The Snowman [DVD]
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Raymond Briggs' classic animated tale about a snowman that comes magically to life after the chimes of midnight, and - along with the little boy who built him - sets off on a series of amazing adventures. Includes the hit single 'Walking in the Air' sung by chorister Aled Jones.
The Snowman has been a Christmas staple ever since its original release in 1982. Based on Raymond Briggs' classic children's book, the tale of a solitary little boy whose snowman comes to life in the night and takes him on a series of adventures which culminate in a meeting with Father Christmas. It's uncluttered by modern standards and told with a gentle simplicity which renders it utterly poignant.
The Snowman deservedly won awards for its animators. But they had the best material to work with: Briggs' softly absorbing original illustrations which magically combine Christmas fantasy with the stark realities of life and death.
For this new special edition a new audio narration has been provided by Mel Smith which will help to bring it alive for younger children. The rest of us will probably be satisfied with Howard Blake's evocative soundtrack and, at the cynic-damning moment when the snowman takes the boy's hand and they soar into the sky, the tingling strains of "Walking in the Air" sung by Peter Auty, (not Aled Jones who had the chart hit on the strength of a commercial). It's enchanting, from beginning to end.
On the DVD: The Snowman Special Edition is presented in 16:9 aspect radio with a stereo Dolby Digital soundtrack, fusing Raymond Briggs' soft, glowing pastel work with Howard Blake's sympathetic score in 26 minutes of animated perfection. The extras are fascinating: David Bowie's original introduction, demanded by the US producers who needed a celebrity to front the project (he looks ridiculously exotic); and a documentary in which the surviving collaborators and Briggs talk with touching awe about the little bit of magic they created. The commercial might of The Snowman as a marketing brand is also revealed. The lumpen vox-pops are the only irritation. --Piers Ford --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Top Customer Reviews
If you know and love the original Snowman don't buy this so called special edition DVD. However, if you are introducing your kids to The Snowman they won't know any different!
However, the version presented on this DVD has been mutilated by converting the original's 4x3 aspect ratio to 16x9. This has been done by brutally cropping the top and bottom of the screen.
It would be barbaric enough to have so thoughtlessly edited an animated classic, where the visual element is so rich, but it also results in some scenes that now hardly make any sense. One such example is when the little boy - waking in the morning and realising it is snowing - dresses so quickly he forgets to put on his shoes and socks, which is pointed out by his mother. However, and somewhat farcically, the brutal cropping has resulted in the boy's feet being out of view when his mother does this and she may as well be pointing at the floor.
The really annoying issue here is why this change to 16x9 has been done. My guess is that the publisher has decided that we are now all so philistine that we would simply refuse to watch an "old-fashioned" 4x3 picture, unable to comprehend why two black bars appear down either side of the screen. Better to mutilate a classic to make sure that our gargantuan wall-mounted plasmas are filled to the brim.
Whatever you do, avoid this release, and seek one that has the original 4x3 - as I will now be doing.
Kids love it, but grown ups will love it even more, especially those of a certain age who yearn for open fires and a simple rural childhood.
As with all Raymond Briggs' stories there is pathos and poignancy, but you're left wanting to watch it again and again and I'm afraid that lump in the throat will remain like a stubborn frost.
But here's the problem with this disc. The disc is only 1/4 full. Whoever encoded this video was basically an idiot - it's covered in MPEG2 artifacts. All while the disc lays mostly empty. How on earth did they manage this? Who knows.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Just one of the most beautiful films made that doesn't age and for every single age group!!! It's a must have for Christmas time!Published 10 days ago by Sarah
great and fun dvds for a great cost and very fast delivery time and great protection, thank you.Published 1 month ago by natasha
Love this film so bought for my kids to watch before Christmas and they loved it tooPublished 2 months ago by miss R. lloyd
A Christmas tradition. This the classic version has always been a far better option than the others.Published 2 months ago by michael john