DVD Movie Guide @ dvdmg.com
.
Review Archive:  # | A-C | D-F | G-I | J-L | M-O | P-R | S-U | V-Z | Viewer Ratings | Main
WARNER

MOVIE INFO

Director:
Jules Bass, Arthur Rankin Jr.
Cast:
Andy Griffith, Shelley Winters, Dennis Day, Paul Frees, Jackie Vernon
Writing Credits:
Romeo Muller

Synopsis:
Christmas is a time for snowmen, log fires, and, of course, holiday TV specials! This collection bundles together some of TV's most beloved Yuletide programs featuring Santa Claus, Frosty the Snowman, and Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer. For some a nostalgic reminder of holidays past, and the start of new memories for others, this release includes How The Grinch Stole Christmas, The Leprechaun's Christmas Gold, The Little Drummer Boy Book II, The Stingiest Man in Town, The Year Without A Santa Claus: Deluxe Edition, Rudolph's Shiny New Year, Nestor, The Long-Eared Christmas Donkey, Frosty's Winter Wonderland, 'Twas The Night Before Christmas, and Rudolph and Frosty's Christmas in July.

MPAA:
Rated NR

DVD DETAILS
Presentation:
Fullscreen 1.33:1
Audio:
English Monaural
Subtitles:
English
Closed-captioned
Supplements Subtitles:
English

Runtime: 25 min.
Price: $39.98
Release Date: 10/7/2008

Available Only as Part of “Classic Christmas Favorites”

Bonus:
• “’Twas the Night Before Christmas” Animated Special
• Sneak Peeks


PURCHASE @ AMAZON.COM

EQUIPMENT
Sony 36" WEGA KV-36FS12 Monitor; Sony DA333ES Processor/Receiver; Panasonic CV-50 DVD Player using component outputs; Michael Green Revolution Cinema 6i Speakers (all five); Sony SA-WM40 Subwoofer.

RELATED REVIEWS


Frosty's Winter Wonderland (Classic Christmas Favorites) (1976)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (December 10, 2008)

Given the eternal popularity of 1969’s Frosty the Snowman, a sequel became inevitable. This materialized in 1976 with Frosty’s Winter Wonderland, a less successful view of the living snowman.

In Wonderland, Frosty (voiced by Jackie Vernon) returns from his sabbatical at the North Pole. During his visit, two plot threads develop. First, Frosty deals with the jealousy of Jack Frost (Paul Frees). Jack wants all the kids to love him, too, so he tries to sabotage Frosty’s doings.

These consistently backfire while Frosty remains oblivious to Jack’s shenanigans. In the meantime, Frosty feels lonely so the kids try to help. Their solution? They create a Mrs. Frosty (Shelley Winters) to keep him company.

Although Wonderland offers more story elements than its predecessor, it somehow feels less substantial. That seems like an odd criticism for a short animated show based on a song, but it’s true. Wonderland has little reason to exist other than as ready-made TV fodder, so it lacks even the generic creativity of the original Frosty.

That doesn’t make it unpleasant, and it moves by pretty quickly. Nonetheless, it doesn’t really go anywhere. The original Frosty doesn’t stand as one of my holiday faves, but it maintains a certain integrity and sense of purpose absent from the sequel.

Maybe the split into two plot threads harms the show. Neither of them seems especially compelling, though the Jack Frost side of things remains the less sensible of the pair. I get the need for Frosty to have a partner, but I don’t see why the producers thought a rival would be appealing. I suppose they felt we needed some dramatic villain, but Jack’s motivation feels illogical.

It also seems a little funny to see Jack cast as a baddie since he later appears as the good-natured star of his own special. Both Rankin-Bass shows use similar character design for Jack, but in terms of personality, the dude in the 1979 program acts as the opposite of this piece’s jealous snot.

Well, one doesn’t look to Rankin-Bass specials for great continuity. In that vein, we lose Jimmy Durante as the narrator. It appears that Durante had retired by 1976, so Wonderland replaces him with Andy Griffith. Old Matlock does a decent job in the undemanding part, though he doesn’t live up to the gravelly charm displayed by Durante.

At least Vernon returns as the lead; a new Frosty would’ve been a disappointment, though the 1992 Frosty Returns used John Goodman in the part and might’ve been more entertaining than the origial. Winters does just fine as Crystal, Frosty’s bride, and Dennis Day provides a nice little turn as the parson. Nothing about the cast mars the production.

However, nothing that occurs here does much to boost the presentation, either. Frosty’s Winter Wonderland provides mild entertainment at best. It goes by quickly and doesn’t actively annoy, but I can’t say much more for it than that.


