New York City, 1897. A little girl named Virginia O’Hanlon loves Christmas more than anything else in the world. But when a schoolyard bully challenges her belief in Santa Claus, Virginia embarks on a quest across the city to prove he is real. With her best friend Ollie in tow, Virginia meets everyone from an overeager librarian to a Scraggly Santa raising money for the poor. Finally her father inspires her to write a letter to the New York Sun newspaper, claiming “If you see it in the Sun, it’s so.”
Based on the true story of the most famous newspaper editorial of all time, Yes, Virginia is a charming and heartwarming tale about believing in the true spirit of Christmas. Includes voices by Neil Patrick Harris, Jennifer Love Hewitt, Alfred Molina, and Beatrice Miller (Toy Story 3) and is what The National Enquirer calls a “delightful tale that is sure to become a new holiday perennial favorite.”
If at first you’re wondering how they turned this story into a film, don’t fret—it’s under a half hour long. I’m not sure when it first aired, or if it even did, but the idea behind the special is the same as the Charlie Brown ones or those ancient claymation ones about Rudolph or Frosty. Sadly it doesn’t adopt that same stop-motion style, instead opting for a CGI outing…although it is reminiscent looking of Coraline, so it’s not a total blasé CGI venture. Without a doubt the look and sound (the voices are especially top notch) of this piece is of a pretty high quality, although with the Macy’s sponsorship (at least I assume that’s why they actually show banners for the store—it’s subtle at least, they don’t cram it down your throat) I imagine they had a little bit of money to spend on the animation so that was nice.
The story itself is just as you’d expect—I know it’d been adapted in mediums before and the saying “Yes, Virginia” is quite well known, but it’s kind of one of those stories you don’t mind watching get adapted multiple times through multiple years and minds. They really didn’t tweak anything about the story so the only new thing to experience this time around are the voices and animation, both of which as previously mentioned are quite enjoyable. It’s always nice to see Harris stretch out beyond How I Met Your Mother and Molina is quite enjoyable as the grouchy newspaper editor.
Having said all that…well, what else is there to say, really? It’s a half hour short story with high production values and definitely something that would easily find a place among your holiday film collection. Plus being so short it’s a nice little movie to wind down the day with after the kids have been playing in the snow all day…or for yourself if you want to go that route too. Either way it’s a Recommended tale for people of all ages.
New Video brings Yes Virginia to DVD in a standard amaray DVD case. Nothing overly special about the presentation of the documentary here—no fancy exterior cardboard slipcase and the cover itself looks rather simplistic. Video and audio is a solid presentation overall and about what you’d expect from a documentary. As can be expected from a documentary the video is in a 1.78:1 presentation and the audio is a simple DD2.0 mix.
kid cast commentary
Kind of a surprising amount of extras for such a tiny production, but they’re more than welcome. The documentary is brief and being under a half an hour in length, so are the commentaries; but you do at least end up with nearly an hours worth of goodies when all is said and done. Definitely Recommended as a stocking stuffer this coming holiday season.
Yes Virginia is now available on DVD.