Parents need to know that this delightful holiday tale blends a unique story with clever humor and kid-friendly content, making it an excellent choice for the entire family. There's very little in the way of iffy stuff, the imaginative concept of elves preparing homes for Santa's arrival will have give kids lots to ponder as Christmas nears, and there are plenty of adult-geared references to keep parents chuckling. In typical Disney fashion, all of this entertaining content is wrapped up in positive messages about perseverance, unselfishness, and self-worth.
PREP & LANDING tells the story of longtime Santa's helper Wayne (voiced by Dave Foley), who belongs to an elite group of elves trusted with the task of prepping each home before the Big Guy's arrival. A 227-year veteran of the job, Wayne is confident that he's earned a promotion, but when he's passed over yet again and saddled with rookie partner Lanny (Derek Richardson) on Christmas Eve, he loses his passion for his work and gets careless, causing a serious security breach. With exuberant Lanny's help, Wayne must rediscover the holiday spirit to save Christmas for a special little boy. The DVD comes with several funny extras including two shorts: "Operation Secret Santa" and "Tiny's Big Adventure."
Compare this special's take on the North Pole residents' preparations for Christmas with what you've seen in other movies. What other movies/specials offer a behind-the-scenes look at Santa and the elves at work?
Landing Signals Officers (LSO) help guide the plane in, through radio communication as well as a collection of lights on the deck. If the plane is off course, the LSOs can use radio commands or illuminate other lights to wave the pilot off. The crew that does the preparation and landing procedures are vital for the success.
Since Santa also pilots a flying vehicle and must make landings on multiple unusual surfaces, Disney storyman Chris Williams wondered if the jolly old elf also might have a flight crew to help him do so on Christmas Eve.
The hat brim on the hat section slides up and opens into a radar dish to signal Santa's sleigh. Once the dish powers on, the snowman sections and transparent tubing strobe with landing light patterns, creating a landing strip for the sleigh.
Additionally, the inside hands of the two elves' snowmen shoot forward, connecting magnetically together to form a tow cable line across the landing strip to catch the tailhook on the bottom of Santa's sleigh. The cable is deceptively strong with a tensile strength capable of supporting the weight of a fully loaded semi trailer.
The setting is a high-tech command center at the North Pole, where an elf named Magee (voiced by Sarah Chalke), the North Pole Christmas Eve Command Center Coordinator (NPCECCC for short) pairs a disgruntled elf named Wayne (Dave Foley), who after working tirelessly on Prep & Landing for 227 years, doesn't receive an expected promotion to be the Director of Naughty List Intelligence, which went to his sidekick Peterson. Instead, Magee partners Wayne with Lanny (Derek Richardson), an idealistic rookie who has an undying enthusiasm for Christmas, to prepare the world for the annual trip of Santa Claus. However, they get more than they can bargain for when a young boy named Timmy Terwelp captures them in action, enabling Lanny to respark the spirit of Christmas in Wayne. Meanwhile, Miss Holly, Santa's assistant gives a briefing back at the North Pole on the trip, and Magee gets word of a storm over Section 7, where they are located and utters "Oh, frostbite" and calls out a code of "figgy pudding", passing by Timmy's house, but Wayne decides to override Magee's call to pass by and visit the house. However, prep is lost when their tracking and landing device is lost in said snowstorm so they improvise from a display using an inflatable Santa snow globe, and save Santa's sleigh from disaster. In the end, Santa gives Wayne a snowglobe with a miniature version of Timmy's house, and they see him enjoying Christmas... and turns down a promotion to being in charge of the Nice List Intelligence.
Prep and Landing became the first Disney property to officially cross over with Marvel's characters with the story "Mansion: Impossible", in which Wayne and Lanny must prepare the Avengers Mansion for Christmas. The story appeared in Avengers #19, Super-Heroes #20 and Spider-Man #20 in November 2011.
Wayne is an old pro who's been working on Prep and Landing for over 200 years and is finally hoping to receive a promotion. After being turned down, he is teamed up with a new recruit, Lanny. The two head off to Timmy's house to prepare for Santa's arrival. But with Lanny's inexperience and Wayne's new defeatist attitude, things go wrong real quickly, and the house is not prepped in time. And with the threat of a terrible snow storm, it appears that Santa has no choice but to skip Timmy's house that year. Realizing the error of his ways, Wayne only has a limited amount of time to make things right.
It is also the first Disney property to cross over with Marvel in the comic story "Mansion: Impossible" in which Wayne and Lanny must prepare the Avengers Mansion for Santa's arrival. This ran as a backup in The Avengers (Vol 4) #19 and two Marvel Adventures books.
