Genre(s): Drama, Romance
Universal | PG13 – 102 min. – $34.98 | February 4, 2020
Date Published: 02/05/2020 | Author: The Movieman
Universal Pictures Entertainment provided me with a free copy of the Blu-ray I reviewed in this Blog Post.
The opinions I share are my own.
THE MOVIE — 3.25/5
Plot Synopsis: Nothing seems to go right for young Kate (EMILIA CLARKE), a frustrated Londoner who works as an elf in a year-round Christmas shop. But things soon take a turn for the better when she meets Tom (HENRY GOLDING) — a handsome charmer who seems too good to be true. As the city transforms into the most wonderful time of the year, Tom and Kate’s growing attraction turns into the best gift of all — a Yuletide romance.
Review: Last Christmas is inspired by the hit holiday song by the late and great George Michael, a song I do enjoy… during the appropriate season, a little weird hearing it in early February. The movie itself hinges on the romance and chemistry between its leads played by Emilia Clarke, far and away from her role on Game of Thrones, and Henry Golding, who rose to fame with the surprise hit, Crazy Rich Asians.
The pair are so magical when on-screen together, and really helped overcome some of the film’s shortcomings with oddly placed and distracting political correctness, mostly a scene with Brexit protestors shown on television, as well as a twist I would expect from a Hallmark Christmas TV movie, and one that didn’t entirely knock me over emotionally, and I’m not ashamed to admit, when those scenes work, I tend to hold back tears… not so much this time.
Emma Thompson, who also produced and co-scripted, gives a nice performance as Kate’s overbearing mother and Michael Yeoh was a lot of fun as the stern yet understanding boss who finds love in one of the more sitcom-like scene that was silly though also tonally off from most of this film. There were also straggler characters that didn’t add a whole lot, mainly two cops, one considerate, the other by-the-book, whose presence is logical, but easily could have been cut.
Last Christmas was helmed by Paul Feig, tackling a production that’s more within his wheelhouse, at least compared with his 2016 incarnation of Ghostbusters, though not sure he quite has the handle on the sappy elements, because within the rom-com realm, I thought the movie, and more specifically, the chemistry between Emilia Clarke and Henry Golding was incredible, palpable even. However, once the twist is revealed and veers into near Hallmark territory, it kind of loses its muster.
That being said, as a whole, with warts and all, Last Christmas may not be some future classic, I did really like the cast and the London holiday setting, alongside the wonderful music from George Michael. I would say give it a rental or if on sale, pick it up, it’s still a fine way to spend the time.
SPECIAL FEATURES – 4.0/5
This release comes with a title-embossed slip cover and inside is a redemption code for the Digital HD copy.
A little unusual to have one solo track with the director and the other with another participant, but I guess both offer different subjects with Feig on his track delving into some of the more nuances of the production while the other is on other aspects with Thompson’s involvement.
Alternate Ending (1:54) has Kate doing a new job as a tour guide. The first minute is an introduction by Paul Feig.
Blooper Reel (14:30) — Includes an introduction by Feig and has the usual fun line flubs and such.
Deleted/Alternate/Extended Scenes (22:45) — Say what you will about Feig, he always includes most scenes that were cut down or completely removed. All told, there 15 scenes here and included is another Feig intro.
Alternate Opening (1:11) — Wonky edited alternate scene, glad they went another direction…
“Last Christmas” Full Performance (3:56) from the end of the film. Spoiler alert. Feig intro included.
Director in Vision (1:51) — Some behind-the-scenes footage with Feig.
It’s All So Cold (2:00) — Short featurette on shooting the movie over the “festive period” in London.
Try Not to Laugh (6:04) — Emilia Clarke and Emma Thompson in giggle fits trying to get through a scene.
A Legacy Revealed (2:43) on the inspiration the song was on the story.
Pure Golding (1:28) is about the character Tom as portrayed by Henry Golding.
Emilia Recording Session (2:14) with Emilia Clarke in a recording booth for her singing scenes.
Love Letter to London (3:36) — How the film focuses on various locations in London.
Santa and Her Elf (2:47) – Looks at Michelle Yeoh’s character and the set design of the Christmas store.
Paul Feig Takes Over the Tram (3:34) has the director having a bit of fun on the tram at the Universal Studios tour tram, which is what he did back in the day.
12 Days of Production (10:21) — Behind-the-scenes video with Feig, Golding, Clarke and others on the production over the course of about two weeks. More diaries than anything.
VIDEO – 4.5/5
|Universal releases Last Christmas with a 2.00 widescreen aspect ratio and given a 1080p high-definition transfer, which showcases the holiday spirit in the format, with bright, vibrant colors throughout. Detail meanwhile is sharp and well defined, and I didn’t notice any evident issues with the picture, such as aliasing, banding and the like, so it does appear to be a clean looking transfer.|
AUDIO – 4.75/5
|The disc comes with a strong DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1 track which is a bit strong for a romantic-comedy-drama, however the classic music from George Michael, along with the score by Theodore Shapiro (Bombshell, Ghostbusters 2016), comes through with amazing depth with dialogue making the most of the central channel, also with good clarity.|
OVERALL – 3.5/5
Last Christmas is an imperfect but still enjoyable film from Paul Feig that hinges and succeeds on the chemistry between Emilia Clarke and Henry Golding, and a respectable supporting cast including Emma Thompson who co-wrote and produced.