Joyeux Noel (Widescreen)
SRP $24.95 2.35:1(16:9) DOLBY DIGITAL 5.1 SONY

Both acclaimed and panned, "JOYEUX NOEL" has been released on dvd by SONY.  It's hard to imagine anyone not appreciating the power of this film.  Based on a true event that took place on Christmas Eve of 1914, there are numerous scenes that leave the viewer choked up, without the film ever having to resort to blatant sentimentality.

The story brings home the horrors of this particular war, due to trench warfare, wherein soldiers, were involved in extended fighting, literally just yards from their enemies. And, "who" were their enemies?  On Christmas Eve, soldiers from opposing sides, all missing home, are strangely united when hearing someone singing a hymn. It's not about religion or the magic of Christmas, the film's about humanity.  After some calculated risks, soldiers from German, French and Scottish sides cease fire temporarily, and share drink, food and photos with their enemies. Of course, soon enough, they know they will go back to their foxholes and continue killing one another. It's unbelievably powerful!

SONY has provided the correct 2.35:1 aspect ratio with 16:9 enhancement. It's a great looking transfer.  Colors are rich, especially notable when considering the blues and whites so prevalent in this winter setting.  There are deep blacks and grays and the detail is magnificent in even the darkest scenes. A really impressive transfer!

SONY has provided a Dolby Digital 5.1 mix. Music is important to the film, as two characters, both opera singers, share their voices with troops in a pivotal scene. Their part, though obviously dubbed, sounds terrific here. The dynamic range presented is really impressive. While not an aggressive mix, surrounds are used effectively in creating a consistent 360 degree environment. Dialogue is always intelligible and free from distortion.

A sensational commentary with the director is included. It's one of the few commentaries of late, worth listening to. Carion goes into explicit detail as to what's true and created, as well as the history behind what's taking place on screen, adding great depth to the already powerful film.