Plot: Two young yetis go to a nearby town for Christmas in hopes of getting to see what a real human Christmas looks like. While they have their fun, their dad rushes around trying to return them to the safety of their mountain before Margaret, a crazy scientist intent on proving the existence of the abominable snowman, catches them.
Breakdown: During last year’s AVAHS, while I was trying to find information on A Monster Christmas, a 1994 seldom-known animated Christmas special, I stumbled upon information for another Christmas movie of the same name, also known as Abominable Christmas. The premise and odd cast threw me off, but I didn’t really have time to watch and review that last year, so I continued on my quest to find information on the 1994 special and mosied along.
This year, I decided to see what this movie was about. It did not look promising at all. Cheap animation, by-the-numbers plot and really nothing seemed that interesting to sink my teeth into, but, surprisingly, this special was pretty okay. It even made me smile a few times and kinda consider laughing.
It’s a little cheesy, but there’s a charm to it. Everyone is mostly likable, and they all get along quite well (except Margaret, because she’s the bad guy). The special’s also well paced. It never really felt like it was dragging its feet or rushing, even if the end was fairly abrupt to me.
I think this movie’s biggest problem is that nothing really feels impacting or big. The funny moments are never that funny. The heartwarming moments are never very emotional. The stakes don’t feel very high, even when the lives of two ‘children’ and their dad are at stake. The action never feels that exciting. Things happen, but they never feel like they’re happening, if that makes any sense. Let me put it this way – many good movies are a series of twists and turns and ups and downs, like a back road with a lot of steep hills. This movie is like a straight road with a poorly maintained rumble strip. You’re aware when you’re driving on the strip, but it never increases or decreases your blood pressure.
The characters, while being fairly well-established, also don’t do much to stand out or be memorable. Everyone fits a certain role – Abby is the adventurous little sister who is bound to get into trouble, Adam is her neurotic older brother who tries to keep her in line, and their dad is protective and kinda strict without being overly protective or mean. In the human side, you have Lily, who is a Christmas-loving kinda sad little kid who wants to celebrate Christmas with her family but her dad is a workaholic, and her brother, Matt, constantly, and I do mean constantly, has his nose in his computer.
There’s also the dog catcher who actually breaks the movie stereotype of dog catchers being these horrible evil people who take pleasure in the pain of dogs. He’s kinda nuts in that he’s too into his job, but he’s also very dedicated to doing his job properly and not harming any animals. In fact, he became a master of martial arts to protect the dogs in his care.
Many times in these movies where the main characters are dogs/animals and they get sent to the pound but the movie ends without getting the other animals out of the pound, you feel bad because you know they’ll still be tormented by the dog catcher, but in this movie I’m kinda okay with it. I think they’ll be fine and maybe find good homes. One of them actually does find a good home at the end, which was sweet.
Finally, we have our main antagonist, Margaret, who is probably the most bland character here. Her character is simply the crazy person who is trying to prove the existence of (x) and will do anything to get it. Except she’s so blah about it that she’ll willingly follow dog catcher protocol and bureaucracy and not actually do anything underhanded to get what she wants. The worst that she does is trick the dog catcher into thinking that the two yeti kids are actually unlicensed dogs so he’ll go to their house and take them away, which isn’t what would happen in real life. As far as I know, you’d just be fined, and even the fine isn’t that bad. It’s like $250-300 dollars per year if you never license them. Her big plan was to get the yeti kids caught that way and then wait three to five business days for her paperwork to go through to she could take the abominable snow children away. That is, unless, Lily’s dad’s paperwork goes through before hers so he can license and reclaim them.
She doesn’t even have a plan for stealing them once they’re in the pound. She just waits for the paperwork to go through.
Paperwork’s the real villain here….or wait, I guess it actually saved them, so it’s the hero?
In the final confrontation, Margaret confronts them with flea spray and then stands there doing nothing while Abby takes forever to tackle her and bury her in cans of dog food, which would probably kill her. I don’t know why kids shows keep acting like full unopened cans of food don’t weigh anything. Those things could definitely kill you or at least cause significant brain damage if one fell on your head from a high shelf.
Even when she had a perfect opportunity to take pictures of the abominable snow people, when they were imprisoned in the pound, Margaret just doesn’t take pictures of them. She tried earlier in the movie, but got nothing usable because they were moving. Here they are standing still in front of her with nowhere to go and she doesn’t even think to take out her cameraphone. She even asked the dog catcher if she could take pictures of them at the pound, he said yes, and she still doesn’t do it.
Margaret and the father yeti have a past, which I thought would be much more interesting than it ended up being. She used to be a respected scientist until she spotted the young father yeti in his more reckless years. She tried to convince her colleagues about what she saw, but no one believed her, and she went crazy trying to prove the existence of abominable snowmen ever since. In turn, he became much more cautious around humans.
Yep, no big consequences for what he did. No one died or got hurt or anything. He just got spotted by someone and no one believed her and that changed him forever.
Considering he’s a single father, I thought we’d learn that his mate was killed by Margaret or something. But nope. We never learn what happens to the yeti mama.
Speaking of single parenthood, it seems like no family in this movie has two parents. In addition to the yeti family having a single dad, Lily and Matt have a single father as well. Their mom, I guess, died (they use the term “gone” for both her and Matt’s mother and Abby and Adam’s mother) fairly recently considering how Lily looks about the same age as she is in the pictures with her mother. It’s such a passing mention, though. She says she used to decorate the tree with her mother and is sad about it, but after that her mother is never mentioned again. She doesn’t even seem distressed when Adam and Abby nearly break the framed picture of her mother, she just laughs about it.
Later, when the dad yeti is dressed up as Santa for a disguise, he speaks with a young boy who has a single mother who has been terribly sad since her husband “went away”. I thought for sure they’d have that woman and her son appear again and imply that she’d start dating Lily and Matt’s dad, but nope. She never appears again.
However, I did think the manner in which they handled that particular case was really good. Instead of promising the kid he’d get his mom a new husband or something cheesy like that, the yeti dad reasonably tells the boy that making his mother happy again will be complicated and take time, but the best thing he can do for his mother in the meantime is be there for her and give her lots of hugs, which was very sweet and definitely better than some hollow promise.
I’m not saying that any single parent Christmas scenario needs to be addressed by having the movie end with them hooking up with someone. In fact, I find it rather welcome that they don’t even attempt this with any of the single parents. I’m just saying that it’s weird that is pops up three different times, but none of these single parent situations have a bearing to the plot, and it’s hardly ever actually discussed. The most we get is that Lily is bummed about having to do Christmas stuff by herself because her dad is constantly working and her brother is too glued to his computer to even glance at her. However, it doesn’t take long before Lily’s dad’s workaholic nature is almost completely forgotten and he’s spending time with Lily. This minor conflict is another victim claimed by the rumble strip of a plot.
And Abby and Adam’s mother gets even less focus put on her.
The conflict with Abby learning to be more careful and the dad learning to be less strict is also not really resolved or much of a conflict. She’s like ‘Oh I’m sorry, you were right about humans.’ But I’m just like, ‘What? You just befriended a bunch of humans who are currently helping you escape the one bad and one kinda-ish bad-in-a-way humans you’ve met.’
Matt’s ‘arc’ if you want to call it that is literally just him not responding to anyone or anything the entire special until the very end where he finally speaks. It takes until this hour long feature is nearly seven minutes from the end before he finally speaks his first line. I point this out mostly because Drake “ruiner of childhoods and overall icky person” Bell gets second to top billing in the credits and he plays Matt.
Matt just acts like a deus ex machina. Turns out, he was paying attention to everything the entire time and even became somewhat internet famous for his blog posts about the abominable snowmen stuff, which is the most confusing thing about this movie. They’re trying desperately to keep the yetis a secret, but Matt’s been blogging about them and becoming internet famous because of everything his family is going through because of them….but he’s somehow not compromising their secret? He did say he was speaking mostly to the conspiracy theorist crowd, but still, he’s being treated like a hero when he’s pretty much doing exactly what Margaret was trying to do.
He knows and has everything he needs to free their dad and the yetis immediately when they’re captured by the dog catcher as well. And thus was the power of the internet.
Speaking of the odd cast, this cast is odd. This is a very “Did everyone need a quick paycheck?” cast. Ariel Winter (I see what you did there, casting department) plays Abby, Ray Liotta plays the yeti dad, Emilio Estevez plays Lily’s dad, Matthew Lillard plays the dog catcher, and Jane Lynch plays Margaret. Everyone does pretty okay in their roles, especially Ariel Winter, Matthew Lillard and Jane Lynch, but it’s such a weirdly star-studded cast for a movie that I’ve never even heard of before last year.
