Santa Claus Is Comin’ to Town appears in an aspect ratio of 1.33:1 on this Blu-Ray Disc. The image seemed pretty good.
Sharpness was usually fine. A bit of softness interfered at times, but not to a substantial degree.
Instead, the show mostly came across as fairly well-defined – and maybe a little too well-defined, as the Blu-ray revealed the wires that held up characters at times. I noticed no jaggies or moiré effects, and edge haloes failed to appear.
Town demonstrated natural grain and lacked print flaws. Early shots wobbled more than expected, which I suspect stemmed from the source, though this wasn’t an issue after the opening credits.
While most Christmas specials utilize broad palettes, the design of Town meant it went with substantially more restricted tones. That’s because the dank setting of Sombertown as well as the icy realm of the Winter Warlock dominated the program.
When brighter elements appeared, however, they looked nicely vivid and concise. Blacks were dark and tight, while the occasional low-light shots looked fairly clean and visible. This became a pleasing presentation.
Taken from the original monaural source, the show’s DTS-HD MA 5.1 soundtrack lacked ambition. Indeed, if the audio ever did much to broaden past its single-channel origins, I couldn’t detect it.
The mix focused heavily on the front center, and that was fine with me. I’d have preferred a “dedicated mono” rendition, but this was close enough.
Audio quality seemed fine for its age. Speech occasionally came across as a little edgy, but the lines were usually fairly concise. Music lacked much range but showed reasonable clarity, and effects offered acceptable accuracy. This became a decent representation of the source.
How did the 2018 Blu-ray compare to the 2015 BD? Audio seemed identical, as I noticed no differences between the 5.1 tracks of the two.
Visuals showed an uptick with the 2018 disc, though. It offered superior accuracy and colors along with fewer source flaws. Expect a nice step up in quality.
This version of the special comes with an audio commentary from animation historian Greg Ehrbar. He presents a running, screen-specific look at story/characters, design and animation, music, cast and performances, and various bits of trivia/history.
For the most part, we get a generally good chat, though Ehrbar can tend to simply narrate the show a little too much. Still, he brings a decent array of insights along the way.
A documentary called The Animagic World of Rankin/Bass runs 47 minutes and includes comments from animation historian Greg Evanier, filmmakers Henry Selick, Jon Favreau, Kevin Lima, Chris Butler, Graham Annable, Seamus Walsh, Mark Caballero, and Brenda Chapman, writer Allan Neuwirth, pop culture podcaster Adam Murdough, animation historians Jerry Beck and Greg Ehrbar, stop motion animation producers Stephen Chiodo, Charles Chiodo and Edward Chiodo, critic Will Friedwald and producer Lee Mendelson.
The special discusses the history of the Rankin/Bass partnership, aspects of various productions, and impressions of the shows. While we learn a bit about Rankin/Bass, most of “World” focuses on the participants’ appreciation for their work.
A little of this goes a long way. While we learn some decent notes about the different specials, too much of “World” just praises the productions, so it lacks as much substance as expected.
I can’t call Santa Claus Is Comin’ to Town one of the best Rankin/Bass Christmas specials. It plays things too safe and cutesy to really excel. Nonetheless, it’s perfectly enjoyable and pleasant. The Blu-ray offers pleasing visuals along with acceptable audio and a few supplements. Town remains a likable show.
This “Deluxe Edition” of Comin’ can be purchased on its own or as part of a set called “The Original Christmas Specials”. Along with Santa, it includes Frosty the Snowman, Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, The Little Drummer Boy and Cricket on the Hearth.
To rate this film, visit the DVD review of SANTA CLAUS IS COMIN' TO TOWN