Thursday, December 22, 2011

Movie Review: Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer

It's bizarre that anyone ever first conceived of Rudolph [1] the Red-Nosed Reindeer. It's hard not to think that the original author, Robert L. May, might've had a little chemical in his bloodstream that inclined him to this unusual story. Ironically, it was a Jewish man, Johnny Marks, who took this story and turned it into a song.[2] It was offered to Bing Crosby but he turned it down.[3] Eventually it ended up in the hands (or, rather, vocal chords) of Gene Autry and from there it went down in history (like Columbus).

My verdict: Like Frosty the Snowman (but not to the same extent), this show has lost some of its magic.[4] My complaints: It was made in the 1960s and I can't help but feel that there are some anti-racism undertones, here. Even Santa is surprisingly judgmental.[5] I noticed for the first time that Fireball has freckles. None of the other reindeer have freckles, so why didn't he get picked on, too? The song "We are Santa's Elves" [6] is one of the most annoying songs I've ever heard. No wonder it drives Santa bonkers. The stop-motion animation is quite jittery.[7] Most of the voice-acting is kind of weird.[8] Yukon Cornelius is funny but his timing is usually off. When Rudolph lead's Santa's reindeer, there are only six others, not eight. Why can't King Moonracer (who I can't help but think of as Aslan with wings) tell Santa about the misfit toys [9] himself? And if Santa is so omniscient, why doesn't he already know? What really would've been a nice touch is if one of Hermey's chewing dolls had been there.


[1] With some help from Hitler, I suspect this song has helped to eliminate -olf/-ulf/-olph/-ulph names from the United States.

[2] Johnny Marks was Robert L. May's brother-in-law. He also wrote "Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree", "A Holly Jolly Christmas" and "Run Rudolph Run".

[3] See L. May.

[4] Read that review here.

[5] I'll admit, though, that it's annoying that Rudolph's nose hums, besides glowing.

[6] One of the elves reminds me of my Uncle Derek, but not because of his part in the song.

[7] At one point Leann pointed out that Yukon Cornelius' dogs didn't move for an entire scene.

[8] Even though he's the spitting image of Burl Ives, for some reason the narrator snowman always makes me think of Wilford Brimley.

[9] They never say what the red-headed doll's misfit characteristic is; I've decided that she's incontinent. That will be a surprise for some unsuspecting child.

Image attributions:

Reindeer is by Susannah Muldoon, available at - - 943186.jpg.

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