A Wish For Christmas Review


The Hallmark Channel has returned for another adventure. By this point you’ll likely know whether you enjoy the films or not. Hallmark is very well known for its formula in these Christmas films and stays true to it through thick or thin. I guess you could say that the big change here is that for once there is no “other” guy. There’s only the heroine and the guy who will inevitably fall for her. By removing the rebound angle it makes the film a lot more heartfelt.

This film starts off by showing us how much Sara loves Christmas. It’s something she looks forward to every year and she makes sure to take the day off to be with family. However, she is unable to enjoy the office party because her boss steals the idea she came up with and gets the credit for it in front of everyone. Sara prepares to leave the party but then Santa shows up and grants her wish to be brave. However, his powers are waning in his old years so he can only give her this ability for 48 hours. After which she will become the meek pushover that she always was. Sara intends to make the most of it and exposes her boss. After he is fired, the true head of the company, Peter, decides to take her with him to close out a deal with his biggest customer of all time. The whole company is riding on this. Sara agrees to go, but on the condition that she makes it home in time for Christmas.

Adding that supernatural twist here helps give the film a fresh edge. It works a little like a truth serum as Sara is unable to stop herself from being very outgoing and direct. If she has a thought in her head then she has to say it and even if it could lead to bad situations. As a result it’s not a purely positive thing, but for the most part it always tends to work out. It is important to be able to stand up for yourself so the film’s got a good moral to it. The boss taking the credit for your idea is something that is to be expected to a certain extent, but it has to be within reason. When you’re supplying ideas to your boss to help the company naturally he will take the lion’s share of the credit, but you need to at least get a honorable mention. Since Sara got none of that it was good that she took the boss down a peg. I do think that changing the whole presentation without letting the boss know in the email was a little dicey if he needed it that day though.

Sara makes for a good protagonist. I do think she could have managed a better equilibrium between being nice and sincere. Bringing drinks for everyone at work every day is a nice gesture even if it is something that I would never do because of the cost and the lack of convenience. That being said, if you secretly resent doing so or are only doing it to curry favor with the higher ups then naturally that is not a good thing to do. Sara’s friend seemed really nice even if she could be a bit cheap art times. With Sara’s new position hopefully she doesn’t go on a power trip and remember who had her back all this time.

Then we have Peter who I can’t say is a particularly good character. He seems all well and good for most of the film but when Sara is unable to close the deal with the main antagonist of the film we see his true colors. The guy leaves Sara feeling awful and just lets her get on the plane herself while he hashes things out with his father. That’s a big part of the film and it makes sense that he would do that, but why make Sara worry so much? From how it seems at the end he would have let Sara just up and leave without getting the letter she gave him. The guy switches sides way too fast and didn’t seem genuine to me. He definitely gets a thumbs down from me.

The supporting cast was pretty solid though. As mentioned, Sara’s friend was pretty good. I also thought Peter’s family was pretty solid too. The Mom and Aunt baking cookies was definitely fun and their setup was good. Every topping was there including the fruit candies although I can’t imagine putting that on a chocolate chip cookie. The father naturally had a bit of a rocky start but things were awkward with him and Peter both not wanting to be the first to approach but thanks to Sara he is able to get over it.

As always the writing is pretty solid here, but the romance ends up being a bit on the weak side. Peter just doesn’t seem like a team player at all and as mentioned he was very quick to ditch Sara. When they come together it’s hard to buy into it and you can’t help but feel like Sara shouldn’t want to be with him either. The romance doesn’t play a huge role in the film at least. If anything it comes almost out of nowhere at the end.

Overall, A Wish For Christmas is another solid title. It’s a solid film in all areas. It goes by very quickly and is just a pleasant experience. I’m not sure about the Christmas remix song at the beginning of the film though. This rendition was a little too slow I think and lost the energy that the original had. The soundtrack is still pretty good overall though. A little Christmas music is always a good idea to liven things up a bit. If you haven’t seen this film yet then I’d recommend checking it out. It’s also a good time to start thinking of what your Christmas wish/New Year’s resolution will be.

