Jingle All The Way: Family Fun Edition [Blu-ray]
Blu-ray A - America - Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment
Review written by and copyright: Jeremiah Chin (2nd March 2009).
The Film

Arnold Schwarzenegger has never been a man of complicated movies, nearly every plot is straightforward and does exactly as it says and his characters, in similar fashion, have a clear cut function and purpose. Action or Comedy, Arnold has the same purpose of achieving victory over whatever stands in his path, be it Predators or pregnancy, Bruce Waynes or Sara Connors. Anyway you cut it, Arnold just fights through everything and survives until the very end of the film and typically succeeds, unless molten steel or a hydraulic press gets in his way. Honestly the biggest distinction between a Schwarzenegger action movie and a comedy is the ratio of how many close ups of his facial expression there are to the number times he uses a weapon and/or kills someone, or as I like to call it the ‘Choppa/Doll-metric.’ More pure action films like “Predator” (1987) have a ratio of something like 100 shots/kills for every close-up, whereas comedies like the recently released “Jingle All the Way” (1996) have no deaths (though a couple toys and people used as weapons), but with a beautiful amount of close-ups of Schwarzenegger trying to make the funniest or most scene appropriate face he can think of.

Of course this doesn’t mean that Arnold doesn’t have a lot to overcome in the role of Howard Langston, a fairly disconnected father who is more obsessed with his business than his family at home. After missing his son’s karate demonstration the day before Christmas eve, Howard is looking for a way to make it up to his son and realizes (after his wife reminded him) that he forgot to pick up the only present his son asked for this Christmas: a Turbo Man doll. In order to win back the trust of his wife and his son’s affections, Howard sets out the next day to track down the most in-demand toy of the holiday season. Soon he finds himself in competition with Myron (Sinbad) a postal worker who’s also out to find his son a Turbo Man, as they both try to hunt down some of the last remaining toys in the area.

There’s something special about family styled comedies written specifically for Schwarzenegger that just hit me in all the right places. It's almost as if the writers know how to harness his attempted comedic ability to hit all the right notes while utilizing his aptitude for terrible puns and one liners from action movies to create a comedy cocktail that just works. If the look on Arnold’s face on the cover of the disc doesn’t at least give you a little tiny smirk at the corner of your mouth, you may want to pass. So when I say Schwarzenegger is excellent in the movie, I mean he hits all the right notes and all the right marks to make the comedy work. Even Phil Hartman’s bit role in the film is well played as the creepy divorced dad next door who wants to sex up every single housewife in the neighborhood. Sinbad even does some great lines tossed in, either for their bizzarness or just the way they’re played out in the film.

Probably the biggest flaw would be Jake Lloyd as Schwarzenegger’s son Anakin Jamie, who you can often see glancing off screen to look to the director, cameraman, parent, or even cue card in the middle of scenes. At times it can be funny because of how terribly obvious it is, but at the same time it’s a little annoying and just becomes frustrating the longer the film goes on.

The one thing that I think I overlooked more when I saw this movie as the kid was the fairly awesome production design for the film, especially Jamie’s bedroom which is almost a mid 90’s nostalgia trip in and of itself. It’s almost as if the production designer signed a lucrative contract with Marvel Comics and decided to plaster Captain America, Wolverine and Spider-Man all over his room. Which seems odd for a kid obsessed with Turbo Man, but whatever, that room rocks. Even the giant suits designed for Turbo Man, Booster, Dementor and Dementor’s cronies evoke the 90’s children’s live-action superhero show that holds a special place in my hart. Plus the fact that Sinbad inexplicably possesses the real life ability to shoot his fist at people like a rocket makes me laugh just thinking about it.

Overall “Jingle All the Way” is a great example of Schwarzenegger’s comedic genious that you can interpret as awesomely bad or intentional, but either way it’s still funny. Sure you could go into some of the finer points of the films plot and writing that try to be a critique on consumerism only to reaffirm the need for materialism, but I don’t feel particularly pretentious so I’ll just leave it at a Schwarzenegger ‘family’ style comedy that hits some great comedic notes and pulls out some funny performances from nearly everyone.