Well, enough of me tearing apart the minor issues. For what it’s worth, this is a pretty laid back and chill Christmas special. I can totally see myself watching it again just for the heck of it during the holidays. There are some legitimately clever, cute and funny moments in here, but, like I said, there’s just not a lot of stuff actually happening.
I wanted to make a step-by-step review of this movie, but once I got about 15 minutes in I knew I wouldn’t have much to work with. It just felt pointless. There’s not much to poke fun at and there’s nothing much to discuss. Even the animation, while being cheap, isn’t THAT bad. It’s pretty okay for a TV movie made in 2012. I feel like it’s the budget that held it back above all else, because I really feel like the animators were at least trying and were definitely competent….however, the human faces are kinda dead, and Lily’s eyes are WAY too big.
If you want to just put on something Christmassy and kinda fun without really needing to pay attention to it, check this out.
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Merry Christmas to all my beloved readers! And a Happy Hanukkah, Happy Kwanzaa, Happy Solstice and just an overall happy holiday season to everyone!
I know things have been pretty slow at the ol’ Madhouse, and I want to thank you all for being so patient and still reading/liking/commenting on what I have been able to put out while I’ve been dealing with all the hecticness this past several months. I was finally moved in just this last weekend (moving around Christmas is not recommended in case you’re wondering.) and we’re mostly settled in, though these are still various things that need to get done and some problems to deal with. I wasn’t able to do nearly as much for Christmas as I usually do, and moving just sucked all the Christmas cheer out of me, but I’m trying to make the best of it. My Internet is workable, and hopefully I’ll be back to a more regular posting schedule after the holidays while still squeaking out one or two more things for AVAHS.
Through all the stress and headaches, you guys continue to make things so much more bearable, and I couldn’t be more thankful to you all. Have a very merry and safe holiday, and I hope next year is awesome for you. 🙂
Plot: Scooby and the gang wind up in Winter Hollow for Christmas only to find that the place has been terrorized for years by the Headless Snowman. Each Christmas, the townsfolk are driven out of their homes by the monster, causing most of them to despise Christmas. Can Shaggy, Scooby, Fred, Velma and Daphne figure out who the Headless Snowman really is and melt him for good?
Breakdown: What’s New Scooby-Doo? was definitely one of the more popular branches of the Scooby-Doo franchise tree. I watched it quite a bit when it was on, especially enjoying its awesome theme song, but I never remembered it having a Christmas special.
A Scooby-Doo! Christmas is an enjoyable but overall fairly forgettable Christmas special. Story-wise, it doesn’t do anything to stand out from any other Scooby-Doo episode outside of mentions of Christmas, the very ending where they give gifts and stand around the Christmas tree, and a song or two.
A reviewer on IMDB said the mystery was way too easy, but I kinda disagree. I really thought it was the sheriff until they pointed out that the sheriff was acting suspicious, which is usually an indicator that they’re a red herring. I will agree with that reviewer in saying that the absolute ending was bunk, though.
Spoiler warning, even though this episode is literally turning 20 years old next year.
The culprit was a local professor, Higginson, whose great-grandfather was robbed by a man named Blackjack Brody who ended up dying in a snowman after being chased by an angry mob who were tired of being robbed by him. How did he end up in the snowman? I dunno, but it created a legend of a Headless Snowman. The professor’s great-grandfather being robbed of all his gold ruined Christmas forever….somehow. I guess that would make Christmasses difficult because they’d be rich otherwise, but he just ended up hating Christmas for some reason.
This isn’t even his dad he’s talking about. It’s his great-grandfather. Did they never recover enough financially for Christmasses to be fun anymore? Did their family just continue to be poor for all time? That can’t be true because the culprit is literally a professor. He has to have SOME money, I assume. Getting degrees ain’t cheap. He did get robbed on Christmas eve, but it’s not like anyone died. Is it really just a family perpetually mourning their lost ultra-wealth even when the man who robbed their ancestor is long since dead?
Using the Headless Snowman legend as a cover (by the way, the snowman’s not really headless. He can just take his head off and put it back on.), the professor created what is quite possibly one of the most implausible monster….I guess I’ll go with ‘robots’ to ever grace Scooby-Doo.
The Headless Snowman is legitimately made of snow from top to bottom. It has a cone-like…cockpit? in the center to allow the professor to manually control it. All of it. Every single part of it. It’s exactly like it’s living. The Headless Snowman can even detach his head and the head will still make noise and be perfectly animated. All of it is made of and connected by snow. I have no idea whatsoever how this thing works.
So the professor gets caught, his snowman melted, and he laments that he looked for his great-grandfather’s gold in the town every Christmas season by tormenting the townsfolk and….destroying shit. Because that’s definitely the most logical approach to that. Fred and Velma deduce that Brody hid the gold he stole in his home’s fireplace, masked as the bricks in his chimney.
Coincidentally enough, Brody’s old home was one of the homes the professor destroyed earlier that day, which left the chimney bricks in a pile of rubble. The professor accepts his jail-y fate, but, in a show of Christmas spirit, the town not only refuses to arrest him, but they also let him keep the damn gold.
Look, that’s real nice and everything, Merry Christmas and all, but this guy gets no sympathy from me. Did he even know his great-grandfather? This isn’t a matter of justice because the town actually tried to help his great-grandfather back then, and kinda succeeded considering Brody died as a result of trying to run from them. He just wants the gold for himself, making off like it’s in honor of his great-grandfather.
He tormented this whole town, destroying buildings and homes, traumatizing children and ruining the holidays of so many families for many years, AND he nearly got Shaggy and Scooby killed when they fell into a freezing cold pond because of him.
To his credit, he does share the gold with the town to help make amends, but I don’t think that’s enough. He still gets to keep however much he wants, and he still gets no jail time.
Bear in mind, most of what he did was completely pointless. There was no point in scaring the townsfolk, chasing people all over and destroying people’s homes. Why would he think the gold would be literally anywhere else but in Brody’s old house? Why would he not be able to find out which house was Brody’s house? They seemed to know exactly which house it was after they deduced that the gold bricks were used as regular bricks. Some professor you are.
Also, I refuse to believe that he can completely destroy a chimney with his bare…..snowman….sticks…and not reveal the gold when gently rubbing it reveals the gold.
End of spoilers
All in all, while the professor’s motives and ridiculous beyond reason plans were mind-boggling to say the least, this was a perfectly fine Christmas special. It’s also quite star-studded, featuring the voices of Daryl Sabara (Spy Kids) as the young Tommy, Kathy Kinney of The Drew Carey Show as the Sheriff, Peter Scolari as Professor Higginson, Jim Belushi as Asa, whom I didn’t even remember, and frickin’ Mark Hamill as Tommy’s dad. And we also can’t forget the amazing Casey Kasem as Shaggy, Mindy Cohn as Velma, Frank Welker as Fred and Gret DeLisle as Daphne.
If you’re in the mood for Scooby and Christmas, this is a decent enough special. I just wish it either had more of an overall focus on Christmas or a better resolution/motive.
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Hey all you people whose brains are consuming my words right now! I have some good news for a change! Prompted by the D&A Anime Blog’s recent announcement about making it onto Feedspot’s Top 100 Anime Blog list, I decided to give it a go myself and submitted The Anime Madhouse for consideration. I honestly didn’t think it’d make it, but lo and behold IT DID! We were placed as 60th, and I am tickled purple, which is better than pink, fight me. This was such a nice surprise in what has been a very rough handful of months (and few years…) Thank you all for reading, liking, commenting and being overall awesome people over the years. You guys keep the lights on in the Madhouse, and I love you all bunches. Hope you continue having a great holiday season! 🌟
Plot: Yogi bear and Boo-Boo always miss Christmas because they’re hibernating all winter, but this year they awaken just in time to catch some Christmas fun.
Breakdown: You don’t hear a lot of people talk about ol’ Yogi Bear anymore. Last I heard anyone mention him was when that live action Yogi movie came out several years ago and uh….we don’t talk about that either.
Being fair, they did just release that new Jellystone! cartoon. I’ve heard okay things about that, but I haven’t really felt compelled to watch it yet.
I used to really love Yogi Bear. I had a Boo-Boo beanie baby, and, as a child, I spent a few weeks in a Jellystone Park camp and had quite a nice time.
That being said, I can’t remember ever watching this movie as a kid. It’s a nice enough Christmas movie with a lot of heart and some genuinely funny moments. I think its one weak spot, however, is its length. It just can’t justify having a nearly hour and forty minute runtime. It only barely (BEARLY hahaha) has a story, and in order to fill the runtime, they repeat the same shtick over and over.
