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A Christmas turkey, with Tim Curry being the only saving grace, 26 March 2013
Author: TheLittleSongbird from United Kingdom
It is a real shame, as the voice cast are incredibly talented and it
did have a somewhat decent idea going for it. Christmas is also my
favourite time of year, and I'd see anything related to it. Once Upon a
Christmas Village was a short that I really wanted to love for so many
reasons, but at the end of the day it just didn't do anything for me.
Fortunately for Once Upon a Christmas Village, it does have a saving
grace and that was the voice work of one of my favourite, if sadly
underrated, actors Tim Curry. His distinctive velvety voice is a
perfect match for the villain of the piece Sir Evil, and he really
gives his all even with material that is quite frankly beneath him. He
even gets to sing here, which is always a plus, and he as ever sounds
great with an attractive sound while maintaining the somewhat menacing
quality you'd expect from any villain voiced by him.
The bad news is that that is pretty much it for the redeeming qualities. The animation here is really quite stiff, some of the colours actually are quite nice and festive but the backgrounds are bland and lacking in detail and the character designs and movements are rather blocky. Sir Evil's prancing around and dancing about does get goofy-looking after a while. The music is little improvement, often forgettable and the songs suffer from truly lazily written lyrics. The most memorable it gets is Sir Evil's song, and that is mainly for Tim Curry's singing, the main theme of it is catchy to begin with but after the first two or three times of hearing it gets very repetitive. As for the writing and story, I have no better news in these areas either. The dialogue is filled with cheesy corn and doesn't have a natural flow at all, with the comedy at the beginning forced and spoken so fast it was almost unintelligible. The story is written with no charm or heart, which left me feeling emotionally cold throughout, and even for fifteen minutes is as thin as the tiniest bit of paper. I know Once Upon a Christmas Village is a short, but I couldn't help thinking that it was too short, too conveniently resolved and that it was told way too fast. The romance for instance was introduced quickly and considering the pacing felt like it was fully developed within less than a couple of minutes.
In regard to the characters, you'd think that a short wouldn't be able to incorporate every cliché it could think of in such a running time, but somehow Once Upon a Christmas Village managed to do it. Clichés aren't so bad if they are written well. Once Upon a Christmas Village is the polar opposite to that, these clichés are incredibly tired and have no personalities whatsoever. The romantic couple have dull as dishwater personalities, in fact the best- although this is saying little- character is Sir Evil, and he is not a villain I'd remember for years to come. Of the voice cast, Curry is the only one who makes an impression. James Belushi has some enthusiasm but has nothing to do, so if I were asked if I remembered him at all I'd answer with a regrettable but easy no. The rest barely register. Overall, has a decent concept going for it but a Christmas turkey with only Tim Curry saving it from being irredeemable. 2/10 Bethany Cox
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