Santa's Magical Stories is a new Christmas-themed box set from Warner that was released this month. It contains several Christmas favorites, and several other movies I had never heard of. Perhaps too diverse to appeal to casual viewers, and not complete enough for animation enthusiasts, Santa's Magical Stories may not fit in your holiday plans.
The three disc set contains the following movies:
Dr. Seuss' How The Grinch Stole Christmas
The Leprechauns' Christmas Gold
The Year Without A Santa Claus (Deluxe Edition)
Rudolph's Shiny New Year
Nestor The Long-Eared Christmas Donkey
Jack Frost (1979)
A Miser Brothers' Christmas
Rudolph And Frosty's Christmas In July
Most of these movies you have probably seen already. Between that and the numerous other summaries and reviews of these films, I'll not review them individually. More interestingly for the potential buyer of this set are the extra features. Let's take a look at those:
-Dr. Seuss and the Grinch: From Whoville To Hollywood (15m45s) - A nice feature about the history of the movie, including snippet interviews from kids and experts. Some vintage photos are shown too, of Chuck Jones and of the original animations.
-Making Animation and Bringing It to Life (Audio Commentary track with Animator Phil Roman and June Foray)
-Grinch Pencil Test - A couple of still images from a pencil test; the title makes it seem like it would have more than just that, but it does not.
-Who's Who In Whoville - This feature allows you to read a biography of Chuck Jones, Dr. Seuss, Boris Karloff, and June Foray.
-We Are Santa's Elves (16m30s) - Industry experts talk about these films, and Rankin & Bass in general, in this interesting making of/historical feature.
-Stop Motion 101 (9m33s) - A basic, no less interesting, feature on stop motion. Several folks from Chiodo Bros Productions talk shop in one of their recording studios, among other interview snippets and clips from the original King Kong and The Lost World.
-Totally Cool Crafty Creations (8m34s) - "Flakey" a goofy crafts-lady, teachers children a few holiday-themed crafts projects.
-Snip's Snowy Singalong (5m32s) - A singalong video from Jack Frost.
-What Makes Stop Motion Go? (23m10s) - A making of video of A Miser Brothers' Christmas, the new film in this collection.
All discs include English as the sole spoken and subtitled language. Generally speaking the, presentation quality is good, not great, for all of these movies. This set has some good movies, even a classic with the Grinch, but it's not complete enough to entice collectors and I think it's too random to pull in casual consumers, too. Give it a rent if you're curious, though.
To the summary...