Overall 7/10

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Rise of the Guardians Review


Rise of the Guardians is a film that looked like a lot of fun right from the first trailer that I saw of it. The movie looked like it would have a surprising amount of action in it and the idea of a Holiday Mascot crossover had a lot of potential behind it as well. The film turned out to be about as good as I had hoped and it’s definitely got some nice visuals for the action scenes. I can safely say that it is rather underrated considering how obscure it appears to be, at least relative to other big animated films.

The plot starts off with a lonely guy named Jack Frost. He has ice powers but nobody actually knows him. Guys like Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny have a lot of fans but not poor Jack. Despite trying to help people out and enjoy himself in the process, people just can’t see him and as such it all goes for naught. 300 years pass by and nothing changes. However, a mysterious villain has arisen and is determined to destroy all of the iconic holiday legends. Santa Claus and his team of icons realize that this is one battle that they cannot win. Their leader tells them to enlist the help of Jack Frost. Can this team really be enough to take down this villain or is the battle over before it has even begun?

As I mentioned earlier, the battle scenes are handled really well. The energy effects are vibrant and you can feel the power behind Jack’s blows. The rest of the graphics are fairly standard but solid nonetheless. The character models look good and the screen is always clear. If this was more of an action movie then the film would probably be able to prove itself even more. There isn’t much of a soundtrack so that is regrettable but still, having one of the two big technical components to the film at the ready is a good way to start off.

One slight issue with the film, or at least a concern for when the fight scenes would occur is that Jack appears to be the only power hitter on the team. The rest of the combatants just pale in comparison and they don’t seem to have any really useful special abilities. Jack has complete control over the ice and can fire blasts so concentrated that the they are basically lightning strikes. He is really the only one who puts up a decent fight against the villain while the others are basically just watching. At the very least you would expect Santa to be really powerful but surprisingly this was not the case.

Santa is a twin blades user who strikes with pure power. The problem is that he isn’t very fast nor does he seem to be very smart. He’s a nice enough chap and makes sense as the leader of the team but making him a little stronger would have definitely been a good move for the film if you ask me. They still could have had some reason as to why he couldn’t hear the main villain without simply making him weak.

The Easter Bunny is also weak but he’s not nearly as likable as Santa. He talks a good game but just can’t compete when the chips are down. You can tell what his character is after a single scene with him. The trope of acting super tough when you’re actually weak can make for really good characters but typically the film or show has to at least be a little self aware that the character is all bark and no bite. This one never really gets into that. He still isn’t the worst character though or even the 2ns worst. He can still be somewhat reasonable.

The 2nd worst character is definitely the Tooth Fairy. She can’t fight at all and is a little too obsessed with her teeth gimmick. It wouldn’t even be a problem if there was more to her character but there really isn’t. Her role in the film is so small that you could take her out entirely and I doubt a whole lot would change. The worst member of the team is the Sand Man. He’s one of the most annoying kinds of characters as he is always sleeping but actually ends up being the strongest kind of all. He didn’t have to work to get his strength but in fact he was just born into it. He has a lot of arrogance when fighting but not the cool kind as you’re still just annoyed at the guy. It gets to the point where you already dislike him so much that his potentially good moments don’t even work. As you can tell, I did not like this character and giving him the pivotal moment at the end of the film wasn’t a great move if you ask me. Why couldn’t Jack have gotten the big blow and ended his character arc on a grand note? If you ask me, that would have been perfect.

The villain is pretty solid. His plan to take down everyone who believes in the legend is pretty solid as then they will be too weak to put up much of a resistance. He should have picked them off way before that though instead of focusing on the main goal even when there was just one kid left. At that point you just have to pick off the main characters one by one. In his defense, Jack’s plan was pretty good though and it’s easy to make the kids believe when you actually move stuff around right in front of them and use your supernatural abilities in an obvious manner. The villain made for good fight scenes so I’d definitely say that he did a good job fulfilling the role.

