Featured Blu-ray / DVD Review: Prep and Landing: Totally Tinsel Collection
November 14th, 2012
I previously reviewed the original Prep and Landing TV special. I had rather low expectations, but I was pleasantly surprised. In fact, my only real complaint was its running time. The second special came out last year and was released on DVD and Blu-ray a couple of weeks ago. Is it as good as the first one? And is the DVD and / or Blu-ray Combo Pack worth picking up?
The special begins with an introduction to the Coal Elf Brigade. These are the elves that determine if someone really has been naughty and if so, they are the ones to deliver the coal. They are prepared to deal with the worse of children, usually. Last year they dealt with a particularly bad child and in the process of escaping, they left behind their Fruitcake Conduct Calculator and this year the child, who goes by the screen name Jinglesmell1337, is trying to hack their way into the Naughty or Nice computer, so they can change their naughty rating. Magee informs Wayne and Lanny it will be their job to go in and retrieve it. However, they won't be going alone. Santa thinks they will need help from someone with more experience in dealing with naughty kids, a Coal Elf. At first, Wayne is annoyed that Santa thinks they will need help. Then he meets the Coal Elf, Noel, Wayne's little brother. It is not a happy family reunion, at least not for Wayne.
When they get to Jinglesmell1337's house, they find out they are expected. That's not the only surprise they find. (Although frankly I thought the first surprise twist was really obvious.)
I was pleasantly surprised before, so I went into this special with higher expectations, but that turned out to be just fine. In fact, I would argue the second special is actually better. Because it is a sequel, they didn't need to spend as much time setting up the world and the characters and instead can get right to the action, and the comedy. Also, the action is bigger this time. Instead of Christmas for one child being at stake, the entire computer network is compromised meaning all of Christmas could be canceled. Finally, there's a lot more emotional weight here. In the first film, Wayne was feeling under-appreciated. Here we see into his relationship with his family and how that is mirrored with Jinglesmell1337's relationship with her little brother. If you liked the first special, it is very likely you will enjoy this one as well.
All of the old extras are ported over to the Blu-ray, including Operation: Secret Santa, Tony's Big Adventure, Kringle Academy, etc. New extras include five behind-the-scenes featurettes: The Recording Proces, The Animation Process, The Characters, Christmas Unwrap, and Behind-the-scenes. There is also a behind-the-scenes featurette on Grace Porter, who sings the theme song.
The video and audio are very good, considering this is a TV special. The level of details is not as high as it would be if it were a theatrical release, but there are no problems with scenes that are too soft or have compression issues. The colors are bright, the blacks are deep without swallowing details, the contrast is strong. The audio is very good, compared to most TV releases. The dialogue is clear, the surround sound speakers get some use, and there's some dynamic effects.
The DVD costs $10 while the Blu-ray combo pack costs $14. That's still a little high on a price-per-minute basis, but within the range of acceptable prices.
Both TV specials in Prep and Landing: Totally Tinsel Collection are worth owning and the collection of extras on the DVD and the Blu-ray Combo Pack add enough value that it is worth picking up over just renting.
- Submitted by: C.S.Strowbridge
Filed under: Video Review