Among the plethora of holiday movies there is a vast collection of animated specials. These, like the movies, range in quality from most festive (i.e. A Charlie Brown Christmas) to most horrible. I think I’ve found the worst of the bunch to date. May I please warn you against 1996’s animated special, The Story of Santa Claus.
Featuring the voices of Ed Asner, Betty White, and Tim Curry, this feature tells the origin story of how a poor but generous toymaker became everyone’s favorite gift-giver. I’m sure the writers had an innocent and sweet story all planned out. I’m totally positive that was their intention! But as I was made myself watch this program, I couldn’t help but use my Grinchy skills to remove all the joy and pick everything apart. Allow me to explain:
When Santa and the Mrs. accidentally arrive at the North Pole (there was a storm) they save the life of a precocious elf boy. In doing so Santa is granted his fondest wish. He wishes to be able to deliver a toy to each child on Earth every Christmas. Because the elves are magically bound to granting this wish, they put themselves into a position of indentured servitude to the Clauses. This results in the following:
- The adult elves don’t help out. So Santa enlists help from the children to gather materials and actually build the workshop and later the toys. This introduces unpaid child labor and deforestation (oh and animal labor) to the North Pole.
- The elf children (aside from the 2 main kids) might be on something. They all have big, beady black eyes.
- Does Santa ever build any toys or pitch in on his workshop? He um…designs it. Might as well give the man a Hardees cup so he can stand around and supervise. Because that’s all I see him do. The elves do the rest of the work.
- Santa spent his youth growing up in an orphanage. It’s one of his stops on Christmas Eve which is really quite sweet. I don’t think this is an orphanage you’d want any children to stay in. Who puts an orphanage out on a lonely island? It looks more like a prison. Kind of bleak for a children’s special.
And maybe I’m just being over picky, but I could not stop finding problems with the special. There’s a little kid in Santa’s town (pre-North Pole) who has a head wound. He looks like he could use a meal and some medical attention. He looks this way the whole special. This is never addressed.
I just didn’t like it. If I’m watching a holiday special (especially an animated one) I want to watch something fun. It’s for the kids! Let’s just watch Rudolph or better yet, The Snowman.
Halloween’s body isn’t even cold yet, but that hasn’t stopped the retailers and networks from reminding you that December 25 is practically upon us. In fact, why not start celebrating now? Poor Mr. Turkey. He never gets his moment to shine.
I had half hoped that last year’s cheesy holiday movie addiction was a temporary thing. I thought my short-lived summer holiday movie relapse was perhaps a wee setback. Nope. All it took was a Hallmark Channel announcement of marathon movies to get my inner elf leaping and fa-la-la-ing away. I won’t decorate until after the turkey is in my belly and the crazy people go shopping. I won’t put Christmas with the Rat Pack into heavy music rotation until December. But movies?
Movie are fair game, and I’m going to watch them all!!! Mwa-hahahahahahaha….. I’ve already made a significant dent. Here’s a few to watch and/or avoid. Or you can be like me and just watch them all.
Once Upon a Christmas: Kathy Ireland shows off her KMart collection whilst playing Santa’s “nice” daughter Kristin. Kristin goes to the mortal world to save one family from being on the naughty list. In doing so, she falls in love, saves said family and also saves Christmas from being ruined by her naughty sister, Rudolpha. This was followed-up by Twice Upon a Christmas which unfortunately, I didn’t get to watch as I had to run errands. I’ll be sure to catch it again. From what I gleaned from the first few minutes, Kristin has lost her memory. Suspense!!!! [Honestly, Once was a ridiculous waste of my time. If you want silly, go for this movie. Otherwise, avoid.]
All I Want for Christmas: Gail O’Grady (why isn’t she in more things??) plays a widowed mother whose well-meaning son enters and wins a toy contest for Chistmas. What does he tell the contest sponsors he wants this year? Answer: a husband for his mom. Yeah. While all the bigwigs and tv folks play The Bachelor with Ms. O’Grady, love turns out to be closer to home. Maybe even next door. [Predictable? Of course! Sappy? Si. Kind of sweet and worth watching at least once? Go for it.]
Snow Bride: This movie premiered this past Saturday night. A tabloid reporter chases down the story of a possible engagement for some politician’s son and through a series of mistaken identities and spontaneous traditional family/town events, oh you know the drill…. [The whole “snow bride” part of the story was a stretch and really silly. However, despite the cheese, I kept watching. I had to see it through. Yes the sap flowed, but Patricia Richardson from Home Improvement was in this as well as the most wonderful Tom Lenk (sporting a rather perplexing yet fetching stache). The heartwarming and humor far outweighed the cheese and sap. Therefore, this one goes on the approved to view list.]
More to come folks….more to come. Consider yourselves warned.