The more I analyze it, Christmas movie titles are such liars! It's A Wonderful Life is not wonderful, How The Grinch Stole Christmas is not an instructional video on how to steal Christmas, and The Year Without A Santa Claus has Santa Claus delivering presents! What even in the coldest depths of hell??
As our final nod to the Rankin/Bass Christmas specials I decided to do this movie, and it's not half bad so we ran the full gambit of, not that good to excellent to okay. And so the story goes that Santa woke up one day before Christmas and through quite honestly the rudest and most likely to be terminated elf decides that his days of nightly adventure to bring gifts to kind and good children must come to an end, but the missus won't be having none of that talk and sets out with two elfs to find the Christmas spirit that Santa doesn't believe exists anymore. Now I for one would think that would be an incredible Christmas movie, to have Santa Claus himself doubt his abilities and intentions in a world that doesn't believe in him and the Christmas spirit has disappeared leading to a very reflective, dark, and downright depressing movie where Santa has to come to terms with the world and come out on top. And you get hints of that here, I mean obviously they have to keep it upbeat and not childhood scarring but come on! How great would that be to see a character study of quite possibly the most beloved man in history? But it's more subtext than actual text I grant you that, with Mickey Rooney returning as Santa giving a very good performance juggling doubt and sadness with hope and kindness, and the cool thing is it ties with Santa Claus Is Coming To Town! Santa is still voiced by Mickey, Mrs. Claus has red highlights so clearly she's Jessica, and even some artwork survived to this movie. It's a shame we couldn't have Winter back but we kinda make up for it with the addition of Snow Miser and Heat Miser which are very brief characters in an already brief special, but my lord did they leave an impression. Everyone knows or has at least heard I'm Mr. White Christmas, I'm Mr. Snow once in their life, and it is a very catchy and fun tune. The music quality is sort of in the middle this time around, not as great as Santa Claus but not as forgettable as Rudolph, I Believe In Santa Claus and Blue Christmas are highlights for me and they are very nice and sweet. So if you're in the mood for more after the first two Rankin/Bass specials check this one out, it's an alright movie with some highlights though Santa Claus will always be the best in my eyes. I always heard very mixed opinions about the Rankin/Bass stuff ranging from absolute Christmas classics to just being weird and kind of nonsensical so I wanted to bring up a few examples and judge for myself and let you do the same. Personally, they are a mixed bag but I don't hate them, I'm a fan of stopmotion and true it's no Harryhausen but they did good work. I guess it depends on what you like, which I can understand. And next week, we look at some well known, something new, and something I'm....less than looking forward to. Until next time.