Plot: What’s it about?
The holidays are a time when snow is on the ground, stockings are hung by the fireplace, and mice begin to play musical instruments. Yes, even rodents get into the spirit of the season these days, as Buster and Chauncey, two small mice have decided to play some tunes for the Queen this year. These two might be small in stature, but their talent as musicians is massive and they seek to showcase those talents in front of a royal audience. So the two mice travel to Oberndorf to a holiday festival, where they will display their music in an effort to enhance the spirit of the folks there. Everything seems to be in order, but then only one day before the big day arrives, it all goes downhill. That’s right, on Christmas Eve the people discover all their hard work has been for nothing, as someone has ruined all the preparations and stolen the treasures of the Queen. The spirit changes from warm to frigid because of this, but Buster and Chauncey have no plans to let this ruin the holidays. As such, they begin a hunt for the troublemakers that did the damage and also plan on how to cure the blues and restore the true holiday spirit to the townsfolk.
I’d never even heard of this animated film until I sat down to do this review, but now that Columbia/Tristar has issued it on DVD, I figured I would take a look. This is an animated film, but at fifty minutes it doesn’t qualify as a feature length effort. I think attempts to expand the running time would have been bad ideas though, so I am pleased no more footage was added. Of course this is aimed at the younger folks at home, but I think adults will have some fun with this title also. The animation is solid, but isn’t as smooth and fluid as Disney’s theatrical films, though that is to be expected. I never found any serious flaws with the animation and I think it is a step above the usual Saturday morning cartoon material. The voice talents are also better than average, with such names as Tom Arnold, Phil Hartman, and even Marie Osmond lending their pipes to this piece. The story is decent enough and should keep kids more than entertained. As far as this disc, Columbia/Tristar has included some nice sing alongs, which should also keep the little ones busy. I recommend this title to those who have small children or just want a nice piece to show around the holidays and with a nice DVD treatment, your money is well spent whether or purchase or rent this title.
Video: How does it look?
Buster & Chauncey’s Silent Night is presented in a full frame transfer, which retains the original aspect ratio of the feature. This is a terrific visual presentation and though a few flaws on the print emerge, there’s never any serious problems. The colors look bold and vivid, with no bleeds at all and I never noticed any flaws within the animation, which sometimes happens in the movie to digital media. The whites look white and the blacks look black, not much more you can ask from a simple piece like this one. I did see some minor edge enhancement though, but it never proved to be a distraction.
Audio: How does it sound?
This disc contains a 2.0 surround track, which handles all the songs and other audio elements without a hitch. The audio is centered on music and singing, so in those scenes you’ll notice more activity and range. I am pleased the results, but I think the non musical segments could be worked a little better. Still, I don’t think there’s reason for too much complaining as this track delivers when it needs to. The songs come through clean and distortion free and are well balanced with the rest of the audio. The dialogue emerges in good form also, with no volume issues or harshness I could detect. Alternate tracks in French, Spanish, and Portuguese are also available, as well as subtitles in English, French, Spanish, Portuguese, Chinese, Korean, and Thai.
Supplements: What are the extras?
This disc contains some bonus trailers for other Columbia/Tristar family films, but it also houses a couple film specific features. You’ll find some talent files and some sing alongs, which children should enjoy. Songs covered included Christmas In Oberndorf, Holiday For Thieves, Things That I’ve Collected, and Silent Night (sung by Marie Osmond).