BLU-RAY REVIEW: CHARLIE BROWN CHRISTMAS, A

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11.01.2009

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BUY IT AT AMAZON: CLICK HERE

STUDIO: Warner Home Video
MSRP:
$29.99
RATED: Not Rated
RUNNING TIME:
25 minutes
SPECIAL FEATURES:
• Bonus Episode

• Featurette

• DVD Version

• Digital Copy








The Pitch


Charles Schultz and some Mexican animators teach America about Christian values.


The Humans

Ann Altieri, Chris Doran, Sally Dryer, Mimi Gibson, Bill Melendez

The Nutshell

Charlie Brown was just assigned to direct the School Christmas Pageant. He pretty much ignores his gibberish speaking teacher and decides to create a message against commercialism. The little bald socialist tries to round up his friends, but they couldn’t give a damn. They’re too busy dancing and making fun of the ol’ blockhead. Naturally, it’s up to Chuck to set the world right.




If you don’t laugh at this, some 40 year old in Hoboken will slam your inferior American taste.



The Lowdown

I’ve spent the past few years brushing up on Charles Schulz. There has been a number of books and quick quips that have come out about the man’s private life. Especially, when it came to the creation of Peanuts. I’m not going to call Schulz a trouble man, but the fellow had issues. Issues that influenced his perspective on how people relate and what comes of these growing bonds. Why did the man choose to work in a series that exclusively starred children?



Fuck off…gnaw..gnaw..gnaw…eating.


Recounting what happens in the Christmas Special is as pointless as describing any other American milestone. For the foreign readers, I’ll give a quick recap. Christmas good, capitalism bad, kids are dumb, anyone can celebrate Christmas, Linus talks about Jesus and then the kids fix up the ghetto tree. Back to the Schulz, we see something unique coming out of this setup. Kids placed into depressing situations about a cheerful holiday. A handful of the kids don’t care, others are too distracted and a select few obsess too much over the details.

Linus and Charlie are nearly the same person when it comes to their views on the Holiday. Linus seems to have an utter distaste for the non-secular and dresses down his fellow child with his Yuletide solioquy. But, Charlie Brown is a sadder fellow. He feels the pain of a world growing away from the underlying meaning of Christmas. Brown can’t reconcile what he accepts to be true with the greater opinion. He’s a young man that wants to know why others can see the beauty of the holiday.



It would be charming, if he wasn’t trying to force Christianity on the dog.



Charlie Brown becomes such an odd figure when you consider that this television special was his first real jump from the print page to the small screen. Fantagraphics has spent the last five to six years collecting the original Sunday strips into year by year collections. Reading over the first decade of Peanuts, you don’t see the Brown that is on display here. So, why did Schulz wait to spring this version of Charlie on us? Hell, I’d argue that it has become the iconic depiction of the character.



If you move that football one more damn time. I’ll cut off your head and feed your brain to the dog. SEE! SEE! He’s already got his bowl ready. That beagle just eats and shits all day. Your brain. Hell, your entire body would be devoured in minutes. Just like the pigs in Snatch. You didn’t see Snatch. Well….PIG DOG MAULING would suck.


There’s something truly sinister about the changes made to the character in this special. It asks more of its audience, but it also shows a new kind of depression. Charlie Brown in his television form tells kids that the world isn’t a fair place and that you’re probably going to get screwed over in life. Sure, the gang comes together at the end to save his little Christmas tree. But, that’s only after they’ve broken every hope in life that Charlie Brown had. It’s hard to imagine the shock of that kind of cruelty later in life. If you’re lucky, you might see a kid fully grasp what’s going on here. It’s wonderful to see dreams end.

A Charlie Brown Christmas is a classic. But, why is it a classic? You can ponder that, as you check out the major remastering that Warner Brothers has done for this title. Cleaner than any transfer Paramount had for the Peanuts collections, I eagerly await future Peanuts HD releases. Hopefully, they’ll try to double up on the real specials. There’s only so many times that fandom will buy such short discs.




The Hollow Man dodge Chris Hansen for another year.

The Package


A Charlie Brown Christmas comes to Blu-Ray with a VC-1 encoded transfer. There’s a featurette about the making of the low-budget animated special. Plus, you get one of the more recent animated sequel specials. Throw on a digital copy and you’ve got a rather complete package. I’d recommend it to anyone that can justify spending twenty dollars and change on a Blu-Ray with less than two hours of total content.



8.8 out of 10

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