Prep & Landing is a
delightfully charming Christmas
special produced by Disney in 2009. The story offers a unique take on
the most important jobs held by an elf employed through good ol' Santa
Clause. There is a necessary position of
handling the preparation
and landing efforts so that Santa can successfully come down the
some of those scrumptious looking chocolate chip cookies, and deliver
to good children (around the world) in time for Christmas morning.
the employees holding the position is the elf
named Wayne (Dave Foley). Wayne is expecting a promotion to get him out
job he has held for such a significant length of time. Surely, the big
will recognize his worthy talent and effort with a big promotion?
doesn't promote Wayne. Instead he receives instructions to train a new
named Lanny (Derek Richardson). Lanny is the new kid on the block and
expects a good series of training sessions for the new up-and-coming
doesn't like the news... at all. Wayne reacts very
poorly to it and begins to lose sight of the great importance in being
of the prep and landing team. It takes the unfolding of an intense
for him to experience and rediscover the magical importance of what it
does for a living and to understand why Santa relies on him so heavily
Christmas success necessary in order to bring happiness to all.
direction by Kevin Deters and Stevie Wermers is
fast-paced excitement and features enough energy and pizzazz to make
whether or not a feature-length movie might have been possible given
creativity of the story by Chris Williams. The script (crafted by the
directors) is excellent but altogether brief. It absolutely leaves a
impression that makes one want more Prep & Landing stories to
music by Michael Giacchino is excellent and once
again proves why he is one of the most demand-worthy composers in the
at the moment. His score delivers us a fantastic sense of an
driven holiday film that is distinctive and original, while the heart
music slowly blends into the themes and captures the magic held within
Lasseter, the "king" head honcho at Pixar
Studios, is unsurprisingly a producer of the short, and he continues a
constant winning-streak of delivering
to families some ridiculously incredible works of art that satisfy as
entertaining and winningly artistic.
& Landing may end
a tad too quickly with
only 22 total minutes to tie together every element of the story and
introduced. It does seem as though the idea of it all would have been
a feature length effort. Many viewers will be left with a hope that
stories will be told of this magical crew of prep and landing experts.
special has been produced for the 2011 holiday season and should
fulfill some of that purpose. No matter what though: this
introductory special is a pure delight and surely one of the
best animated Christmas efforts of the past several years.
& Landing clearly
followed the same basic
idea of the prep and landing crew from the special itself: the DVD was
prepared with a goal of having a good release containing solid video
preserves the broadcast aspect ratio of 1.78:1 with anamorphic
and with colors that seem to pop with sublime vibrancy. The transfer is
the technical achievement. While a DVD/Blu-ray combo release would have
wonderful, this is undeniably the best one can hope to see for the
the DVD format. Fans will be more than satisfied.
audio presentation is equally impressive to the
visual qualities. Disney has done a solid job by including 5.1 surround
for the English language presentation. French 5.1 and Spanish 2.0 are
Subtitles are provided in English (for the deaf and hard of hearing),
and French. The dialogue is clean, clear, and the surround effects are
effective and help to bring out the great music score by Giacchino.
extras are slim in count but worthwhile in
quality. The main bonus is two additional "stocking stuffer" prep and
short cartoons. The first, Operation
Secret Santa, is decent in length (though still significantly
the main special), and it was an immensely fun and comical piece with a
lot of great
joyful spirit. The second short was significantly shorter, Tiny's
Big Adventure, but it is laugh out loud funny and well made.
other extras included are a few Kringle Academy Elf
Training Videos and North Pole News and North Pole Commercials.
These were less enjoyable but decently made. Each piece
some amusing stylized videos reminiscent of older videos of similar
design (only without the holiday spin). These aren't essential viewing,
would make a neat side-trip for those interested.
& Landing was one
of my personal favorites
as far as recent holiday Christmas specials go. It seems obvious that
creative team responsible for making the special had a lot of fun
everything together and the heart of Christmas is very much present
here. The only
drawback might be that it seems like such an excellent concept that one
can't help but wonder what it would have looked like as a feature
effort. Otherwise, there aren't any complaints. This is a gem of
and the Disney release is nice. Don't miss it if you enjoy some
and have family or friends to share this with.
Neil Lumbard is a lifelong fan of cinema, and a student who aspires to make movies. He loves writing, and currently does in Texas.