Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer

I know, I know...Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer is technically a television special, not a movie.  I normally don't review television, but I think the self-contained nature of the story and the fact that it is not part of an ongoing show make it more of a TV movie than anything else.  Anyway, I watched it, so I'm reviewing it.  If you don't like it, go suck an egg's nog.

Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer is the story of Rudolph, a reindeer born with a genetic anomaly.  This mutated freak has a nose that glows as bright as a red light bulb and emit a sound similar to that of a whistling kettle.  The poor reindeer obviously had a terminal birth defect that caused his nasal capillaries to be too close to the outer layers of skin, giving it a reddish hue; the glowing must come from radiation poisoning, not terribly surprising, given the proximity of the North Pole (where the story takes place) to Soviet Russia and their reckless handling of toxic waste; the whistling no doubt comes from the swelling of Rudolph's brain, with some of the pressure being slowly released through his nostrils.  The poor buck probably only had a few Christmases in him before he suffered a series of incapacitating, and eventually fatal, strokes.

Comet: Racist Asshole
Rudolph Donnerson (they're in the North, so I assume reindeer follow the Nordic tradition of surnames) was born to his mother and Donner, one of Santa Claus' elite flying reindeer.  Let me speak frankly here; Rudolph was born into slavery.  Just moments after being born, Rudolph managed the miracle of recognizing his parents and surmising their names --- obviously a talented boy --- but then this Santa Claus entered their family cave (they can't even afford a barn!) to make sure the newborn recognized his master.  Donner and Santa both noticed Rudolph's birth defect, and Donner promised to "take care of it," because there was no way Santa would let a freak of nature join his elite, sleigh-driving slaves.  Rudolph learned to hide his shame by putting a nameless black mass over his nose; I don't really know what it is made out of, but I assume most of the building materials in the Donnerson cave are made of reindeer poop.  After a year in the cave, Rudolph is allowed to finally meet other reindeer.  While Rudolph manages to woo a young doe (At age one?  I don't support babies making babies) and excel in his first attempt at breaking the laws of nature (he flies with ease), his poo nose falls off and the other reindeer shun him.  The only adult reindeer present, Comet, announces that Rudolph will never be allowed to play their reindeer games ever again, because of his nose.  And also because Comet is an adult that has no shame sculpting the leaders of tomorrow with his bigoted rhetoric.

Around this time, Rudolph decides to run away from home, like all children should when they feel like they don't fit in.  Better yet, Rudolph runs away into the wastes of the Arctic circle, where there is no food or shelter for him.  Luckily for Rudy, he befriended a runaway elf, Hermey, who wanted to become a dentist, like all well-adjusted people.  Hermey doesn't bring anything of value to the table except a voice even more nasally than Rudolph's.  Together, the two run away from their problems, meet a moronic prospector, battle a surprisingly monkey-like Abominable Snowman, talk to Aslan-if-Aslan-had-bat-wings, and meet some crappy toys.  I don't want to spoil the end of the story for everyone (it's not like anyone wrote a song about him or anything), so I'll just say that running away from his problems helped Rudy solve them.
"Yes, we'll make them pay...and we'll start by pulling off all their noses...!"

I like to think that I have given this TV special a pretty fair and unbiased summary so far, but I have to tell you that I am not terribly fond of Christmas movies that promote racism, slavery, runaways, shame, or false noses made of reindeer poop.  Even if I was okay with the subject matter, this picture is a technical mess.  Watching these characters move their mouths in a rhythm that is, by no stretch of the imagination, anything resembling a human speech pattern just makes me admire the people behind the Muppets and Robot Chicken all the more.  I like stop-motion animation most of the time, but this is sloppy, even if it is aimed at mouth-breathing toddlers.  The only person of note in the cast or behind the scenes is Burl Ives, but the animators couldn't even get his snowman narrator right; when it comes time for him to sing the piano-based song, "Silver and Gold," they have him strumming a guitar.  The best thing to come out of this stop-motion train wreck is Burl Ives' contributions to the soundtrack; "Holly Jolly Christmas" and "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer" are classics that still sound good today.  I suppose you have to admire a story that is so willing to show the weaknesses of its characters, but I think less blatant stupidity and more sympathy for the socially outcast would have made for a better short film.  This isn't the worst Christmas move or TV special (not by a long shot), but it certainly isn't good.  Rudolph just goes to show you that nostalgia can be used for bad things, too.
"Never forget...Santa can crush you like a bug and no one will care, because you're my property.
One more thing...why were all the elves skinheads? I get that they hate anything different from them and this is a Christmas movie, but do they have to be Neo-Nazis?


  1. He's actually strumming a banjo during Silver and Gold.

  2. Ah. My apologies. That is much closer to a piano than a guitar.

  3. Lol what a retard... I can't believe I wasted 3 min of my life to read this hogwash yet alone write this comment. You have no Christmas spirit and I hope you burn in hell.