Christmas comes but once a year

So I continue to make the most of it—

DRAGONS: Gift of the Night Terror is a TV sequel to How to Tame Your Dragon in which the Vikings are looking forward to celebrating the annual Snoggletog event with their new dragon friends, only to have the dragons mysteriously fly off. Not as memorable as Merry Madagascar, but plenty funny, and very much in the spirit of the film. “It’s a new holiday drink I created—Yaknogg!”
MADAGASCAR PENGUINS: A Christmas Caper has the Private skipping out on the zoo to buy their lonely polar bear neighbor a present only to wind up being gift-wrapped himself as a present for an old lady’s vicious poodle. Can the Chief and the others get to him in time? It’s easy to see why these guys were the breakout characters from the original film.“Swim in hot oil and Bisquik every day?”
MR. MAGOO’S CHRISTMAS CAROL is an excellent adaptation (despite the UA style of animation which was cutting edge fifty years ago but now looks rather crude) in which the short-sighted cartoon star (voiced, as always, by Jim Backus) performs Scrooge on Broadway, which is the framing sequence for a musical version (and a good one too—the songs are excellent).“Humbug, humbug this giving to charity/Orphans are pesky and Christmas a parody.”
THE YEAR WITHOUT A SANTA CLAUS is one of the Rankin/Bass stop-motion specials I grew up with but not one I’ve seen before: Santa (Mickey Rooney) becomes convinced no-one has any Christmas spirit left and decides to skip Christmas this year. Mrs. Claus (Shirley Booth), in response, tries to convince a sweltering Southern town to show some Christmas spirit, only to have the mayor set his own requirement—it has to snow there! Didn’t work for me and weird to see a lot of the Santa Claus Is Coming to Town puppets in different roles.“Over each continent, isle and isthmus/Let’s give Santa a merry Christmas!”
TOKYO GODFATHERS (2003) is the anime reworking of John Wayne’s Three Godfathers in which a homeless trio (drag queen, drunk and teen runaway) find themselves in possession of an abandoned baby and set out to get her back to her parents (“If her mother apologizes, I’ll forgive her—and maybe my mother too.”). This falls into the Christmas contrast category of Christmas stories but much like Bad Santa, it’s really extremely sentimental under the cynical surface (not for the first time, I find myself thinking that schmaltz is not a uniquely American trait). “No action hero can touch you!”
A BUSH CHRISTMAS (1947) is a Boy’s Own Adventure in which four pluckie Aussie kids successfully track down a gang of rustlers on Christmas Eve, though the Christmas aspect is completely incidental to the main plot. Nothing memorable. “Fried snake and grubs for Christmas dinner?”

1 Comment

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One response to “Christmas comes but once a year

  1. Pingback: Bad guys redeemed by the spirit of Christmas! | Fraser Sherman's Blog

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