Monday, November 30, 2009

Four Christmases Blu-ray Review

Disc Size: 19.8 GB
Film Size: 15.0 GB
Film Rating: PG-13
Region: Free

Four Christmases comes to Blu-ray with a 1080p VC-1 video presentation. Upon first impression of the film, it does indeed look very good. Colors are vivid, black levels are solid, the overall upgrade in clarity is also pleasing.

My dislike is the actual look of the film, I felt it looked a bit too digital looking at times. My biggest concern is that everything is so sharp and clear, yet detail isn't alway so great. Facial and clothing textures are minimal at times, although they do shine from time to time.

Often times detail does shine and provides high-def moments that can easily be appreciated. I don't think much edge enhancement and DNR was applied, although at times it did look slightly present, but it is not enough to really upset me.

The film has a bunch of three dimensional pop moments and the aspect ratio of the film will truly allow the video presentation to leap off the screen. The look of the film itself isn't so bad, just felt a bit off at times. If you can get past that, I'm sure you will certainly be pleased by the film on Blu-ray. 8/10.

A 5.1 Dolby TrueHD audio track is included and sounds fairly good for the most part. The film is consumed mostly by the dialogue, which of course is always front and center although clear and easy to understand. Effects are also generally front heavy, but do expand to the surround area when a more open environment scene is on-screen.

They do a great job at trying to create environment, it's just too bad they reserve it for mostly certain parts of the film. The mix definitely feels lacking in quieter situations, when there were clearly moments for at least subtle use.

In the end though the mix isn't too important, it never reaches demo materials, surround use or not. It's a good audio track, and I certainly appreciate Warner provided a high-def audio track for this release over the previous 5.1 Dolby Digital habit for films. 7/10.


Four Christmases: Holiday Moments (10:50) (HD)
Featuring cast and crew interviews, behind-the-scenes footage, and footage from the film to create a short making-of.

HBO First Look - Four Christmases: Behind The Madness (13:03) (HD)
A look inside the homes of Brad and Kate's four dysfunctional families during Christmas.

Seven Layer Holiday Meals In A Flash (10:09) (HD)
Celebrity Cook Paula Deen and Actress Katy Mixon whip up a holiday recipe, this is actually so stupid and random that it becomes hilarious.

Gag Reel (2:35) (HD)
A very solid gag reel that you may enjoy.

Additional Scenes (8:21) (HD)
Seven additional scenes are included, presented in high-definition.

Additional features are touted as being BD-Live exclusive. Listed extras include personal and candid cast Christmas memories, as well as outtakes with Celebrity Cook Paula Deen and Actress Katy Mixon.

Digital Copy
Compatible with iTunes and Windows Media.

There are not too many extras on this release, but the included features are fun although a bit light when it comes to depth. If anything I appreciate the extras are all included in high-definition. 6/10.

Blu-news Summary
Four Christmases is a film I was definitely excited to see for various reasons. I love me a good Christmas themed film and I do enjoy most of the work from the actors in the film. Was I pleased by the film? Well, in a way.

I went into the film with my mind left at the door, I mean this is a Christmas comedy, if you want serious there are more serious options available....well at least on DVD. The biggest issue with the film is the plot itself, definitely feeling more like a Simpsons Christmas special rather than an actual theatrical release.

I thought the actors in the film were very enjoyable, I feel they presented the lines and story as well as they could. The supporting cast is also very funny and adds a lot to what could have been an extremely dull movie.

The movie at times can be a bit too goofy for it's own good, but it's all in good fun. If you are not a fan of the mindless comedy then this won't do anything to change your mind. It's a simple story that is made a bit too complex for an actual film but it's certainly decent.

I would not recommend you go out and purchase the film until you have actually seen the movie and have made your own opinion regarding it, but I definitely wouldn't recommend you skip it completely due to negative reviews.

I think people (critics especially) can be a bit too harsh on the type of film that it is, but I'm sure most casual audiences will at least find mild amusement from Four Christmases. Wait for the film to drop in price a bit before biting or give it a rent first. 6.75/10.

The Blu-ray release is quite good, featuring pleasing visual and audio presentations. Extras are not too in-depth, but they are simple and fun. The film makes this Blu-ray release hard to recommend, but it's certainly 'A Solid Rental.'

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