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  Directed by
    None Listed
  Starring
  Specs
  • Widescreen 1.85:1
  • 16:9 Enhanced
  • Dual Layer ( )
  Languages
  • Spanish: Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround
  • English: Dolby Digital 5.0 Surround
  • French: Dolby Digital Stereo
  • Portuguese: Dolby Digital Stereo
  Subtitles
    Dutch, Portuguese, Swedish, Finnish
  Extras

    I'll Be Home For Christmas

    Disney/Buena Vista . R4 . COLOR . 83 mins . G . PAL

      Feature
    Contract

    While not being a new idea, this has been handled in typical Disney fashion to put a recent spin on it and appeal to the teen audience. Still, the traditional manner of dealing with this issue is hampered somewhat by the liberal use of the G rating attached. So, there are no swears, no sex jokes, no crime and most of all, no swears. Oh wait, I did that one already. Shit.

    And actually, there are a couple of sex jokes...

    Our story finds young wheeler-dealer Jake (Home Improvement’s Jonathan Taylor Thomas) about to spend Christmas with his girlfriend Ally, in sunny California. Unfortunately, she wants to go home to New York (coincidentally, right near where Jake lives). So, he relents (after his dad offers him a Porsche roadster if he comes home by 6.00pm Christmas Eve) and they decide to go together. However, some of Jake’s wheeling-dealings have landed him in hot water with his jock classmates and he wakes up in the desert with a glued on Santa suit, hat and beard on the very morning he is to depart with his girlfriend.

    Now begins Jake’s biggest challenge of getting back home before the deadline and outwitting his rival who has taken Ally with him across country.

    Told in the usual Disney style and riddled with ‘the spirit of Christmas’, this is a film the kids will enjoy, particularly for the occasional fart gags and such. While obviously a film aimed at teens and pre-teens, there’s no reason parents couldn’t enjoy it (unless they’re diabetic). The usual morals and ethics of life and Christmastime apply here in ‘learning the true meaning of Christmas’ and ‘don’t be a jerk’ plus the ever popular ‘family mean more than a Porsche’ (and if you’d ever met my family, I wouldn’t be so sure...). Still, we’ve come to expect that of a Disney venture and so it should come as no surprise.

      Video
    Contract

    Shot and released into the wild in 1998, the film looks pretty clean and sharp. Very clear picture quality with good colour balances and a well-saturated palette with only occasional major artefacts (like the horizontal scar at 30:58) show some of the more interesting shots quite well. The Santa fun run, for example, where you may think the red mist has descended. Flesh tones are fine and the limited shadow detail is very well described, plus blacks are true. All round a fine video transfer by the good people at Buena Vista.

      Audio
    Contract

    This is the first DVD I’ve ever reviewed in which a foreign language track gets more than the English one. English speakers get a Dolby Digital 5.0 mix whilst the Spanish talkers get themselves a 5.1 surround. (The poor old French and Portuguese only muster a stereo mix though).

    It doesn’t make much difference anyway. The sound is basically dialogue and music and it comes across just fine either way.

    The musical soundtrack has a bunch of Christmas favourites plus some oldies that keep it rocking quite well. Performers include; Aqua, Cherry Poppin’ Daddies, Blink 182, ‘N Sync and Five Easy Pieces for the younger folk, plus some Marvin Gaye, Elvis, Tom Jones and The Drifters for the more adult set. The soundtrack is actually a definite highlight of this film and carries the eclectic ‘road trip’ theme well.

    Dialogue is fine as are the sound effects, although the whole package is a little on the down sound of the volume control. Except for that ear-splitting ‘Disney DVD’ bit at the start with Tinkerbell. That always seems loud, actually.

      Extras
    Contract

    They didn’t make it home for Christmas unfortunately.

      Overall  
    Contract

    While being a fairly whimsical film in itself, this really only rates among the usual holiday fare. While attempting to play as funny as, say, The Santa Clause, it doesn’t quite make it. This is in part due to the relative inexperience of the supporting cast for Jonathan Taylor-Thomas (or JTT as the Tiger-Beat mags used to call him) whose lines seem to bounce off brick walls and pass out face-down in the snow.

    Still, the younger members of the fam will no doubt enjoy it and it’s bound to keep them happy for approximately 83 minutes.


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      And I quote...
    "Nothing we haven’t seen before here, yet it should be all new for the kids. Maybe."
    - Jules Faber
      Review Equipment
    • DVD Player:
          Nintaus DVD-N9901
    • TV:
          Sony 51cm
    • Receiver:
          Diamond
    • Speakers:
          Diamond
    • Surrounds:
          No Name
    • Audio Cables:
          Standard Optical
    • Video Cables:
          Standard Component RCA
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