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4.6 out of 5 stars
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4.6 out of 5 stars
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on 25 December 2003
The Snowman was, and still is, a fantastic animation for Christmas, and until last year, was shown in it's original aspect ratio of 4x3.However, with this being the digital age, somebody has taken it upon themselves to convert this classic into widescreen, by brutally cutting off the top and bottom of the screen. This leaves many scenes with heads and faces missing, and in the flying scene, the Snowman and the boy are nowhere to be seen. Beware of this so-called special edition - get the version bundled with the other Raymond Brigg's tale Father Christmas, which is presented in it's original aspect ratio.
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on 5 May 2008
The rubric for this disc describes "David Bowie's original introduction". Not so - the introduction of the original film was truly atmospheric: a lone figure (Raymond Briggs?) walking through a winter landscape with the sky heavy with impending snow. This was later replaced by the appalling tosh by David Bowie and still later by an animated "Father Christmas" introduction. The true original now seems impossible to acquire - a dreadful act of cultural vandalism.
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on 6 November 2012
Whilst the colours do look a little brighter on this HD release it's worth noting that the video is the cropped widescreen version. Tops of heads are cut off, detail at the bottom of the screen missing. Also all 3 of the introductions are on the bonus features menu, the story itself starts without any intro at all from the title screen. Dissapointing considering they could have included all 3 versions on 1 blu-ray disc (a cropped and the original version too) for the viewer to choose their favourite version. (it is after all only 25 minutes long). 30th anniversary special edition? Cheap & poorly produced disc of a much loved classic more like.
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on 11 December 2010
No original introduction ! DVD features the Father Christmas introduction rather than the one we all remember. I'm not sure why after all this time they had to alter it ? Watched my old VHS tape instead.
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on 13 December 2010
The Snowman is a beautifully illustrated classic film so what on earth has been done to it?! You can find the original introduction with David Bowie under "Extra Features" and "Alternative Introduction". Firstly, how CAN they call it an alternative introduction - it's the original!! I never liked the "Father Christmas" film so was hugely disappointed to see they have Father Christmas introducing it instead of David Bowie. The other thing is that if you choose the alternative introduction it cuts off just as the films starts!!! So, you have back up to the main menu to choose the Father Christmas introduction so you can watch the whole film! And, totally agree with the other reviewers - the film has been chopped top and bottom so heads are cut off.

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!
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on 16 December 2011
Raymond Briggs's The Snowman is one of the most beautifully atmospheric Christmas stories. The animated version reaches even greater heights, enhanced as it is by Howard Blake's truly moving score.

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.
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on 13 December 2004
Can it really be over twenty years since this delicate, captivating animation graced the screens of the fledgling Channel 4? As a voice-over announcer with the station I have introduced The Snowman many times, along with its permutations such as 'the making of' (which I'm glad to see is a bonus programme included here) yet I've never tired of its pastel wintry landscapes and sublime music.
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.
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on 3 December 2007
This is billed as the version which is introduced by David Bowie. It isn't. It's the version with Mel Smith as Santa Claus at the start. I know this because I bought it a few weeks ago, and am currently in the process of returning it. Amazon is guilty of misleading advertising by billing this as the Bowie version. The Bowie intro is included in the extras, but stops after 1 minute and 43 seconds. Very disappointing.
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on 25 July 2013
Okay, it's The Snowman, a classic. I had to get this version because it has the original intro and is not cropped from the original presentation, this being 1.33. However, the bluray being at 1.78 is not a simple crop - it actually has more width - so although both are compromises from the original film frame, I firmly believe the 1.33 version as shown originally and as intended is still the best ratio.

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.
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on 18 November 2014
I hate this modern obsession with butchering old classics which were not made in a widescreen ratio. I say butchering because that is literally what they do. They cut a big chunk off both the top and the bottom of the picture, to give the impression that the program is widescreen..... But it isn't, it's a more square picture, with the top and bottom missing!! 30+ years ago, the animations were all drawn and filmed on to 1.33 to 1 (aka 4:3) ratio 35mm film frames, to match the non-widescreen shapes of our old TVs. Cutting the top and bottom off the picture, often means heads and feet get cut off in many shots and shots that looked well composed and balanced, now look awkward and badly composed. It's an insult to the artists involved.

Worst of all... Because it's only 26 minutes long, they could have easily fit both the newer widescreen version and the original non-cropped version on the same disk. Why have they not done this???
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