The plot is that the ranger, Snagglepuss, Huckleberry Hound, Doggie Daddy and Augie are enjoying their Christmas up at the Jellystone lodge, but because of the mysterious and frightening events that plagued the previous Christmas parties, this might be their last Christmas at the lodge. Mrs. Throckmorton, the owner, intends on selling the lodge after this year’s Christmas party, so everyone tries their best to butter her up to change her mind.
Yogi and Boo-Boo are suddenly woken up out of hibernation by the festivities and join the fun, celebrating their first ever Christmas since they usually miss every Christmas while they’re sleeping.
Accompanying Mrs. Throckmorton is her miserable little shit of a nephew, Shively, who despises Christmas. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a kid, especially a spoiled rich kid, just hate Christmas in a classic cartoon. I mean, it’s common for little kids to be obsessed with presents on Christmas, but this kid flatout hates everything about Christmas and wants nothing to do with it, which just makes me wonder why he’s even on this Christmas trip with his aunt.
Shively is a horrible little gremlin to everyone. He’s so terrible that he even attempts murder on more than one occasion. When Doggie Daddy is in the ice fishing shanty, Shively tries to push it into a open spot of water so he’ll drown all because Doggie Daddy caught a bigger fish than he did. Later, he tries to kill Cindy and Boo-Boo by pushing their snowmachine onto a powerful geyser while they’re sleeping. He also unhooks Yogi’s skis from his feet right as he’s about to do a ski jump. The little kid’s a demon.
There’s a second antagonist named Herman the Hermit. He lives on Jellystone Park grounds, somehow (that can’t be legal, can it?) and he also hates Christmas because the ruckus caused by the Christmas party at the lodge bothers him. He’s been playing pranks on the partygoers every year, pretending to be monsters and other supernatural creatures, in an effort to Scooby-Doo them away.
You’d think he’d be the main antagonist, but he mostly takes a backseat to Shively and his bratty shenanigans. Although, they do end up teaming up in the end, they don’t really do much. They go to ridiculous lengths all to steal a box of decorations. There’s a helicopter crash involved.
Although I did find it funny when Shively fell into the frozen lake when Yogi saved Doggie Daddy from being pushed into the open water. Shively ran to his aunt to blame Yogi for it and get him in trouble, Yogi shows up, admits he did it, says he’s not sorry because Shively’s a brat, doesn’t give a reason for doing it and Mrs. Throckmorton is like “Well, thank you, Yogi. Yes, the little brat did deserve it. Maybe this will teach him a lesson.” I agree he needs to be taken down a peg, but that’s pretty cold (pun intended) to act like a little kid deserves to be plunged into a freezing cold lake.
Mrs. Throckmorton is intent on selling the lodge, but, through wacky circumstances, she’s continuously impressed by Yogi as he randomly and accidentally keeps saving her life. To the ranger and lodge manager’s annoyance, Yogi keeps getting promoted with better jobs in the lodge in an effort to kiss up to Mrs. Throckmorton so she won’t sell the lodge. Spoiler alert, she doesn’t sell the lodge. She donates it to an orphanage for use as a vacation spot for them, which is extremely nice, but, like, I’m pretty sure a better option would have been to sell the lodge and just give the money to the orphanage. Orphans need a lot of things, and I’m pretty certain a vacation home isn’t one of them.
Meanwhile, Cindy Bear is overall just being very horny for Yogi. The only reason she decides to wake up from her own hibernation and help out at the lodge is because Yogi needs her, and she spends an inordinate amount of time trying to get him to kiss her under the mistletoe. She gets TWO songs where she’s singing about Yogi kissing her. They’re good songs, but calm down, Cindy.
Speaking of songs, there are several, and they’re overall quite good, but none are terribly memorable. Sad to say, but I’ll probably forget most of these songs by the end of the week, and it’s Friday.
If you love Yogi and want some Christmasness with him, as well as some other classic Hanna-Barbera characters, this is a good movie to check out. While I stand by my criticism of the runtime (it could easily be 45 minutes) it has many moments that made me smile, and there were even some heartwarming moments in there. I enjoyed it for what it was, and I’m sure many others will too.
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Plot: A powerful ancient being named Winterbolt returns to the North Pole after being sent into a deep sleep for hundreds of years. He yearns to take down Santa for taking over the North Pole in his absence, but Rudolph’s shining red nose is getting in his way.
Breakdown: Readers! Guess what?! It’s that time of year again! It’s time for A Very Animated Holiday Special! This year, we’re starting out AVAHS with yet another Rankin/Bass classic, Rudolph and Frosty’s Christmas in July.
I only very vaguely remember watching this movie when I was a kid. It was barely a blip on my Christmas movie radar, which kinda makes sense because, again, even though the movie is centered on Christmas, the title leads you believe this is a film best enjoyed in July when most people don’t think to celebrate the whole ‘Christmas in July’ thing that I’m not even sure happens anywhere anymore and was barely a thing when it was a thing.
The movie starts out with teenage Rudolph (because Adult Rudolph just doesn’t exist anymore apparently) spending some time with Frosty and his two children, Chilly and Milly. Just to be clear, you have Frosty, Chilly, Frosty’s wife, Crystal, and then, randomly, Milly. Why is Milly the only one who isn’t given a snow/ice/cold themed name? Also, how did they make these kids? Did they just use snow or……….You know what, never mind.
The kids ask their Uncle Rudolph if he’ll light up his nose for them, which he does, but then suddenly realizes the light is fading away.
After the opening song, we get some backstory about the North Pole.
Long before Santa made his way up there, the land was ruled by the fearsome tyrant, Winterbolt, who has a name that is way too cool (Pun not intended, but welcome). As you can guess, he’s a lot like Snow Miser. You might even say he’s exactly like Snow Miser….Or Jack Frost…..Or Stormella…..There are a lot of ice-controlling antagonists in Rudolph movies, is what I’m trying to say. Actually, being completely fair, but also calling them out a bit, Winterbolt looks exactly like an aged-down slightly Winter Warlock from Santa Claus is Comin’ to Town.
He also has two ridiculously animated snow dragons, which I laughed at for several minutes. Look, I respect the hell out of stop motion animation, but the dragons seems to have just been ‘animated’ with strings and bouncing their heads up and down.
The Aurora Borealis, referred to as Lady Boreal, took corporeal human form when she got fed up with Winterbolt’s BS. Using her powerful magic, she forced Winterbolt into a deep slumber for however many years. In the meantime, the innocent animals were able to return to the land to live happily while Santa arrived with his wife and posse to establish his toy factory and become the Santa Claus we know and love.
Growing weak from all the years of using her magic to keep Winterbolt at rest, Lady Boreal starts to fade away from her human form, but she can rest easy knowing that Santa’s around to be a true leader to everyone at the North Pole.
As her grip on him weakens, Winterbolt awakens and catches up on the goings on at the North Pole via the genie that lives in his staff…..I know what I said. He’s appalled (or aPOLEd :D) to see Santa has taken over as leader or ‘king’ as he puts it, and is seemingly more powerful than him. He asks the genie what he can do about it.
The genie suggests that he use his snow dragons to make a powerful snow storm and wall of fog next Christmas Eve to get Santa hopelessly lost, making him unable to deliver the toys.
Winterbolt concocts his master plan – he’ll do as the genie instructs, but he’ll also go out and deliver twice as many toys on Christmas, causing the children of the world to love him so much that they become dependent on his deliveries and making him so powerful that he’ll
Lady Boreal hears his plot and, using the last of her power, gives some of her light to a newborn reindeer. That’s right – newborn baby Rudolph! Who…..has a red nose before Lady Boreal even gives him the power. So….he was born with a big red nose, but it only glowed because it was infused with Aurora Borealis magic….?
Here’s where they start losing me. They’re kinda retconning Rudolph’s origin here. Lady Boreal appears to Rudolph and gives him the light in his nose. Why it has to be in his clearly already gonna get him bullied red nose, I have no idea. Lady Boreal seems like a bit of a bitch here, if you ask me.
The power/light activates when he thinks good thoughts. The better his thoughts, the brighter the light shines. However, if he ever tries to use the power for evil purposes, the light will be extinguished forever. Lady Boreal also puts a neat snowflake and star design on the bottom of his hoof as a mark of the power or something….which I’m 99.9999% certain he doesn’t have in the original movie and 100% certain does not matter in any way, shape or form. It’s just kinda something he has now.
