Snow Day

January 28, 2012 9 Min Read

Review by: Fusion3600

Plot: What’s it about?

Whenever a big snowfall hits the town, you know the kids are anxious to hear the two words that will change their entire mood…snow day. The day when the schools close and the kids can rummage around in the snow, having a blast with friends and forgetting all about school. It is the middle of winter in this town, but snow hasn’t touched the ground in the least. In fact, it seems more like summer, as the grass is green and the temperature is on the high end of the thermometer. So the holy grail of winter hasn’t even come to gracing these kids, which has Natalie (Zena Grey) on her last nerve. She loves the snow and even imagines herself catching snowflakes on her tongue, but the hopes of even one snow day seem doomed. Her brother Hal (Mark Webber) likes snow days too, but he’s too busy trying to win over the most popular girl in school, who just broke up with her boyfriend. But when she sleeps that night and dreams of a massive snowfall, she wakes to discover her dream is now a reality. She has the snow day she’s always wanted, but she has plans to make this the snow day of all snow days, by making sure a second snow day happens. But with the school principal and the nefarious Snowplowman (Chris Elliot) working to make sure school is session tomorrow, it won’t be an easy task in the end. Will Natalie’s dream of two straight snow days come true, or will her dream be blown away like a tiny snowflake?

This movie managed to become a nice, surprise hit at the theaters and of course, I was line on opening night. Call me crazy, but when Chevy Chase and Chris Elliot appear in the same kid’s movie, you can count me in for a ticket each and every time. I also happen to like the low stress, high fun level movies like Snow Day, Good Burger, and the like. Sure these aren’t cinematic elite flicks, but I think they’re a lot of fun and offer much repeat viewing value. I didn’t expect much from Snow Day and as such, I was thrilled when I discovered how much fun this movie turned out to be. I went a couple more times and dragged my friends, so I was looking forward to this DVD release. I didn’t expect much from the disc either, but once again I found a real gem and this disc turns out to be one humdinger. This is a film meant to be watched over and again, which means the added extras pile on even more value to this disc. If you’re looking for a fun ride that the whole family can enjoy, then give Snow Day a spin, I think you’ll be pleased. A rental might work for first timers, but I highly recommend a purchase, as Paramount has issued a very nice disc for this terrific family flick.

This film has a terrific and gifted cast, which works together to create the larger picture for the movie. Some have more prominent roles than others, but I don’t feel this movie has a true lead, more like a few of them. The focus seems to be in two places here, with Zena Grey’s character’s quest and with Mark Webber’s character and his search for love. So if there were leads it would be these two, but I think this is much more of an ensemble film to be honest. Webber (Drive Me Crazy) turns in a nice performance, but young Zena Grey (The Bone Collector) shines in her role as Natalie and steals this show. She has that sweetness the role calls for, but she never gets too much so, which results in a tough, but sweet character. I also found Chris Elliot (Cabin Boy) to be hilarious here, going all the way to conjure up this bizarre character Snowplowman. He is over the top to be sure, but that is what makes Elliot so humorous here. The cast also includes such names as Emmanuelle Chriqui (Detroit Rock City), Pam Grier (Jackie Brown), Damian Young (Olympia), Chevy Chase (Vacation), Jean Smart (The Odd Couple II), and even the wonderful Iggy Pop (Cry-Baby).

Video: How does it look?

Snow Day is presented in a 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen transfer. As we’ve come to expect from Paramount, this is a crystal clear and razor sharp transfer from start to finish, no real problems at all to discuss. This is a bright and colorful movie and this transfer replicates that well, as the snow looks pure white and the colors never smear or bleed at all. The contrast is also up to the task, delivering bold shadow layering and no visible detail loss even in the darkest scenes. The source print shows minimal debris and the compression is flawless on this one. But then again, we don’t expect anything less from Paramount these days.

Audio: How does it sound?

You might not expect much a soundtrack from a kid’s movie, but Snow Day delivers an active and potent Dolby Digital 5.1 experience. The musical soundtrack is of course active and sounds terrific in this mix, but there’s much heavier use of the surrounds than just this. From the subtle pelting noises of a snowball to the massive snowplow chugging down the streets, this one has the speakers working double time to keep up. Mind you, this isn’t intense and powerful use all the time, but the subtle and midrange stuff really adds up with this one. But the dialogue isn’t snowed under in this mix, as vocals emerge in fine form. No volume errors, distortion problems, or even chattering teeth can be heard in this splendid mix. This disc also includes English subtitles and a French 2.0 surround track.

Supplements: What are the extras?

I was surprised, but pleased to find this disc contains an audio commentary track which features director Chris Koch and the two screenwriters. This one isn’t a blast to listen to by any means, but it does have some nice information and anecdotes on the film. The parts about how the snow was moved and such were especially interesting to me. Also includes is a series of “Nicksclusives,” which are very brief interview/behind the scenes pieces. These are short, but they’re all run in sequence and that kinda makes for one longer piece, which is much better I think. Rounding out the extras is a fun “Snow Day Scoop” behind the scenes featurette and some cast & crew interview time. Not a bad selection of extras at all, kudos to Paramount for giving this surprise hit a terrific disc.

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