Dashing through the shelves, In a one horse media sleigh. Over the music we go, listening all the way! Books on bookshelves ring, Films and shows are bright. Oh what fun it is to review the media at Christmas time! Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Media all the way! Oh what fun it is to review the media at Christmas time! Oh Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Media all the way! Oh what fun it is to review the media at Christmas time!
Ho, Ho, Ho everybody! I’m the Media Man and I’ve decided to be one of Santa’s little helpers this year. What do I mean by this? Well, he’s asked me to review some Christmas movies and see if they’re movies he should put in his sleigh and give out to the children on Christmas Day. He enjoyed my Christmas reviews so much that from now on, I have to do this job for the jolly old man. And boy am I PROUD to receive such an honour! I get paid well and I enjoy myself so why wouldn’t I enjoy this? Right, I’ve got his sack of media for me to review. Let’s see if I’m gonna pick one worthy of being a present.
(He reaches into the sack and he pulls out a video cassette. On the video it says “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer: The Movie”)
Oooooh…now this is an interesting pick…well then everybody, it looks like I’m gonna review the 1998 GoodTimes Entertainment Holiday Spectacular known as…Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer: The Movie.
This movie was an animated movie released by GoodTimes Entertainment in 1998 and, surprisingly, was released in theatres! This movie is based on the classic Christmas Carol “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer”. Yeah, they’ll make a movie out of anything won’t they? So is this movie a good present under the tree? Or is it just a Yule Log that’s waiting to be burnt? Well, Santa Claus wants me to work that out for him so…let’s do it. I’m the Media Man and get ready to jingle those bells for I’m reviewing Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer: The Movie.
Stop me if you’ve heard this one before:
“It’s the story of a reindeer named Rudolph who is ridiculed because of his glowing nose…”
(The Media Man frowns)
I was being sarcastic you morons!
Ahem…It’s the story of a reindeer named Rudolph who is ridiculed because of his trademark red-nose, which has illumination abilities. However, he embarks on an epic journey which sees him realizing that just cause your different, doesn’t mean you’re not special and that your oddities can be a blessing and that you were born that way for a reason.
Yeah…it’s as clichéd as it gets. But just because its clichéd, doesn’t mean it’s bad, it’s how it’s TOLD that’s bad. So is this movie’s execution enough to make up for how clichéd the plot is? Eh…so-so. Allow me to elaborate...
The problems this movie suffers from is, much like Worlds Collide, Pirate Plunder Panic and Ratchet and Clank, the pacing. Oh god, you know how I feel about bad pacing in a movie! The pacing of this movie is just atrocious! It’s not Worlds Collide bad but the pacing is still a little off in this movie. There’s a few scenes that just come and go and some scenes are a little short. Hell, even some of the musical numbers are short but we’ll get to that. And don’t get me started on the romance between Rudolph and Zoe. When we first see the two together there’s no romance between them and then suddenly the next time the two are together, they’re all lovey-dovey on each other. Last time I looked, people don’t fall in love that quickly. So yeah, the pacing can definitely do with improving…REALLY do with improving.
Another problem this movie has is that, it’s so friggin’ underdeveloped! We barely know anything about the characters because the writers just didn’t care and we get random musical numbers that are just a waste of time and could have been used for something else. Like I dunno…CHARCTER DEVELOPMENT! And how about the reindeer games? We only ever get to see ONE SODDING GAME in the whole tournament! That’s how underdeveloped this movie is, it can’t even develop it’s own environment! I’d have liked to see more games before Rudolph got kicked out! One COULD argue that it’d make the movie too long but here’s a compromise, have a montage of Rudolph taking part in the games and getting to the sleigh race. That way we can see more games and get a better idea on how the Reindeer Games work. But no, they devoted time to random musical numbers instead of developing this world they have. I can’t stand it when movies like this don’t bother about the characters and under develop the world they’re in and all. That’s just so friggin’ lazy!
