"Around the World with Dot" or "Dot & Santa Clause" if you will is the first sequel to "Dot & the Kangaroo". Given that the film, as I stated in my title, is very trippy and makes you feel like your on acid sometimes, it's a great, quirky, original Christmas film that covers how different countries celebrate Christmas- including the origin of the Christmas tree- and Japan's kite flying tradition.
The film starts off in live action: Danny the Swagman (Drew Forsythe) is walking down a deserted road where he comes across a young boy and girl kicking a ball. He joins in, but sends the ball sailing over the fence of Dot's zoo. Dot & her brother ,Ben, (who has never made another appearance in any of the "Dot" films nor is he mentioned) explain the events of "Dot & the Kangaroo" and how Dot wants to find the Kangaroo's Joey. Danny, Dot and Ben build a sleigh and Danny becomes Santa Clause; the characters are now cartoons and Ben has mysteriously disappeared. Dot (voiced by Barbara Frawley), Santa (Drew Forsythe of course) and Grumblebones (Ron Haddrick) and Dozyface, two kangaroos pulling the sleigh, take off around the world in search of Joey.
The trippy sequences are of course crazy, however some of them do nothing for the story and are unnecessary. The two I find to be the most unnecessary are the volcano smoke monsters and the dragon kite fight. The volcano smoke one involves Dot and Santa flying close to a smoking volcano when a growling ghost-like monster with beady red eyes flies up on screen; then sinister music plays while the screen flashes to black with only the monster's eyes showing a few times. The dragon kite fight happens when Dot and Santa Clasue arrive in Japan; a green dragon kite comes at them- they think it's real and Grumblebones starts to punch it They get caught in the dragon: Grumblebones continues to punch- words pop up (think "Batman")- and a series of kaleidescope effects. There are numerous other trippy parts, but i won't go into detail about them; some of them do add to the story, though.
Like all of the "Dot" films, "Dot & Santa Clause" has some great music. "Are You Going to the Circus?", although short, is my personal highlight song. It was also used in "Dot & the Smuglers", but the second chorus had the second verse the first one did. The music that plays during Natasha the Russian bear's story of the first Christmas tree is sad and beautiful. There are also other sad songs such as Joey's "A Circus is a Prison" and Dot's "It's So Easy to be Lost in a Crowd" and some catchy upbeat song's like "Ingenuity" and "I Love to Walk Around New York".
Unfortunately, the ending of "Dot & Santa Clause" is unsatisfying and abrupt. When Dot & Santa finally find Joey in a New York zoo, Dot and Santa end up back at Dot's house and everyone goes back to live action: Santa Clause turns back into Danny; one of the Russian bears turns into- as weird and out of place as it is- a dog; the Japanese goldfish turns into a live action goldfish we never see until now; Walter "Walt" Q. Mouse turns into a live action mouse- also unseen till now. Danny walks away without even saying goodbye to Dot. Dot calls for Danny to come back but Dot's Cockatoo tells Dot that Danny has to go help other animals in need, but he will come back someday. We see Danny walk down the road one last time and then it cuts to the credits. However, Danny has never made another appearance in the "Dot" films ever since.
"Dot & Santa Clause", despite its insane trippy sequences and its let down of an ending, is good, rather educational, funny, often sad film that is worth getting and watching, especially at Christmas time.
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