Disney fans either know about or remember a time not too long ago when every animated thing the studio touched turned to gold. Whether you mark 1988 or 1989 as the start and anywhere from 1994 to 1999 as the finish, the period represented what is now considered a Disney Renaissance, and everything from awareness and accolades to tickets and merchandise seemed to be at all-time highs. This creative boom gave rise to many enterprises, including spin-off TV series, stage adaptations, and direct-to-video sequels. One format not in use since near the beginning of the era was the animated featurette.If you consider the featurette a mere extension of the cartoon short, then its absence was anything but strange. With some prominent exceptions, shorts basically disappeared from the moviegoing experience back in the 1960s. But even after retiring the 5-10-minute 'toon, Disney went on to produce some significant animated films running about one-third the length of a standard feature. There were the original Winnie the Pooh featurettes, the second of which won Walt Disney his final Oscar. There were the 25-minute holiday cartoons The Small One (1978) and the Academy Award-nominated Mickey's Christmas Carol (1983). The Michael Eisner years further employed classic characters in Goofy's Soccermania (1987) and Mickey Mouse's The Prince and the Pauper (1990).Nineteen years later, the format was resurrected with Prep & Landing, an original half-hour ABC Christmas special produced by Walt Disney Animation Studios. That was reason to celebrate: the storied division was doing something and something different. Alas, Prep & Landing seems to be a product of the department's period of self-discovery. After just about hitting rock bottom both creatively and financially with Home on the Range, Disney tried reinventing itself, swearing off hand-drawn animation and embracing computer techniques that had caught on and left them behind. The first in-house all-CGI feature was the financially formidable and artistically reviled Chicken Little.Just after that was released, Robert Iger succeeded Eisner as company CEO and among his first tasks were to buy Pixar and put its creative leader John Lasseter in charge of Disney's own animation studio as well. The CG-animated films that followed, Meet the Robinsons and Bolt, improved upon Chicken Little, but both of them and especially the latter had the feel of a studio unclear of its identity and unaware of its legacy. Those issues have since been satisfyingly addressed three times in the past three years, with the traditionally-animated The Princess and the Frog, the more traditional than advertised Tangled, and the simple but sweet Winnie the Pooh. Disney Animation seems to be on the right track again, neither resting on its laurels nor trying to follow trends. Though it premiered just three days before The Princess and the Frog opened nationwide, Prep & Landing has the same Diet Pixar feel as Bolt. That is not a coincidence because they were in production at the same time and because this special was conceived and executive produced by Bolt co-writer and co-director Chris Williams.Prep & Landing teaches us about an aspect of Santa Claus' annual deliveries heretofore overlooked in Christmas lore: the unit of high-tech elves who perform reconaissance missions on houses, preparing the inside and rooftop for Santa and his reindeer's landing. Consisting of a check on stirring creatures and making sure there is adequate space under the tree to allow for presents, it's a job that Wayne (voiced by Dave Foley) views as a stepping stone to bigger and better things. When he doesn't get the promotion he expected and is instead paired up with green, enthusiastic Lanny (Derek Richardson), Wayne is not in the best of spirits this holiday. Sloppy and weary, he breaks protocol and in the process gets caught by Timmy, a child awoken from his sleep. With Santa rerouted and this boy's Christmas very likely ruined, Wayne and Lanny rise to heroism.These days, network television requires nine minutes of commercials for every half-hour of airtime. That leaves Prep & Landing with just 21 minutes and 32 seconds counting credits and studio logos. That is not much time for it to do anything, particularly since it first has to introduce us to its universe and characters. It seems to me that some additional time would have benefitted the production considerably. Even if forty-three minutes was deemed excessive, seven of those minutes could have easily gone to showing the 1952 short Pluto's Christmas Tree.As is, the program has to assume manic pacing. There's never a moment's rest in this stream of Christmas puns and conflict. It's fairly agreeable, but it's so fast and thin you can hardly process a reaction in just a single viewing. Prep is truly on the order of Bolt, in that there are some chuckles throughout and you never dislike what you're seeing, but there's no more than meets the eye. That's more forgivable on an original animated TV special than a feature film, but lest we think there is no place for poignancy in a half-hour of network programming, remember A Charlie Brown Christmas, one of the first and still the greatest of all holiday specials. Admittedly, the Peanuts gang had an extra four minutes to work with back in 1965 and they have the benefit of being judged from a distance and after countless viewings. Even so, I don't see Prep & Landing being the type of show to still be selling merchandise half a century from now, the way that Charlie, Rudolph, and the Grinch still are. Watch a clip from Prep & Landing: Like A Charlie Brown Christmas, Prep & Landing does have an Emmy victory to its name. In fact, Prep won four Emmy awards, three for outstanding individual achievement in animation and, more importantly, the 2010 award for Outstanding Animated Program, a category inexplicably comparing it to individual episodes of "The Simpsons", "South Park", and "The Ricky Gervais Show." (Charlie Brown had similarly varied competition in Outstanding Children's Program, where it bested the likes of "Captain Kangaroo" and Walt Disney's three-part "Wonderful World of Color" miniseries "Adventures of Gallegher".)Wikipedia lists -- without citation, mind you -- the budget for Prep & Landing at a steep $14 million, almost half of the accepted figure for this year's Winnie the Pooh film. How does Disney go about making that money back? Well, there were the commercials on the original 2009 broadcast, which drew a strong 12 million viewers (good for second place in its timeslot though a far cry from the numbers on ABC's easier sell Shrek the Halls' two years earlier). Then, there is merchandise, from character plushes to a 2010 Hallmark ornament, though doubtfully a significant source of revenue. There are sequels; last year brought a new 7-minute short and next month, a new half-hour special will premiere. And finally, there is this DVD, which is a year or two late to be timely and yet a month or a year too early to include the new special, subtitled Naughty vs. Nice. Prep & Landing comes to disc on Tuesday, without a Blu-ray option despite Disney and the rest of the industry's forceful push to upgrade to that format.VIDEO and AUDIODVD may offer lower resolution than HD broadcast, but Prep & Landing still looks and sounds terrific in standard definition. The 1.78:1 anamorphic widescreen presentation is expectedly as flawless as the format allows, boasting nice clarity and vibrant colors. It must be stated that though there is a legacy of frugality to TV animation, Prep is most presentable, boasting cinema-worthy visuals. For proof of how far CGI has come, compare this to Mickey's Twice Upon a Christmas, the modest direct-to-video effort from five years earlier and be stunned.The Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack is lively and immersive, putting a couple of holiday favorites on nice display along with strong sound effects throughout. In an unadvertised move rare for Disney, a Portuguese dub and subtitles are included alongside the English, French, and Spanish offerings, though they are mistakenly identified as English by the disc's authoring. 781b155fdc