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Reviewed November 10th, 1999 by Staff


Sony has released the classic CBS cartoon from 1964. Burl Ives narrates the tale, and sings 3 songs. The stop-motion animated special still draws respectable ratings when aired each year.

The story: something is amiss at the North Pole: Donner (the reindeer)’s son Rudolph has a strange mutation. Perhaps the North Pole is a little too close to Chernobyl. Anyway, everyone, even Santa, rejects Rudolph. He’s banned from any participation in the reindeer leisure activities. Rudolph has two friends: a similarly rejected elf (Hermie) with a dental fetish, and cute female reindeer who sees the real him, behind the nose. Rudolph and Hermie leave the North Pole and have a heart-warming adventure that teaches the viewer the value of people’s differences, or something like that.

This is the “digitally restored,” hour-long version which aired last Christmas. The “Misfits” duet, which was removed to allow for more commercials, has been put back into the film. The colors are much better; however, the film, in full frame, 1.33:1 non-anamorphic, shows its age. The sound, though digital 2.0 stereo shows some damage in the form of a little warbling here and there.

Sony didn’t even produce a booklet for the DVD. There’s an ad for Sony DVDs included, but that’s it. Included are scene selections, English subtitles, and themed menus. In addition, Sony includes a trivia game which might be interesting to kids.

The Rudolph special is a classic for anyone who grew up with it. Those misfit toys still yank the heartstrings. Also, owning the DVD allows you to watch it at Christmas, rather than in November, when these things tend to get aired.


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