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IT'S THE GREAT PUMPKIN, CHARLIE BROWN ($25) is a childhood favorite, that I’ve watched repeatedly on television long into my adulthood. Based upon the Peanuts comic strip, created by Charles M. Schulz, this animated television special features Charlie Brown, Linus, Lucy, Sally and Snoopy, who gather together to celebrate that wonderful childhood holiday- namely Halloween. The plot of IT'S THE GREAT PUMPKIN, CHARLIE BROWN finds Linus at odds with the rest of the gang due to his belief in The Great Pumpkin, a creature that supposedly rises up out of the pumpkin patch every Halloween to bring toys to all of the good little girls and boys. Of course, no one but Linus believes in The Great Pumpkin, which always leaves him alone in the pumpkin patch waiting, while everyone else spends the evening Trick Or Treating. However, this year Linus doesn’t spend Halloween alone, thanks to one little girl, who is smitten with our blanket-carrying hero. While Linus does his thing in the pumpkin patch, Charlie Brown ends up screwing up his Halloween by making himself a ghost costume, which looks more like Swiss cheese than anything else.

Even though I should have out grown IT'S THE GREAT PUMPKIN, CHARLIE BROWN a very long time ago, there is something about the Charles M. Schulz’s imaginative story and delightful characters that makes it appealing to all age groups. IT'S THE GREAT PUMPKIN, CHARLIE BROWN features the vocal talents of Peter Robbins, Christopher Shea, Tracy Stratford, Kathy Steinberg and Bill Melendez.

In addition to IT’S THE GREAT PUMPKIN, CHARLIE BROWN, the Blu-ray includes the bonus feature IT’S MAGIC, CHARLIE BROWN, another half-hour special featuring the Peanuts gang. In IT’S MAGIC, CHARLIE BROWN, Snoopy takes the stage name The Great Houndini and performs a magic show that accidentally leaves his master in a less than tangible state.

Warner Home Video has made IT'S THE GREAT PUMPKIN, CHARLIE BROWN 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. The 1080p presentation is really quite nice, which allows IT'S THE GREAT PUMPKIN, CHARLIE BROWN to look far better than it ever has in standard definition. The lines of the animation are quite crisp and one can see everything in every animation cell, including the minor imperfections. Colors appear fairly vibrant and completely stable. Blacks are inky, which enhances the sharply drawn quality of the animation. Whites are crisp and stable. Contrast is smooth. As I mentioned, imperfections in the original animation are noticeable, but there are no overt signs of age within the film elements. Grain is noticeable throughout the program. IT’S MAGIC, CHARLIE BROWN is a newer program and has a smoother overall look in high definition.

IT'S THE GREAT PUMPKIN, CHARLIE BROWN is presented on Blu-ray Disc with a 5.1 channel DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack. Considering that IT'S THE GREAT PUMPKIN, CHARLIE BROWN originated in monaural, the sound is nicely upgraded. The sound remains largely front heavy, with mild separations that create something of a stereo image. Despite the lossless encoding, the vintage quality of the recordings has an undeniable thinness. Most signs of background hiss and other audible flaws have been cleaned up during the mastering process, leaving the program with a fairly smooth sonic quality. Dialogue is crisply rendered and remains totally understandable. A Spanish Dolby Digital monaural track is also encoded onto the disc, as are English, French and Spanish subtitles. IT’S MAGIC, CHARLIE BROWN doesn’t have any appreciable sonic flaws.

The interactive menus provide access to the standard scene selection and set up features, as well as We Need a Blockbuster, Charlie Brown, a sixteen-minute look back at the production of IT'S THE GREAT PUMPKIN, CHARLIE BROWN, as well as the afore mentioned IT’S MAGIC, CHARLIE BROWN. A DVD copy of the program is also provided.

IT'S THE GREAT PUMPKIN, CHARLIE BROWN is a holiday classic that has been very nicely upgraded to Blu-ray. Recommended.


It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown [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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