Christmas Card (The) (TV)
R1 - America - Genius Products
Review written by and copyright: Pat Pilon (24th December 2007).
The Film

A soldier (John Newton) returns home to console his dead friend's girlfriend, and ends up staying in a small town, where he gets back his faith in humanity. He gets a job at a tree mill after saving the owner's (Ed Asner) life. The owner wants him to hook up with his daughter (Alice Evans), who happens to be in a not-so-happy long-distance relationship. You can guess what happens.

The main problem with this is that the boyfriend (Ben Weber) is not that bad a guy, he just likes his business. That makes the soldier come off as being a bit... well, given the dialogue, everybody comes off as looking like sixth-graders. The love triangle is simple and nobody seems to be acting like adults. Nobody talks about their feelings until it's too late and nobody seems to think things through.

The acting is a bit stilted and the dialogue is awkward, which, I suppose, works considering the movie. Nobody here is tremendously good and a few of the lines seem delivered by complete amateurs. Seriously, sometimes you wonder why these people are actors. Most of the time, the acting is adequate, but only for a television movie.

The plot unfolds with no surprises and the movie is simple and inoffensive. The Christmas spirit also seems to be a bit thin, and if it were set in July or in May, nothing much would change. I suppose snowfall and carriage rides make a fluffy romance a fluffy Christmas movie. There are better Christmas movies out there, though this one is worth watching if all the others have been seen.

Video

1.33:1 full screen. The picture looks fine for tv viewing overall, but it's not perfect. The level of detail isn't the strongest, resulting in slight softness. The colours are good enough and are accurate. Contrast is pretty solid, and there aren't any print blemishes. The black level could be a bit stronger but on the bright side there isn't much noise and edge enhancement. It's an okay transfer, but if you have anything bigger than 32 inches, you may want to stick with tube viewing.

Audio

The movie comes in English Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo. The dialogue is clear and audible. That's the most important thing, and it isn't blocked out by the score, foley effects or any other thing. The score is well mixed, filling the front speakers pretty well. The track is very good and doesn't really disappoint, but then again, the movie doesn't ask for too much.

There are no subtitles.

Extras

The disc has a few interviews, though they're very fluffly and were probably used with promo purposes in mind. There's Ed Asner: A Veteran's View (5:55), where Mr. Asner talks about the movie and his role and working with the other actors. He has a cute story about being stationed in France and getting letters. Heart of a Soldier: Actor John Newton (7:20) is another fluffy and uninformative EPK interview. Mr. Newton talks about the plot and his character and the other actors. He also talks about his favorite scene. It's not the best interview and could have been left out.

The third is Karen & Jeff: A Real-Life 'Christmas Card' Story (5:46). If you don't have a sweet tooth, then stay away from this interview with this couple. They are very cheesy and corny, and, oddly enough, an actual couple. They tell you how they met and how they stayed in touch. How to Reach a Soldier (1:10) is the last thing and is an announcement on where to go on the Internet to write to a soldier.

Overall

The Film: C Video: C+ Audio: B- Extras: D+ Overall: D

 


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