Oh, by the way, none of this is being heard by Rudolph’s mom or dad because his mom is asleep because she’s exhausted from giving birth and Donner’s out with the guys doing…guy…reindeer….things…..games? So convenient. Or I guess I should say inconvenient. Hey Lady, maybe tell Santa or either of Rudolph’s parents that you’re giving him a magical power for the sake of saving Christmas in a year? So maybe they won’t ostracize him, his father won’t be ashamed of him and he won’t run away from home?
Lady Boreal: “Use your secret magic well.”
WHY IS IT SECRET?!
Jeez, this is Naruto all over again.
That’s another point – why isn’t she warning Santa of the storm? She’s just giving this flashlight power to a newborn reindeer who can’t even speak yet, nor will he probably be able to remember this conversation, and hoping for the best. She’s not even telling Rudolph about Winterbolt’s plan. Out of context, she’s just giving a random baby reindeer (who is still so adorable it hurts) the power to turn his nose into a laser pointer. You suck, Lady.
We get a brief retelling of Rudolph’s story that pretty much omits everything that’s not in the song. Makes out like Rudolph was just chillin’ in the stalls on Christmas Eve and Santa was like “Oh yeah, you have highbeams! Come with me, Rudolph!” and the movie based on these clips was probably like five minutes long.
Also, he’s still not adult Rudolph in that shot. They really didn’t want him to grow up.
Looping back around to the starting scene, Winterbolt is enraged that his plan failed because of Rudolph, so he decides to snuff out his light. However, Rudolph’s resolve is so powerful that it overcomes Winterbolt’s magic. Also, it seems like Rudolph is physically weakening as his light goes out, like he’s a Charizard or something. Will he die if his light goes out? He’s passing out because it’s flickering.
Winterbolt’s genie tells him the only way to extinguish the light forever is if he gets Rudolph to use his powers for evil, even if it’s just once.
What powers, exactly? Rudolph has the power to create a mildly bright red light. How could that ever be used for evil?……I guess he could shine it into a cockpit and cause a Boeing to crash. Kinda dark there, Rankin/Bass.
Milton the Ice Cream Man pops by on his hot air balloon with bad news. He was going to marry his love, Lanie Loraine – a circus performer – right at her mother’s circus on the high wire, but a shady businessman named Sam Spangles came by during their wedding to buy out the circus. Lanie is so distraught that she can’t think about getting married, and if the circus gets sold, Sam will force her and her family to move all over the country, meaning she and Milton will likely never get married. They need to have a great performance on the Fourth of July to earn enough revenue to prevent Sam Spangles from buying them out on the sixth….however that works.
Okay, that’s sad, really, but, uh, this also doesn’t make any sense. Her being too sad or concerned to get married right now, I understand. But the idea that they’ll be torn asunder if her mother’s circus gets sold because they’ll be moving around a lot is just nonsensical.
First of all, do they not already move around a lot as a circus? Isn’t that just what circuses do?
Secondly, I really need to point out something extremely obvious right now….Milton is traveling to the North Pole from, what I’ve researched, his home somewhere in Florida…on a hot air balloon.
He’s doing this because he keeps his ice cream stock at the North Pole to keep it cold.
Is the most logical solution to that issue. Do freezers not exist in the Rankin/Bassverse?
Winterbolt uses magic snow to send psychic suggestions to Milton to get Rudolph to go to the circus to drum up customers. Crystal and the kids want to go, but Frosty points out the obvious that it will be the Fourth of July on the seacoast, meaning they’ll certainly be puddles if they go there. It sucks, but that’s the way of the snowpeople.
Crystal apologizes for making the suggestion, and apparently feels so bad about it that she feels the need to break out into song about how much she loves Frosty. It’s a fine song and sequence but a really weird way of segueing to it.
Rudolph comforts them and says they’re not misfits because they melt, but he does wish they could be unmeltable so they could come with him.
In comes Winterbolt, who is WAY bigger than I thought he’d be.
He acts like an innocent frail old man and offers them a solution to their problem – four amulets that will make them virtually unmeltable, even in temperatures so high it’d melt steel. However, there’s a catch – each amulet has a design on it made out of F’s.
Frosty: “Yeah! F! F! F! F!” We get it, Frosty. You really want to pay your respects. Stop spamming.
The four F’s stand for when the Final Firework Fades on the Fourth, which is when the amulets’ power ceases to work and the snow family will melt unless they’re back in snowy lands by then.
As quickly as he arrived, Winterbolt vanishes, and the group all become excited about going to the circus.
……Uhm….I know this is for kids, I know, I do, but Frosty and the others are insanely naïve right now. Like, how convenient, a strange giant ice wizard offers us the perfect solution to our fatal problem out of nowhere and without asking anything in return. Boy, this couldn’t be any more legitimate if we met him on Craigslist!
At least Santa is slightly suspicious of this situation, but not enough to stop them from going. Also, goddamn, this movie is from 1979 and Mickey Rooney already sounds like he’s in his 80s. I get that he’s trying to sound old because this is Santa, but he sounds really weak like Santa’s on his death bed. He was only 52 or so at the time.
Frosty is excited to go, but sad that they’ll have to leave before they see the fireworks or else they won’t be able to reach the North Pole in time. Santa believes all children should see fireworks at least once in their lives, so he starts thinking. Winterbolt takes his cue and sends a psychic magic snow message to Santa suggesting that he grab his sleigh and head down to the circus on the Fourth of July to pick up Frosty and his family right before the final firework goes off. I guess he moves so fast that he could get them back almost immediately?
…..Can’t they just have fireworks at the North Pole? Is that too simple? Why do you need to tempt fate like that?
After another song break where Milton sings the same song Crystal sang, only he’s singing his to a poster of Lanie, they head to the circus.
When they arrive;
Lanie: “He’s the greatest ice cream man in the world!”
He travels 3813 miles via a hot air balloon every time he needs to restock on his ice cream (7626 miles round trip) because he thought storing his ice cream on a polar ice cap was better than buying a freezer.
No, he’s not the greatest ice cream man in the world.
After a song break about Christmas by Lanie’s mother, Lily, voiced by the legendary Ethel Merman, Winterbolt continues on with his plan by awakening his snow dragons and asking the genie to bring him a reindeer who is the polar opposite to Rudolph – terrible in every way. The genie directs him to the cave of lost rejections. There, Winterbolt recruits the reindouche, Scratcher, who blames Rudolph for taking his future spot on the team of Santa’s reindeer despite 1) he very obviously wouldn’t have been, considering he admits that he did a bunch of bad stuff that would have prevented from being promoted, and 2) Rudolph didn’t even take a spot on the team. Santa originally had a team of eight reindeer, but he took the lead as the ninth.
Cut back to the circus for another song break by Lily, this time about how life in the circus has its ups and downs, but she doesn’t care as long as she has her….guy? Guide? It’s hard to understand, and neither lyric really makes any sense. It’s a fine song, I just don’t understand why it’s here.
After going over the plan, Winterbolt gives Scratcher some magical feed corn before he heads off to meet Sam Spangles.
Scratcher: “Hey….that’s means I’ll be able to fly like Donner and Blitzen!”
I’m sorry….what? Now Santa’s reindeer only fly because of literal magic corn?
I always thought Santa’s reindeer could just fly naturally….Unless you’re a girl, of course. Then you’re just a dumb normal reindeer…..with a bow in your hair….or no identity besides being Mrs. Donner….Actually, they do claim that Santa’s team of reindeer are all, realistically, female because they have their antlers in winter when males lose their antlers at that time, and the females keep them all year round. I mean, that’s obviously not canon in this continuity, but it’s interesting all the same.
We pop in for a really sweet scene between Santa and Mrs. Claus as they pack for their trip. Not sure why they need to pack if they’re just heading down there to rescue some snowpeople, but okay. They head off on their sleigh, and…I need to ask something awkward. Mrs. Claus refers to Santa as ‘Papa’, Santa calls her ‘Mama’ and they just called the elves ‘Little Kringles’….Are….the elves….their children?
As Santa and Mrs. Claus depart, Winterbolt uses his snow dragons to implement his plan. He will create a storm of ice and fog even worse than the Christmas Eve where Rudolph saved the day. Santa and Mrs. Claus get caught up in the storm, and it’s so severe that a frickin’ ice tornado forms and sucks the sleigh into the vortex.
Santa: “If only Rudolph were here!”
Yeah, he could….uhm…..give us a pretty red light to look at while we’re still being sucked into the tornado because that’s literally his only power.
Also, do the reindeer no longer possess the ability to talk? All of them seem so dead-eyed and aren’t reacting at all to Santa’s directions. Not even Donner is saying anything. He did talk in the flashback, but that’s it.
Santa sings a sweet song to Mrs. Claus about how much he loves her in order to comfort her as they wait in the eye of the storm. Mrs. Claus suggests they try to hoof it (literally) on the ground instead of trying to fly through the storm, and Santa agrees.
