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A CHARLIE BROWN THANKSGIVING ($25) isn’t quite the classic that the Peanuts Halloween and Christmas specials are, but it is definitely a holiday treat nonetheless. In this outing of the Charles M. Schulz characters, Charlie Brown finds himself facing the Thanksgiving holiday with a number of uninvited guests, all thanks to Peppermint Patty, who takes advantage of "Chuck’s" wishy-washy nature. Although Charlie Brown is set to have Thanksgiving dinner at his grandmother’s house, he tries his best to prepare a quick holiday feast with the aid of his dog Snoopy, his pal Linus and a "little birdy" named Woodstock. Of course, toast and popcorn is no one’s idea of holiday fare, but Charlie Brown does the best that he can. At the end of the program, when everyone else heads off to enjoy a proper Thanksgiving repast, Snoopy whips out a turkey dinner for himself and Woodstock to enjoy. Somehow, watching this "little birdy" enjoy his turkey, makes me think that their may be a bit of Hannibal Lecter hiding under that cute yellow façade. Of course, that may just be my twisted mind working overtime…

In addition to A CHARLIE BROWN THANKSGIVING, the Blu-ray includes the bonus feature THE MAYFLOWER VOYAGERS from the THIS IS AMERICA CHARLIE BROWN series. THE MAYFLOWER VOYAGERS places the Peanuts gang in a recreation of the Pilgrim’s journey to America, showing how they came to celebrate the first Thanksgiving with the Indians that helped them survive their first year in the new world. While containing all the important historic facts, this program is unusual since it depicts the Peanuts characters interacting with adult characters.

Warner Home Video has made A CHARLIE BROWN THANKSGIVING available on Blu-ray Disc in a 1.37:1 aspect ratio presentation that has been encoded onto the disc with the VC-1 codec. A CHARLIE BROWN THANKSGIVING comes to high definition a very solid 1080p presentation. This being another modestly budgeted animated television special that was produced for standard definition television broadcast, the picture isn’t stunning, but it is the best that A CHARLIE BROWN THANKSGIVING has ever looked. The image appears crisp and more precisely defined than it ever did in standard definition. Again, being modestly budgeted, the animation has flaws that were part of the original photography. Colors are nicely saturated, despite a fairly pastel color scheme. Blacks have a nice inky quality that solidifies the sharp edges of the animation, while the whites are crisp and stable. Contrast is smooth. The animation doesn’t have any age related issues, but there are noticeable flaws that were part of the original photography. There is a moderate grain structure inherent to original production. THE MAYFLOWER VOYAGERS being a newer production looks very good in high definition.

A CHARLIE BROWN THANKSGIVING is presented on Blu-ray Disc with a 5.1 channel DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack. Originating in monaural, the sound has been nicely re-purposed to the multi-channel format. Of course, the sound remains largely within the forward hemisphere, with mild stereo imaging. Despite the lossless encoding, the age of the recordings is undeniable and reproduces somewhat thinly. Most signs of background hiss and other audible anomalies have been cleaned up during the mastering process, so the sound is free of distortions. Dialogue is crisply rendered and remains totally understandable. No other language tracks are present, but English and Spanish subtitles are provided. THE MAYFLOWER VOYAGERS doesn’t have any appreciable sonic flaws.

The interactive menus provide access to the standard scene selection and set up features, as well as Popcorn & Jellybeans: Making a Thanksgiving Classic, a twelve-minute look back at the production of A CHARLIE BROWN THANKSGIVING, as well as the afore mentioned THE MAYFLOWER VOYAGERS. A DVD copy of the program is also provided.

A CHARLIE BROWN THANKSGIVING is another holiday treat that has been given a nice upgraded to hi-def. Recommended.


A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving [Blu-ray]


DVD & Blu-ray Disc reviews are Copyright © 2010 THE CINEMA LASER and may not be copied or reprinted without the written consent of the publisher.
THE CINEMA LASER is written, edited and published by Derek M. Germano.



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