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Prep & Landing: Naughty vs. Nice (2011)
*** (out of 4)
Nice sequel has elf Wayne being sent on another adventure as a "naughty" child has gotten hold of a secret weapon that she can use to hack into the naughty/nice list that Santa uses. Wayne, with his brother, must go to the house and try to recover the item but soon they start to realize why the girl is acting the way she is. While this film isn't nearly as effective as the 2009 film, it at least has a few charming ideas that make it worth viewing. Once again I enjoyed the changes they made to the classic stories of Santa Claus. This time out we're introduced to the coal workers who of course go to the bad kids homes and inspect for clues that the kids were bad. Once they've determined who was bad they simply leave them coal. I thought this was a nice touch as was one sequence where the elves discover why the girl is acting up. Being a Christmas story about being good and bad, there's certainly messages to young kids on why they should be good. The animation is one again very good and especially one very colorful sequence where Wayne and his brother are going up the side of a building with some beautiful lights on it. The comedy is certainly here, although it does fall well short of the original film. Fans of that film will still want to check this sequel out.
The Coal Elf Brigade handles the naughty kids. They lose a Fruitcake
Conduct Calculator to a child with the screen name "jinglesmell1337".
The child is attempting to crack the password to access the naughty or
nice list. It's a year later. Magee assigns Coal Elf Noel to join Lanny
and Wayne's team. Noel turns out to be Wayne's little brother. Grace
Goodwin captures Lanny demanding the password to the Fruitcake. Grace
is able to change her status but the database is corrupted and every
child is transferring to the Naughty list.
Wayne is still a petty little elf. His big outburst takes me out of the Christmas spirit. Sure he recovers but it's a bit distressing. Since they drop the Fruitcake the year before, I think it would be more compelling if they need to recover before Christmas is over. Waiting a year seems to take the tension out of it. Maybe if Wayne lose the Fruitcake and Noel comes to save the day. That would be a better story.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Walt Disney's "Prep & Landing: Naughty vs. Nice" is the third and, so
far, last short film of the Prep & Landing franchise and after the
success of the first two, it features a competent voice acting cast and
crew probably headlines by Academy Award winner Michael Giacchino being
in charge of the music.
We get to see the newest chapter of the busy elves trying their best to manage the stressful Christmas business. Wayne, willing to become "Elf of the Year" is partnered with his brother Lanny as they go out on a mission to solve a naughty issue. Unfortunately, as a whole, this short film is really more noisy than it's entertaining. I'm sure the children mostly love it, but it's nothing really for an adult audience. The jokes and slapstick are very basic and the only really good thing about it is the animation. Especially that giant female bartender's actions were pretty hilarious. Christmas is usually a good setting to make an emotional impact, but even here, this short film comes rather short. The whole escalation and bonding scene of the two main characters is pretty shoddy and lacks almost any kind of warmth one would have hoped for. You probably won't be watching this short film without having seen at least the original, so if you enjoyed that one, give it a go. Otherwise, there's better holiday-related animation films out there. If they ever decide to make a full Prep & Landing feature, I hope they manage to step things up from here. If done nicely, it could really turn into a big Christmas favorite for years to come.
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