Back in the circus, they’re holding a parade, accompanied by another song sung by Lily, which is pretty catchy and definitely parade-y. Crystal tells Frosty to smile because you’re supposed to smile when you’re in show business, but he clearly already is smiling….Anyhoo, the reason he’s invisibly not smiling is because he’s worried that Santa won’t arrive in time. However, his family assuages his fears, for the most part.
Meanwhile, Scratcher meets up with Rudolph and convinces him to get him a job with the circus by pretending he’s starving, putting Winterbolt’s plan into motion.
Winterbolt himself is moving out with his own brand-new ice sleigh complete with a team of giantflying snow snakes, which is too awesome to poke fun at even a little. They also give Winterbolt his own ‘evil’ version of Santa’s take off manta.
“To the top of the porch,
to the top of the wall!
Now slink away, slink away, slink away all!”
…….Yeah, I think we need to workshop that.
The circus is underway, and Frosty and family take their positions to do their act.
Chilly: “Stick to the script, Daddy.”
Frosty: “If Santa doesn’t get here soon, we’ll be sticking to everything!”……What?
Scratcher tries to lure Rudolph over to a tent by pretending he needs his red nose to see in there and retrieve something, and Rudolph agrees, but like…could Rudolph not just tell him to go get a flashlight or something?
Rudolph has to go do his act, so he leaves Scratcher, promising to help him afterward.
Rudolph’s act is to burn off a shroud of fog…..I guess it’s to replicate what he did for Santa, but he didn’t burn off the fog….I don’t even think that’s a thing you can do (and why do the movies keep wanting to push the idea that Rudolph’s nose also gives off a lot of heat? If his nose really is the power of the Aurora Borealis, it shouldn’t be emitting any heat.) He was just a light that Santa used to see through the storm.
Once he’s done with that, Rudolph returns to Scratcher to help him find what he’s looking for. Scratcher tricks Rudolph into stealing a suitcase full of money, the funds collected from the day’s show, from Lily’s wagon. Rudolph’s very suspicious, but does the deed anyway.
After a pretty cool Christmas show back at the circus, complete with Rudolph’s nose making the star on top of the Christmas tree, everyone gets set for the fireworks. Frosty’s so concerned that Santa won’t arrive in time that he rushes to stop them from being set off, but it’s too late. Lily lit the main fuse, and the fireworks sequence can’t be stopped once that’s done. There are 100 fireworks in total, and, for some reason, they’re wired to go off one at a time like once every few seconds. Kinda sounds like a crappy fireworks show, but I get that it’s moreso designed to raise tension with Frosty and his family’s situation.
Speaking of their situation, there aren’t really any stakes here, right? In the original Frosty the Snowman movie, Frosty melted in a hot greenhouse, but he was revived because he was made of magic Christmas snow. All he needed was to return to the cold and put his hat back on. I don’t know what exactly is the magical life item for all of the other snowpeople (Crystal was shown to be brought to life by a kiss on the cheek by Frosty) but I assume that the situation is the same for all of them. Melting isn’t necessarily a death sentence for them, so why do they seem like they’re all heading for the pearly gates? Just wait for the final firework while sitting in a few tubs or buckets, make sure someone has all of your personal/magical effects and you’ll be fine, right? Or maybe just remove the 100th firework from the platform somehow?
Winterbolt shows up as the fireworks start winding down. They beg him to extend the power of the magical amulets a while longer so Frosty and the others won’t melt. Winterbolt agrees, but only if Rudolph’s nose remains extinguished. Rudolph is confused because he believes his nose isn’t currently extinguished, but when he tries to light it he realizes that Winterbolt is right – his light is gone.
The reason being – he stole the money from the circus. Since that’s an evil deed that he technically performed while using his nose light, it has been extinguished.
I’m calling foul on that. Sure, he did a bad thing, but he didn’t think he was doing anything wrong. He didn’t have evil intentions and was being manipulated. I really don’t think that should count. Also, he didn’t actually use his nose for evil. He just used it to see what he was being tricked into stealing.
He says he’ll clear things up with Lily to seemingly make everything better and get his nose to light up, but Winterbolt won’t help Frosty and his family unless Rudolph takes the blame. I’m a little confused. Shouldn’t it just be bad enough that he did the deed not that he’s taking the blame for it? I was confused earlier too because he stole the money but his nose still lit up at the finale of the circus. Was the deed only bad when it got discovered?
Rudolph goes to take the blame for the theft, devastating Lily and making Rudolph incredibly guilty and sad. To make matters worse, Crystal now doesn’t want Chilly and Milly associating with their Uncle Rudolph anymore because he’s now a criminal.
Frosty feels awful, Rudolph feels awful, that snowflake star mark thing on Rudolph’s hoof is gone, I still don’t get what the point of that was, but to its credit, this was a genuinely sad scene.
Winterbolt and Scratcher fly off to take over the North Pole now that Rudolph’s nose is out. Meanwhile…I guess there’s another show the following night? And Rudolph humiliates himself by not being able to light his nose for the audience, who proceed to boo him off stage.
Rudolph’s existence is so sad. First he’s hated because of his glowing red nose, then he’s heralded as a hero because of his glowing red nose, now he’s back to being hated because he can’t make his red nose glow. It sucks so much that public opinion on Rudolph is so largely dependent on his nose. Like no one cares that he’s a hero or can frickin’ fly or even that he personally knows Santa – it’s all just the nose for all of these ungrateful bastards.
Everyone else in the circus understandably hates Rudolph now, and Rudolph walks off to sing a sad song called ‘A Bed of Roses.’ It’s my favorite song of the lot, but I did have a giggle at Rudolph with red glitter all over his face. I mean, it’s very sad that he’s just trying to replicate the glow of his nose, but it looks like he snorted glitter.
By the way, Rudolph was clearly very weak when his light was fading in the beginning of the movie. Now he loses it entirely and he’s completely fine.
Frosty is so guilty about what happened to Rudolph that he wonders if there’s something he could do to help Rudolph without putting his family in harm’s way. Winterbolt hears his plight, but doesn’t think Frosty has anything of benefit to take from him. His genie, however, informs him of Frosty’s trademark hat. Winterbolt believes that he could use Frosty’s hat, replicate the life-granting magic from within, and create his own army of living snowmen.
They animate this imagery in an interesting way. I’m pretty sure they only animated one snowman soldier, but they used mirrors to replicate the animated image to make it look like there were many.
The main reason this is appealing to Winterbolt is because getting rid of Frosty means getting rid of the only other person who knows the truth about the theft.
Can I ask a question? Why can’t Rudolph just bring Frosty and co. To the North Pole via Milton’s hot air balloon and then tell everyone what happened? It’s not like Winterbolt put a curse on Rudolph to forever extinguish his light. He just agreed to never get it back to save Frosty, but if Frosty and his family are no longer in danger then he doesn’t need to keep his end of the bargain.
Winterbolt’s plan has so many holes in it that Spongebob’s jealous.
Couldn’t he have saved himself a lot of trouble and just frozen Rudolph in some sort of super unmeltable ice? He has access to that because that’s supposedly what Frosty and his family are with those amulets on.
Back with Rudolph, Lady Boreal, still in her light form, comforts Rudolph, telling him that she watches over him and he should be brave as he protects the helpless. If he is brave, his snowflake and star mark and his glowing red nose will return.
Wait…..so…Lady Boreal knows that Rudolph didn’t do anything wrong and only said he did because he was protecting Frosty….So why he did his light go away!?
Big Ben, the whale with a clock on his tail from Rudolph’s Shiny New Year, suddenly pops up in the ocean near Rudolph and offers a shoulder (or fin) to cry on. After hearing his story, Ben rushes off to South America, much to Rudolph’s confusion.
Meanwhile, Winterbolt is making his deal with Frosty. He tells Frosty that, in exchange for his hat, he’ll turn Rudolph’s nose light back on, but he’s lying of course.
Frosty sings one last romantic song to Crystal, who doesn’t know he’s doing this and isn’t in the room.
Gotta say, while some of these sweet romantic musical numbers are nice, they’re getting to a point where the movie is oversaturated with them. Each pairing has like two romantic song breaks (Frosty and Crystal are on their third or fourth right now), and there’s no point in them. Don’t get me wrong, they’re very sweet, but they pump the brakes on the entire movie and aren’t very interesting. At least this one is about saying goodbye to her (and their kids) but still.
I also find it funny that we have all of these romantic pairings getting focus, but Rudolph only gets a brief shot of a picture of Clarice cut into a heart with the words “Love you, Clarice.” on it.
