VeggieTales: The Little Drummer Boy appears in aspect ratios of 1.33:1 and 1.78:1 on this single-sided, double-layered DVD; the widescreen version has been enhanced for 16X9 TVs. The image provided consistently solid visuals.
Sharpness was good. Some wide shots demonstrated a bit of softness, but those instances remained minor. Instead, the show usually appeared well-defined. I noticed no issues with jagged edges or moiré effects, and source defects remained absent.
Like all VeggieTales programs, Drummer opted for a lively palette. It came with a wide variety of colors, all of which looked pretty positive. Blacks were deep and dense, while shadows showed nice delineation. This was a fine presentation.
I also felt pleased with the Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack of Drummer. Though the soundfield didn’t dazzle, it opened up the spectrum pretty well. Music filled the room well, and other elements cropped up from the side and back speakers. Again, nothing here really impressed, but the mix created a nice environment for the material.
Audio quality was also good. Speech remained concise and distinctive, while effects showed solid clarity and accuracy. Music was consistently full and rich. This ended up as a “B” soundtrack.
When we shift to extras, we begin with an audio commentary from director Brian Roberts, writer/actor Mike Nawrocki and executive producer Leslie Ferrell. All three sit together for this running, screen-specific discussion of story, character and adaptation issues, music, visuals and animation, cast and performances, and a few other thoughts.
Like all VeggieTales commentaries, this one comes with a fair amount of happy talk, but it also delivers a lot of good information. Most of this arrives during the film’s first half, as the track sags somewhat as it proceeds, but we still get a useful take on the project. In particular, the notes about the alterations made to the original Drummer Boy prove interesting. This is a likable, usually informative piece.
A featurette takes us Behind the Music of The Little Drummer Boy. It goes for three minutes, 42 seconds and includes notes from Roberts, Nawrocki, and music director Kurt Heineke. The show looks at the adaptation of the 1968 Drummer as well as thoughts about the special’s music. It’s a quick but reasonably informative piece.
Junior Visits a Drum Factory lasts four minutes, 10 seconds and features notes from drum technician Clay Fuqua. He shows some anonymous kids the different types of drums and how they work. This is a decent little tutorial.
Next we get a “family activity”: Making a Drum. It runs one minute, 34 seconds and we see some family make a cheap drum. This might be fun for folks to try.
A Silly Song Singalong for “The 8 Polish Foods” appears. This provides the scene from the special and allows you to watch it with or without original vocals. I’m not a fan of these singalongs, but someone probably likes them.
Finally, we get a music video for “The Little Drummer Boy”. This gives us a version from Bebe and Cece Winans as it mixes shots from the special and images of Bebe Winans involved in charity work. I can’t say either the tune or the video do anything for me.
The disc opens with an ad for Robin Good and His Not-So-Merry Men. It also provides Previews for Princess and the Pop Star, 25 Favorite Silly Songs, Veggietales.com and Songs for a Princess.
With VeggieTales: The Little Drummer Boy, we get an update on a well-known holiday TV special. It’s a fairly enjoyable rendition, though I prefer the original. The DVD offers good picture and audio along with a smattering of decent supplements. This is average VeggieTales but still likable.