The Simpsons-Christmas with the Simpsons

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Released 3-Dec-2003

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Comedy Featurette-Mr. Burns' Finest Moments
Rating Rated PG
Year Of Production ?
Running Time 109:34
RSDL / Flipper Dual Layered Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 2,4 Directed By Neil Affleck
Bob Anderson
Mikel B. Anderson
Wesley Archer
Studio
Distributor

Twentieth Century Fox
Starring Dan Castellaneta
Julie Kavner
Nancy Cartwright
Yeardley Smith
Hank Azaria
Harry Shearer
Marcia Wallace
Phil Hartman
Tress MacNeille
Pamela Hayden
Maggie Roswell
Russi Taylor
Doris Grau
Case ?
RPI $36.95 Music Alf Clausen
Danny Elfman
Richard Gibbs


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame Full Frame English Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
French Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
German Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Italian Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Spanish Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio None
16x9 Enhancement No
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.33:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English for the Hearing Impaired
Danish
Dutch
Finnish
French
German
Italian
Norwegian
Spanish
Swedish
French Titling
German Titling
Italian Titling
Spanish Titling
Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits Yes, different opening credits for each episode

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

    This is another collection of five Simpsons episodes on a single disc, taken from various seasons. The episodes are based on a common theme - Christmas.

Simpsons Roasting on an Open Fire (22:16)

    Homer is getting desperate for cash during the festive season as Mr. Burns cancels Christmas bonuses and Marge is forced to spend the Christmas jar to remove a tattoo from Bart. Homer decides to moonlight as a department store Santa but discover the job only pays $13 after taxes and other deductions. Barney persuades Homer to put the money into a sure winner at the dog races. However, at the last moment, Homer decides to switch his bets to a relative newcomer called "Santa's Little Helper" ...

Mr. Plow (22:03)

    Homer drives home late one night from Moe's. In the heavy snow, he accidentally crashes his car into his other car. He decides to buy a plow truck as a replacement due to the persuasive skills of the salesman. He starts a driveway clearing service called "Mr. Plow" and becomes moderately successful until Barney starts competing with him under the name "Plow King."

    This episode stars Adam West and Linda Ronstadt in cameo roles.

Miracle on Evergreen Terrace (21:53)

    Bart sneaks into the living room early on Christmas Day to check out his presents. However, he accidentally sets the Christmas tree on fire and destroys not only the tree but all the presents! He pretends that the presents were stolen by a burglar.

    When the town hears the sad story, everyone chips in and soon the Simpsons have $15,000 to spend. Will they actually get to spend it, though, when the truth comes out ... ?

Grift of the Magi (21:42)

    Bart has an accident and is wheelchair bound for a few weeks. However, the school does not have any access facilities for the disabled. A helpful "builder" offers to build wheelchair access ramps but they turn out to be made of breadsticks and everything collapses. Principal Skinner is forced to close the school, but a helpful children's toy manufacturer offers to fund the re-opening, but it turns out they have an ulterior motive ...

    Guest starring voices in this episode include Gary Coleman and Tim Robbins.

She of Little Faith (21:40)

    The Simpsons construct a model rocket that manages to totally destroy the church. Mr. Burns offer to pay the cost of repairing the church, but on condition that the church interior can be used for advertising space. Lisa is disgusted by the rampant commercialism and decides to find an alternative religion. After a long search, she settles on Buddhism, much to the disgust of her family and friends. Her family embarks on a risky approach to win her back to Christianity ..

    Richard Gere is the guest star in this episode.

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Transfer Quality

Video

    The transfer is in the original aspect ratio of 1.33:1.

    The episodes look like they may have been sourced from a composite video master on analogue tape. Although detail and colour saturation levels were good, I noticed a few composite video artefacts, such as dot crawl. There is also low level video noise evident in some of the images, particularly noticeable on areas of a similar colour.

    There's a fair amount of Gibb's effect ringing in the first episode (Simpsons Roasting on an Open Fire), but compression artefacts in the other episodes are limited to occasional macro blocking and posterization.

    There are lots of subtitle tracks, including English for the Hearing Impaired, Danish, Dutch, Finnish, French, German, Italian, Norwegian, Spanish, Swedish, plus French Titling, German Titling, Italian Titling, and Spanish Titling. The English for the Hearing Impaired track includes descriptions of background music, sound effects and very occasional dialogue attribution. Dialogue accuracy seems to be reasonable.

    This is a single sided dual layered disc (RSDL). Simpsons Roasting on an Open Fire, Miracle on Evergreen Terrace and Grift of the Magi are on Layer 0, and Mr. Plow and She of Little Faith are on Layer 1.

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

    There are five audio tracks on the disc: English Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s), French Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s), German Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s), Italian Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s), and Spanish Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s).

    The audio quality is typical for broadcast TV, i.e. somewhat compressed to provide relatively high average volume levels.

    Although none of the tracks have the surround-encoding flag set, the episodes were recorded in Dolby Surround. Engaging the Dolby Pro Logic II decoder reveals some surround usage, mainly background music and the occasional panning of sound effects to the rear.

    I noticed that some kind of noise reduction processing has been applied to the soundtrack, presumably because the analogue video master has some degree of tape hiss. The noise reduction leaves behind some artefacts, such as a pumping hissing noise or background crackle whenever the characters speak. This is particularly noticeable in Homer's dialogue but actually occurs with all the characters. Other than that, the dialogue quality is acceptable.

    I did not notice any audio synchronization issues due to the transfer, but like many animated programmes the lip sync is often not quite perfect.

    The Simpson's theme song (by Danny Elfman) is no doubt familiar to many viewers. Other incidental background music is by Alf Clausen.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

    The only extra on this disc is a featurette.

Menu

    The menu is full frame and static, although the copyright messages and Fox logo played as an introduction are 16x9 enhanced. Each episode comes with its own setup and scene selection submenus, and in addition you can play all episodes in sequence.

Featurette- Mr. Burns' Finest Moments (3:14)

    This is presented in full frame and Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s).

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

    This particular collection does not appear to be released in Region 1, but the Region 4 version appears identical to various Region 2 versions apart from language and subtitle differences.

Summary

    The Simpsons: Christmas With The Simpsons is yet another collection of four Simpsons episodes, all based on a Christmas theme.

    The video quality is acceptable.

    The audio quality is acceptable.

    The extras are basically trailers for other Simpsons collections available on DVD.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Christine Tham (read my biography)
Tuesday, November 16, 2004
Review Equipment
DVDCustom HTPC (Windows XP Media Center Edition 2005), using RGB output
DisplaySony VPL-VW11HT LCD Projector, ScreenTechnics 16x9 matte white screen (254cm). Calibrated with Video Essentials/Digital Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Digital Video Essentials (NTSC).
AmplificationDenon AVC-A1SE (upgraded)
SpeakersFront and surrounds: B&W CDM7NT, front centre: B&W CDMCNT, surround backs: B&W DM601S2, subwoofer: B&W ASW2500

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