I’ll also give the film kudos for not giving the kids much of a role. Lets face it, they would have had some cheesy scenes and I’m not sure I can buy into the kids as solid characters just yet. Still, since they were crucial to the villain’s plan they needed some screen time. The way the film handled it was pretty solid so that’s another feather in its cap. The writing in general was pretty solid and while the cast of characters may not have been amazing, Jack was likable which is really what counts. He’s a solid lead and I’d be up for a sequel.

Overall Rise of the Guardians is a solid animated film with a good amount of action and heart. It’s a film that I would definitely recommend checking out. Where else are you going to see a film where Jack Frost finally gets to shine and prove himself as one of the big Christmas characters? He really doesn’t get a whole lot of attention compared to the other big characters in most media so this may be the only time to really see him take the starring role. Maybe it’s time I get the game adaption of this movie to see if it holds up well. Getting it for Christmas would have been fitting but that day is already booked with presents so most likely it would be later on if I purchase it.

Overall 7/10

The Year Without a Santa Claus Review

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Time for a Christmas special about Santa and we already saw that the last one didn’t fare quite as well as the average special. Unfortunately, that continues as The Year Without a Santa Claus may have ended up being the least interesting Christmas Special to date. Perhaps Santa Claus just isn’t cut out to be the main character of a film. It could also just be a bad roll of the dice and then he can get em all next year.

Well, the plot is pretty self explanatory from the title. Santa is feeling tired and sick this year. His doctor lets him know that nobody cares about Santa or Christmas anymore and Santa quickly buys this story. He decides to take a day off and his two elves are sad about it. Ms. Claus thinks about being Santa herself, but ultimately decides not to do it. Her Elves must now find some Christmas spirit in South Town to show Santa that there is still hope. One thing leads to another and one of Santa’s reindeer is placed at the pound. Can the Elves make it snow in Southtown so that the Mayor can believe them and free the Reindeer? It’ll be a pretty dicey challenge for the heroes.

Well, the biggest problem with the film is that it’s simply uninteresting. Santa isn’t really the main character since he’s taking a break so the two elves…I guess I’ll just say their names, Jingle and Jangle must team up with Ms. Claus to be the main characters. They mean well, but they are definitely not main character material. Jingle and Jangle making mistakes and one of them beating up the other one gets old very quickly and Ms. Claus is a nice person, but her type of character isn’t great for the lead. She’s the nice old lady that everyone is actually afraid of and I’ll admit that I’ve never been a fan of this kind of character. It’s decent comic relief I suppose, but the film can certainly do better.

Things get a bit better once Snow Miser and his brother Heat Miser show up. First we have to listen to their songs of course and then we get to see a display of their abilities. I think it’s safe to say that Heat Miser would probably win in a fight, but Snow Miser is a lot more reasonable and he is definitely the better character. This guy doesn’t miss a beat and he’s always ready to throw a little snow your way. These two added a supernatural effect to the special and then we got to meet their boss.

Once again, the film tripped a little in how it handled the situation. Mother Nature was a being that scared even Ms. Claus and everyone talked about how tough and vicious she was. Then…she’s actually a really nice lady who scares the two Misers. It was not entirely unexpected, but it was still not a great twist and you’ll probably wince a few times. “This can’t be happening” is something that you might say as she forces the Misers to compromise.

Even the ending is rather odd as the moral is that the kids decide to give Santa his own holiday so he can rest. It’s all going well until one kid can’t hold her feelings back any longer and guilt trips Santa by letting him know that her Christmas is going to be terrible without him. The other kids start to cry too until they finally force Santa to don his old costume and take up the tradition once more. The holiday is cancelled and you wonder what the point of it all was. What just happened here?

The film certainly made me drowzy as it powered through all of the tropes imaginable. At least the Reindeer got a happy ending since everyone else wasn’t doing very well at the time. I will admit that the Mayor was a pretty great character since he mocked the heroes until the bitter end. He even danced with a little kid to show just how tough he was when he let the elves know that he wouldn’t release the Reindeer. He’s just that kind of guy, he’d rather let the animal stay at the pound than find him an owner. It’s the kind of thing that could definitely make him unlikable, but I like to think that this is a nice pound where the animals are cared for.