The DVD Grades: Picture C/ Audio C/ Bonus B-

Frosty’s Winter Wonderland appears in an aspect ratio of 1.33:1 on this single-sided, single-layered DVD; due to those dimensions, the image has not been enhanced for 16X9 televisions. Some aspects of the presentation looked pretty good, but a mix of flaws marred the transfer.

Some of these may’ve stemmed from the source material. For instance, colors varied in terms of accuracy. The show usually offered a vivid, lively palette, but some odd inconsistencies materialized. The program can’t keep Andy Griffith’s hair the same color from shot to shot. While his locks usually displayed the logical sandy brown tint, sometimes the hair would look green. Nonetheless, the hues were generally positive and acted as one of the transfer’s stronger aspects.

Sharpness also seemed satisfying most of the time. A little softness occasionally interfered with the presentation, but the show appeared pretty well-defined most of the time. I noticed no issues with jagged edges or shimmering, and edge enhancement wasn’t a concern. Blacks showed good darkness, and the few low-light sequences were appropriately visible.

Wonderland fell to a “C” due to its print flaws. Some parts of the show looked okay, but much of the time I noticed a mix of specks, marks, hairs, lines and other defects. Though the show could’ve looked messier, it also could – and should – have been cleaner. That factor made this a watchable but problematic presentation.

I expected little from the program’s monaural audio, and that’s what I got: consistently mediocre sound. I thought that was fine, though, as a 32-year-old TV show didn’t require auditory fireworks. Speech occasionally betrayed a little edginess, but the lines usually seemed acceptably concise and natural. Music showed decent vivacity, and effects were reasonably clear and accurate. No issues with source noise materialized. Overall, this was a perfectly decent piece of audio.

In terms of extras, the main attraction comes from another holiday special: 1974’s ’Twas the Night Before Christmas. In this cartoon, a book-smart mouse named Albert (voiced by Tammy Grimes) prints an open letter to Santa that declares no one in his town believes that the Jolly Fat Dude exists. This creates a massive kerfuffle in Junctionville that leaves the townsfolk in desperate need of a way to mollify Santa.

Clockmaker Joshua Trundle (Joel Grey) proposes that they build a special clock to welcome St. Nick and get themselves back on his “nice” list. Trundle gets approval for this, but problems develop that threaten the project’s success.

Like Frosty the Snowman, Night comes based on an outside source. Night actually gives us a very loose adaptation of the Clement Moore poem. In fact, if the producers didn’t exploit the “…not even a mouse” line as license to create rodent lead characters, I don’t think the two would have anything in common at all. Oh, the show uses the poem toward its end, but in truth, Night borrows the title but doesn’t do anything else with its inspiration.

And you know what? That’s absolutely fine. If Night adhered more closely to the poem, it wouldn’t really have much of anywhere to go. It seems a little cheap to simply exploit the title, but I have no complaints about the story of Night.

Indeed, it provides one of the more creative of the 1970s Christmas specials. Along with a pretty good voice cast and some memorable songs, the show consistently entertains. Night doesn’t stand on a list of the most beloved Christmas programs, but I think it’s one of the best.

Too bad this DVD brings it to us in a poor manner. The visuals tended to be soft and suffered from a lot of specks, nicks and marks. Colors were a bit flat and runny, and blacks usually seemed too dense. Audio was thin and constricted, with quite a lot of edginess and sibilance to the speech and vocals. I didn’t think Wonderland looked or sounded particularly good, but Night seemed much worse off in terms of its presentation.

We also find some Sneak Peeks. These come for Nine Dog Christmas: The Movie, Aloha Scooby-Doo, What’s New, Scooby-Doo, Vol. 4: Merry, Scary Holiday, Kangaroo Jack: G’Day USA! and Cartoon Network Christmas: Yuletide Follies.

With 1976’s Frosty’s Winter Wonderland, the folks at Rankin-Bass created a follow-up to a holiday classic. While not unwatchable, Wonderland fails to live up to even the moderate pleasures of its predecessor. I don’t think the original Frosty is a great show, but it works better than this forgettable sequel. The DVD presents fairly mediocre picture and audio along with a bonus special that actually entertains better than the main attraction. Pick up this DVD if you want to see the entertaining ’Twas the Night Before Christmas, but don’t expect much from Frosty’s Winter Wonderland.

Note that you can buy Frosty’s Winter Wonderland on its own or as part of a boxed set called “Classic Christmas Favorites”. The package also includes holiday specials such as The Year Without a Santa Claus, Dr. Seuss' How the Grinch Stole Christmas and Rudolph and Frosty’s Christmas in July. With a list price of $39.98, it’s a good deal if you want all the shows.

Viewer Film Ratings: 3.6666 Stars Number of Votes: 3
25:
04:
0 3:
02:
11:
View Averages for all rated titles.

.
Review Archive:  # | A-C | D-F | G-I | J-L | M-O | P-R | S-U | V-Z | Viewer Ratings | Main