The biggest problem for me though is when Rudolph gets kicked out of the reindeer games. Not only is that scene just an excuse to make Rudolph do the most clichéd thing ever, run away, but the ignorance of the referee is just appalling! He disqualifies Rudolph for using his glowing red nose but he DOESN’T disqualify a reindeer named Arrow for causing injury and potential death on the track! WHAT THE F***?!?! Rudolph wasn’t the cheater, Arrow was! There wasn’t even a rule against using a glowing red nose so why the disqualification?! Because we needed a forcibly contrived reason for Rudolph to run away that’s why! The big kick to the ballsack though is that he rules Arrow winner by default! WHY?!?!?!?! ARROW DIDN’T EVEN COME SECOND FOR GOD’S SAKE!!! Zoe was the one who game second so SHE should be winner by default, not Arrow! I’m sorry but races don’t work like that! If you get disqualified, the person who came SECOND is the winner by default! Arrow didn’t come second, Zoe did so Zoe should have won by default! This whole moment just spoils what was otherwise an enjoyable and fun racing scene and comes off as a mean-spirited kick to Rudolph’s ball sack! Poor Rudolph, hasn’t he had enough grief until that scene?! So yeah, logic is lost on this movie too.
But does that mean the movie’s bad? Not really.
The good things about this movie is that it has a lot of good humour and slapstick comedy, its got its heart in the right place and it can be a lot of run to watch. It’s very festive and will get you in the mood for Christmas easily, which is what a Christmas movie is meant to do. Rudolph’s overall character arc, while generic, is still a nice, relatable character arc and I kinda like the explanation behind his glowing red nose. Some people are lucky enough to have a light that can shine on the outside. Yeah it’s silly but at least they EXPLAIN why Rudolph has a red glowing nose. I don’t see other Rudolph movies doing that so kudos. Also I do like the size and scale of the adventure that we go on in this movie. It feels like a big adventure and it has some entertaining moments, twists and obstacles along the way to make it a worthwhile Christmas movie.
So yeah, the story clearly needs polishing more than a rally car on a dirt track but its not horrible; it’s just a little clumsy in places. Put in a bit more effort and cut down the musical numbers and it would have been even better. Rudolph’s nose clearly isn’t shining its brightest in terms of story…5/10
So what are the characters like then? Let’s look at them then:
We have our main protagonist…as if you don’t know who it is already, it’s Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer.
Rudolph’s a likeable character with a good personality and a relatable character arc but his biggest flaw is that he’s…well…generic. We’ve seen his character a million times before already so he’s a very predictable and recycled character. But why do I care? He’s still likeable and relatable. It’s thanks to his character arc and personality being so relatable as to why this character gets done so many times, it’s just such a relatable character arc for any character to have. Also Rudolph was one of my first cases of seeing this character so I can let it slide in this movie. I will comment on the really poor romance between him and Zoe though. Zoe just kinda falls for him without him even needing to do anything. Yeah, isn’t that what a Mary-Sue kinda does? But of course, Rudolph’s nothing like a Mary-Sue so no biggie here.
Speaking of Zoe, she’s next. Zoe is just the generic love interest but she does have a bit of personality in her. I love how after Arrow’s undeserved victory, she grows a backbone and dumps the asshole. Why she went with him anyway is anyone’s guess. But hey, least she dumped him. But then after that one scene of “You’ve got balls” she has, Zoe just becomes bland and one-dimensional and just another helpless dame in distress for the other half of the movie. But this was back when women were JUST starting to get personalities in animated movies so we’ll let it slide. Her romance with Rudolph is completely flat though for the chemistry between the two is very poor and even scarce and they just make lovely-dovey eyes and say clichéd lovey-dovey things to each other. It’s a sweet romance but because of how underdeveloped it is, I just can’t get into it. I can still find myself going “aww” at them though.
