This is the eleventh in a series of posts, The Twelve Days of Christmas Movies. Each one will review/talk about a different Christmassy film and the whole thing spans 12 days – one film per day. You can read the original post about it (which also lists all 12 days of movies) here.
It’s Day 11 already and we’re very rapidly approaching both Christmas day and the end of the Twelve Days of Christmas Movies. Seriously, as one of my sisters would say, it’s Christmas Eve Eve (not a typo – there are meant to be two eves). Technically, given that this post is supposed to go up on December 22nd, this post is late. However, I like to think that because I have not actually been to bed and woken up yet, it is effectively still the same day. Yeah, that’s right. The world revolves around me. Point being, it’s only late if I say it is. And I say it’s only a little bit late.
As usual, we’re going to get back to the real point in the second paragraph of the post. Today (yesterday?), that means talking about The Snowman, the Day 11 film. This is an old-ish animated film from the 80’s, based on the beloved children’s picture book by Raymond Briggs. It’s unique in multiple ways, one of these being the fact that it’s a short film, at just under half an hour. It’s also drawn in a very beautiful crayon style and plays in a sort of picture-book-flipping way – basically, there’s a little jump between each shot, but it creates a nice effect. The third thing that makes it unique is that it’s wordless, apart from the famous song Walking in the Air, sung by Aled Jones.
At this point you might be wondering: “But what about David Bowie/Raymond Briggs?”. If you are like me, you’ll be contemplating why I have not mentioned David Bowie’s presence in the film (if he was there) because clearly that would add a great deal of awesomeness to it. So here’s why I haven’t mentioned it yet: because he wasn’t in it. That’s right; as with several other films on my original list, I have been misled. I heard that there was a narrator in the film, which would be either Raymond Briggs in the first version or David Bowie in the re-release. Well, I watched it. Guess what? No narrator. Still, this might be to do with the version I had or didn’t have. If you have seen this film with a narrator – apparently it’s the voice of Older James – please let me know in the comments, as I’m quite confused.
Moving on to the plot. Without any dialogue, the film’s plot is not elaborated on much. It primarily features a young boy named James (we learn this from the name tag on a present given to him), who builds a snowman outside his house during Christmas time. Naturally, this snowman comes to life. Together, James and the Snowman play games and go on little adventures, including one that involves flying through the sky. The last activity is the one during which Walking in the Air plays.
I don’t want to give away the ending or spoil too much of the plot, so I’ll stop there. I will, however, say that I really liked The Snowman. It’s just a nice thing to watch, as in one of those films that you genuinely just enjoy watching for the sake of watching. There’s a certain spectacle to it – not like the kind in The Avengers, but the kind that you simply find entertaining and enjoyable to watch. Part of this probably comes from the gorgeous way everything is drawn, another part from the wonderfully symbolic music played throughout (mostly instrumental), and yet another part from the childlike magic of the whole thing.
I vaguely remember, as I do with so many of these films, watching The Snowman as a child. I’m not entirely sure, but I don’t think my siblings or myself were overly keen on it. I can see why. It’s not exactly a fast-paced film, kids could get confused by the lack of dialogue, and a certain part is not very happy. Maybe some kids were more mature than me and liked it, but I don’t think this was ever a family classic in my parents’ house. Nonetheless, I loved The Snowman this time around. It’s like a piece of art, in a way. Pretty and nice to look at but meaningful at the same time. This is another film I would recommend watching at Christmas time, especially if you’re looking for a sense of pure, childlike adventure. It also includes a Scottish country dancing scene, which earns any film extra bonus points.
Overall rating: 9/10
Christmassy-ness rating: 6/10 (mostly wintery, but there is a particular rather Christmassy scene)
Mary’s parental guidance rating: U (or G in the land of sidewalks and crispy chips)
Tomorrow’s film (and the final film in the series – DUN DUN DUN): Love Actually