The Review at a Glance: (max score: 5 )
Audio/Video total rating:
( Max score: 100 )
Studio and Year: Warner - 1983
MPAA Rating: PG
Feature running time: 93 Minutes
Disc Format: BD-25
Video Aspect: 1.85:1
Audio Format(s): English/French Dolby Digital Mono
Subtitles: English. French, Spanish
Starring: Peter Billingsley, Melinda Dillon, Darren McGavin, Scott Schwartz, RD Robb
Directed by: Bob Clark
Written by: Jean Shepherd, Leigh Brown, Bob Clark - Based upon the book In God we trust, all others pay cash by Jean Shepherd
Region Code: A
Blu-ray Disc release Date: November 4, 2008
"In God we trust, all others pay cash"
The Christmas spirit isn't served up with more observant hilarity than in this beloved adaptation of Jean Shepherd's holiday story. In 1940s Indiana, nine-year-old Ralphie (Peter Billingsley) dreams of his ideal Christmas gift: a genuine Red Ryder 200-shot Carbine Action Air Rifle. But when gruff dad (Darren McGavin) and doting mom (Melinda Dillion) regularly respond with "You'll shoot your eye out!" Ralphie mounts a full-scale Santa-begging campaign. He encounters a slew of calamities from snowsuit paralysis to the dreaded tongue-on-a-frozen-flagpole gambit. We triple-dog-dare you to unwrap a more welcome Yultide classic!
In my house it goes without saying that the Christmas season is not complete until we have watched A Christmas Story. It is a story that is timeless and one that each of us can readily identify with. Peter Billingsley, Scott Schwartz, RD Robb, and Zack Ward will forever be remembered as the kids from this lovable classic film. From listening to them talk about it, it is a remembrance that they are all proud of. Ralphie's parents, played by Darren McGavin and Melinda Dillon, were perfectly cast and it is hard to imagine that anyone else could have filled those roles. This is one of my favorite holiday films and its 2006 release on high definition Blu-ray Disc was very exciting indeed. In honor of its 25 year Anniversary Warner has re-released it on both DVD and Blu-ray in several festive holiday sets. The Ultimate Collector's Edition Blu-ray version reviewed here comes packaged in a retro holiday cookie tin that includes a leg lamp Christmas light strand. What a great opportunity for fans who don't own this film yet on Blu-ray Disc to get it in this limited edition offering.
The rating is for sequences that depict minor adolescent bullying. Otherwise there is little here for parents to be concerned about.
AUDIO/VIDEO - By The Numbers:
REFERENCE = 92-100 / EXCELLENT = 83-91 / GOOD = 74-82 / AVERAGE = 65-73 / BELOW AVERAGE = under 65
**My audio/video ratings are based upon a comparative made against other high definition media/blu-ray disc.**
(Each rating is worth 5 points with a max of 4 per category)
- Low frequency extension:
- Dialogue Reproduction:
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)
- Black level/Shadow detail:
- Color reproduction:
A Christmas Story comes to Blu-ray Disc featuring 1080p VC-1 encoded video that has an average bitrate of 25 mbps and lossy Dolby Digital Mono that a constant bitrate of 192 kbps.
This is the same encoding that was used on last year's high definition Blu-ray Disc release. It boasts colors that are not overly vibrant but are time period appropriate for the film. They are cleanly rendered with naturally pleasing and warm tones that look appreciably better in high definition. Skin tones are also rather warm with rose colored cheeks and soft complexions that look just fine. Images are on the grainy side with resolution that delivers moderate levels of high definition detail. This coupled with sharpness that is fairly inconsistent leaves the video looking a bit soft and lacking in definitive line structure. Some scenes do look better than others and occasionally dimensional perspective improves. Blacks are on the muddy side and shadow detail is above average. I expect that this is probably very close to what the original source looks like. The end result is still the best that this film has ever looked on home video which makes me happy.
The Dolby Digital Mono track was surprisingly decent. I never had any trouble discerning any of the elements present in the soundtrack. This was true of subtle background sounds even during Jean Shepherd's running narration. Dialogue was prominent and crystal clear with room penetration that was very good. Like the video quality I suspect that this is as good as we are going to hear this film and quite frankly I think it is part of its charm.
- Commentary by Peter Billingsley and Director/Co-writer Bob Clark
- Daisy Red Ryder: A history - Short documentary on the history of a classic
- Another Christmas Story: Peter Billingsley narrates this short feature detailing how this classic became a classic
- Script pages - A scripted peek at a scene that was cut from the film
- Fun + Games: Get a leg up - a fun look at the making of the leg lamp
- Theatrical trailer
- Leg lamp short
A Christmas Story has become a Christmas holiday staple that fans seem to love to watch over and over. I can think of no better way to relive it than on high definition Blu-ray Disc. In celebration of its 25 year Anniversary Warner Home Video is re-releasing it on DVD and Blu-ray Disc in Ultimate Collector's Edition sets featuring festive holiday retro tins and film related goodies that fans can keep and enjoy for years to come. This Blu-ray disc offers the same audio/video presentation from the initial 2006 release which clearly represents the best that this film has ever looked on home video. Those who already own the Blu-ray Disc may or may not want to double dip in order to obtain the contents included with this offer but I imagine that may only be reserved for the true diehard fans. Enjoy!
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