Release Date(s)2011 (February 7th, 2012)
Studio(s)New Line (Warner Bros)
- Film/Program Grade: B
- Video Grade: B+
- Audio Grade: B
- Extras Grade: C+
It’s Christmas and so I felt I needed to review a Christmas movie. As the resident 3D guy, there’s just not a lot of choices available, and since the store was sold out of Arthur Christmas 3D, I grabbed the only other title they had that wasn’t already reviewed…
A Very Harold and Kumar Christmas
I got dragged to the last Harold and Kumar film by some friends of mine, who swore to me it wasn’t a gross-out stoner comedy on the low-end of the 13-year-old spectrum. They lied. So it was with great trepidation that I threw this disc in my player and strapped on the 3D glasses. And you know what? I got one of the best Christmas films I’ve seen in years and a damn fine 3D experience to boot.
Harold has grown up. He’s gotten married to a beautiful woman, they’re trying to have a baby and her family is coming for Christmas. In the meantime, Kumar has remained stagnant, lost his girlfriend, gotten fat and his only friend is his bong. When a mysterious package accidentally arrives at his apartment addressed to Harold, Kumar takes it over to him and the magical joint it contains ends up burning down his greatly disapproving father-in-law’s hand-grown Christmas tree. So the quest is on to find a matching tree before they return from Christmas mass and find their holiday ruined.
From the get-go, Harold and Kumar know they’re in a 3D movie and that the “4th wall” may as well not even be there. They bust on the format, do blatant product placement, rag on their careers outside the franchise and top that off with tons of slow-motion pop-out scenes, done so deliberately over the top that they’re daring you to complain that your $5 premium (for the BD3D version) wasn’t well spent. Especially impressive is the hyper-3D stop motion sequence where every single stop sign and mailbox has a glorious amount of pop to it. It really is almost as good as being there. Shot digitally in native 3D, the image is virtually flawless and there’s no real compression artifacts to speak of. The DTS-HD Master Audio is almost as much fun as the 3D, with plenty of indulgent and needless directional effects and active use of the surrounds. Sadly, for some reason the extended version exists only in the realm of Dolby Digital lossy. From what I’m told, the high bitrate of lossless audio makes managing the “jumps” to the other branches difficult so it was probably decided that it wasn’t worth the extra time on this movie.
The bonus material here is a bit light. Through the Haze with Thomas Lennon is a short collection of quickie off-the-cuff videos on various drug-themed topics. Title covers the creation of the Claymation sequence which, at under 5 minutes, is criminally too short. I would have loved to have a more in-depth exploration of the process instead of just the nickel tour. Finally, a small collection of rightfully deleted scenes complete the package.
Shockingly, A Very Harold and Kumar Christmas has a wonderful Christmas message when it reaches its apex. Despite his father-in-law’s intense disapproval, Harold wants to change his opinion of him through action and doing things right. He wants them to be a real, united family and that – if nothing else – is a true meaning of the holidays we can all agree on.
- Jeff Kleist