A Christmas Story is still a slice of nostalgic heaven for anyone that loves the holidays. It still feels fresh and brings that sense of joy and warm family happiness to anyone that watches Ralphie try and get that famous BB Gun for Christmas. The new 4K with HDR transfer is nothing short of stunning and the DTS-HD 2.0 mix sounds great. The collection of extras that have combined the previous releases together is something wonderful. This is the best the film has looked. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.
Nobody in their wildest dreams would have thought that filmmaker Bob Clark made a family-friendly film called A Christmas Story in 1983 after his success in making Black Christmas, Murder By Decree, Children Shouldn't Play with Dead Things, Porky's and Porky's II. But the cinematic gods spoke and thrust A Christmas Story into the minds of every American family as being the quintessential and poignant holiday film that stroked that nostalgic nerve of comedy and mishaps that showcased a family going through the obstacle of Christmas. Some forty years later, the film holds up surprisingly well and offers a light-hearted romp of the spirit of the holidays with iconic performances, dialogue, and wardrobe.
Based on Jean Shepard's books from the '60s and '70s titled In God We Trust: All Others Pay Cash and Wanda Hickey's Night of Golden Memories and Other Disasters, A Christmas Story sets up a narrative inside a series of vignettes that seems like it's' made for television in the 1950s as an older off-screen narrator talks about that one special Christmas when he was nine years old and still went by the cute name of Ralphie (Peter Billingsley). These vignettes follow young Ralphie and his friends and immediate family in the days leading up to Christmas morning and all the fun, excitement, and heartache that can provide.
From those special grade school assignments on what every kid wants for Christmas to double dog daring a friend to stick their tongue on a frozen metal pole, and even saying that first curse word in front of adults that lands a punishment almost worse than death are all on display here. The Christmas shopping, decoder rings, avoiding school bullies in the snow, and eating red stewed cabbage are all a part of the family fun as the elements of growing up and still being a kid at heart can go hand-in-hand during the holidays.
A Christmas Story is a simple, sweet, throwback to a time when nobody was really concerned with the worries of the world today. There are no holiday-themed zombies, meth, or serial killers in this film. Just some great feel-good wholesome comedy about a kid navigating his way through his pre-adolescent years and all the laughter and tears that come with that. It's a movie that almost everyone can relate to in some form or fashion that will conjure large smiles and bring that inner kid out again to enjoy life's little moments, even if that involves a sexy leg lamp and starfish-shaped jacket onesie.
Vital Disc Stats: The 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray
A Christmas Story celebrates its way to 4K + Blu-ray + Digital Code via Warner Bros. The two discs are housed inside a hard, black plastic case with a cardboard sleeve. The discs themselves are red and green respectively. The artwork features the cast of the film. There is an insert for a digital code.
A Christmas Story comes with a lovely and impressive 2160p UHD 4K image with HDR10, serving as a brand-new transfer for this incredible film. The colors are bolder and richer this time around and with the HDR upgrade, the nuanced black levels and holiday lighting bring out better detail and color palettes while keeping the time period intact.
The warm brown and yellow interior of the house has those nice brownish and amber accents where the HDR enhances the red and green Christmas decorations nicely. That amber tint of the infamous leg lamp now looks brighter and stronger too. The white snow out front mixed with the blue and grey skies looks amazing and well-balanced. The black levels at nighttime, especially during the tire change now have no crushed shadows and no murky bleeding. Skin tones are always natural as well. Inside the department store, the primary colors stick out perfectly with delicious reds, greens, and every other color that coincides with happiness and holidays.
The film grain looks wonderful as well. it never fluctuated and keeps its detail looking filmic and nostalgic. The detail is sharp and vivid and does not have that digital washed-out look. Closeups reveal makeup applications, wrinkles, freckles, and snowflakes in the ice that falls out of the sky. Textures in the wardrobe showcase those large wool stitching patterns and all their imperfections. The BB Gun also has that famous metal and wooden sheen to them as well as that thing that tells time. There are no issues with banding, aliasing, or heavy noise here. This is the best the film has ever looked and could be quite the demo-worthy film for the holidays for cinephiles.
This release comes with a DTS-HD 2.0 audio mix. Unfortunately, there is no 5.1 option or Dolby Atmos track. The original audio source and recording are pretty simple in that there are no big explosions or action-packed sequences that would fully utilize that big of a sound design, but the idea of it would be nice to have. The whacky sound effects during the funny robber sequence sound good and the furnace clanks and kitchen noises all sound wonderful. There is a fluid transition from yells across the halls too. The bigger moments of music and more ambient sounds come when the score swells up and when inside the shopping mall and school house. The dialogue is crisp and clear and easy to follow. This is a simple audio track without any problems.
There are no new bonus features here, but rather a collection of some of the better ones from the previous out-of-print releases, which is great news. There are about 127 minutes of extras not including the commentary track. All of these are worth the time.
A Christmas Story is timeless and still a fantastic and fun way to celebrate the holidays with the family. There's something here for everyone and the older everyone gets, there's something new to discover and feel about this amazing movie. The 4K with HDR image is the best the film has ever looked and the DTS-HD 2.0 audio mix sounds wonderful for its simplicity. The extras are all worth watching and it's nice to have them all in one place now. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!