Overall, This film was a bit of a miss compared to the other Christmas specials. There is no sense of wonder or amazement here. You can’t even really call it a cheerful/happy film. Santa definitely doesn’t look good here and the film never really knew where it wanted to go with the plot. Ms. Claus’ decision to abandon her Santa adventure was so sudden that you know a last second script re write must have happened. If only the characters had been more interesting, the film could have had some hope. I can’t recommend this film and you should watch A Charlie Brown Christmas instead.

Overall 4/10

Santa Claus Is Comin’ To Town Review

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This is one of those old Christmas stories that didn’t become quite as legendary as Rudolph or Frosty. It’s still big enough that you will likely have heard of it though and who doesn’t want to learn about Santa’s origin story? I don’t think that it holds up quite as well as the others though and Santa just isn’t as much of an endearing lead as he could have been. Still, the film is a little more serious than the others and the stakes are much higher than usual.

A nice guy by the name of Mr. Kluger is getting ready to deliver some gifts when he realizes that a lot of children are asking questions about Santa Claus. Since he is the resident expert on the subject he decided to take some time out of his busy schedule to humor them. He tells them the story of Santa’s origin. Santa was left at the doorstep of some nice dwarves and they decided to call him Kris Kringle. They liked to make presents, but they could never deliver them because of a sinister Warlock who lived in the mountains. Time went by and Santa grew up enough so that he could defeat the Warlock. He set off, but little did he know that the true threat was waiting to pounce!

It’s a pretty cool plot on paper and it’s filled with twists, but it didn’t hold my attention quite the same way that the others did. It’s simply less charming and it’s not filled with wonder and excitement like the others. It may be in part because of the stop motion animation though because that style makes the world seem rather bleak in universe. The snow is not quite as majestic even though you can definitely tell that it is in fact snow. The animation isn’t bad for its time though and it’s not hard to watch, but stop motion is certainly one of my least favorite styles of animation.

Burgermeister is the big villain of the film and would you be shocked if I said that he doesn’t end up turning into a good guy by the end? This guy wasn’t going to fold so easily and you can practically see his sinister nature the instant that you hear his name. I know that Burgers are usually synonymous with excellent, but the meister part is what should make his name ominous. He’s not very powerful…he’s just a normal guy, but he has a lot of influence. As a villain, he’s actually quite good and he’s always munching on something. It keeps him ready for what comes next.

Santa Claus is a nice enough guy. He decides that he is going to get the toys to the kids one way or the other and he sets off on a very dangerous quest from which he knows that there may be no return. It’s the kind of heroism that you may remember from the good ole days. He’s pretty selfless and he lets bygones be bygones with the Warlock in the end. His reasoning for only giving gifts once a year by the end is pretty sound since everyone starts to weaken eventually. He’s a nice guy, but I still stand by my claim that he’s not quite as good as Frosty. He’s simply not as charismatic.

The Winter Warlock is an imposing figure who becomes sympathetic as the film goes on. It all happens so fast that you’ll probably be suspicious of the Warlock for a while, but he ultimately seems genuine. That being said, he doesn’t look very good considering that he has a nice array of magical abilities. By the end, we find out that most of his spells are actually pretty useless in a fight and breaking out of a simple prison is beyond his capabilities. He may have powers, which makes him stronger than most of the other Christmas special villains, but it’s still not saying a whole lot.

Jessica has a twist hear that you will start to realize as the film goes on. She plays the main heroine, which may be a first for the Christmas stories. Frosty’s Winter Wonderland had one, but I’m thinking that the title came after this one anyway. She plays a key role when she reminds the Warlock that he has a lot of magic so he takes out the corn. Otherwise, the heroes had basically given up and they wouldn’t have lasted much longer. Her screen time is a little limited, but everyone’s ultimately was since the film is still pretty short.

I think that one more factor which impacted the film was that Santa Claus wasn’t all powerful here. It’s always fun to see him being portrayed as an invincible being who can do just about anything. If we’re going to make a legend, we may as well make him an invincible one right? Santa should have inherited the powers of previous or future Santas in the climax and materialized some kind of super gift. It may be asking for a lot, but that would have been a good way to end the film on a pretty high note.

