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MOVIE INFO

Director:
Karen Disher
Cast:
Ray Romano, John Leguizamo, Denis Leary, Queen Latifah , Seann William Scott, Josh Peck, Judah Friedlander, Ciara Bravo
Writing Credits:
Unknown

Synopsis:
When Sid accidentally destroys Manny's heirloom Christmas rock and ends up on Santa's "naughty list", he leads a hilarious quest to the North Pole to make things right and ends up making things much worse. Now it's up to Manny and his prehistoric posse to band together and save Christmas for the entire world.

MPAA:
Rated NR

DVD DETAILS
Presentation:
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
Audio:
English DTS-HD MA 5.1
French Dolby Digital 5.1
Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1
Subtitles:
English
Spanish
Closed-captioned
Supplements Subtitles:
None

Runtime: 25 min.
Price: $14.99
Release Date: 11/26/2011

Bonus:
Ice Age: Continental Drift Sneak Peek
• “Swingin’ Jingle Bells” Music Video
• DVD Copy
• Digital Copy
• Previews


PURCHASE @ AMAZON.COM

EQUIPMENT
Panasonic 50" TH-50PZ77U 1080p Plasma Monitor; Sony STR-DG1200 7.1 Channel Receiver; Panasonic DMP-BD60K Blu-Ray Player using HDMI outputs; Michael Green Revolution Cinema 6i Speakers (all five); Kenwood 1050SW 150-watt Subwoofer.

RELATED REVIEWS


Ice Age: A Mammoth Christmas Special [Blu-Ray] (2011)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (December 7, 2011)

Has there ever been a Christmas special that took place in an era millennia Before Christ? I’m not sure, but if that genre didn’t already exist, it does now with 2011’s Ice Age: A Mammoth Christmas Special.

All of our old Ice Age pals prep for the holiday, and this means Manny the Mammoth (voiced by Ray Romano) trots out a family tradition: the Christmas Rock. Alas, due to his usual stupidity, Sid the Sloth (John Leguizamo) breaks it. When Manny chews out his friend, he warns him that his careless behavior will land him on Santa’s “naughty list”.

Manny simply made up the “naughty list” on the spur of the moment, but Sid takes it seriously – as does Manny’s daughter Peaches (Ciara Bravo). Along with possum buddies Crash (Seann William Scott) and Eddie (Josh Peck), they decide to trek to the North Pole to convince Santa they don’t belong on the “naughty list”.

Is it nit-picky that I accept movies about talking, anthropomorphic pre-historic animals but find it tough to swallow a Christmas special about talking, anthropomorphic animals? It really does seem to be an odd choice – and one that I can’t help but think exists partly for promotional reasons, as Mammoth aids in the advertising for next summer’s fourth big-screen Ice Age flick.

If you get beyond the basic bizarreness of a Christmas special that takes place millennia before the birth of Christ, then you’ll probably get entertainment value from Mammoth. It uses its place in the BC days to show the invention of many Christmas concepts, virtually all of which touch on Santa and various secular traditions.

I think it’s wise that the show completely avoids any religious connections to the holiday. Not only would that subject lend a certain seriousness to the program that would seem out of place, but also it’d create an even more bizarre sense of chronology. It’s already weird enough that the Ice Age characters celebrate a religious icon who wouldn’t be born for many centuries; any allusions to said figure would muddy the waters even more.

Given the existence of Santa as a fantasy character, the show manages to kinda sorta overcome its inherent oddness. It helps that it only runs 25 minutes; given the program’s quirky nature, anything longer would’ve likely become too slow to work. Mammoth provides a simple story and exists as an excuse to have some fun with the holiday.

And it does create a reasonable sense of charm and entertainment. I’ve thought the various Ice Age movies were decent but rarely more than that; only 2009’s Dawn of the Dinosaurs offered real pizzazz, and even that success was due virtually entirely to the presence of one then-new character.

The personality in question – Buck the weasel – makes no appearance in Mammoth, but the show nonetheless boasts a loose sense of verve that usually remains absent from the lackluster movies. Perhaps the program’s semi-throwaway existence allowed its creators to loosen up and not worry about too much. Mammoth certainly has a lightness about it that doesn’t come with the movies; those feel oddly dense and dull for comedies about pre-historic critters.

Again, I suspect the abbreviated running time has a lot to do with it. Mammoth feels no need to deliver any deep themes or character development. It just wants to show it take on the creation of various Christmas traditions and have a little fun. It succeeds in that regard.

Of course, it helps that Mammoth features all the same actors from the theatrical films. None of them stand out as particularly memorable here, but their presence gives the show a sense of quality – or at least allays the stigma of cheapness that replacement performers would convey. They play their parts well.

Will Mammoth become a holiday perennial? Probably not, but that doesn’t mean it lacks value. This turns into a pretty fun little holiday special.


The Blu-ray Grades: Picture A/ Audio B/ Bonus D+

Ice Age: A Mammoth Christmas Special appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 1.78:1 on this Blu-Ray Disc. Expect an excellent visual presentation.

At all times, sharpness appeared terrific. Not a sliver of softness ever marred this tight image, as it was consistently accurate and concise. Jagged edges and shimmering failed to show up, and I saw no edge haloes or artifacts. Of course, the CGI program lacked any print flaws.

Colors worked well. Given its icy setting, the show went with a somewhat bluish, chilly palette, and the tones looked strong inside those parameters. Blacks were deep and tight, while shadows seemed full and well-defined. I felt totally pleased by this dynamic presentation.

Though not as good, the show’s DTS-HD MA 5.1 soundtrack worked fine. The soundscape opened things up in a reasonable manner, with an emphasis on the forward spectrum. Material meshed together well and showed nice movement as well as some localized speech. Surround usage tended toward general reinforcement, though some elements such as an avalanche managed to use the back speakers nicely.

Audio quality was always solid. Speech seemed concise and distinctive, without edginess or other problems. Music appeared bright and full, while effects showed nice clarity and heft. This was a more than acceptable track.

Very few extras appear here. We find a music video for “Swingin’ Jingle Bells”. It runs three minutes and gives us a collection of show snippets set to music. It’s a pretty forgettable clip.

The Blu-ray opens with ads for We Bought a Zoo and Mr. Popper’s Penguins. The disc also features a Sneak Peek for 2012’s Ice Age: Continental Drift. It lasts two minutes, three seconds and simply shows a short scene from the movie; don’t expect any additional information about the flick.

Two extra discs accompany the Blu-ray. One offers a DVD version of the program, while the other gives us a digital copy of Mammoth. Both add some value to the release.

As weird as the combination of prehistoric animals, Christmas and Santa might be, Ice Age: A Mammoth Christmas Special works pretty well. No, the basic concept doesn’t make a lick of sense, but we get a fun take on the invention of various holiday traditions in this light and breezy show. The Blu-ray boasts excellent picture and good audio but lacks significant supplements. $15 MSRP for a 25-minute program without bonus features seems a little steep, but if you dig the Ice Age universe, it’s probably a worthwhile purchase since you’ll want to watch it every Christmas.

Viewer Film Ratings: -- Stars Number of Votes: 0
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