The Snowman Rating and Review -
I was interested in watching films/movies/specials that also revolved around the theme of "winter" since it is a prominent Christmas theme, so I saw on HOOPLA the film "The Snowman" was available. I had not heard of the film or the book that it is based on either. I went in without many expectations and I am glad I did. This film was weird, to say the least.
The film opens up with a guy walking into the woods (live-action) and stating about how he came to know "The Snowman" basically. Then the image changes and the entire rest of the short film is done in animated form. The other drawback of this particular short is that there is no voices. For the entire film you see character moving and you see the scenes of "The Snowman" play out, but you never heard people's reactions. In some cases (i.e. Buffy's HUSH episode), this can provide a dramatic story, but in other cases it can be a bit off-putting. Unfortunately for "The Snowman" it is the latter category. It suffers greatly from the lack of voice-acting.
The perk though of it is that it is a quick watch. This film clocked in at 27 minutes, so it was more like watching a Christmas special. The animation is also crafted very well. These elements almost make-up for the lack of voices, but not exactly. There are moments where you feel you need the voice, such as there is a scene where the snowman drags the boy away from his home. In that moment there is duress on the boy's face and having him saying he does not want to go or that he is excited would have greatly helped the audience to not feel frightened of what is occurring to the child.
Which leads me to the greatest issue with this film, I would NOT let my child or any child under my care watch this particular film. There are reckless moments (i.e. riding a motorcycle) and moments where a child could be frightened (i.e. the previously mentioned scene where the snowman seems to be stealing the child from his home). As an adult, if these moments caused me to go WTF? I assume as a parent of a child they would also make you feel uncomfortable as well. Also the film has a weird ending that makes me wonder why this would be marketed towards children at all. It was not an overly pleasurable watching experience to me. I was taken aback so many times that these scenes would be occurring in a children's film that I could never stop and enjoy the artwork, as much as I would have liked to do so. This film could have done with a parent editing some of the moments out of it and replacing them with better more "kid-friendly" material. This is also coming from someone that feels that current incarnations of children's media is too wary, so if I felt that way this means that these moments felt out of place or just all together wrong. A film has to know its intended audience and it feels like "The Snowman" missed that mark, at least to me. As a Christmas film, I would say avoid this, but as a simple winter watch I would say it would be fine, just be prepared to help your kids understand certain moments of the film.
Reason: 1 Star was simply added for the artwork, but the inappropriate moments for children severely damaged my opinion of this film. I feel it could have been done much better than this.
"The Snowman and the snowdog" Rating and Review -
When I started to write the review for "The Snowman" I started looking for pictures, as I always do when reviewing. When I did this I discovered that there was a sequel film. I was taken a little aback, if you read above you know why. I knew though that I would take the time to find the film and watch it for review. I found it and watched it this week to review with the original and I am glad I did. I liked it a little better than I did the original "The Snowman" film.
This one has a little more charm and grace about it. The elements I hated were a little lessened here, but this could simply be due to understanding that there would be no voices again. I take that back a little bit. There is a moment where we have a voice. The voice of the main character's dog barking. This added a needed element to the film. It also let us know exactly part of the film was going to be dealing with loss, which I appreciated them doing from the first moment of the film instead of making moments scary like in the original.
The artwork is a little more refined and shiny in this film, but it is still largely on par with the art that was in the original work. You can tell that they tried to emulate that style as much as possible, but also given that this was made years later (1982 vs. 2012) they had updated technology that helped to make it appear better. I appreciated that this was used, even though they could have probably produced it identically to the original to get the same exact effect. I feel that they understood that certain elements had to be changed for this film to feel better for the audience than the original.
There will be moments in this film where you have to discuss uncomfortable themes to your child, but it will come less with possible cries of fear or bewilderment of why the scene is in the film. The moments here will be of gentle life lessons and helping your child understand love, death, and life. I appreciated this film on a deeper level as a good winter film, but like "The Snowman" this is not a "Christmas film." If that is your intention with wanting to watch this film I would avoid it and save it for a more wintery day that you do not want to be filled with the Christmas spirit. It is still, however, a good film at 27 minutes of length. It is by far more enjoyable than the original and provides a stronger overall message as well.
Reason: This is a much better film than the original! The one star is for the theme at the beginning of the film that could have been removed for a parent not wanting to have to explain certain concepts of life and death to their child, but overall this film is superior to the other, in my opinion.
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