The fact that I’m reviewing this particular special indicates that we’re near the bottom of the Rankin-Bass barrel.
For some reason, I managed to see this far more often than the original “Rudolph”. I can tell you exactly how that happened: constant airing on the Disney Channel. Oh, for those halcyon days when TDC and Nickelodeon used to show any crazy crap they could get their hands on.
Anyway, this special isn’t as off-the-wall crazy as “The Life and Adventures of Santa Claus” or “Rudolph and Frosty’s Christmas in July“, but that may only be due to my being overly familiar with it.
The Best Parts:
1 minutes in – Nice job at being Santa’s helper there, Random Elf.
4 minutes in – Funny, he doesn’t seem like the type of person who would castrate his own father and then eat his own babies on the offhand chance they’d overthrow him.
Sometimes knowing a lot of folklore stinks. 😦
5 minutes in – So Rudolph is cold? Despite the fact that his species is a holdover from the last Ice Age?
8 minutes in – W-h-a-t-?-?-?
(I commend my younger self for already being able to discern the bizarre nature of this particular setup.)
10 minutes in – Now, in my opinion, this musical number is far, far more creepy than the “EE-more-TA-li-TEEE” song in “The Life and Adventures of Santa Claus”. The baby reaches what looks like 65-70 years of age in the space of one year! (And once again, I’m surprised by how unusually cheery Father Time is in this continuity.)
12 minutes in – I like how Rudolph’s like, “Huh. No kidding? Imaginative writers, these.”
15 minutes in – Woah, those lyrics are pretty dark for a holiday special, aren’t they? (See below.)
18 minutes in –
DINOSAURS DO NOT WORK THAT WAY!!!
NEANDERTHALS DO NOT WORK THAT WAY!!!
EVERYTHING DOES NOT WORK THAT WAY!!!
22 minutes in – And furthermore, that ain’t no Pterodactyl. I don’t know what it is, but it isn’t that. (He kinda looks like Crappy Puppet Yowler, actually.)
24 minutes in –
THE MIDDLE AGES DID NOT WORK THIS WAY EITHER!!!
Screw it. You know what, Rankin-Bass? I think some kids’ history grades are abysmal enough, don’t you?
27 minutes in – Squee Baby Bear! Even though he looks more like a Woodchuck.
29 minutes in – Sworded!
31 minutes in – Rudolph can fly! What the hell!
36 minutes in – Æon’s lair is “due North of the North Pole”. You see, it’s little things like this that make my head hurt. (It’s just cause I like science.)
40 minutes in – Funny, I was just about to say that Æon’s screaming is the sound one would expect to hear right before dying violently.
42 minutes in – Aww. Bonus: “T’was the Night Before Christmas” style animation.
45 minutes in – Oh, so nobody in this special was being insensitive; they were just “made happy” by Happy’s ears. Right.
47 minutes in – Deus ex Machina Airlines!
Classic Lines of Dialogue:
“1965 was too noisy.” – Rudolph, acting Old
“If I can travel all over the world in one night, I ought to be able to get you to Father Time in a few bongs!” – Santa Claus
“We just made it, without a bong to spare!” – Father Time
“LOL bongs!” – Nessie (I am not a proud woman.)
~*~ Poetry Corner ~*~
“Just remember the good times you knew! / Don’t remember the bad times you’ve been through! / Life disappears / faster that you’d think it would! / Fool yourself everybody should! / Turn back the years! / Turn back the years!” – The Rather Dark Song
“You know Rudolph who guided and pulled Santa’s sleigh / and who saved Christmas by lighting the way. / But there’s more to tell! / Rudolph saved the New Year as well!” – Opening Theme
Things I Learned from this Movie/Book/Whatever:
* – Rocs turn into ice and snow when they die. This happens when they are “one æon old”.
(Never mind that an æon is an arbitrarily designated amount of geological time, it can refer to billions of years, and might not even be finite.)
* – A whale with a clock up his butt can beat a Roc.
* – Rumplestiltzkin is far creepier than we suspected.
* – Everyone in the distant past is an insensitive a-hole.
* – Celebrating one specific holiday every single day for all eternity never gets old.
* – Bioluminescence can melt snow.
(But then again, Rudolph is an avatar of the Aurora Borealis, which involves such phenomenon as plasma, electricity, and solar winds. So he very well could emit a hot glow. You know, at this point it’s just easier for me to say…)
* – I have done more research writing this review than the guys who wrote the movie. And again, it’s just cause I like science. And animals and gardening. (It will never stop being funny.)
Things That Can Save Any Movie:
Cool Creatures? Yes.
Good Soundtrack? Actually, it’s pretty tolerable for Rankin-Bass.
Hot Guys? No.
Pretty Scenery? Yes.
Nifty Animation/Special Effects/Illustrations? Yes.
Drinking Game Potential? Drink when they forget that Rudolph can fly. Drink when people are insensitive towards Happy’s ears.
Head Movie Potential? Ahem. *Bong*.
A Rankin-Bass Film made in 1976. Written by Romeo Muller and directed by Arthur Rankin and Jules Bass.
Red Skelton, Paul Frees, Don Messick, and pretty much everyone associated with these specials.