Monday, 26 December 2016

My Top Five Christmas Movies

After spending all of Christmas Day watching films (all Disney I have to point out) I felt the urge to list my favourite five Christmas films of all time. I haven’t watched any of them today, although Frozen does feel like a Christmas film as it’s all snowy and wintery but as it’s not actually set at Christmas I don’t consider it a Christmas film.

So here are my top five in reverse order.

5. Arthur Christmas.  
I saw this at the pictures when it first came out and it was the first film me and my sister took my niece to see.  I haven’t actually seen it since until this year when I won a copy in a competition and fell in love with it all over again.  It tells the story of Santa and his sons Steve and Arthur.  Steve is the eldest son and hotly tipped amongst the elves to take over as Santa when his father retires.  Arthur is the youngest and works in letters, answering all the letters sent to Santa by the children over the world.  He is a total believer in Christmas, whereas to Steve it is just a case of proving how efficient he can be.  When a child’s present is accidentally undelivered, Arthur sets off to make sure no child is forgotten and deliver the gift in time for Christmas morning.  To do this, he enlists the help of his grandfather who is determined to prove the old way with a sleigh and reindeer is better than all the modern technology used by the current Santa and Steve.  Also along for the ride is a wrapping elf Bryony, who has a good heart but no delivery experience.  It’s a warm hearted tale that encourages children to never stop believing.

4. Beauty and the Beast Enchanted Christmas
It’s a Disney sequel and I usually don’t include these in any lists as generally they don’t live up to the magic of the first one.  Now although the animation isn’t as polished as the first, the voice casting is the same and it is included here mainly for the music it features.  I love the songs from this film, particularly As Long As There’s Christmas.  It’s a great song and the reprise is a touching moment towards the end of the film when Belle is giving up hope and Angelique the castle decorator (in the enchanted form of a Christmas angel tree topper) reminds her of her earlier words that As Long As There’s Christmas, hope is the greatest gift a person can receive.  It’s a sweet tie in movie that doesn’t take anything away from the original film and is a sweet story within a story made for Christmas.

3. Home Alone
What festive movie list would be complete without Home Alone featuring on it somewhere.  I have seen four out of the five movies that have been released and although each one has it’s plus points, the first and original one stands out above all others.  Kevin is accidentally forgotten by his family when they go on holiday for Christmas leaving him home alone.  At first he has a whale of a time, eating junk food, watching bad movies and raiding his brother Buzz’s bedroom for money and other goodies.  However soon he starts to miss his family as he realises just how much they mean to him.  If that wasn’t traumatic enough, two burglars Joe Pesci and Daniel Stern try to break into the house knowing the family is away so Kevin sets multiple traps around the house causing them injuries and eventually getting them arrested.  As he wakes up on Christmas morning having successfully defended his home and preparing himself for Christmas alone, he finds his mother has finally made it back to him, closely followed by his father and his siblings for the obligatory happy ending.

2.  The Snowman
It’s hard to believe this short animated film is 34 years old but it has never lost its simple and childlike appeal for me.  It’s based on a children’s story by Raymond Briggs and tells the tale of a young boy James who wakes up to find his garden covered in snow and goes out to play, eventually building the perfect snowman.  He goes to bed but is unable to sleep and on the stroke of midnight he creeps downstairs and opens the door to see the snowman come to life.  After inviting him inside and showing the snowman the wonders of the human world, the snowman takes the young boy by the hand and flies up into the air and off around the world  accompanied by the lovely song Walking In The Air (sang in the movie by Peter Auty, NOT Aled Jones who shot to fame by releasing his own version of the song as a single).  Finally they arrive at the North Pole and are greeted by many other snowmen and Father Christmas himself. After a jolly party and a visit to the reindeer, it’s time to leave and head back home.  The Snowman leaves James at the door to go to bed and he finally goes off into a happy sleep and the snowman returns to his inanimate form.  The next morning James rushes downstairs to see his new friend for more adventures but alas he has melted away, leaving James downhearted with just the scarf he received as a gift from Father Christmas as a reminder that it wasn’t just a dream.  That ending gets me every single time and I think I have watched this film every year since 1982, I do remember watching it the first time it was released.  This story never ever goes out of date, I recommend every child should watch this and be enchanted just like I was.

1.  Muppet Christmas Carol
Oh where do I begin, words cannot describe how much I love this movie.  Obviously I love the Muppets so I was always going to love this film but everything in this film appeals to me so much.  I love Michael Caine as an actor and he is wonderful as Scrooge, with great comic acting alongside a zany muppet cast.  The songs are wonderful and I know every single one word for word, it’s so hard to pick my favourite from them as they are all fab.  The only thing I could have ever complained about was the song ‘When Love Has Gone’ which was sung by Belle when she broke off her engagement with Scrooge.  However since the DVD was released they cut this song from the film as it was considered to lose the interest of the audience (and I quite agree) so it was removed and if you didn’t know it used to be there, you’d never know as the film flows fine without it.  I especially like the little attention to detail in the film, little things which you pick up after watching it many times.  Little in jokes which give  a nod to the original Muppet Show, such as Stadler and Waldorf as Jacob Marley and his brother Robert (Bob Marley, geddit?) telling Scrooge to leave comedy to the bears, referring to them as hecklers for Fozzie’s act in the original show.  There’s little nods to Michael Caine such as a shop in the village called Micklewhites, in reference to Michael Caine’s real name Maurice Micklewhite and another called Stadler & Waldorf in tribute to the grumpy old curmudgeons.  The film itself was praised for how much of Charles Dicken’s original text was in the script as Gonzo portrays Dickens himself narrating the story and Rizzo accompanies him for some brilliant comic moments (Hey hey hey, light the lamp not the rat!)  
As such I can find myself watching this film many times throughout December each and every year and I am not averse to watching it at any other time of the year either, such is its appeal for me.I hope you enjoyed my top five Christmas movies.  How many of them would make it onto your list and which of your favourites have I not mentioned?  Do let me know in the comments section.  I’m off to watch the Muppets, just talking about them make me miss them, it’s been at least 24 hours since I last saw the film.  Cold turkey anyone?

Happy Christmas everyone!

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