As Crystal and the kids weep over Frosty’s….corpse? Rudolph chases after Winterbolt to get the hat back.
Insert Rudolph vs. Flying magical snow snake scene here and soak it in. It is marvelous.
So is this.
Winterbolt: “You don’t frighten me! The hat is mine! Try and get it!”
*Rudolph easily headbutts Winterbolt in the stomach*
That could not have been more hilarious if you tried.
Also, Rudolph in Frosty’s hat is too adorable for words.
Rudolph’s act of bravery allows him to get his light and little hoof mark back. I don’t know how or why. If he really did perform an evil deed with his nose light and that’s why it went out, which, as indicated by the mark also going away, is indeed what happened, then, by Lady Boreal’s wording, it should have been gone forever. If it wasn’t and never should have been taken in the first place, what was the point of the past half hour?
Rudolph heads off to set things straight. He gets a real cop to return the money (How did he find that?) to Lily, explains that he was tricked, and they returns Frosty’s hat and life back to him. Everyone makes up, Sam Spangle gets sent to prison, and Frosty and Rudolph reprise the misfit song from the original movie.
However, Winterbolt’s not done. He wants his revenge on Rudolph and Frosty. Lily steps up to the plate and, I’m not kidding, throws her guns at Winterbolt’s ice staff and shatters it, causing his power to deplete, and then he turns into a tree.
Okay…so….first of all, Winterbolt’s magical ice staff can be broken if someone throws a couple revolvers at it?
Secondly, that was the source of all of his power? He wasn’t just powerful on his own?
Third, how is it that Lady Boreal never thought to break or steal his staff? Why put him in a deep sleep and deplete your own energy for how many hundreds/thousands of years instead of just taking a baseball bat to that staff? Do it while he’s sleeping!
Fourth, taking away his power kills him? If that’s true, why wouldn’t he take more measures to protect that staff? He has his own amazing ice powers and a magical genie that lives within the staff. There’s no reason this thing isn’t protected by a barrier or something.
Fifth, why a tree? I could understand him melting as he loses his power and dies, he’s an ice wizard and everything, but why does he turn into a tree? A dead one, I might add, so he is definitely dead. They even have one of his arm/branches snap afterward.
Lily: “Wow! Hehe, what an exit!” You just took a life.
With Winterbolt out of the way, the storm clears, allowing Santa and Mrs. Claus to safely fly again and head to the circus.
But also the other obvious thing happens – Frosty and his family melt because the amulets worked off of Winterbolt’s magic and he’s dead now.
Good job, Lily.
When will your murder spree end?!
Rudolph: “Gee whiz….”
Old phrases really seem goofy sometimes. “Well, gosh, it sure is awful that two adults and two children just died horrifically and now we’re gazing upon their liquified remains. Golly gee.”
Seriously, it was bad enough to see Frosty as a lifeless snowman or to see his or Crystal’s puddles with their hat and hair on top, but it’s borderline morbid to see Chilly and Milly’s puddles with their hat and bow on top.
Rudolph: “When Frosty melts, nothing can help except a magic December wind to help him, and this is July!”
Hold up. When did the qualifier of ‘December’ wind get squeaked in there? I thought it was just any cold temperature on his magic snow body.
Big Ben arrives with a special guest, Jack Frost, who was hanging out in South America where winter goes during the summer months of the Northern Hemisphere. Jack Frost resurrects Frosty and his family with his frigid breath right as Santa arrives to pick them up. Jack Frost joins them in order to keep the snowpeople family cool during their trip.
Rudolph has to stay behind to help with the shows until the circus is out of debt (I could swear this started out as a ‘one show to save us’ type deal, but okay) but Santa says he’ll be back soon because he gave some of his magic feed corn to Lily to allow her animals to fly, so she’ll be sure to drum up a lot of business quickly.
What happens when she runs out, though? How long do the effects of that stuff last?
We close out on the entire flying circus being lead by Rudolph flying around as Santa, Frosty and the others depart.
Milton and Lanie seem to be poised to be wed once more, and everyone lives happily ever….Well, we never learn what happened to Scratcher. He could be trapped in Winterbolt’s cave lair for all eternity…..Happily ever after! The end.
Well…..that was a mess. Nothing made me angry or anything, but I did get incredibly confused along the way. So much of the story just seemed completely pointless and like they were overcomplicating what should have been a very easy plan.
I don’t much care for the fact that they basically confirmed that the stakes in this movie were fake by having Frosty and his family melt in the end even after Winterbolt died just to go ‘Oh we can bring them back!’ Even if Jack Frost didn’t make a cameo, they could have just scooped up the water in the puddles and taken it back to the North Pole or South America/some other location experiencing winter at the time, if that was necessary.
The aspect of Rudolph’s nose light being extinguished also made no sense. It didn’t follow any of the rules Lady Boreal set for the power. It went away for no reason and came back when it should have been gone forever if it did get taken away.
It’s a shame because Winterbolt is a fairly good villain. He has strong presence, a decent, but possibly mostly recycled, design, and I love all of his snow creatures and his genie, but he’s just kinda dumb. He’s an all-powerful being who had a firm grip on the entire North Pole for hundreds or thousands of years. He was so powerful that an Aurora Borealis demi-god had to expend most of her power just keeping him asleep for however long.
Yet he had to jump through so many hoops simply to get a reindeer out of the way.
And he was felled because a circus owner threw guns at him.
Not to mention that this comes at the expense of kinda ruining Rudolph’s backstory. So now instead of him having this glowing red nose on complete random circumstance, he was given this light as a sort of destiny thing to defeat Winterbolt when he made his attack on Christmas. And she had to make it super secret for literally no reason, leaving Rudolph open to ridicule for years and putting Santa in danger. All she needed to do was tell Santa about the upcoming storm, explain that she put her power in a reindeer’s sinuses and that, as long as he stays there and happy, everything will be cool.
This movie feels like it has no direction. Half the time it’s Winterbolt and his already ridiculous plan, and the rest is filled with random love songs and stuff that is cool to look at usually but isn’t contributing much to the story.
If you just want a dose of Rudolph and Frosty for Christmas or…Summer, I guess, then this will do fine. There are numerous sweet, funny and heartwarming moments scattered throughout. But, as a whole, and even just compared to the other Rankin/Bass specials, this isn’t anything to write home about at best and is pretty frustratingly nonsensical at worst. I give a lot of leeway to Rankin/Bass specials in terms of logic, but this went pretty damn far.
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Greetings and happy holidays to anyone directing their attention to this little blog of mine.
I have a good news/bad news situation. The good news is that I am going to finally, actually for real this time moving within the next couple of weeks. I’m excited, but also just completely burned out on all the stress that this has caused me over the past many months. It’s not over yet, there’s still a LOT of work to do, but the finish line’s there.
The bad news is that the place I’m moving to doesn’t have internet and won’t until frickin’ February. Because apparently every single task you need to have done for anything will be put off for months now.
I live out in the middle of nowhere, so I can’t get any other internet provider to come out and do the work required to set up the internet besides the lovely and ever so frustrating, coming straight from the pits of hell, Spectrum. SO, I will be entirely reliant on my mobile hotspot and regular data plan for internet for the next 2+ months, which will be kinda frustrating. I have no idea how this will affect my ability to watch anything that is required for me to do my bloggin’. Maybe it won’t really affect me that much, maybe I’ll have to deal with slow af speeds. I don’t really know because I am also switching my cell phone provider very soon too. Hopefully, this won’t affect much and I’ll still be able to come out with content on the somewhat regular, BUT I wanted to give you fair warning because, as much as it pains me to say this, A Very Animated Holiday Special might be very sparse this year.
I will do my damnedest to come out with holiday reviews this December, especially since making the reviews will be a good dose of holiday spirit for me as I try to get things settled down, but I most likely won’t be able to do the one-review-a-day format that I typically have in December. It sucks that I have to do that because I just gypped you guys out of a lot of Halloween content, but I can’t really help the circumstances. I can’t even do much IRL Christmas stuff at this point.
Anyway, enough rambling and pity parties. I still wish every single reader of the Madhouse a very happy holiday season. I hope it’s merry and jolly and ho-ho-hopefully leads to a much better new year. 🙂
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Plot: On Halloween, Pepper Ann gets a call from her dad telling her and her sister to prepare for a surprise from him on Thanksgiving. She believes he’s going to visit for the holiday, something that makes her super excited since she doesn’t get to see much of him since the divorce. But is she getting her hopes up for no reason?
Breakdown: No, your eyes aren’t deceiving you. No, this isn’t a sign of the end times. I got a Thanksgiving special out, ON TIME, and it kinda sorta doubles are more Animating Halloween stuff….a little….it is for the first minute and a half. I’m counting it.
