The Santa Clause appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 1.85:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. Though the image showed its age, it accurately represented the source material.
Sharpness seemed solid, so the movie presented a pretty crisp and accurate image. I noticed no distinctive signs of softness or fuzziness, as the flick stayed reasonably distinct and detailed; mid-90s movies can look flat, and that occurred here, but I still felt pleased with definition. Jagged edges and shimmering caused no concerns, and I also noticed no edge haloes. I got no sense of digital noise reduction here, as the movie came with prominent grain. Print flaws weren’t a factor in this clean presentation.
Colors offered a strong aspect of the transfer. The movie featured appropriately bright Christmas tones, and the disc replicated them nicely. Granted, the bland mid-90s stock and the grain dulled them somewhat, but the hues were still pretty peppy. Black levels came across as dense and dark, and shadows were fairly smooth and clear. No one will mistake this for demo-level visuals, but the Blu-ray provided an appropriate representation of the flick.
I felt the same way toward the DTS-HD MA 5.1 soundtrack of The Santa Clause. Not surprisingly, the soundfield maintained a general emphasis in the forward spectrum. Music showed fairly solid stereo imaging, and effects offered a nice sense of atmosphere.. As I noted, the front channels dominated, but the rear speakers also added some useful information at times. They reinforced the music well, and a reasonable amount of unique effects also popped up from the rear. In general, the soundfield was engaging and appropriate for the material.
Audio quality came across as positive. Speech seemed warm and natural, and I noticed no issues related to intelligibility or edginess. Effects appeared realistic and accurate. They packed a nice punch when appropriate, and they displayed no distortion problems.
Music seemed bright and rich, and the score also showed nice bass response. Though modest in scope for the most part, the audio of The Santa Clause appeared very good. This wasn’t a movie from which I expected killer sound, but it achieved its goals.
How does the Blu-ray compare to the 2002 Special Edition DVD? The audio seemed clearer and more impactful, and it also corrected some odd balance issues. As for the visuals, the Blu-ray was cleaner, tighter and more dynamic in general. This was a nice step up from the DVD.
The Blu-ray replicates most of the prior DVD’s extras. So You Wanna Be An Elf? provides a six-minute and 30-second “examination” of the processes through which new elves must go. Featuring David Krumholtz as Bernard, this piece gives us a cutesy document of this “training”. It’s generally lame and pointless, though at least it tosses in a few shots from the set of Clause.
For budding chefs, we find Making Santa Snacks With Wolfgang, a program that teaches us how to make some different eats. This includes three video segments that last a total of 15 minutes, 41 seconds, and illustrate how to make Wolfgang Puck’s pizza, classic Christmas cookies, and Santa’s favorite cocoa. In addition, we get text recipes for those items and also discover measurement conversion charts.
As for the video programs, they offer an obnoxious presentation. Puck cooks with some kids in Christmas garb, which seems fine. However, the post-production pours on goofy sound effects and extraneous animation, all of which make the clips almost unbearable to watch. The cooking tips might be useful for kids, but I found the pieces annoying.
Though the Blu-ray omits a trivia game from the last DVD, it does come with that contest’s reward: a “Silly Symphony” from 1933. The Night Before Christmas lasts seven minutes, 55 seconds and is absurdly cutesy, but it still makes a nice addition to the package.
The Blu-ray opens with ads for Wreck-It Ralph and The Odd Life of Timothy Green. These also appear under Sneak Peeks along with clips for Finding Nemo and Peter Pan. No trailer for Clause shows up here.
Although it doesn’t match up with the best Christmas movies, The Santa Clause offers a generally entertaining piece. It suffers from some obnoxious child actors and excessive sentimentality, but it includes enough amusing moments to work as family viewing. The Blu-ray boasts pretty good picture and audio but doesn’t include substantial supplements. Though I wish this set offered stronger bonus materials, at least it replicates the movie itself in a pleasing manner.
Note that you can buy Santa Clause on its own or as part of the “Santa Clause Complete 3-Movie Collection”. That one also includes the film’s two sequels and offers a discount for fans who want to get all three.
To rate this film visit the Special Edition review of THE SANTA CLAUSE