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Featured DVD Review: Prep and Landing

November 22nd, 2011

Prep and Landing - Buy from Amazon

Prep and Landing first aired on TV in 2009 and was an immediate hit being seen by 12 million people, making it the most viewed program of the night and in the top 20 for the week. It is now being released on DVD, just in time for the big rush of Christmas shopping, and just in time for the sequel, Naughty vs. Nice. But if you missed it the first time, is it worth checking out? And will fans want to spend the money for the DVD?

The Movie

Prep & Landing is the elite squad of Elves employed by Santa to prepare houses for Santa's arrival. They make sure everyone's asleep, that there's room for the present, the milk and cookies are safe to eat and that there's no fire in the fireplace. We follow one such Elf, Wayne, who has been doing the job for 227 years. He's been doing it so long that he's grown bored with it and he's looking forward to a promotion to Director of Naughty List Intelligence.

The next year Wayne's sure he's got the promotion and he's not the only one. The rest of Prep & Landing say goodbye. The coal Elves are sure he's their new boss. But Magee informs him that his partner got the promotion and not him. And not only is he still in Prep & Landing, but he's being forced to train a rookie, Lanny. Despite being the top of his class at Kringle Academy, Lanny is a moron. Lanny is an excitable moron.

On their first mission, Wayne decides to let Lanny handle the job solo. It doesn't go so well. Not only does Lanny mess up the tree, but the boy, Timmy, wakes up while Wayne is watching TV and catches him. By the time they fix the mess, a big snowstorm has arrived and they didn't get the roof prepped in time. Santa will have to skip this house. But after Wayne hears Timmy talking in his sleep saying this will be the best Christmas ever, Wayne is determined to not let the boy down.

Before I get to my opinion on the show, I will admit I went into the review with really low expectations. It has been a while since I've seen a holiday special that was really special. So Prep & Landing was a pleasant surprise. It combined high tech secret agent action with the Christmas spirit. It is only 21 minutes long, so there's not a lot of time for character development and it's mostly just manic action. However, there's enough manic action that it's a fun ride. There are a ton of references to other holiday classics in the show special, including previous specials (Mickey's Christmas Carol is one of the shows Wayne watches on TV, while Magee has a Christmas Tree just like Charlie Brown had), while just about every code word is a reference to a Christmas story or poem. This should keep the adults entertained as well as the kids. Plus, these inside jokes do add replay value to the whole affair. It will likely take a few times watching the special to catch all of the jokes.

On the other hand, it is only 21 minutes long, so price-per-minute is really bad and it will rely on extensive extras to be worth anything more than a rental.

The Extras

The extras start with Operation: Secret Santa, a seven-minute short with Wayne and Lanny going on a mission for Mrs. Claus to retrieve a box that is kept in Santa's secret workshop. Tony's Big Adventure is a minute-long short with Tiny the Elf trying to make Magee a cup of coffee. Kringle Academy has three shorts about the training Prep & Landing Elves go through before they go on the job, with a total running time of five minutes. North Pole News is a 90-second short parody of old newsreel stories set in the North Pole. And finally there are three North Pole Commercials.

The Verdict

Prep and Landing is a fun, but short, Christmas special. Even adding in the special features on the DVD, the running time is just 40 minutes. Unless you know your kids will want to watch this over and over again, a rental will be enough. Fortunately, the replay value is high enough that this will likely be the case.

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