Watching A Christmas Story I couldn't help but think of today's comedies. Films like this are no longer made, it is too innocent and it was at the moment Ralphie says, "Only I didn't say 'fudge'. I said the F, dash, dash, dash word," that I began to search for a difference. I started thinking to myself how much funnier it would be if he had actually said the F, dash, dash, dash word, but that is the joke, that he didn't say it. But does that mean today's comedies are foregoing the punch line in an effort to be even funnier than the films before them and as a consequence will never become classics? Come to think of it what comedies from the past 5-10 years will be considered classics in the next 20-25 years? I'm not saying there isn't one, I am just wondering what you think.
A Christmas Story is hardly a tame flick despite its PG rating. You have a father that swears endlessly (even if you don't hear the actual words) and Ralphie even pummels the neighborhood bully until his face is bloodied. Perhaps that is the key to making a classic that will be remembered and one of the reasons such a film is hard to find nowadays. At least one thing's for sure, Warner Bros. thinks this film is a classic as they continue to release it year after year and this time around it comes with an Ultimate Edition Blu-ray and DVD release delivering nothing new in terms of special features from its earlier special edition releases outside of a new collector's tin that also includes a string of Leg Lamp Christmas lights that should go nicely with your chili pepper lights.
Of course, the leg lamp Christmas light strand is what comes with the Blu-ray edition, should you choose to buy the Ultimate DVD edition you won't get the leg lamp lights, but you will get a 48-page cookbook inspired by the film, photos and quotes from the movie, a chef's apron and some cookie cutters (I did get one of these shaped like a leg lamp). To be honest with you, the DVD version is probably the one to buy considering the goody quotient.
For anyone interested in the film as well as the goodies it comes with I would say the Blu-ray presentation is decent, but I can imagine some aficionados complaining saying it is too soft or the colors don't pop enough. This goes to the core argument for/against high-definition remastering and whether or not studios tinker too much with each release. I am sure Warner Bros. could have fidgeted with the picture enough to make each and every color stand out as if this was just another episode of "CSI: Miami" but it seems they took care to make sure it was cleaned up and made to look how it would have when originally released back in 1983.
The audio is a mono track, but considering the kind of film this is it doesn't necessarily need a 5.1 Dolby surround track. However, if we are going to say that why not take it a step further and ask why this film needs to be released in high-definition at all? It's a classic Christmas flick, but does high definition video and a mono audio track really make this movie any better or worse? Nah.
All-in-all, A Christmas Story fans and collectors should be satisfied with the DVD edition of this release which should save you about $5 over the Blu-ray edition and even though I haven't seen the DVD version I can't imagine it being any less impressive.