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Artisan Home Entertainment presents
The Christmas Storykeepers (1998)

"Emperor Nero has set the city on fire. He is persecuting Christians for proclaiming a king higher than Caesar."
- Narrator (uncredited)

Review By: Brian Calhoun   
Published: February 12, 2004

Stars: Jerry Ammons, David Anderson, Joel Blackwelder
Director: Jimmy T. Murakami

MPAA Rating: Not Rated for (cartoon peril)
Run Time: 01h:11m:14s
Release Date: September 23, 2003
Genre: animation

Image Transfer
Audio Transfer
C+ BC-B- D

DVD Review

As Christmas rapidly approaches, one may find it near impossible to find time to keep up with the hustle and bustle of the season. Regardless of tightly packed agendas this holiday season, I strongly recommend that parents and their children take time out of their busy schedules to familiarize themselves with the true meaning of Christmas. While there are hundreds of fantastic DVDs that faithfully recount the story of the Christ child, The Christmas Storykeepers is a worthwhile lesson for the whole family.

The Christmas Storykeepers takes place in Rome, 64 A.D., when the evil Emperor Nero is harassing Christians for their beliefs. Children are taken from their parents, and many are left homeless on the streets, fleeing from Nero's soldiers. Four youths find solace in a Christian leader named Ben and his wife Helena, who help these orphans to search for their parents. As the group flees the burning city of Rome they encounter many adventures, but always find time to sit down and tell tales of the Christ child. They become known as the storykeepers.

Though Christmas Storykeepers begins with a brief back-story, those who have never seen a Storykeepers episode may find the narrative a bit hard to follow. Potentially confusing for youngsters is the way in which the story bounces back and forth between the storykeepers and the stories from the bible. Younger viewers may also be frightened by the mild cartoon violence; I would recommend parental accompaniment for viewers under the age of five. Nevertheless, children will most likely find this story exciting, which proves to be its strongest attribute. It is often a difficult task to educate children while entertaining them, but I truly believe that they will absorb these messages while finding themselves exhilarated by the adventure in Storykeepers. While the narrative is disjointed and the animation crude, Christmas Storykeepers succeeds as an honest religious lesson for families.

Rating for Style: C+
Rating for Substance: B


Image Transfer

Aspect Ratio1.33:1 - Full Frame
Original Aspect Ratioyes

Image Transfer Review: The 1.33:1 image transfer is quite poor. Colors are over saturated and shimmering is abundant throughout. The picture also possesses an unnatural amount of graininess. Overall, this is a distracting visual presentation.

Image Transfer Grade: C-


Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
DS 2.0Englishyes

Audio Transfer Review: The 2.0 Dolby Digital soundtrack is admirable. Fidelity is clean and the soundfield is fairly expansive. Dynamic range is wider than I would have expected, occasionally exemplified by strong bass. Dialogue is clean and clear throughout.

Audio Transfer Grade: B-


Disc Extras

Static menu
Scene Access with 18 cues and remote access
Packaging: Nexpak
Picture Disc
1 Disc
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: single

Extra Extras:
  1. Bonus Song
Extras Review: The only extra is a Bonus Song, which lasts all of 38 seconds. The title of this song is never revealed. Frankly, I am not sure why they even bothered with this inclusion.

Extras Grade: D


Final Comments

There are many far superior seasonal films to entertain you and your family this holiday season. If you only have time for one holiday film, I would refrain from The Christmas Storykeepers. However, as an entertaining lesson of the true nature of Christmas, The Christmas Storykeepers is a respectable tale that proves suitable for the whole family.


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