Like I’ve mentioned several times while doing these Thanksgiving special reviews, it’s very, very difficult for them to stray from the norm. Basically any Thanksgiving trope you can think of is here. Parent rushing to get the dinner to be absolutely perfect, basically a warzone at the grocery store, not being able to find one specific item that you need for the dinner, crazy relatives who won’t stop fighting, the yearning for the kid to eat at the adult table, and finally, the one thing practically no Thanksgiving special is without – the dinner getting completely ruined but it ends up okay in the end.
However, this special does add something that I don’t believe I’ve ever seen in any other Thanksgiving special – how kids with divorced parents deal with Thanksgiving.
Pepper Ann’s parents broke up some time before the series began, and their divorce is shown to impact several aspects of her life in the show. Thanksgiving is one of the key moments where family is supposed to be all together. However, that just doesn’t happen in many households with divorced parents. Either they have two Thanksgivings at separate times at both houses or they just stick with one and maybe get a visit or a call or something. I can’t speak from experience because I didn’t grow up with divorced parents, but that’s what I’ve gleamed from others.
It’s pretty cool to see a cartoon address this with not just one but two characters. You might remember that Pepper Ann’s best friend, Milo, also has divorced parents, but his parents divorced quite a while before Pepper Ann’s did so he has more experience in that area. Milo bounces from house to house on Thanksgiving – and he doesn’t spend any of it with his parents. He just wanders between his friends’ houses.
Milo is a bit jaded when it comes to family and Thanksgiving. He tries to keep Pepper Ann level-headed when it comes to her belief that her dad will visit for Thanksgiving. He doesn’t know that he won’t, nor does Pepper Ann know that he will, all he said was he had a surprise for Thanksgiving. Milo just knows from his own experiences that the parent who doesn’t get custody tends to drift away, and holidays like Thanksgiving end up getting lost more and more in the jumble as they build up a new life after the divorce. They just tend to forget and wind up sending money or gifts sometimes to make up for it.
Milo’s experiences are very sad, and I kinda wish that we had put a little more focus on his holiday bouncing around houses and not actually spending any time at home than we did with Pepper Ann. Both of their experiences are valid, of course, but, also of course, she ends up with a happy ending, for the most part, while Milo’s life with his broken up parents is still fairly sad. Like, does his mother and step-dad not care where he is right now? Does he not do anything for Thanksgiving with his family?
Pepper Ann was, sadly, mistaken. Her dad never did intend on visiting for Thanksgiving. His surprise was that he was piloting a blimp for a big Macy’s-style Thanksgiving day parade and got to wish her and Moose a happy Thanksgiving and give them a heartfelt message on TV. He also said he’d see them next week for visitation, which just begs the question….when is his visitation? Surely he had at least one visitation during the month between Halloween and Thanksgiving. Pepper Ann acts like she rarely ever sees her dad anymore. How infrequent are these visits?
This special was pretty entertaining for what it was worth. It never really got that deep into drama, not like As Told by Ginger or Hey Arnold would do, but they hit enough notes for a show like Pepper Ann. Also, there were numerous jokes that were pretty funny, and I was also fairly amused by Pepper Ann’s constant fantasies of her father trying desperately to get to the dinner.
Thanksgiving Dad is good, but not great. I don’t think it’s on anyone’s must-watch lists for the holiday, I barely even remember watching it when I was a kid, but it has some unique and grounded aspects that are worth exploring, and it has good humor and heart. Check it out while you’re waiting for the turkey to cook. Or while you’re recovering from Thanksgiving dinner. Or, if you’re not in the US…..just….watch it whenever ya want. I’m not your mom.
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Plot: The battle with Devimon is reaching its boiling point, and it seems like the Chosen Children are in over their heads. With the power they have, there’s no way they can take down Devimon once and for all. Everything appears to be hopeless, but just when the devil has the team in his grips, an angel appears to save them.
Title Change:Angemon Awakens! is changed to The Legend of the Digidestined.
Takeru originally asks the baby Digimon if they need to poop. In the dub, he says “Okay, so you don’t want to play a game!”
Wow, Yamato/Matt came in from REALLY far away. How did he know Takeru/TK was in danger from that distance?
They remove Ogremon hitting Greymon in the head…..Really, Saban? That little bonk? When Greymon has a skull helmet, even? Use the stupid impact stars if you want, but that didn’t warrant a removal.
They remove Ogremon hitting Greymon with his Pummel Whack too? That’s a regular attack. Since when are those cut?
So…..more Black Gears = More evil, bigger and more powerful?….Then why doesn’t Devimon use a bunch of them by default? I’m getting Rita Repulsa flashbacks…
They remove Garurumon smashing into the cliffside.
But wait, they can show Greymon getting hit and being thrown into the wall? What is even going on right now?
Leomon keeps repeating that he has to kill the Chosen Children. Likewise, when Leomon hears Devimon talking to him in his mind, he reminds him that he was ordered to kill the Chosen Children. In the dub, they change this to ‘Take’ and implications of kidnapping instead.
Originally, they imply that Patamon is either dying or passing out, complete with Takeru yelling at him to hang in there. In the dub, TK reassures Patamon that he did a good job protecting him and Patamon just kinda….sleeps?
This goes without saying, but originally Taichi didn’t call Leomon….Booger Breath…Really, guys? Booger Breath? That’s what you put on the final draft? That gets recorded? That gets seen by dozens of individuals and no one bats an eye? Okay.
I love how they have problems with showing these Digimon taking hits that don’t even leave wounds, but they’ll leave in the rather gross shots of the Black Gears slowly leaving Leomon’s body. You can hear the flesh squishing and everything…
Tai: *after the Black Gears are destroyed* “That’s bad!”….You mean….that’s good?….Or is this another misuse of outdated slang?
Izzy: “It worked! We destroyed the Black Gear!” That should be “They destroyed the Black Gears!”
Originally, Ogremon flees because there are too many Digimon to handle by himself now. In the dub, he goes on about how the kids don’t know who they’re dealing with but they will soon enough.
Leomon: “…That would change good Digimons into bad ones.” Digimon plural is just Digimon. No need for the s.
Taichi originally says that it now makes sense that Leomon keeps calling them ‘The Chosen Children’ once he’s heard the legend of a group of children being chosen to save the Digital World. In the dub, since they change this name to Digidestined, they have Tai exclaim how awesome the legend is, but he wonders if that’s even true.
The other kids and Digimon don’t have a moment of doubt where Taichi needs to coerce them like the dub does. I guess them slightly nodding their heads for three frames lead Saban to thinking they were doing that.
Koushiro doesn’t mention it being ‘impossible’ to lose with the Digivices like Izzy does. You’re a stats man, Izzy. You should know better.
Mimi originally says that she’ll try her best even though she’s scared because she wants to go home. In the dub she says she’ll do some killer shopping when she goes home. Priorities, dub!Mimi.
Palmon originally supports Mimi and says they’ll help her. In the dub, Palmon says they need to send her back before she can shop.
The music in the original is really strange. I don’t really expect western-esque trumpet music right now, especially in an anime.
Tai: “Far out!” Oh come on, now you guys aren’t even trying to stay in the right decade.
I just realized that they seem to give zero shits where Sora and Jo are. Leomon said they need all of the Chosen Children to beat the evil, but they’re heading right into Devimon’s clutches without even mentioning Sora or Jo. This is a criticism of both versions, by the way. Either they’re being ridiculously reckless, they feel like it’s gonna be so easy that they don’t need them to help, or they don’t care….or all of the above.
It’s just weird. You’d think they’d be extra cautious considering this is the literal source of all evil in the Digital World (at the moment anyway) but nah, they can handle it with 5/7 members – one of which can’t even get his Digimon to Adult level.
Devimon…maybe foreshadowed Angemon’s appearance by saying he wanted to destroy the Chosen Children before he appeared. And considering he really wanted Takeru gone first, I’d imagine he did know about Patamon’s evolution…..so….either Devimon wasn’t the evil in the prophecy or they didn’t need any other Chosen Child besides Takeru for this battle (which, as we’ll see, is more or less true.)
They remove a shot where Devimon is kinda strangling Ogremon.
Koushiro asks if this giant Devimon could be an illusion, and Leomon responds by saying no. In the dub, Izzy says “Bad guys always seem to think bigger is better.” and Leomon says “’fraid not!”……..What?
Izzy: “My biology teacher would love this!”…Uhm…Okay I get what he’s talking about, but why did it take so long for Izzy to say that when he’s seen so many Digivolutions already? Especially when he’s talking about Kabuterimon? Also, why are you guys making stupid jokes when you’re literally fighting the source of all evil?
