5.7/10
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3 user 1 critic

Dot and Santa Claus (1981)

Around the World with Dot (original title)
In search of a kangaroo, a little girl receives help from Santa Claus.

Director:

Yoram Gross

Writers:

Yoram Gross (original story), Yoram Gross (screenplay) | 1 more credit »
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Fantasy adventures of a little redheaded girl and her animal friends in Australia. Live background and animated characters.

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Dot promises a mother kangaroo that she will find her lost joey. An orphaned rabbit overhears this promise and pretends to be a kangaroo because he wants a mom. Dot and the rabbit travel ... See full summary »

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The fantastic adventures of little redheaded Dot in the Australian bush.

Director: Yoram Gross
Stars: Robyn Moore, Keith Scott, Ashley Ayre
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Cast

Cast overview:
Drew Forsythe Drew Forsythe ... Danny the Swagman (live action segments) / Santa Claus (animated segments) (voice)
Barbara Frawley Barbara Frawley ... Dot / Zebra / French Swallow (voice)
Ron Haddrick Ron Haddrick ... Grumblebones / Frog / Circus Elephant / Tiger / British Lion (voice)
Anne Haddy Anne Haddy ... Dozeyface / Angry Mum / Natasha (voice)
Ross Higgins Ross Higgins ... Reindeer / Mr. Nagamora / Kite Judge / Ringmaster (voice)
Ben Alcott Ben Alcott ... Ben (live action segments) (voice)
Ashley Ayre Ashley Ayre ... Dot (live action segments) (as Ashlie Ayres)
Frank Gott Frank Gott ... Additional Actor (live action segments)
Marli Mason Marli Mason ... Additional Actress (live action segments)
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Storyline

In search of a kangaroo, a little girl receives help from Santa Claus.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


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Details

Country:

Australia

Language:

English

Release Date:

1981 (Australia) See more »

Also Known As:

Dot and Santa Claus See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Dot is revealed to have a brother named Ben in this film. However, she later has a different one named Simon in "Dot and Keeto." See more »

Goofs

When Dot meets the British Lion statue in London, she is initially standing on the ground, looking at him. In the next shot in which they appear together, she is now sitting on his back. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Alma (2009) See more »

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User Reviews

 
A subtle Christmas Follow-up, but stumbles as it wanders
18 November 2018 | by luke-eberhardtSee all my reviews

Yoram Gross's follow-up to his classic animated film; 'Dot and the Kangaroo' based on Ethel Pedley's children's book, continues the adventures of the young girl who was once lost in the Australian bush. After receiving a visit from an eccentric swag-man named; Danny, she recount's her experience with the Kangaroo and becomes determined to find her long lost baby joey. This time with Danny's enthusiasm and supposed magical 'ingenuity' he dons a Santa Claus outfit, makes a sleigh with two kangaroos and takes Dot around the world, tracking where Joey might have gone. While the original film had such an abrupt ending, this film opens up the possibilities for something more optimistic and uplifting, especially for a Christmas film that celebrates the world, many cultures, traditions and continues the series' exploration of human's negative effects on nature, educational as it's entertaining.

This was also the first film in the series to adopt a Jazz Swing recording of Banjo Patterson's 'Waltzing Matilda' as it's theme song that continued for a few more titles. It also takes a much more fantastical approach to what was previously seen in the original film. Mainly with just some tiny reference of 'The roots of understanding' playing a role in a piece of recycled footage from the first film to establish it's context, instead Dot is freely able to communicate with anything that may talk. While that didn't bother me, it was probably the plotting which mainly involved Dot and Santa with the two kangaroos leading the sleigh to many different places across the globe encountering many different animals and people for that matter, asking for the whereabouts of Joey wasn't all that exciting. But since it's more of an animated Christmas TV Special that's more suited for December and nostalgic to look back on, the film doesn't match up all that well in terms of quality.

Much of the animation uses a lot more live-action footage than even the original film largely utilized with putting animation on top of real footage. It definitely hasn't aged well, especially when there isn't enough to make the scenes flow more than they did. The animation stands out more when you've got scenes that largely rely purely on the animation almost as if to show the series' evolution. Instead the film resorts to little more fantastical, trippy and almost surrealistic sequences that also go along with it's (still) fantastic song numbers. While it may be inconsistent, it still doesn't shy away from the colourful nature of the locations and various character's they meet along the way which aren't really stereotypical of their setting, but offer a good backdrop, educational for kids to see what the world is like, especially kids recognizing kids around the world. However, Most of the visits to other countries feel more like encounters, while I praise Gross's efforts to make them stand out to have just as much social and cultural commentary on them, there really isn't anything you can take them apart from the information they casually talk about with the main characters for a little before moving on.

The series itself hasn't been very clear about the time period's it's set in, so I'm just going to assume the continuity is pretty lose, as it was clear Pedley's book was more clearly placed in it's period of publication (1890s), as much as these films were at the time of their release (1980s).

The film is at it's best when it doesn't linger around too much, but get's straight to the point of it's narrative, it's appeal largely plays in part of it's heart warming nature sprinkled as a treat that'll put a smile on both kids and adults. Adults would be more mindful of the cultural nature within the film, although its more of a subtle messaging than a deliberate play on stereotypes. While it isn't all classy as it's predecessor, it's a worthy follow-up that stumbles and it wanders through it's story.


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