Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Don't Watch This Movie (and Watch "The Snowman" Instead!)

I would love to hear this fellow's (from SNL) take on it 
Look, y'all, I'm no Grinch, but I really don't appreciate bad Christmas/holiday movies, which are to good Christmas movies what Xmas-Muzak is to Christmas carols.  Now, many a classic holiday movie is plenty cheesy, but I'm drawing a distinction between cheesy and bad.  Cheesy movies may cause you to roll your eyes a few times but you still enjoy them overall.  Bad movies make you want the moviemakers to reimburse you for minutes and braincells lost while watching their product.  I'm afraid that we unwittingly subjected ourselves to about twenty minutes of bad movie this weekend, and I am writing to you so that you can avoid the same fate.
The hubs and I decided that since we had not done anything remotely Christmasy yet (like get and decorate a tree), we ought to do something fun and in the Christmas spirit with the kiddos.  Allen remembered going to the Alpenrose Christmas Village as a kid and enjoying it, and when we discovered that it was cheap as free, we decided it was worth a try.  We drove out to Alpenrose (in SW Portland) and proceeded to get everyone into their various winter weather gear, stroller, baby carrier, etc.  We had only been strolling around the Village for a few minutes when Ben got hungry and it was time to make a bottle.  Fortunately, some very kind volunteers managed to procure us a bottle of warm water so we didn't have to wait in line at the food stand to get it; now, where to administer the bottle?  There was a long outdoor line to go into the Christmas Village itself and we didn't think it would be good to feed Ben outside.  "Let's go into the Opera House.  They're showing holiday movies," said Allen.  So in we went.  The Opera House itself is beautiful and apparently boasts a very large and magnificent pipe organ.  On this particular day, however, it was boasting something far less wonderful: a large screen showing "Legend of Frosty the Snowman."
Snow way I'd watch this again...
For the record, I am not a Frosty hater.  I like magical hatted snowmen as much as the next person.  What I don't like is what I perceive to be the trend in modern animated cartoons/movies for kids, and this movie was a prime example: everything is frenetic, even manic in its pacing. I don't mean the pacing of the storyline so much as the actual animation.  The character movements themselves seem way too fast.  It's almost as if the animators are anticipating the goldfish-like attention span of their target audience and not only catering to it but enabling it.  I grew up watching a lot of Looney Tunes, and even the most crazy hijinks of the Coyote and Road Runner seem leisurely in comparison to the way these characters were comporting themselves.  
I did not watch the whole movie, so I cannot comment on the overall plot.  Perhaps it improved in its denouement. I doubt it.  The basic plot seemed to be that the poor kids in the town of Evergreen were being oppressed into mind numbing conformity by their whack job mayor and school principal who loved rules and order too much; thankfully Frosty was around to cause mischief and mayhem and to help the children see that magic is fun and rules are not! I agree that legalism is not healthy, but it was just disappointing to see all the adults as idiots (especially the dads but the moms too) who blindly follow rules and promote them without thinking about them.  There's nothing wise about the parents in this movie.  Allen and I just kept looking at each other incredulously while we were in there and were very relieved when Ben finished his bottle so we could get away from the lunacy.
But, just to show you that I don't hate all magical snowmen, here is a GREAT holiday cartoon from the 1980s.  It is called "The Snowman", based on a book by Raymond Briggs.
It's about half an hour long, and there is no talking.  The quality of the animation is slower and gentler and very sweet.  It also tells a story of a boy and his magical snowman, and there is even some mischief …but the parents are not dupes, ninnies, or idiots.  And the music is so very charming.  I love the song "Walking in the Air," from this movie.  The lyrics aren't necessarily meaningful to me, but the melody is haunting and extremely memorable.  Ruby and Max and I watched it while I gave Ben a bottle this morning, and they loved it. I remember watching it when I was sick one Christmas time (I think I was five or six) and being quite moved by it, even as a little kid.  Do yourself a favor: skip "Legend of Frosty"and watch "The Snowman" instead.

1 comment:

  1. I agree whole heartedly! Sometimes it's hard for me to explain to Bran why some cartoons just rub me the wrong way... This cartoon is delightful. I did a mini report on Raymond Briggs when I was going through Grad school. I wrote about how engaging and relatable his art is, his skill at telling a story through pictures. Love, love, love, this. Thanks for helping me remember it again!

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