Rare Exports: A Christmas Tale (Blu-ray) (2010)

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Released 7-Dec-2011

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Black Comedy Trailer-x 1, but not for this film
More…-DTS-HD sound check
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 2010
Running Time 82:41 (Case: 84)
RSDL / Flipper Dual Layered Cast & Crew
Start Up Ads Then Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Jalmari Helander
Studio
Distributor
Icon Entertainment Starring Onni Tommila
Jorma Tommila
Tommi Korpela
Rauno Juvonen
Per Christian Ellefsen
Ilmari Järvenpää
Peeter Jakobi
Jonathan Hutchings
Risto Salmi
Jens Sivertsen
Sigmund Bøe
Case Standard Blu-ray
RPI $54.95 Music Juri Seppä
Miska Seppä


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None Finnish DTS HD Master Audio 5.1
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 2.35:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 1080p
Original Aspect Ratio 2.35:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English (Burned In) Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

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

Plot Synopsis

“The Coca Cola Santa is just a hoax”

     In the far north of Finland just before Christmas an American team are drilling deep into a frozen mountain looking for a tomb more important than any of the tombs of Egypt. 1,300 feet beneath the summit of the peak they could just have found what they are looking for: the tomb of the original, real Santa Claus. But in the nearby isolated reindeer herding settlements strange things are occurring. Mysterious bare footprints are being left in the snow, reindeer are being slaughtered, houses being broken into and all manner of heating equipment, including radiators and hair driers, stolen, and children are disappearing.

     Pre-teen boy Pietari (Onni Tommila) thinks he has the answer: in old books he has found the original legend of Santa, who is not a benign being but a malevolent spirit who dismembers naughty children. To halt his killing of children, eons ago the local Sami tribe had captured Santa and entombed him in ice beneath the mountain. Now the drilling may have unleashed him again upon the world. Of course no-one, not his friend Juuso (Ilmari Jarvenpaa) nor his father Rauno (Jorma Tommila), believes Pietari, at least until a bearded, knurled, naked old man is caught in one of Rauno’s wolf traps. Although injured, the man is alive; he does not speak and only really becomes animated when he sees Pietari. Rauno and his friends Aimo (Tommi Korpela) and Piiparinen (Rauno Juvonen) now believe that they have captured Santa Claus and they contact the drilling company offering to sell him. But in fact the truth is even stranger than they anticipate, and it is up to Pietari to save the day.

     Rare Exports: A Christmas Tale (originally just Rare Exports) from writer / director Jalmari Helander is based upon two previous short films he made in 2003 (Rare Exports Inc.) and 2005 (The Official Rare Exports Inc. Safety Instructions) respectively. This full movie, using many of the same cast as the earlier shorts, is a delicious, jet black alternative Christmas tale taking a different slant on the Santa Claus story. The film is very well made and is well performed by all the actors, especially young Onni Tommila as Pietari. The film is also frequently very droll, includes some nice scares and looks spectacular with its snow clad landscapes. Rare Exports is certainly too bloody and scary for young children but older kids and adults will enjoy this delightful tale. Sweet and sugary it is not and, while this is probably not related, there are no women characters anywhere to be seen. The ending of the film explains the title, and is a hoot!

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Transfer Quality

Video

     Rare Exports is presented in an aspect ratio of 2.35:1, the original aspect ratio, in 1080p.

     This is a wonderful print with crisp and sharp detail. Set in a snow covered landscape, colours are muted and look slightly desaturated on occasion, but when necessary, such as the explosion and the sunsets, they burst out and become vibrant. Blacks are rock solid and shadow detail excellent, allowing everything to be seen. I did not notice any artefacts of any kind.

     English subtitles are burnt in but thankfully do not remain on for the English sentences in the film. The subtitles are in a white font, which means that they can occasionally be a bit difficult to read over a white, snowy background. Yellow would have been better, but as it is they are never unreadable. They did not contain any spelling or grammatical errors.

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

Audio

     Audio is Finnish DTS-HD MA 5.1, with some English dialogue.

     This is a nice enveloping audio track. Dialogue is clear, while the front and surround speakers constantly produced effects and music but without overdoing either. The subwoofer provides bass when needed, and supports the explosion nicely. The original score by Juri Seppa and Miska Seppa is very effective, adding to the creepy bits while providing good support for the visuals.

     Lip synchronisation was fine.

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

Extras

Trailer

     The theatrical trailer for Shark Night 3D (2:00) plays on start up.

DTS-HD Sound Check

     Test your 7.1 or 5.1 speaker set up.

R4 vs R1

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

     The Region A (locked) US Blu-ray has the following extras:

     The UK Region B Blu-ray looks identical to ours.

    A win to Region A by a Christmas mile.

Summary

     Rare Exports: A Christmas Tale is a delicious alternative Christmas tale, taking a different slant on the Santa Claus story. The film is well made, well acted, frequently very droll and it looks spectacular. The ending of the film explains the title, and is a hoot!

     The video and audio are excellent, the extras have gone down a chimney somewhere between Region A and here.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Ray Nyland (the bio is the thing)
Wednesday, December 07, 2011
Review Equipment
DVDSony BDP-S350, using HDMI output
DisplayLG 42inch Hi-Def LCD. This display device has not been calibrated. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 1080p.
Audio DecoderNAD T737. This audio decoder/receiver has not been calibrated.
AmplificationNAD T737
SpeakersStudio Acoustics 5.1

Other Reviews NONE
Comments (Add)
Region A superior - John N