Blu-ray Review: Last Christmas

Over the past few years people have gotten so nasty about Wham!’s “Last Christmas” becoming a staple of Christmas music. Somehow the song has leap frogged Mariah Carey’s “All I Want For Christmas Is You.” There’s warnings of Whamaggedon. There’s games to see who can go the longest without hearing “Last Christmas.” Why all the hate? Would you rather hear more of Elton John’s “Step Into Christmas” or Paul McCartney’s “Wonderful Christmastime”? If you’ve ever fallen in love with someone during Christmas and realized they were being a massive phoney to you, the song strikes the right chord. It’s like the ’80s Synth Blues except this Christmas, you’ll be with someone better. If you like the song, you’ll be happy to know that the movie Last Christmas that came out last Christmas is arriving on Blu-ray in time for this Valentine’s Day.

Kate (Game of Thrones‘ Emilia Clarke) is having a bumpy holiday season. She’s currently without a home since she refuses to go back to her family’s house. She dreams of scoring a role in a West End stage production so she can get her own place. But until that moment she’s cool with just hooking up with a guy in a bar and sharing his flat space. Except the one flirty guy that takes her in has a dark secret that ends that relocation plan suddenly. She’s back on the street and marching towards her job at a Christmas ornament store run by Santa. It’s not Jolly Saint Nick, but Michelle Yeoh from Tomorrow Never Dies. Santa’s not too happy at Kate’s approach to work and customers, but her sole employee does look good in her green elf suit with elf boots. Kate’s a bit self-absorbed and selfish In the midst of her unwilling to go home, she bumps into Tom Webster (Crazy Rich Asians‘ Henry Golding). He’s a bicycle delivery guy who wants her to get her life straight as they keep randomly meeting on the various streets of London. Can she think of others first? Is this the man that will get her to view life differently? Why does everyone have a connection to “Last Christmas”?

Last Christmas has the same romantic charms that exuded from Four Weddings and a Funeral and Sliding Doors and also the same questioning of mortality that those ’90s English films contained. This is what separates from the hundreds of holiday movies that run on the Hallmark Channel whenever they declare its Christmas season. Director Paul Feig and screenwriters Emma Thompson and Bryony Kimmings create a delightful film that can be enjoyed outside the holiday season. The romance is set up so you can be perfectly fine watching it on Valentine’s Day. Any day with snow on the ground is perfect viewing time for the film. You can even watch the film when you want snow or just want to remember last Christmas and plan for future Christmas. If you love “Last Christmas,” you’ll be in heaven with this soundtrack. There are so many people singing the snippets of the song including a strange ornament at the Christmas store. But there’s more music from Wham! and George Michael’s solo career. And during the bonus features, they make it clear that George Michael was on board with the production as they were developing the script with Emma Thompson. This a fine way to enjoy the music of George Michael without sitting through a biopic. Keep your eyes on the screen to spot Andrew Ridgely, the other half of Wham! You might have to see the bonus feature to recognize him since he’s not wearing a giant word t-shirt and has lost a little hair on top. If you’re still humming “Last Christmas” at your desk, you need to watch Last Christmas again

The video is 2.00:1 anamorphic. The 1080p transfer brings out the beauty of London around Christmastime. The audio is DTS-HD MA 7.1 so you are in the middle of the festivities. This also allows you to hear “Last Christmas” all over your living room. There’s also tracks in DTS-HD MA 2.0 and dubs in French and Spanish. The subtitles are in English, French and Spanish.

DVD and Digital Code allow you to watch the movie anywhere

Audio Commentary with Paul Feig discusses what went into his film and his love of London.

Audio Commentary with Paul Feig and Emma Thompson. The duo have a good time in the booth. Emma opens things by praising the folks at Universal that were so helpful in the production. Feig and Thompson describe responses of audiences when it was being previewed.

Alternate Ending (1:53) is basically an extra bonus scene that explains the meaning of one of the objects that Tom showed Kate when she looked up. It’s understandable why it was emotionally snipped as the ending, but it is a good bonus feature.

Blooper Reel (14:30) is all about seeing flubbed lines and odd moments on the set. They show how you set a matchstick ship on fire.

Deleted / Alternate/ Extended Scenes (22:45) features 16 moments that were trimmed down from a few snips to completely removed from the film. Paul Feig introduces the segment with a blanket explanation of why these moments weren’t in the finished film. You do get more Rob Delany.

Alternate Opening (1:11) has a reworking of the morning shower surprise using a mailslot.

“Last Christmas” Full Performance (3:56) is the entire song. Paul Feig is happy to share Emilia Clarke’s complete take and it also includes even more of the cameo from the Son of Albert.

Director In Vision (1:51) is a little “BTS” has Paul jump into shots to make minor adjustments before the take.

It’s All So Cold (2:00) gives a sense of how freezing the cast was even though they were dressed for winter. A lot of warming up. Emilia Clark does a lot of bouncing around to stay warm outside.

Try Not to Laugh (6:04) features Emma Thompson making odd motherly noises and cracking up Emilia. Don’t watch this before the movie since they spoil the ending in order to act serious.

A Legacy Revealed (2:43) has the cast reflect on Wham!’s “Last Christmas.” They explain how the producer pitched the idea of turning “Last Christmas” and he insisted it could only be done if Emma Thompson wrote the script. So the last George Michael was a part of the process. Andrew Ridgeley talks so if you don’t spot his cameo, you can go back looking for him.

Pure Golding (1:28) talks about his dancing moves the actor uses for Tom.

Emilia Recording Session (2:14) has them at the legendary AIR studios for her singing of “Last Christmas.” Kate Bush recorded part of “Wuthering Heights” here.

Love Letter to London (3:36) shows off the locations in London that they used. Feig has always wanted to shoot on these streets. They show off his dandy dressing style.

Santa and Her Elf (2:47) visits the Christmas store. We get to hear from Michelle Yeoh.

Paul Feig Takes Over the Tram (3:34) has the director surprise people at Universal Studios. He was a tour guide in 1981 so it’s a return to her roots. The best part is everyone is videotaping him with their phones. He gives us the Jaws ride.

12 Days of Production (10:21) has them at Covenant Garden. They have to shoot from 2 a.m. to noon. This project started in 2012 when the producer met with George Michael about the song being part of a movie.

Universal Pictures Home Entertainment presents Last Christmas. Directed by: Paul Feig. Screenplay by: Emma Thompson & Bryony Kimmings. Starring: Emilia Clarke, Henry Golding, Michelle Yeoh, Emma Thompson and Rob Delaney. Rated: PG-13. Running Time: 104 minutes. Released: February 4, 2020.

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