Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Peanuts Holiday Collection Blu-ray Review

A Charlie Brown Christmas Disc Size: 9.69 GB
A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving Disc Size:
9.32 GB
It's The Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown Disc Size: 9.55 GB
Film Ratings: Not Rated
Release Date: October 5th, 2010
Region: ABC
The Video
'The Peanuts Deluxe Holiday Edition' come to Blu-ray with 1080p VC-1 video presentations for all three releases. The box set includes the three previously individual releases of 'A Charlie Brown Christmas,' 'A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving,' and 'It's The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown.'

The video presentation on each release is quite similar. Each of these releases do look a bit dated, however they still look very good considering the source material. Naturally, each release improves upon the other as they were produced years apart from each other.

Colors are very satisfying and an improvement from DVD. The clarity of each film is nice with sharp animation that I do find an improvement from their included DVD versions.

Each release includes a bonus short film, which also look very good. The most impressive looking special is 'Mayflower Voyagers' which is the youngest of the included specials.

Overall I think these are excellent high-def presentations considering the material. These are made for television specials, not even ‘feature’ films so I actually think they look much better than they could have looked. 8.5/10.

The Audio
An English 5.1 Dolby Digital audio track is included for 'A Charlie Brown Christmas.' Optional subtitles include English (SDH).

An
English 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio track is included for 'A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving' is the lossless and only audio option included. Optional subtitles include English (SDH) and French.

An English 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio track is the lossless option for 'It's The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown.' A Spanish 1.0 Dolby Digital track is also included. Optional subtitles include English (SDH), French and Spanish.

Unfortunately, Warner Bros. did not update the audio found on the original Blu-ray release of 'A Charlie Brown Christmas' which released the year before the other two titles on Blu-ray. The latter two feature English 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio tracks which sound great considering the source material.

The Dolby Digital track on 'A Charlie Brown Christmas' certainly gets the job done. However, the audio did not bring me into the experience at all. The quality while certainly decent just doesn't compare to a lossless mix. I do think the audio could have had a slight improvement in overall clarity if a DTS-HD Master Audio track been included.

The English 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio tracks included on 'It's The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown' and 'A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving' sound significantly better, particularly dialogue. Dialogue has a nice level of clarity which just isn’t there on the DVD versions or the Blu-ray release of 'A Charlie Brown Christmas.'

There is some slight cracking found on all three releases, but that was definitely expected considering the age of the specials. All the mixes are very front heavy, but expectantly so. There is some light surround use from time to time, notably from ‘Mayflower Voyagers’ but it is all very light and fitting, The music is also quite nice, although plays second to the dialogue/effects.

I do have a rule now in which I cannot give a lossy track more than a 5/10. In this situation we have two great lossless mixes and one disappointing lossy mix. Overall I am much more pleased than disappointed as Warner Bros. did two releases justice which outweigh the disappointing audio mix on 'A Charlie Brown Christmas'. 7.5/10.

The Extras

A Charlie Brown Christmas Features:

Bonus: It's Christmas Time Again, Charlie Brown (23:00) (HD)
Another Charlie Brown Christmas special is included, and definitely makes this package sweeter. This special is presented in high-def as well, and looks better than the main feature.

A Christmas Miracle: The Making of A Charlie Brown Christmas (15:59) (SD)
See how the Charlie Brown Christmas special came to be in this very nice and informative featurette.

Trailers (1:19) (SD)
A trailer for the 'Classic Christmas Favorites' collection, which is not available on Blu-ray, but definitely should have been.

DVD copy of the film

A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving Features:

Bonus: Mayflower Voyagers (HD)
A second TV special is included on this release with English 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio.

Popcorn & Jellybeans: Making a Thanksgiving Classic (12:27) (SD)
I love this featurette. The voice cast and crew share their memories from working on the special as well as unique challenges that came with the production.

DVD copy of the film

It's The Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown Features:

'It's Magic, Charlie Brown' TV Special (HD)
A second TV special is included on this release with English 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio.

We Need a Blockbuster, Charlie Brown (13:58) (SD)
This is a very entertaining and informative behind-the-scenes feature about the film. We hear great stories about the pressure put on the animators/writers in creating another blockbuster as well as changes and issues that happened during production.

DVD Copy of the film

Packaging
Warner Bros. has packaged all three individual Blu-ray releases in an attractive and festive box set. Each release is individually packaged with their own 2-disc case and respective cover art. There are 3 cases in the set, each including their main special and bonus special on one disc, the second discs are DVD versions of each release.

Overall I am very pleased by the bonus features. Previous DVD extras are included, nothing appears to be missing. Nothing new was produced for these releases, but I do appreciate that the bonus specials are included in high-definition with lossless audio on two of the three. 6/10.

The Holiday Collection
The 'Peanuts Holiday Collection' includes three different releases: 'A Charlie Brown Christmas,' 'A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving' and 'It's The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown.'

Each release includes their main special as well as a bonus special, listed in the features above. I have loved each individual release as stated in my reviews of all three releases. This time around we get the same identical discs, packaged together in a cheaper and attractive looking box set.

I have always had a great love for all three releases throughout the years and I am very impressed that Warner Bros. released them on Blu-ray. The 'Peanuts' characters and world have become comic and television icons, with specials that air annually near their respective holiday.

I know I am not alone when I say that these specials are an annual tradition with my family. The specials are charming and always get me in the holiday mood, revisiting the specials I still feel the magic I experienced as a kid.

The 'Peanuts Holiday Collection' is the perfect way to release these, as all three are must owns in my eyes. This release makes for the perfect holiday gift for all ages, share it with your family this holiday! Charlie Brown sure knows how to make a holiday special. 10/10.

The Blu-news Summary
The 'Peanuts Holiday Collection' is simply holiday magic at its best. Three classics, one affordable price. The Blu-ray releases are very good, featuring strong video presentations and fitting audio mixes. This collection is 'Highly Recommended' to all.

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