Fred Clause is the story of Santa's brother. After growing up in saintly Nick's shadow, Fred (Vaughn) becomes a grouch who's lost his belief in Christmas. Then, one magical December, Fred flies north via Santa's reindeer to find that Nick (Giamatti) is in trouble—a scheming efficiency expert (Spacey) is out to shut down Christmas forever. Fred helps save Christmas and rediscovers the gift of family. (Gary Reber)
Special features include commentary with Director David Dobkin; three featurettes: Pause For Clause: Elves Tell All (HD 08:59), Sibling Rivalry (HD 09:27), and Meet The Other Claus (HD 13:04); five Fireside Chats with Vince Vaughn and Paul Giamatti (SD 04:10); 13 deleted scenes (SD 25:30); the Ludacrismas music video (HD 01:36); a digital copy of the film; and a bonus DVD disc containing the Fred Claus DVD game: "Race To Save Christmas."
The 2.40:1 1080p VC-1 picture is nicely balanced, with warm and rich colors. Contrast is generally good, though, a bit crushed. Blacks are deep and solid, and shadow delineation is acceptable, though, a bit undefined at times. Reds and other primary colors are deeply saturated. Resolution is overall sharp, though, at times the imagery exhibits softness. Fleshtones are generally natural looking and reflect the cold North Pole temperature. Fine grain enhances the cinematic character. The picture exhibits good dimensionality as well. This is a pleasing picture that is sure to delight the family. (Gary Reber)
The Dolby® Digital 5.1-channel soundtrack is limited to a lossy encoding at a constant bit rate of 640 kilobits per second. Thus, the full benefit of the master mix quality is not delivered. Still, the sound is decent, with well-balanced dialogue that is spatially integrated, and a terrific music score that provides much of the surround envelopment. Atmospheric and sound effects also provide appropriate surround support, and the .1 LFE channel delivers deep bass appropriately, but is still limited. This is generally a dialogue-focused soundtrack, with conventional music and sound effect support, but there are no real distinguishable attributes. (Gary Reber)