We have your usual Santa Claus and the elves too. Santa is played by John Goodman (must…not…make…Monsters Inc…joke!) in this movie and by GOD does John Goodman sound awesome as Santa Claus! He gives Santa once of the BEST voices in any animated Christmas movie and he’s just so invested in the role that I don’t even see John Goodman, I see Santa Claus! Character wise, he’s still the big-hearted, wise, loveable elf that we worship as kids and look back on as adults. He’s very likeable in this movie and I guarantee you’ll like him when you see him here. The elves are just comic relief, particularly two elves named Boon and Doggle. They do good comic relief though and they never over do it in this movie so the elves remain likeable, cute and funny like they should be. And they get a fun musical number too.
There’s also an Arctic Fox named Slyly and you’ll never guess in a million years who voiced him. Eric Idle of all people! (Must…not…make…Monty Python…joke…!) However in this movie, it isn’t obvious that it’s Eric Idle, he hides his voice really well, especially with that pretty fake American accent he gives the character. Anyway, Slyly’s a pretty good character who’s one of those guys who’s a bit jerky but he has a heart too. He gives us a good message too on how “Just remember, it could always be worse” but that’s ruined by him having a pointless musical number that barely even spans a minute. I love the look of Slyly too, it’s a good character design for an animated Arctic Fox. I do have to wonder why he seems so fond of teddy bears though…
Then there’s Leonard the Polar Bear, voiced by Bob Newhart. Now I need to resist the urge to make a joke about The Rescuers…he has very little personality and is actually of very little use or help in the overall movie. He’s a filler character pretty much. Least Bob Newhart sounds as likeable as ever when voicing him…
Then there’s Rudolph’s parents, Blitzen and Mitzi, voiced by Gary Chalk and Debbie Reynolds respectively. They’re good enough as parent characters but they’re not that interesting. Blitzen is important however as he’s one of the reindeer that pulls Santa’s sleigh though. And I must say, Mitzi’s voice is sexy…
Then we have the Spirits of the North Pole. Good god are they annoying! Not only are they just there because the script says we need fairies in this movie but they just sing CONSTANTLY and it gets old very fast! And half their singing is expository narrating that tells us stuff we already know and all it does is waste animation and time. The ONLY time they’re useful to the plot at all is when they tell Rudolph about how to use his glowing nose properly and even then, they weren’t necessarily needed, Rudolph could have just learnt that on his own! The Spirits of the North Pole are fairies that I would like to see drop dead once somebody says “I don’t believe in fairies”.
(They all drop dead.)
Oh it worked! Ha, ha, ha, ha! Take that stupid fairies!
Finally, there’s Stormella, the villain of the movie and voiced by Whoopi Goldberg. She’s a cool villain and all but the sad thing is, I’m not seeing a character with her, I’m just seeing Whoopi Goldberg. She’s too much like Whoopi Goldberg. She has the personality of Goldberg, she has the dialogue of Goldberg, she even has the physique of Goldberg! Why not just call her Whoopi Goldberg if they’re gonna make this character the spitting image of her! All Stormella needs now is to paint herself black and wear a wig that resembles Goldberg’s hair and presto, she’s Whoopi Goldberg with ice powers! But hey, at least Goldberg sounds like she’s having fun with the role and Stormella is a cool villain so it’s not that big a deal. I do wish she had a reason for being evil though, I hate it when villains are like that. It’s funny though how she ends up becoming nice after Rudolph makes a wish on her…
So the characters pretty much are up and down with likeable personalities but underdeveloped characters. Oh well, it’s a kid’s movie, we’ll let it slide. It’s not meant to be deep or anything…7/10
Rudolph’s nose shines brighter in THIS category than any other.
The animation is just BEAUTIFUL. The colours are very bright and fluid and give the North Pole a very cold, crisp and lush appearance that’s full of character, the character designs are very cutesy and likeable, the movements are mostly good with some minor hiccups and the flashing lights truly do feel like actual shining lights.