Mimi: “I do like the way our colors match.” Ahh….Mimi….Please.
They remove Leomon getting hit by Ogremon’s club and Ogremon taunting him for believing Devimon would leave his back exposed as well as the further shot of Leomon on the ground.
Hahaha! I love how Ogremon shot Leomon into a treeline, but it left a hole like he was thrust into a rockface.
So…yeah, Angemon is the antithesis to Devimon so, even though Devimon’s so powerful that all of the other Adult level Digimon can’t even touch him, Angemon is a threat to him. As cool as I always thought Angemon’s debut was, as much as I love Angemon as a whole, and as tragic as his ‘death’ was, in hindsight, that really is kinda bullshit. I mean, at least this is a reprieve from the typical ‘leader (and deuteragonist) get the best stuff’ trope that this series will definitely embrace as time goes on, but it was literally that they only needed to guard Takeru and ensure Patamon could evolve instead of it being a full team effort to take down Devimon.
Dub!Devimon: “They say the smallest will destroy me.” Oh thanks, Saban. For a second I thought you were going to omit all the foreshadowing and try to be subtle, but specifically adding in a line where he basically admits TK and Patamon are the key to his defeat is totally brilliant and not stupid.
Okay, so you’re telling me you can’t show Greymon, dude with a helmet, getting bonked on the head or Leomon getting bonked on the head….but you can show Greymon, Ikkakumon and Kabuterimon biting the fuck out of Devimon? They really are thinking it’s more okay to show bad guys getting hit than it is to see heroes get hit…..
Originally, Taichi weakly called out to Greymon and Greymon apologized to Taichi. In the dub, Tai says nothing and Greymon comments on how tough Devimon is.
In the original, Togemon says ‘I wanted to send you back to your world, but….’ to Mimi, who if off-screen. In the dub, she says she can’t move and even her needles are numb.
So, in the dub, was TK calling out for Matt while unconscious/passed out?
Ya know, I joked in the last episode comparison about getting out tissues, but I was joking. I didn’t really think I’d start tearing up when the finale started. Angemon hasn’t even come out quite yet and I’m getting choked up. Jeez…
Originally, Mimi says Angemon looks like an angel….Yup…..yup….that’s uh….good observation there, Mimi. Of course, she manages to be even dumber in the dub where she says “Nice hair. Good color.” You know your Digimon is lying on the ground in agony right now?
Takeru only points out that Patamon evolved. In the dub, TK says “I wanna take him home with me!” which is….I was gonna say stupid…which it kinda is, but it’s also just kinda weird. For what reason do you want to take home an eight foot tall angel with a helmet over his face?
Angemon can just summon the powers of all the Digivices and use them to attack Devimon? I’m getting Tokyo Mew Mew flashbacks now. So, really, the way that all of the Chosen Children play into this finale is only through their Digivices, not the kids themselves or their Digimon? Come on.
Devimon originally curses himself because he was so close to killing Takeru and Patamon before Angemon came to be. In the dub, he just acts as if he doesn’t know of Angemon and isn’t a threat to him, which we already know doesn’t make sense given how Saban wrote this.
Devimon tells Angemon that he won’t get off so easily either if he uses that power on him, implying that Angemon will also die along with him. In the dub, Devimon says he can’t take his power so easily and he’ll have to fight him for it….Uh…1) That’s what he’s doing. 2) He’s not trying to take your power, he’s trying to kill you.
Angemon’s responses, implying that he’s ready to die if it will stop him, is kept the same, which is weird because the dub lost the setup to that response.
Oh my god…Saban, why? They added lightsaber sound effects to Angemon’s staff when he was absorbing its power into his fist….why….why?
Angemon says “I’m sorry, Takeru.” In the dub, he says “I’ll get him, relax.” I don’t much care for that line change because it goes from a somber moment to basically Angemon telling Takeru to chill out just because he told him to be careful.
Attack Name Change: Heaven’s Knuckle is…well, it’s going to be changed to Hand of Fate, but as of this episode, he only says “I’ll stop you! AYYYEEEEEH!”
Oh yeah, and they’ll also show Devimon getting impaled by Angemon’s attack, but Greymon can’t be shown taking an energy attack to the chin.
Ugh…I know Saban redoes lines when there’s a commercial break, like 4Kids does, even if it’s a very confusing and stupid practice. Here, they’re using the same dialogue, but after the commercial break it’s like they went for a worse take on how the VA was saying it. Before the commercial, he had some decent emotion in the lines. Afterwards, it’s like he was just reading them off the script for rehearsal.
I really don’t like the way TK pronounces “Angemon” because it kinda sounds like he’s saying “Angiemon” which I think I’ve talked about before in the Adventure 02 SDC, but I feel like I should backpedal because even though that’s not the way it’s pronounced….it does make sense. When you say “Angel” you say it like “Eyn-jel” But when you say the “Ange” part in Angemon you say “Ann-jah” like in Angela, or you say ‘ahn-jah’. Still bothers me a tiny bit, but I won’t harp on it if it makes sense.
Ogremon originally wonders if the kids defeated Devimon. In the dub, he says that, with Devimon gone, he can take over now, which is obviously BS that Leomon stamps out before he even takes a step.
While both versions of Mimi say they don’t want to fight anymore, dub!Mimi adds “Oh, I think I broke a nail.” Seriously, guys? You’re going with the ridiculously overdone “I broke a nail” girl trope?
Overall, I’ve always really loved this episode, and I still do. I was being serious when I said I was tearing up at the finale. I didn’t expect to, but it managed to get me again.
I still do believe it was a teeny tiny bit bunk that Angemon was able to defeat Devimon while absolutely none of the other Adult level Digimon could even scratch him. I get the parallels – angel vs. devil – I get that he had to use the power of the Digivices, and I get that he sacrificed his life for it, but it’s still the slightest bit bogus.
And, believe it or not, this situation is basically going to be mirrored near the end of the series, except Angemon doesn’t die there and it’s a bit more of a team effort.
As confusing as Patamon’s evolution line is, I adore it all. I own nearly all of his forms as toys. He’s always been one of my favorite Digimon ever.
His evolution scene was epic and heartbreaking at the same time. Like everyone else, he did evolve to protect his partner, but the buildup to it was quite sad because Patamon wanted to evolve so badly so he could protect Takeru. He had no chance in his Child form. Oddly, Patamon actually seems like the weakest Child level Digimon but the most powerful Adult level.
Compare that to the plotline in Adventure 02 where V-mon wanted to evolve to Adult, even though Armor evolving was seen as kinda better, all because he and Davis were jealous of Takeru and Angemon and their symmetry with Hikari and Angewomon.
Well, you can put away your hankies for now, Angemon/Patamon will return in due time. It will take quite a while, but he’ll be back. Until then, it’s off to even bigger threats.
Next time, the kids meet Gennai and learn what they must do to combat the next evil threat that is looming over the Digital World.
Plot: Nene longingly yearns for love. She’s so desperate to tell the boy she likes about her feelings that she seeks out a wish-granting ghost in the girl’s bathroom. The ritual summon him – yes, him – works! But Nene has to face the reality that sometimes what you wish for most isn’t what you truly want.
Breakdown: While I had flitted around checking this series out for a while, it wasn’t until GlitterInformer suggested I check it out for Animating Halloween that I finally decided to sit down and watch it, and I’m glad I did.
Toilet-Bound Hanako-Kun isn’t technically a horror show, but it is supernatural, is a ghost story and has some really interesting visuals that come off as horror-esque.
Overall, however, it’s a comedy show, and pretty funny one at that. Hanako is funny and sweet, and Nene was…..tolerable. She had some funny moments, but she was pretty annoying a good chunk of the time.
The setup was kinda cliché, but I like how Hanako was more about helping her confront her problem than just granting her wish. I also thought it was interesting for Nene to realize that she was more concerned about getting a cute boy to like her than it was that she was in love with that specific boy.
We do get a kinda scary interaction with a ‘mermaid’ who is summoned because of Nene’s mistake and insistence on getting her crush to like her, plus we get a glimpse of a slightly creepier Hanako and a fight between the two.
I really love the art for this show. It’s very sharp and stylistic with some amazing shots. I adore the gorgeous colors. It has a very manga-esque style to its animation, if that makes any sense. Lots of panels appearing on screen and intersections.
The music was alright, but nothing really stuck with me so far. The OP was the best of it all.
Toilet-Bound Hanako-Kun is definitely a lot better than its crappy (pun intended) name would suggest. I had a lot of fun with it, and I look forward to watching more.
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