Monday, October 21, 2013

TV Special Review: DreamWorks Holiday Collection

Stars: 5 out of 5
Pros: Four great specials for your holiday season
Cons: Did this really need to be on two discs?
The Bottom Line:
These four great specials
Will become winter viewing
For your family

DreamWorks Invites You to Spend the Holidays with their Franchises

Obviously, I have not paid close attention to the Christmas specials that air each year because I had missed the fact that DreamWorks has been releasing some direct to TV specials based on their popular movie franchises.  I became away of my animation gap when I was asked to review the Dreamworks Holiday Collection How could I turn it down?

This two disc set contains four half hour specials on two discs.  And that right there is my biggest complaint.  Seriously?  You need two disc for two hours?  I sure don’t see why this couldn’t have been released as one disc.  And I should note it is only available on DVD.  But the contents make it worth considering.

The first disc features the more established franchises and the Christmas specials that mention Christmas specifically.  (More about that in a minute.)  Up first is “Merry Madagascar,” which finds the zoo animals being forced to save Christmas when they accidentally shoot Santa down and give him amnesia when he flies over Madagascar I’ll admit, I’m not a fan of this franchise having only seen the first movie, but I found this special delightful.  The jokes for kids and adults were plentiful, and the lessons learned were good.

Next comes “Shrek the Halls” which features our favorite ogre trying to put together the perfect Christmas for his new family.  Things fall apart when his friends show up.  The result is predictable but still heartwarming and fun.  Again, there are lots of jokes for kids and their parents.  I had caught this one on TV when it first aired, and I still feel like the bathroom humor is a bit excessive, even for this franchise, but I know that kids will love it.

Both discs have some special features, and this one’s mainly feature Christmas song spoofs with the characters from the specials, most of them being the penguins from Madagascar They are alright, but I have a feeling that kids will love them more than I did.

Now, I’m one of those people who think that December is about Christmas.  I’m not trying to exclude anyone, but this is what the majority of the people in this country celebrate.  I don’t expect this to be the only holiday ever mention, celebrated, or talked about during the month, however, which is why I’m perfectly fine with the fact that Christmas doesn’t get mentioned once on the second disc.  That’s because both franchises are set in countries and times that didn’t celebrate Christmas.  And it certainly helps that I found the specials to be fun.

“Kung Fu Panda Holiday” starts off this disc as Po finds himself in charge of the winter festival feast for all the great Kung Fu warriors.  Not only does he not know what he is doing, but he really wants to spent it helping his dad make a meal for their village, something that has been their tradition for years.  This is my favorite of DreamWorks’ franchises, and I greatly enjoyed the special.  It has the right amount of humor coupled with a heart warming ending.

Lastly comes “Dragon Holiday: Gift of the Night Fury.”  As we return to the Viking village from How to Train Your Dragon, we find that everyone is excited to celebrate their first winter holiday now that they’ve established peace with the dragons.  But when the dragons suddenly take off, will the holiday be ruined?  There are some great lines and moments in this one, and a very touching scene at the end.  Frankly, it made me want to watch the movie again.

The special features here are mostly themed around Dragon, although we do get one on how noodles are made to tie in with Kung Fu Panda For the rest, there are some on how to draw certain dragons and a very funny series on training the various dragon species.

Would I recommend this set?  Absolutely.  Whether you love the characters or not, these specials will warm your heart during a cold time of the year.  There are laughs, tender moments, and good messages.  Really, isn’t that what it takes to make a good holiday special?  While I will probably never consider them classics, I’ll certainly enjoy rewatching them during December each year.  And today’s kids, who love these characters, will adore them.

So if you like the characters, get the Dreamworks Holiday Collection today.  You’ll be very glad you did.

NOTE: I was sent this set in exchange for my honest review.

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