Included on the disc are both the original 'Theatrical Cut' and 'Extended Cut' of the film. The 'Theatrical Cut' runs for 1 hour, 29 minutes and 31 seconds, while the 'Extended Cut' clocks in about 4 minutes and 13 seconds longer.


Presented in a 1.85:1 widescreen aspect ratio with 1080p 24/fps high-definition using AVC MPEG-4 encoding at 28Mbps. The upgraded transfer looks great on Blu-ray as everything looks really clean and clear with no real problems with grain, discoloration or distortion. There are a few scenes where the colors feel a little muted (I almost think it may have been a lighting problem at the time rather than a transfer problem) but other than that the movie looks fantastic as you would expect from a Blu-ray release.


The English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track presented in 48kHz/24-bit, there are also French and Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1 surround tracks. The film sounds great and works well for the film, giving good sound to David Newman’s music in the film (and Brian Setzer’s rockabilly rendition of "Jingle Bells" at the end). All of the sound comes through well, allowing the tiny little background lines to pop out in the film that help make for some good laughs during the film, as well as keeping all the rest of the levels in tune; making the sound is consistently good throughout.
The disc includes English, Spanish, Cantonese, Korean, Mandarin and Thai subtitles.


This 'Family Fun Edition’ comes with a cluster of extras including deleted and extended scenes, three featurettes and bonus trailers.

Next are the four deleted and extended scenes which can be played all together (running for 20 minutes and 36 seconds all told) or individually, described below:

- “Howard buying doll from woman on the street” runs for 5 minutes and 18 seconds. This extended scene looks at Howard and Myron’s battle to get to the woman in the fur coat with the Turbo Man doll.
- “Howard and Mall Santa in car/Mall Santa breaks into song/Howard and Mall Santas fight” runs for 9 minutes and 12 seconds. If the title wasn’t descriptive enough this combination of deleted and extended scenes of Howard going with the shady santa and his elf to the santa knockoff warehouse to try and get a Turbo Man.
- “Howard and Myron in diner” runs for 3 minutes and 45 seconds, which is another extended scene of the diner just before they make the run to the radio station.
- “Howard riding home with Tow-Truck driver” runs for 2 minutes and 22 seconds; another extended sequence that goes through Howard’s range of excuses before returning home.

The first featurette is “The Making of a Hero” which runs for 15 minutes and 29 seconds and covers how they came up with the Turbo Man idea, from how his look was inspired, showing conceptual sketches for the look of the character and the costume along with the general production of the suit based on the conceptual materials. There’s some great conceptual art and tons of behind-the-scenes looks at Schwarzenegger on set just smoking a huge cigar. A solid featurette that looks at the entireity of the character’s production with some interesting insights.

“Super Kids” featurette runs for 8 minutes and 12 seconds and basically shows a group of kids taking about their ideas for their own super heros and super powers that they’ve thought up along with some conceptual illustrations of the superheros they’ve thought up, its kind of funny to see all the little kids come up with some ridiculous powers and how common some of the super powers they wanted were.

“Turbo Man: Behind the Mask" runs for 8 minutes and 17 seconds. This final featurette serves as a sort of mockumentary for the fictional Turbo Man TV show within the film, talking about the rise and fall of Turbo Man from merchandising to the show, joking about the breakup of the Turbo Man show. It’s actually a fairly funny and goes a little over the top showing Turbo Man sitting at home in his suit, a mugshot, etc.

The bonus trailers on the disc are:

- “Alvin and the Chipmunks” runs for 2 minutes and 17 seconds.
- “Home Alone” runs for 2 minutes and 15 seconds.
- “Fantastic Four” runs for 2 minutes and 30 seconds.
- “Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer” runs for 2 minutes and 10 seconds.
- “Eragon” runs for 1 minute and 25 seconds.
- “Night at the Museum” runs for 2 minutes and 29 seconds.


The Film: B- Video: A- Audio: A Extras: C+ Overall: B-


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