Jingle All the Way appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 1.85:1 on this single-sided, double-layered DVD; the image has been enhanced for 16X9 televisions. While the picture generally seemed good, a few nagging issues caused it to fall short of greatness.
Sharpness offered a slightly mixed bag. Most of the movie came across as accurate and distinctive, but some exceptions occurred. At times, the film seemed mildly ill-defined, particularly in wide shots. The softness didn’t appear heavy, but it created some minor distractions. I discerned no moiré effects or jagged edges, but edge enhancement popped up at times. Print flaws occasionally manifested themselves via some specks and grit, but these remained fairly infrequent. Grain looked a bit heavy at times, though.
Across the board, the film’s colors seemed solid. As one might expect from a Christmas story, the flick displayed a broad and varied palette, and the DVD replicated these tones in a dynamic and vibrant manner. Black levels were adequately deep and rich, and shadow detail was appropriately clear but not excessively opaque. No significant problems marred Jingle, but enough small concerns popped up to knock my grade down to a “B”.
Comedies don’t usually provide much in the audio department, and the Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack of Jingle All the Way fell into line with expectations. The soundfield seemed heavily oriented toward the front, but it seemed to be fairly engaging nonetheless. The forward channels presented a reasonably clean and engaging atmosphere, as the audio created a believable sound space. The music showed good stereo presence, and elements moved smoothly across the forward spectrum as they blended together neatly. Surround usage appeared fairly minor. For the most part, the rear speakers provided little more than reinforcement of the forward image. A few shots used the surrounds more actively, like during the opening episode of Turbo Man and the fight at the end, but those occasions occurred infrequently.
Audio quality appeared fine. Speech remained natural and concise, with no signs of edginess or problems connected to intelligibility. Music showed nice range and clarity, and the bass response demonstrated a reasonably solid punch, though some disappointments occurred; for example, during the Santa fight, the big Santa’s foreboding footsteps lacked much presence. Effects were bright and accurate, and they also showed good depth when appropriate. Nothing about the soundtrack stood out as exceptional, but the mix seemed decent for this sort of flick.
How did the picture and audio of this “Family Fun Edition” compare to those of the prior DVD from 2004? I thought the two discs looked and sounded very similar. I didn’t feel any significant pluses or minuses came with the new DVD.
A few extras round out the set. The primary attraction here comes from the extended version of Jingle. This longer cut adds four minutes and 11 seconds to the running time of the theatrical release; the latter also appears on the DVD. If you want a list of the differences between the two cuts… look elsewhere. I only saw the theatrical cut once and that was three years ago, so I couldn’t determine changes other than the addition of a scene with Yeardley Smith as a woman who bilks Howard for a Booster doll. I can say that the longer cut works no better or worse than the theatrical version. Both have the same pros and cons, so don’t expect the added material to make a difference.
Fans who read the packaging will be disappointed, though. A sticker on the slipcase proclaims that this cut comes with “over 20 minutes of footage not seen in theaters!” and the running time on the back states that the film lasts 122 minutes, which would mean 33 minutes of extra material.
But those promises don’t come true. The extended cut lasts precisely 93 minutes, 39 seconds – not 122 minutes, and only four minutes longer than the 89-minute and 28-second theatrical version. How did Fox mess up this situation so badly? I don’t know, but this is a big mistake since the extended cut isn’t nearly as long as promised.
Three featurettes follow. The Making of a Hero goes for 15 minutes, 29 seconds and includes info from director Brian Levant, Turbo Man designer/supervisor Tim Flattery, producer Michael Barnathan, and actors Arnold Schwarzenegger and Dan Riordan. “Hero” looks at the design of Turbo Man, the creation of the live-action costume, and shooting the superhero scenes. The show offers a surprisingly tight little look at the Turbo Man topics. It turns into a fun and informative view of those subjects.
Super Kids lasts eight minutes, 12 seconds and presents notes from kids of varying ages from four to 14. They tell us why they like superheroes and what powers they wish they possessed. It’s a pretty pointless piece.
Finally, Turbo Man: Behind the Mask fills eight minutes, 17 seconds. It offers a faux documentary that pretends there really was a Turbo Man series in the mid-1990s. It’s cute but not particularly interesting, especially since it wants us to believe Turbo Man really existed.
Two games crop up next. Christmas Rush is a completely pointless contest that requires you to randomly scout a toy store for the Turbo Man doll. My patience lasted about 30 seconds before I quit. Guess the Gift has you shake, weight and then X-ray packages to figure out what’s in them. It’s more interesting than “Rush” but not by much.
A Photo Gallery presents a mix of images. Presented as a running five-minute and 27-second piece, it features a collection of stills from the set. The pictures are decent but the interface bites since you can’t fast forward or reverse during the run of shots.
The DVD opens with some ads. We get previews for Home Alone and “all-new special editions” of Ice Age, Anastasia, and Ferngully. Apparently Fox sat on this DVD for awhile since it promotes titles as “new” even though they’ve been out since 2006. Heck, it says that the “Family Fun” edition of Home Alone is “coming soon” – almost a year after it hit the shelves. No trailer for Jingle appears here.
I suppose its creators hoped that Jingle All the Way would become a holiday classic. Instead, it turned into little more than a footnote on Arnold Schwarzenegger’s résumé. The movie presents the occasional laugh, but a muddled story and too much easy emotion drags it down to the level of impotent tripe. The DVD features generally positive picture and audio along with a few minor extras. This is a decent disc for a forgettable movie.
Fans of Jingle will find this to be the best DVD version of the film, but it’s not a great release. The extended cut of the flick adds only four minutes to the experience – not the promised 20-minutes-plus – and the supplements are mostly mediocre. It’s the strongest DVD of Jingle but definitely not worth a double dip if you already own the prior disc.
To rate this film, visit the original review of JINGLE ALL THE WAY