A young reindeer who suffers from vertigo learns to overcome his fear, takes flying lessons from a clumsy flying squirrel and heads to the North pole to save a troubled Santa and his fleet of flying reindeer.
Very nice story that suffers a bit from the limitations of the animation budget
Santa Claus and the Magic Drum, or Joulupukki ja noitarumpu in Finnish, is based on a children's book of the same name by Mauri Kunnas. It tells about Santa Claus and his household in the weeks leading up to Christmas as they're trying to decipher a most mysterious letter for Santa any of them have ever seen. Yet at the same time strange accidents and mishaps plague the workshops and Santa specifically.
What I like the most about this movie are the characters and to just a slighter degree the story. Both are extremely charming and likable from the get go. It's also nice for a change to really explore the workshops and different Christmas elves in the midst of work. Especially because none of them are anything alike, each a fascinating individual. Even the eventual "adversary" of the movie is a fun and more than a bit goofy fellow.
And while the story isn't overly complex, it is just right for an animated film of this length, skilfully mixing elements of the Santa mythos and Lapland folklore. It has charm, it has action, it has mystery, it has all it needs.
All that being said, having rewatched this film through the eyes of an adult, I have to admit that the technical aspects of the film are not exactly filled with quality. The character designs and colours are based on Kunnas' original book so nothing wrong there, but the animation itself, the way the characters move, is pretty jerky. In addition, while the voice actors seem to be talented and fit their characters well, the recordings and mixing are both pretty cringe- worthy from time to time. None of this ruins the film, but it is still a flaw worth noticing.
Still, this is a great Christmas film and very much recommended for those looking for a new holiday tradition.
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