Funny any time of the year..
A Very Harold & Kumar Christmas Combo-Pack, the Extra Dope Edition, is the definitive home movie collector’s choice and comes loaded with everything you need to celebrate the holidays in H&K style. There are two discs in this collection that contain a standard definition DVD, bonus materials and an enhanced Blu-ray disc. Additionally, you’ll find an insert that provides the Ultraviolet Digital Copy code where you’ll be able to download and/or stream a copy of the movie using Flixster. On the flip side is your Warner Bros Insider Rewards program and bonus points that you can use to start earning cool reward stuff. This Combo-Pack contains both the extended cut and theatrical cut along with 2 featurettes: Through The Haze With Tom Lennon, Bringing Harold & Kumar Claymation To Life, and deleted scenes. Patrick Stinson of Reelzchannel writes on the jacket, “You’ll laugh until you cry,” and he’s on to something there. I like that the Combo-Pack includes a dust jacket, the outer slide on sleeve if for no other reason than it looks nice and protects your DVD box inside.
Blu-ray Or Not To Blu-ray?
By all means, Blu-ray. Aside from the wondrous fantasy effects and altered states of consciousness, for obvious reasons – this is the dope edition – H&K Christmas looks and sounds its best on Blu-ray. It was also released in 3D and this version retains those scenes (in the extended cut) which actually hold up rather nicely even on non 3D televisions. It’s cheeky fun and you just have to go with it. There’s also a Claymation fantasy sequence that benefits from Blu-ray; part homage to the changing technology of animation and part just plain having a good time. On top of all of that, Blu-ray allows all the bonus content and different cuts of the movie – impossible on DVD.
A Very Harold & Kumar Christmas is the third film of the franchise and picks up years after the two long time buddies have grown apart, grown up a little and not at all. Unlike many third film franchises, this film has a lot to offer for both first timers like me and long time fans. The 3D stuff is nice without being pushy or thrown in for the sake of 3D. It’s nice to catch up with the characters after a little hiatus, to find them like we remember but also facing new challenges. There are new friends that have replaced old ones, lofty goals and aspirations pitted against lesser ones, everyday challenges that are both familiar and fodder for funny. Harold’s cold corporate career is a striking contrast to his youthful abandon and it adds an easy source of tension and turmoil. Kumar is pretty much a bigger kid version of himself, the habitually sloven, unkempt roustabout bungling his way through a career-less life. The two old friends are reluctantly thrown together when a Christmas present addressed to Harold arrives at Kumar’s house and he’s compelled to get it to him. When the present turns out to be a super-dube, Kumar can’t resist the urge to immediately lights up to Harold’s dismay; after all, Harold’s picture book house is smoke-free and he’s given up the weed, to the dismay of Kumar. Before anyone knows what happened, Harold’s father-in-law’s prized Christmas tree gets caught in the crossfire and goes up in flames. What ensues is a mad-cap dash to replace the tree before the in-laws return from a night on the town. In high fashion the adventure is on.
In a film about altered states of consciousness, ridiculous and outlandish car crashes, smoking pot and getting shot, beer pong gives way to Santa Clause and Russian Mobsters for big laughs any time of the year. It’s obvious the filmmakers had a lot of fun making this film and it shows. The 3D stuff is a nice touch that doesn’t get in the way or get old. It’s fun watching the gratuitous slow-motion flying confetti that waivers in the air then shoots out at the audience like machine gun pink chiffon and taffeta Easter eggs, the candy-cane cane that Neal Patrick Harris playing Neal Patrick Harris uses during his stage number poked at the audience in that “hey check out this 3D thing” way, and other moments of 3D-ness. The Blu-ray treatment goes a very long way here and if your television has motion-enhancements or vivid effects, you can tweak the audio and visuals even more for a completely immersive experience. Simply put, Blu-ray provides the closest opportunity for you to experience the movie the way the filmmakers intended.
The first film, Harold & Kumar Go To White Castle in 2004 was followed by Harold & Kumar Escape Guantanamo Bay in 2008. The third film came in 2011 and that feels about right for a franchise that has never packaged itself as anything more than funny happenstance. The first film followed the guys on their quest for the perfect hamburger. This is pure escapist cinema that doesn’t make a big deal out of otherwise touchy subjects but rather puts them out there for us to laugh at and laugh with. At once you’re laughing but after a minute it makes you think. Ridiculous and absurdity go hand in hand with most stoner comedies, the obvious and not-so-obvious mind altered states fueling wild journeys that might otherwise make no sense whatsoever. A Very Harold & Kumar Christmas is a lot of fun and surely will find its place during the holidays or any time of the year when you need some funny in your cheer.
Warner Home Video, a division of Warner Bros. Home Entertainment Inc., invited me to join their exclusive Blu-ray Elite Movie Review Program and they sent me a complimentary copy of this movie for the purpose of review with special attention on the “Blu-ray Experience”. I received this video for free, but that does not sway this review or the reviews of other films that will follow.