Monday, April 21, 2014

Disney’s Prep & Landing DVD Review

Reviewed by Jami Ferguson
On Christmas Eve, a high-tech team of elves from an elite unit known as Prep and Landing ensures homes around the world are prepared for Santa’s visit. But after working tirelessly for 227 years, an elf named Wayne is upset when he doesn’t receive a promotion to be Director of Naughty List Intelligence. Instead, he is partnered with Lanny, an idealistic rookie. During their mission, Wayne and Lanny encounter unexpected challenges that push them to their limits and threaten Christmas for children everywhere. Now it’s going to take a great big effort from two mismatched little elves to save the season!

Film (4 out of 5 stars)

Wayne (Dave Foley) is a high tech Christmas Elf with night vision goggles and laser sights.  They have more gadgets than James Bond.  They are part of the Prep & Landing team.  Their motto:  Get in, get out, and never be noticed.  Wayne has been working for many years, hoping for a big promotion.  In fact, he’s more than hoping for that promotion he’s assuming he’s got it.  But the promotion goes to Peterson, Wayne’s partner, the person he trained.  Wayne then meets his new partner Lanny (Derek Richardson).
Lanny and Wayne set right out on their first mission together.  Disappointed by the loss of the promotion Wayne decides to let Lanny do all the work.  Wayne has some Christmas cookies, watches a Christmas special on TV and doesn’t help prep for Santa. Then a creature is stirring, (a child wakes up), sees Wayne and even takes his picture.  The child is taken care of, but precious time is wasted and the elves are not on the roof guiding in Santa during a big storm like they should be.  A code “figgy pudding” is called, meaning that Santa is going to pass up that house and the thought of little Timmy being skipped snaps Wayne back to business.  He thinks quickly on his feet, “borrows” some Christmas lights and decorations from the neighbors to light the way and is able to prep a landing area for Santa and save Timmy’s Christmas.
Back at HQ, Wayne meets with the Big Guy aka Santa (voiced by Morgan Sheppard) who is not upset that Wayne temporarily made his way onto the naughty list.  He explains what everyone does from time to time and what’s important is that you make your way off.  He then gives Wayne a gift, a snow globe that shows him little Timmy’s Christmas.  He also offers Wayne a promotion to Director of the Nice List, which he turns down realizing that Prep and Landing is his true calling.
I think I might have enjoyed Prep & Landing a little more than my son did.  As a kid I know I spent hours wondering how it all worked at the North Pole and I like the idea of it being a very modern and organized operation.  I really liked their take on all the gadgets to put out the fires in the fire places, verify the correct amount of space for presents, check the milk temperature, and tell if there are any creatures stirring.  The level of detail was impressive.
My three year old did really like the menu though.  I could hear him exclaiming “Mommy, mommy I saw green eyes!”   I was trying to get some laundry done and a few last chores before we sat down to watch Prep & Landingtogether so I couldn’t figure out what he was talking about.  For five or ten minutes I heard all about was the green eyes and then I sat down and realized that the menu for Prep & landing has two elves in green night vision goggles peeking out of the chimney.  At least the mystery of the green eyes has been solved!  Now that he’s three, this is the first year I think he really gets the Santa concept.  I was pleasantly surprised that after watching this movie he had follow up questions like “So Santa goes to every good boy’s house?”  If you have a child around two or three years old this is another welcome way to introduce Santa Claus to them.

Video (4 out of 5 stars)

Prep & Landing is presented in widescreen 1.78:1 ratio.  For a DVD, this feature looks pretty good. The colors are rich and deep.  The elf skin tones have a lot of dimension and I found myself noticing that Magee’s rosy cheeks looked very realistic for an animated character.  I would love to see this on Blu-ray but for DVD I was pleased.  It’s a little off putting to me that some of the special features are intentionally made to look grainy, with visual noise and imperfections added.  Both the main feature and the main special feature, “Operation Secret Santa” looked very good.

Audio (4 out of 5 stars) 

Prep & Landing is presented in English and French 5.1 Dolby Digital, Spanish 2.0 Dolby Digital Sound.  I did take notice of the whirling wind in the snowstorm and the surround sound did make me feel as though I was in that snowstorm.  Dialogue was clear and at a consistent level throughout.

Special Features (4 out of 5 stars)

“Operation Secret Santa” is a short, but “Tiny’s Big Adventure” should have its own category of really really short.
  • Operation Secret Santa – Mrs. Klaus (voiced by Betty White) needs the help of Lanny and Wayne to retrieve a box from Santa’s office.  Mrs. Klaus wants to give the gift, the first toy Santa ever made to him, but Lanny and Wayne have to first use all their stealth and skills to retrieve it while Santa is sleeping.
  • Tiny’s Big Adventure - Tiny, an extra small elf uses a broom and practically destroys the break room making a cup of coffee.
  • Kringle Academy - Training videos for Santa’s helpers including: Welcome to Kringle Academy, Equipment Training and Dos and Don’ts.  They made this to be like an old film strip but I didn’t like how it intentionally went out of focus.  Other than that, the idea was really cute.
  • North Pole News – Black and White news footage of North Pole News and events.
  • North Pole Commercials – Commercials for, The Fruitcake Factory and Spa Navidad.
  • Discover Blu-Ray 3D with Timon & Pumbaa – A commercial for Blu ray 3D player and 3D TV.
  • Learn How to Take Your Favorite Movies on the Go - Instructions for how to use a digital copy.

Final Thoughts (4 out of 5 stars)

Prep & Landing is just cute.  The main special feature is just as cute. It’s like a mini Prep and Landing.  I love the elves and I want to go to the North Pole.  Its only November and it’s making me want to get out my Christmas decorations, put up my Christmas tree and start baking cookies!  A few days ago I was complaining that Halloween had just ended and the stores have already moved on to Christmas.  Thanks to Prep & Landing, I’m right there with them now!
Disney’s Prep & Landing has a short running time, which is good for short attention spans.  The holiday packaging is really cute and I think that I might be giving this out for a lot of holiday gifts.  Right now I can think of a few Secret Santa exchanges where this would be perfect.   I know a lot of people that love Disney movies but I never know what they have so I’m really excited that this is something new.  I’m just wondering how dumb I’ll look in line at Best Buy with 20 copies of the same movie.  Oh well, so the cashier knows that I’m not the most original gift giver.  Better yet, I’ll order on Amazon and then no one (except for those that read my reviews) will know!
Order your copy today!

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