|Category||Family||Biographies - Cast
|Running Time||85:53 minutes|
Fox Home Entertainment
|Pan & Scan/Full Frame||No||English (Dolby Digital 5.0, 384 Kb/s)|
|Widescreen Aspect Ratio||1.85:1|
|Theatrical Aspect Ratio||1.85:1||
|Annoying Product Placement||Yes|
|Action In or After Credits||Yes, after credits|
And that really is the story here. Howard Langston (Arnold Schwarzenegger) is your typical salesperson - insincere, work-orientated and totally lucky that his wife Liz (Rita Wilson) and son Jamie (Jake Lloyd) still put up with him. This time, he is indulging in the office Christmas party and taking orders from all his number one customers when he should be making tracks for his son's karate night where he is progressing to blue belt. Leaving it too late as usual, after a succession of minor problems, he arrives at the arena too late, although his perfect neighbour Ted Maltin (Phil Hartman) has recorded it all on tape for him! He heads home to face the music, and a very annoyed son. In trying to regain his son's favour, he promises that Jamie will indeed be getting his heart's desire - the hottest toy in the land... Turbo Man! Minor problem - Howard does not know that Turbo Man is the hottest thing this Christmas and is completely sold out. He also fails to remember that Liz asked him to buy this self-same piece of children's heaven several weeks ago. Undeterred, Howard makes the promise and come Christmas Eve heads off in pursuit of the holy grail. What follows are the adventures of Howard's quest - and his unfortunate meetings with one slightly unstable mailman, Myron Larabee (Sinbad), and poor suffering Officer Hummell (Robert Conrad). The adventures include everything up to and including chasing youngsters, fighting a bunch of con-men Santas, Ted putting the moves on Liz, participating in the bombing of a radio station foyer and a case of mistaken identity. Suffice it to say that despite all the obvious reasons why Howard should fail, everything comes up roses in the most unusual way - with the real twist coming after the credits.
One of the big problems here is that the film does not really know what it wants to be. The material is a tad puerile and therefore "family" would seem to be the pigeonhole, but then Howard does something to a reindeer that decidedly lifts it out of the family arena and into another genre completely. The end result is a film that has no target to aim at, tries to hit every target market and fails badly in the process. My guess is that this was supposed to be another of those efforts to showcase the comedy talents of Arnold Schwarzenegger. It does not. And even if he did have an ounce of such talents, putting him in the same film as the supremely talented, and sadly lamented, Phil Hartman was not a move guaranteed to garner an Oscar for casting. Indeed, the big disappointment here is that the film does remind you how much Phil Hartman's talents are missed since his untimely death. Rita Wilson does an acceptable job as the suffering wife, and this is an early outing for Jake Lloyd before he hit the big time in Star Wars Episode 1: The Phantom Menace. I guess the best way of describing the whole film is that it is sadly misguided and the result is something that is not going to please too many. Much of the blame can be laid at the feet of director Brian Levant who simply fails to pick a direction and pursue it.
Jingle All The Way is a sadly misguided effort that had a great deal of promise but simply fails to deliver in any great way. There are a few laughs to be had, but mainly of the uncomfortable type. The competition for the DVD buyers dollars this Christmas is the most intense yet and I don't see exactly where this one will be getting its support from. Avoidable, even for Arnie fans.
The transfer is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.85:1 and is 16x9 enhanced.
This is a nicely sharp transfer throughout, with no problems with loss of focus or edge enhancement at all. The transfer is nicely detailed, and hides virtually nothing, with pretty decent shadow detail to boot. The transfer is in general very clear, with no serious hints of any grain problems. There are no problems at all with low level noise in the transfer. Basically, this is a transfer with which I have little to make mention of in the negative sense.
Where I do have some issue with this transfer is in the colour palette on offer. There is nothing actually wrong with what we have here, as it is a very good colour palette, with a very nice consistent tone to it and a nice depth to the blacks and whites. It is quite a vibrant transfer, within the realms of the colours presented here. Unfortunately, I just feel that the subject matter of the film would have called for something a little brighter and a little more vibrant, just to play up the comic book aspects of the film. The best example is probably the Turbo Man costume at the parade - I felt that this should have been a lot brighter and more intensely vivid. There is no hint of oversaturation here, and colour bleed is similarly non-existent.
There are no significant MPEG artefacts in the transfer.
There are no significant film-to-video artefacts in the transfer, other
than those noted above. There are no significant film artefacts in the
The dialogue comes up quite well in the soundtrack, although I would guess that a lot of this was done as ADR work since it seems a little more strident at times than I would expect.
There is no problem with audio sync in the transfer.
The music score comes from David Newman, and a suitably Christmassy/family effort it is too. Perhaps just a few too many clichés have gone into it that prevent it from being totally memorable, but it nonetheless supports the film well indeed.
There really is not much wrong with the soundtrack
at all, apart from the missing bass channel. The surround channel usage
could perhaps have been a little better, to convey a greater ambience than
is the case. It is a clear soundtrack, with no distortions and a reasonable
feel to the sound picture.
|Surround Channel Use|
© Ian Morris (have
a laugh, check out the bio)
4th November 2000
|DVD||Pioneer DV-515; S-video output|
|Display||Sony Trinitron Wega 80cm. Calibrated with the NTSC DVD version of Video Essentials.|
|Audio Decoder||Built in|
|Amplification||Yamaha RXV-795. Calibrated with the NTSC DVD version of Video Essentials.|
|Speakers||Energy Speakers: centre EXLC; left and right C-2; rears EXLR; and subwoofer ES-12XL|