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DreamWorks Holiday Classics(2007-2011)
A compilation of five Christmas-themed shorts:
Shrek the Halls
The Madagascar Penguins in a Christmas Caper
Donkey's Christmas Shrektacular
Dragons: Gift of the Night Fury
For more about DreamWorks Holiday Classics and the DreamWorks Holiday Classics Blu-ray release, see DreamWorks Holiday Classics Blu-ray Review published by Martin Liebman on November 5, 2012 where this Blu-ray release scored 3.5 out of 5.
Directors: Gary Trousdale, David Soren (I), Walt Dohrn (I), Raman Hui, Tom Owens
Writers: Gary Trousdale, Sean Bishop (I), Theresa Cullen, Bill Riling, Michael Lachance, Eric Darnell
Starring: Mike Myers, Ben Stiller, Chris Rock (I), Eddie Murphy, Antonio Banderas, Jay Baruchel
» See full cast & crew
DreamWorks Holiday Classics Blu-ray Review
Liven up The Holidays with a little DreamWorks cheer.
Reviewed by Martin Liebman, November 5, 2012
DreamWorks has released its second holiday-themed short film bundle of the year with 'DreamWorks Holiday Classics', following up on the hugely successful DreamWorks Spooky Stories. This package contains two shorts from the world of 'Shrek,' a pair of 'Madagascar'-themed tales, and the previously released 'Gift of the Night Fury' set in the world of How to Train your Dragon. Because 'Gift of the Night Fury' is essentially a double-dip, it won't be covered here in terms of content review and picture and sound evaluation, the latter two of which remain seemingly identical (including the Dolby TrueHD 7.1 lossless soundtrack); please click the link above for full details. Of note, however, is that DreamWorks has ditched all of the extras from the previous 'Gift' release, including deleted scenes and the excellent 'Animator's Corner' picture-in-picture supplement; fans will want to hold on to that old release if they desire to keep the same extras, not to mention the second film in that double bill, 'Book of Dragons.' As for the other four films, they're all new to Blu-ray and, as expected, quite good in terms of content and video and audio presentations. Collectively, the grouping doesn't quite hold up to the aforementioned Halloween-themed release; the absence of any 'Monsters vs. Aliens' content hurts this package, but it's nevertheless a fine collection that should spread a nice bit of holiday cheer in the coming weeks and years.
Shrek the Halls (28:01)
Suffice it to say, Shrek isn't quite as ready for Christmas as his pal Donkey. Donkey's counting down the months, not just the days, until that most wonderful time of the year. Finally, Christmas Eve has arrived. It's the first full-family Christmas for Shrek's clan, and it's a white one at that. Of course, Shrek hasn't planned a thing. Off he goes in a rush of desperation to buy just what he needs to save the day: a manual on all things Christmas, a book laying out in detail all the traditions and steps necessary to making an "unforgettable" family holiday a reality in any swamp. Unsurprisingly, Shrek's on-the-fly and not-so-well-laid holiday plans fall apart when Donkey, Puss, the Three Little Pigs, Pinocchio, and the Gingerbread Man crash Christmas Eve at the Shrek household, livening up the party but sending Shrek's temper through the roof. Can he finds the true meaning of Christmas through all his rage, or will he ruin the holiday for one and all?
Donkey's Caroling Christmas-tacular (7:46)
Donkey is throwing a Christmas Party, and everyone -- including the Shrek family -- is expected to sing their favorite Christmas jingles. Fortunately, Shrek is a little more in the Christmas spirit this time, getting into the act and enjoying everything from Puss' rendition of "Fleas Navidad" to a new take on the "Jingle Bell Rock."
Merry Madagascar (22:20)
Alex, Melman, Marty, and Gloria are getting ready to depart Madagascar for home sweet home, New York City, via a makeshift hot air balloon, hoping to arrive right in time for Christmas. Unfortunately, disaster forces them back down on to the ground where they learn of a dark tale of a dangerous goblin. As fate would have it, the goblin attacks the island with...candy canes and presents? It turns out that the "goblin" is really Santa Claus. He has a big bump on his head and a bad case of amnesia. The gang decides to patch up Santa's sleigh, deliver the gifts, and hitch a ride back to New York for good. Nothing could possibly go wrong, could it?