There’s one thing I’m confused on with the animation though. You see scenes of the Spirits of the North Pole making fantastic light shows and I can’t tell what animation they’re using for the light trials they make. Are they CGI or something? I dunno! But it still looks amazing, if out of place with the rest of the animation…
The stormy scenes are pretty well done although it’s obvious that the snowflakes are CGI when you see them. Still though, the snow storm is well executed in this movie and the animation helps it to really shine. You proper feel the wind that blows in the characters faces and the cold they’re feeling as they trudge through the chaotic storm.
There’s one little nitpick with the animation though, it’s not even the animation it’s more on the character designs. The reindeer’s hooves are WAY too thin in this. I’ve seen real reindeer and their hooves are flat and enormous! The hooves on the reindeer in this movie look more like deer hooves instead of reindeer hooves, thus detracting from their appearance a little.
But I digress, the animation is clearly what all the movie’s effort went into. It’s beautiful to look at, has a likeable presence and is just a joy to the eye. Even if it is a low-budget film…9/10
The Music & Songs:
I’ve saved the worst for last in this case.
If there’s anything worse that the story in this movie, it’s the music and songs.
The music is OK but at times has some rather cartoony sounding noises in places that aren’t appropriate and just distract the mood of the movie a little.
The songs…oh god the songs! The music in the songs are OK but by golly are the lyrics HORRIBLE! Most of the songs have very corny, very cheesy lyrics that just make you wonder “Who wrote this drivel?!” The song writing also fails in the singing itself when some characters sort of force the lyrics to fit the rhythm of the song, making it unclear on the tune the song’s meant to have.
The biggest sin of all is that half of these songs are just filler that serves no purpose other than to make this a musical. Guys, Disney only needs four-six songs in their movies and they still manage to make the songs worthwhile so why can nobody else get this right?!
Not every song sucks though. I do like the elves “It’s Christmas Town” song. That’s very catchy, a tonne of fun and actually has decent lyrics and that song shows us the world of Santa’s Workshop and makes it a more enjoyable tour by making it a fun song.
The only songs that are worth it though are two songs in this movie that are pre-existing. At one point, they play Paul and Linda McCartney’s “A Wonderful Christmas Time” when the reindeer are preparing to take off. We already know that’s a great song so to hear it here makes it a delight to anybody. And at the end, everybody sings “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” and it’s done very well in this movie.
But seriously, if there’s only ONE good original song in this movie and two of the other good songs already existed before this movie then you seriously have one mess of a musical. This movie could have and SHOULD HAVE been a proper movie instead of being a forced musical. It certainly would have been a lot better…4/10
This movie is a mixed sack of presents. It’s half good and half bad in all honesty. The animation is great and the characters are likeable if simple but the story is clumsy and underdeveloped and the songs are just not that great. But despite the badness of the movie…I still kinda enjoy it. I just consider this a Christmas guilty pleasure, especially since I used to watch this a lot when I was a kid so it’s a nostalgic, Christmas guilty pleasure. I watch it every year and I think I’ll be watching it again next Christmas. As for who I recommend it to I say if you love Christmas movies then this one will be a good one to watch or a good starter for your first ever Christmas movie. Just don’t expect this to be amazing, just expect a light-hearted, easy-going Christmas flick…6/10
So now that’s out of the way, I think Santa should put this in his sleigh.
(Puts it back in the sack.)
Well I wonder what’ll be next to review and see if it should be given to a good child or just thrown away in the garbage?
(He reaches into the sack and pulls out a DVD. He looks at the title on it and frowns.)
Awwwwwww…damn it! People…beware…for my next review is gonna be on two movies, one of them being a holiday classic and the other being a crappy sequel…and it’s NOT going to be a nice review…
Mixedfan8643’s REAL thoughts: This movie is a mixed bag but it’s definitely worth watching around Christmas time.
I remember watching this once and it was back when I was little so I don't remember a lot from the movie itself. Through I love the Rankin Bass version of the tale.
And just wondering, but what movies are you reviewing next?