And here I am thinking I’d already seen Rankin-Bass at their trippiest.
Get some cocoa and cookies and make yourself very, very comfortable. This plot will take some time to summarize. First off, Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer and Frosty the Snowman are, not surprisingly, B.F.F.s. They meet an ice-cream man who rides a hot-air balloon and is in love with a beautiful trapeze artist. And it turns out that the circus that he and his girlfriend work for is in deep financial trouble. And so, upon hearing this tale of woe, Rudolph and Frosty come down to the sunny Santa Monica seashore out-of-season to make special guest appearances, sing about a million terrible songs, and eventually save the circus. And there you have all the normal parts of this movie.
See, I haven’t mentioned Winterbolt, the evil Ice Wizard. Or Lady Borealis, the kind and beautiful Angel who lives in the Aurora. Or the fact that the “save the circus” story floats incongruously on top of their epic battle for the Northlands.
And I have not mentioned that this is – oh heck yeah – an INSANE CROSSOVER story. Not only do Rankin-Bass combine “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” and “Frosty the Snowman”, they ALSO work in “Santa Claus is Coming to Town”, “Frosty’s Winter Wonderland”, and many more. By the time “Jack Frost” rode in from his eponymous special on Big Ben from “Rudolph’s Shiny New Year“, I half expected Nestor and Sonny Bunny to show up too.
What disturbs me a little is the idea that maybe, maybe, there is an even more insane Rankin-Bass holiday movie out there…
The Best Parts:
.25 seconds in – Frosty and Crystal had snow-babies? Um, how? No, never mind.
5 minutes in – EPIC BATTLE FOR THE NORTHLANDS!!! (Holy W.T.F.? )
6 minutes in – Aww, who’s a sleepy dragon, huh?
9 minutes in – Nome King?
12 minutes in – I don’t know what kind of origin story I’d come up with for Rudolph’s nose, but it couldn’t possibly be as elaborate as this one.
14 minutes in – Sing along, kids!
(Man, they just keep cutting more and more out of Rudolph’s story in these sequels. And wasn’t he an adult by the end of the original?)
25 minutes in – I love how Rudolph and Frosty and pals aren’t second-guessing the sudden appearance and motives of a scary Ice Wizard.
This is a common theme throughout the movie, actually. So either everyone at the North Pole is made of pure, unrefined innocence, or everyone at the North Pole is dangerously gullible and irresponsible.
26 minutes in – But how quickly would it take a snowman made of Arctic snow to melt on a summer night? Anyone care to experiment?
And notice that Santa doesn’t wonder too hard about Winterbolt’s appearance either.
30 minutes in – This has to be the single strangest non-evil, non-French circus ever.
Bonus: Sensitive multicultural portrayals, eh? I mean… damn, dude.
33 minutes in – “Bwahaha, my ridiculously circuitous evil plan is already nearly one-quarter complete!”
35 minutes in – Ye Gods, he’s like Sam the Demonic Dog with antlers!
38 minutes in – So, same songwriter as “The Return of the King”?
42 minutes in – So, basically, this here is a love story… with an Ice Wizard, Christmas people, and a demented circus.
45 minutes in – OK, enough with the songs! Also, I distinctly remember that they were married in a forest of Christmas Trees!
47 minutes in – Looking at these floats, the North Pole isn’t the only place crawling with dangerously irresponsible people.
And, nobody notices the butt-ugly Reindeer walking around.
AND Sam Spangles doesn’t react at all when said random butt-ugly Reindeer walks up and talks to him.
AND Rudolph doesn’t wonder *at all* how Scratcher got all the way down here from the North Pole.
51 minutes in – What could I possibly say that would make Winterbolt’s Pimpmobile more ludicrous?
53 minutes in – What the heck is “belly whopping” anyway?
57 minutes in – Just a reminder: Rudolph is not questioning ANY of this!
1 hour in – Hooray for the 60’s.
1 hour, 10 minutes in – Winterbolt does not care about Snow People. 😦
1 hour, 13 minutes in – “Take my glow, take my toys / disappoint the girls and boys. / I don’t care, I’m still free / and you can’t take the Sky from me!”
1 hour, 15 minutes in – It’s really more like “Rudolph and Frosty’s Depressing Crapfest” at this point, isn’t it?
1 hour, 16 minutes in – Sing-along time again! You didn’t think they would leave out Frosty’s origin story, did you?
1 hour, 18 minutes in – AN ARMY OF SNOWMEN!!!
1 hour, 20 minutes in – Lyra?
1 hour, 21 minutes in – Oh, no way…
1 hour, 24 minutes in – BURLY BRAWL!!!
1 hour, 29 minutes in – Right, we get it, you can stop singing now.
1 hour, 31 minutes in – I wish I could say that this is the first movie I’ve reviewed this Christmas where this happens to the Big Bad…
1 hour, 32 minutes in – But… Frosty has melted before. And he got better. Best not to think about that or the whole last act falls apart.
1 hour, 33 minutes in – Wow. It’s just like “Terminator 2”.
1 hour, 35 minutes in – I haven’t the slightest idea how I’d wrap up this insanity, but it wouldn’t have been as ridiculous as this.
Classic Lines of Dialogue:
“I must rid my Northlands of this ‘ho-ho-ho’-ing creature and his Christmas interlopers!” – Winterbolt
“Alas, nothing is forever.” – Lady Borealis
“Instead of Rein-DEER, I have Rein-SNAKES!!!” – Winterbolt
~*~ Poetry Corner ~*~
“Ice and fog on Christmas Eve / to hinder Santa’s sleigh? / I must leave him something -small, I fear- / to help him light the way.” – Lady Borealis
“Life with a circus is like life with a guy. / Some days you’re low and some days you’re high! / Chicken today and feathers tomorrow! / Life is that way, there’s some joy and some sorrow!” – Ms. Lorraine
Things I Learned from this Movie/Book/Whatever:
* – Rudolph = Neo.
* – Snow-people need to eat.
* – White Dragons come in sets of two.
* – Rudolph is an avatar of the Aurora Borealis.
* – Santa’s magic sleigh is basically worthless on the ground.
* – Magic Reindeer Food works on everything; animals, vehicles, you name it!
* – Snowmen have huge issues with the melting thing.
* – All policemen voiced by Paul Frees are from Ireland. (Shrugs.)
* – Poodles are remarkably strong.
Things That Can Save Any Movie:
Cool Creatures? Yes.
Good Soundtrack? No.
Hot Guys? No.
Pretty Scenery? Eh.
Nifty Animation/Special Effects/Illustrations? It’s typical for Rankin-Bass.
Drinking Game Potential? Drink when Winterbolt works his ridiculously circuitous evil plan. Drink again when the nice characters act dangerously gullible and irresponsible.
Head Movie Potential? You can be dangerously irresponsible too!
Um, Danny. With a magic hat and glowing nose.
A Rankin-Bass Film made in 1979. Written by Romeo Muller and directed by Arthur Rankin Jr. and Jules Bass.
Red Buttons, Ethel Merman, Mickey Rooney, Jackie Vernon, Shelly Winters, Paul Frees, Bille Mae Richards, Darlene Conley, and Don Messick.
Christmas Specials Wiki Page