on 29 March 2010
Blooming beautiful animation. Blooming brilliant casting of Mel Smith as the big man. A brilliant film that manages to bring a quite inward and wry smile to the viewers face whilst acting as an antidote to all that sugery, overly-sentimental Christmas stuff that does the rounds during the Festive Season. This is a firm family favourite for good reason. Just the thing to help lift your spirits during those dull, rain soaked, cold, dank, dark, driving wind kinda days that we specialise in here in the UK. Or perhaps in the spirit of the book you might prefer to save your money and put your pennies toward funding a trip to sunnier climbs.
on 27 November 2015
To start with, I'll explain the 4 stars I've given this. The story itself, the animation, performances and overall execution get 5 stars from me, but this is a review of the DVD and it's nothing more than film itself, which is not surprising but is a little disappointing considering how much attention The Snowman gets.
The story is based on two children's books by Raymond Briggs: "Father Christmas" (first published in 1973, hence the 40th Anniversary sticker from the 2013 DVD re-release of the 1991 animation) and its sequel,"Father Christmas Goes On Holiday". The film adaptation reverses the order of the books to tell the story of a good-hearted but under-appreciated Father Christmas who wants the world to know just how difficult life really is being him. To wit, he introduces the story of what happened when he tried to take a well-earned, relaxing holiday. After we've been shown how it really didn't go to plan, we then see Father Christmas launch into what we all know him for: the delivery of presents around the world on Christmas Eve. Again, our beleaguered hero (which I feel he can be so called), encounters all kinds of difficulties on the way.
It must be said that there is a fair bit of what some might consider to be rather grown-up content and cynicism in the script. Scenes depict gambling and excessive alcohol consumption and there is prolific use of the mild oath 'blooming' by Father Christmas himself, all of which might be considered inappropriate for some children. I've grown up watching this my whole life, since before I can remember, and I never had trouble with it. No two children are the same and it should be considered as a matter of discretion by parents and guardians.
In the film's defence, Father Christmas (FC henceforth) is clearly portrayed as being good, even if he's flawed and grumpy. Whenever FC indulges to excess, the negative consequences are shown and clearly enough that my 3-year-old Monday could tell he'd been a bit naughty without any prompting from my parents. Despite his flaws, the film shows (in its second half) just how far FC is prepared to go to ensure the happiness of every child on Christmas Day, battling time, weather, obstacles, age and mistakes to make people happy. The film doesn't present magic as a convenient remedy to all problems, either; the flying reindeer are simply a matter of fact and it's hard work and perseverance that win the day. What's more, it's a largely thankless task, but he does it anyway, every year, without fail. If that isn't a good Christmas message, I don't know what is.
This is not the story of the right jolly old elf Santa Claus. This is the story of a very British old man who, despite everything, wants to make everyone happy. Yes, there are elements of the story some might find objectionable but I love it and won't hesitate to share it with my children, if/when I have them, right from the start of their lives. In fact, I'd share it with all the children everywhere, in the whole, wide, blooming world!
on 9 March 2015
I adore this! Following on from the classic Snowman animation, Raymond Briggs followed it up with this short animated tale of Father Christmas and the time he decided to take a holiday. He is a very grumpy Father Christmas and I noticed some of the reviews seem to have taken this cartoon a little too seriously. It's funny, festive and yes he says the word Bloomin' a lot. I can watch this over and over again and it makes me chuckle each time. Just don't expect it to be like The Snowman, and remember "Poor old Father Christmas, he never sees Christmas morn, he works so hard on Christmas Eve, he's asleep before the dawn. Dear old Father Christmas we think you're very kind, and if you get a little grumpy, we don't really mind." :-)
on 12 March 2014
yes, in this story Santa is a grumpy old man, but all ends well and Christmas is saved...ahhhh...yes, his language is a touch strong, but COME ON! its a cartoon, if you know your child is likely to copy words then just don't give them this. most children only copy words like 'bloomin' etc because they see the reaction it creates in their parents...if you don't react, they won't find it even hal;f as fun to copy grumpy Santa.
rant over! I LOVE this cartoon, I remember watching it every Christmas eve, eating crumpets with my sister all snugged up on the sofa while mum did something or other (which I now realise was kick dad out the house to get those last minute presents that were forgotten, wrap presents, and prep food!) Santa is yes, a very grumpy Santa, but there is something very warming to this story. perhaps its made for children who are beyond the age range of "the Snowman", but my two (4 and 6) where in stitches watching this (with their crumpets, while their dad was in "the worlds longest que" in toys are us, and I was pealing spuds...) and did they copy? well, my son did once, did i react? nope...has he said it since? nope...
Its Christmas people (ok, when you watch this film it is) so just calm down, watch the film, and relax!
on 7 January 2014
Father Christmas is portrayed here as a typical old codger you might see in any English town or village. For most of the year he goes about the everyday mundane tasks of life, taking the odd holiday in between, before beginning his preparations for the big Christmas Eve delivery schedule.
Santa is appropriately voiced by Mel Smith, who conveys his good-natured mumbling and grumbling perfectly. The Snowman puts in an appearance too, tying in nicely with the corresponding animated feature of the same name.
This is not as wistful as that, but has a certain melancholy that will strike a chord with older generations, and delight the youngsters too. A definite "must have" for your festive collection.
on 24 December 2012
I love the dark humour of Raymond Briggs and this film is one of his best. I'm not a fan of The Snowman as I find it a bit soppy so this is a great alternative for all the family that doesn't leave you depressed at the end! I love the idea of Father Christmas living in the suburbs and moaning about the weather. The storyline shows what every day life is like for Father Christmas for the rest of the year and there's not much more to it than that. It's funny and lovely and I normally like to watch it on Christmas morning. Channel 4 used to show it every year but haven't for the last few so I decided to order my own copy. Don't be expecting references to modern technology or expect any CGI, this is seriously old school and there's something so pure and innocent about that. I think it's great for all ages, a real classic.
on 25 November 2008
What a delightful animated film. Coming from the the same people behind 'The Snowman' you know it's going to be good. The style of animation is different compared to The Snowman and it has speech throughout the film. There are some nice scenes that connect the two films.
The premise of the story is that we see Father Christmas doing what he does "the other 364 days a year". This includes him going on holiday to Scotland, Las Vegas and France.
The charm of the film is that Father Christmas, when not in the red suit, looks and acts just like someone's grandad. However, wherever he is in the world children still recognise him as "Santa Claus".
I would really recommend you buying this instead instead of the double feature with The Snowman. But only if you're interested in buying The Snowman. That's because if you buy the films together you'll miss out on a wonderful documentary about the making of The Snowman.
Oh, and I just love the picture of Father Christmas on the front cover of this DVD! For me, this is the best image of Father Christmas that I've seen.