The Penguins in a Christmas Caper (10:50)
In the zoo, everyone is enjoying a festive Christmas, everyone, that is, but the Polar Bear. He is sad and alone, much to the chagrin of Private Penguin. The other Penguins collectively decide they cannot afford to spread any holiday cheer his way. Private decides to take matters into his own hands, gather up all the money he has to his name, and sneak out into the heart of the city with the mission of making the Polar Bear's Christmas a little more joyous. The remaining three Penguins believe Private's been kidnapped, and they set off on a dangerous rescue mission to retrieve the fourth of their foursome.
DreamWorks Holiday Classics Blu-ray, Video Quality
DreamWorks Holiday Classics doesn't always look absolutely stunning, but it's usually quite the looker in terms of its animated visual pizzazz. Colors are brilliant throughout, from Shrek green to Alex tan and all of the cheery Christmas hues scattered throughout the collection. Clarity is excellent throughout, as viewers would expect from a high-end, big-studio animated production. Shrek the Halls does look a bit soft in places, a hair flat, even a tad smeary in a couple of instances, but generally it delivers even, quality -- even striking -- details on Shrek's worn white shirt, ogre skin, Donkey and Puss fur, Pinocchio wood, or Gingerbread Man cookie textures. The Madagascar films offer perhaps slightly more attention to detail and stability. Colors are gorgeous and details are as exacting as the animated style allows; these character don't have the same digital complexity as their Shrek companions, but the quality of the animation is readily evident on Blu-ray. The Penguins do show a hint of banding across their black backs in a couple of shots, but the complex city elements within the episode are marvelous. Black levels all around are superb, and the digital source reveals no major eyesores. Fans should be extremely pleased with the video quality of these shorts.
DreamWorks Holiday Classics Blu-ray, Audio Quality
DreamWorks Holiday Classics arrives with two English lossless audio options -- Dolby True HD 7.1 presentations for Gift of the Night Fury and Donkey's Caroling Christmas-tacular and Dolby TrueHD 5.1 offerings for the remainder of the films. Regardless of the film and its track, the end result is the same: sonic excellence. All of the films enjoy faultless music, dialogue, and sound effect reproduction. All tracks across all films take full advantage of every speaker at their disposal, filling the listening area with sonic goodness. Heavier effects dazzle; whether a Christmas ruckus at Shrek's house, delightful Christmas singing at Donkey's party, some "excitement" during the Madagascar gang's efforts to deliver Christmas presents, or the Penguins' run-in with a small dog, the track tosses sound elements all over the stage to wonderful effect, offering both seamless transitions from one speaker to the next as well as regular and discrete sound effects emitting from every speaker. Ambient elements are also delivered nicely; city din and background information in the swamp and on Madagascar nicely envelop the listening audience into the locales. The dance numbers enjoy high energy and superb musical clarity. Dialogue is even and clear, playing naturally through the center channel. None of the tracks disappoint. Rather, all of them dazzle. As expected, this is a wonderful collection of soundtracks from DreamWorks.
DreamWorks Holiday Classics Blu-ray, Special Features and Extras
Dreamworks Holiday Classics contains only one legitimate extra. A DVD copy of the shorts is also included.
DreamWorks Holiday Classics Blu-ray, Overall Score and Recommendation
Dreamworks Holiday Classics isn't quite the showstopper that is the DreamWorks Halloween bundle. The absence of any Monsters vs. Aliens-themed films really hurts this collection, but DreamWorks fans will find many of their other favorite characters on display and in the midst of various Christmas antics. The humor quotient isn't quite where it should be, perhaps because the edgier, "scarier" Halloween elements fit more comfortably into the world of Shrek (and Monsters vs. Aliens at that). That's also why the two Madagascar-inspired movies work best here; that series seems a little more malleable in terms of wrenching it into a themed special because it lacks the darker fairy tale background of Shrek and the Sci-Fi/50's Horror stylings of Monsters vs. Aliens, granting it more leeway in bending its rules to fit a more cheery holiday. At the end of the day, this is still a strong set of films that fans will enjoy, and it does make both good Christmas season viewing as well as a quality companion to all the other DreamWorks releases. DreamWorks' Blu-ray release of Dreamworks Holiday Classics features excellent video and audio but practically no extras. Nevertheless, this release earns a stocking-stuffer recommendation.
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