A Charlie Brown Christmas (Deluxe Special Edition) Blu-ray Review

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Reviewed by Mark Botwright, 24th December 2009
It is very hard to unconditionally recommend A Charlie Brown Christmas, even if I do find it a yuletide classic myself. It lacks the run time to be seen as a quintessential festive film and this disc attempts to remedy that by giving us the 1992 Christmas special as well – a move which only serves to remind us how well crafted the original was. The feature though is still worthy of your attention, and if you can look past the sketchy animation and learn to see the tremendous character in the approach of placing atmosphere and script above perfect visuals, you'll find this to be eminently rewarding.

The disc has just about the best image presentation that we could have hoped for, with decent colour stability, good delineation and a surprising amount of dimensionality to it. The audio may not be quite as polished but for a 1965 monaural mix that has been stretched to 5.1 it is more than acceptable, particularly when you consider how few sounds there are to utilise with which to create atmosphere. Perhaps Guaraldi's score deserves more attention to bring it out in full but at least there are no glaring distractions that mar the experience. The extras are either thin or healthy depending on whether you consider the second Christmas special as a bonus or rather part of a double bill feature presentation.

Overall, if you're a fan of great animation or Charlie Brown I'm sure you may have already picked this up. For the rest this may simply fall into the category of a temptation budget buy.
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Glad to hear this one looks good, and also that there's a bit of print damage - I seem to remember the last releases of these had atrocious dirt and scratch removal artefacts that wiped out character outlines.

I made Warner very aware of the issues associated with DVNR and animation and they seem to be doing a much better job these days.

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