depth.
Four. “Cricket on the Hearth” is a somewhat forgotten 2D animated story about a Cricket who helps out a toymaker Caleb and his daughter. The special is based on a Charles Dickens story, but it sort of feels like a wannabe “A Christmas Carol.”
Five. “Frosty The Snowman” is my personal favorite of the lot. How can you go wrong with a story that features a magician, a living Snowman, a rabbit, a magic hat, the North Pole, Santa, and Jimmy Durante as the narrator and singer? You can’t.
Six. “Frosty Returns” is the 1992 2D animated sequel about a small town and a dastardly snow free invention. This is easily the worst of the lot and it’s easy to see why it’s universally panned. It’s simply not in the same boat as the others nor does it have the charm of the Rankin-Bass classics.
Seven. Last, but not least there’s “Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer.” Burl Ives perfectly narrates this gem about the shiny nosed Reindeer who is different from the rest. The special is filled with memorable characters such as Hermey the Elf, Yukon Cornelius, the Abominable Snow Monster, Sam The Snowman, Santa, and, of course, the island of Misfit Toys.
Presentation: Fullscreen. How do the specials look? The 2 Frosty specials and Rudolph look divine, Magoo and Cricket looks solid, but Santa and Drummer are a bit overly grainy.
Audio Tracks: 5.1 and 2.0 DTS-HD MA. How do the specials sound? Santa, Rudolph, Magoo, and Frosty are in 5.1 while Drummer and “Frosty Returns” are in 2.0. Truthfully, the audio isn’t on par with what we have come to expect from Blu-ray quality sound. Santa in particular sounded a bit too flat for my liking. For the most part, they’re just OK at best.
* Sing-along options for “Holly Jolly Christmas,” “Santa Claus Is Comin’ To Town,” “Frosty The Snowman,” and “Rudolph The Red Nosed-Reindeer.”
* “Be An Artist And Create”- A 3 part extra in which viewers can learn how to create crafts and draw Santa and Topper.
* “Santa Special Delivery”- Answers to Santa letters.
* Another “Be An Artist And Create” segment which teaches viewers to draw Rudolph and Santa and create more crafts. There’s also a “Learn To Draw” Rudolph segment as well.
* “Frosty Snowflake Surprises”- 20 minutes of factoids about Frosty.
* “Rudolph Unwrapped”- Factoids about Rudolph and company.
* Rudolph Pop Up Book.
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