The story begins when Santa's new chief mechanic, Tinsel, creates a speedy, new high tech sleigh for Christmas. But what Santa doesn't know is that North Wind has secretly sabotaged the ... See full summary »
The story begins when Santa's new chief mechanic, Tinsel, creates a speedy, new high tech sleigh for Christmas. But what Santa doesn't know is that North Wind has secretly sabotaged the sleigh in the hope of taking Santa's place that year. When Santa takes it out for a spin, he gets caught in the cross fire between the feuding Snow Miser and Heat Miser Brothers and his sleigh comes crashing down. North Wind frames the Miser Brothers for Santa's accident and, with Santa stuck in bed with a bad back, everything falls into place for North Wind to slyly come to the rescue as a temporary Santa. But much to his chagrin, Mother Nature punishes the Miser Brothers by forcing them to put their differences aside and fill in for Santa. In between comedic squabbles, the Brothers rediscover what it means to be family and, along the way, save Christmas for everyone! Written by
Finally, after 34 years, the brothers are BACK! Produced by Warner Brothers Animation, who hold the rights to the original Rankin/Bass classics, and Cuppa Coffee studios, this special turns the spotlight to the Misers, turning them into heroes. When Santa is outed with a bad back, the two brothers are forced to cooperate and deliver toys in the big man's place. While the Miser Brothers' mischief and constant bickering have been blamed for Mr. C's condition, this is truly the doing of the North Wind, a semi-dashing, conniving spirit who wants to take Christmas for himself. Now, the brothers must band together not only to do Santa's job, but save Christmas from their blustery windbag of a brother...pun GLADLY intended!
I must say I was ecstatic when I heard my favorite characters from The Year Without a Santa Claus would be getting the spotlight. While that is a good thing, I am kind of sad to say that it doesn't hold up as well as the original film from which they came. Granted there are some good things: George S. Irving and Mickey Rooney, both actors pushing 90 at the time, reprised their roles as Heat Miser and Santa Claus, respectively. Though sounding a bit aged, both held their own (Rooney and John Goodman have always been the best to portray The Big C, in my opinion), and that's pretty impressive. The new voice of Snow Miser, Juan Chiron, though different from the late Dick Shawn, was pretty darn good, maintaining Snowy's lighthearted demeanor. But, with every good thing, there must be a bad thing.
First of all, the plot is flimsy. We've seen it before, we'll probably see it again, but the writers could have been a little more original. Second, a lot of the voices are HORRIBLE. Mrs. Claus, for instance, was voiced by the late Shirley Booth in the original; and while I can't say that I particularly liked Booth's voice, at least it was tolerable. This version's Mrs. C was just ridiculous! The actress was just trying way too hard to impress the kiddies instead of the audience as a whole, which, to me, is what a family movie--or special, in this case--is truly about: finding something everyone can like. But, I digress. I also didn't really care for the North Wind. He was just a clichéd, full of himself villain, and while vanity is a good point for developing many villains, they could have made him a bit more threatening. Again, balance is essential for good family entertainment.
That being said, while the movie's condescending tone can grate on my nerves, I can say that the Misers themselves were still fun to watch and you should check it out. However, I do recommend the original 1974 movie, The Year Without a Santa Claus, being that it was a bit more enjoyable. You'll also understand the characters a little more after seeing it. But, still look at this special, as well. You'll still see that the brothers still got it!
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