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Twelve Christmas Movie Reviews in Twelve Days 2015: #10. Raymond Briggs Father Christmas (1991)

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Directed by: Dave Unwin
Starring: Mel Smith

Back in Primary School we used to watch this every Christmas. It holds a lot of sentiment for me. This film also answered a lot of questions I had about Santa regarding what he does with himself for the other 364 days of the year.

Raymond Briggs version of Santa is very different to the one we all know and love. He resembles him physically, with a large white beard and red suit. However, he is depicted as rather grumpy. It makes him more down to earth in some respects. The film shows him coping with everyday activity such as shopping or looking after his two pets. Santa decides to take a holiday, so he converts his sleigh into a caravan for a trip to France, Scotland and Las Vegas. After a bit of grumbling, Santa returns to “work”, answer the mail, get the gifts ready, deliver them and get to the annual Snowmen’s ball. However, he’s forgotten something and it’s only a race against time to rectify the problem.

I still have a lot of love for this film, even at the grand old age of 29. It still tugs at the heartstrings of nostalgia.

What I like most is how they don’t portray Santa as this happy, jolly fellow. He’s grumpy and moody. It makes him feel more like an ordinary person. In the eyes of a child, it makes Santa seem more real as it shows what he’d most likely be doing all year round rather than just on Christmas Eve.

The animation is solid and simple. It’s old fashioned but still a joy to watch. The overall story is simple and sweet, perfect for all the family. It’s just so original. There’s some good comedy which is suitable for the young and old, some physical slap stick comedy, but it’s mostly based on Father Christmas’ outlook on live.

There’s a cameo appearance from the Snowman (and the child) from the self-titled film.

If you liked the Snowman then you’re going to love this.

Check it out.

Merry Bloomin’ Christmas!

Rating: *** ½ (Aye, it’s cannie, like)

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