Posted by: Mad Ness Monster | 07/01/2009

“Jack Frost” (1979) review


Oh no, it’s not that “Jack Frost” movie.  It’s not THAT one either.  It’s the one that made me feel like I was finally jaded towards Rankin-Bass’ trippyness.
Seems some time after they’d worked through all the popular Christmas stories and characters, Rankin-Bass started making stuff up. They also started making specials for other winter holidays. Each of the specials all had something to do with Christmas.
“Jack Frost” may be the ultimate example. It is perhaps the one and only Christmas/Groundhog Day/Valentine’s Day television special.

The Best Parts:
2 minutes in – What I want to know is how holiday traditions like Groundhog Day get started.
Like, I’ll buy that in ancient times, people would share a sign of peace under Mistletoe. But who decided it should be kissing? I understand that somebody in Germany decided long ago to put candy and treats in an evergreen tree, but what were they thinking? They just all seem so random.
Anyway, in Europe, it’s a badger.
7 minutes in – The economy may be sh**ty this year, but at least we haven’t resorted to using icicles as legal tender. (Not most of us, anyway.)
10 minutes in – AUGH!!!
14 minutes in – Pete, they’d rather be known as Snow Romani, thank you very much.
Hey, why did everyone in the olden days somehow decide that the nomadic peoples of eastern Europe were actually from Egypt? Nobody had a geographically accurate map back then?
16 minutes in – Aw, it’s like “Wings of Desire.” Does that mean we’ll get a Nick Cave song in this Rankin-Bass special?
17 minutes in – I am lacking a horse (unless a collection of My Little Ponies counts), a bag of gold (unless Sacagawea coins count), and a wife (unless… no.) I guess I’m not human.
20 minutes in – Welp, this is already getting needlessly complicated.
21 minutes in – I like how this family is just accepting Jack’s obvious insanity without question. Imagine if you ran into a guy who introduced himself by crying, “OMG I have BONES!!! I need to run out and build a house RIGHT NOW!!!”
24 minutes in – How lonely are you, Kraus? I feel bad for him. 😦
28 minutes in – “Oh, I love you, Guy From the OTHER OTHER Other ‘Jack Frost’ Movie!
30 minutes in – Once again, the economy may suck ass this year, but we aren’t resorting to making children *imagine* they are getting nice presents, right? (Uncomfortable pause…) Right…?
31 minutes in – “Oh, hey there little man made out of metal!”
33 minutes in – “I’M BEING AWESOME!!!Yay!!!
37 minutes in – “Oh… this is awkward.”
38 minutes in – This is why I love Rankin-Bass. They manage to invent the most convoluted origin stories ever for holiday characters and traditions.
44 minutes in – That’s almost suspiciously convenient.
45 minutes in – Oh, the bitter irony! 😦
46 minutes in – Now for an upbeat song to compliment our bittersweet ending!

Classic Lines of Dialogue:
“Oh, if only I had a horse instead of a dog and a duck!” – Poppa

Things I Learned from this Movie/Book/Whatever:
* – Robots were known in late Middle Ages Poland.
* – Being human, after you have been a magical being, sucks.
* – Don’t declare your love for any Anthropomorphic Personifications.

Things That Can Save Any Movie:
Cool Creatures?
I’m still stuck on the Snow Gypsies thing.
Good Soundtrack? Eh.
Hot Guys? No.
Pretty Scenery? It’s Rankin-Bass.
Nifty Animation/Special Effects/Illustrations? Repeat: it’s Rankin-Bass.

Drinking Game Potential? Drink when nobody notices the robots, the magical winter people, one of which is a tiny girl, anything else unusually uninteresting.

Head Movie Potential? Repeat: it’s Rankin-Bass.

Rating: Danny rating (2)
Danny trying to figure out exactly what “nipping at your nose” involves…
A Rankin-Bass Film made 1979. Written by Romeo Muller and directed by Arthur Rankin Jr. and Jules Bass.
The usual people associated with these specials. The unusual person here is Buddy Hackett.
Related Links
IMDB entry
Bad – Reviewing that “Jack Frost” movie.
The Nostalgia Critic – Reviewing THAT “Jack Frost” movie. And I’d completely forgotten just how deeply disturbing that one is.
Wikipedia entry – …not for this special but for Terry Pratchett’s Wintersmith, which actually plays this scenario out well.



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