Overall, Santa Claus Is Coming To Town is a pretty decent film, but it’s one that could have been a little better. Santa Claus just doesn’t draw a crowd the way that his Christmas counterparts do, but it was nice to see how it all began for him. Having a villain with the word “Burger” in his name was pure genius and the Warlock made for a unique villain since most of them didn’t have magic powers back in the day. The special is well over an hour so it won’t take too long to finish it. Considering this, I think it’s probably a good bet to check it out as we are not too far past Christmas, but you could also watch the original Frosty The Snowman as a good alternative. After all, you’ll want to stay frosty during these cold days right?

Overall 5/10

Frosty’s Winter Wonderland Review

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Well, now that I finally got to review the original Frosty The Snowman, it was time to check out the sequel. I’m sure that you are aware of how sequels can rarely challenge the original right? This is one of those cases and the plot is definitely not as engaging as the first. It’s still a good Christmas story, but it has less to do with Christmas and more to do with the cold.

Frosty has been at the North Pole for a very long time now so he finally decides to head back to town to play with the kids. Little does he know that this upsets Jack Frost! Jack Frost feels left out since nobody plays with him anymore and he decides to put a stop to this effective immediately! He plans to steal Frosty’s hat, which will turn him back into a lifeless creature. Will the kids be able to put a stop to this?

This actually sounds like a pretty good plot on the surface, but we quickly find out that the film misses more than a few opportunities. One of the plots that was rather unnecessary was the invention of a Ms Frosty. Frosty got lonely so the kids decided to create a wife for him, but it takes away the uniqueness of Frosty. They also go overboard as they create another guy to also be a Snowman. Also, Frosty no longer needs the hat to survive because he can simply get by on the power of friendship. It’s pretty touching of course, but the hat is why he’s alive and they shouldn’t have changed such a crucial element to his origin.

Jack Frost is probably a better villain than Mr. Hickle since he actually has powers, but he also seems to be a little less intimidating than the former. He just wants friends so you can probably tell where that plot will lead as soon as you see him. After all, Frosty’s a very nice guy so I’m sure that he can straighten this fellow out. It’s good to have someone with powers, but he’s probably not the villain that you were looking for.

Frosty The Snowman is still a pretty great lead, but his naivety goes into borderline parody mode as he welcomes insults. Jack Frost takes some shots at him, but he doesn’t notice and thanks him. Jack Frost also nearly takes down the whole town with his sudden blizzard, but Frosty and Ms. Frosty decide to invite him for the wedding. He may have been trying to destroy it, but that won’t stop Frosty. Frosty lives up to his name since nothing ever seems to ruffle his feathers. The only time where he drops this front is when he lets the kids know how lonely he is.

The animation is about as good as the first one although they decided to switch a lot of the character designs for some reason. It also helps to try and trick the audience at first as Frosty’s eyes are red, but then we quickly learn that he is a fake. The soundtrack is certainly a little more bland and we don’t get the cheery Christmas songs that you may have been looking forward too. Beyond that, there are many nods to the first film like the Police Man who was shocked the first time. I think he shouldn’t have been shocked here so that wasn’t a very believable scene, but it’s good to see him come back I suppose.

The narrator still seems to be the wisest character in the series and he’s always ready for the change in seasons. The action scenes are probably more intense than the first film’s although you can barely call them “action” scenes. The film is still pretty fun and enjoyable while you’re watching it, but the Ms. Frosty parts do tend to drag a little. Frosty didn’t need a match and that’s the part that I find a little hard to get over. She’s not a bad character at all. Maybe a little generic, but that’s to be expected. I just would have preferred if she was a childhood friend of Frosty’s or something.

Overall, Frosty’s Winter Wonderland is about what you would expect from a sequel. It’s decent and Frosty’s still a pretty good character, but it lacks most of the charm and wit that the first film had. This one is simply a pale shadow from that title and Santa Clause doesn’t even get to appear. The animation is still good enough, but the soundtrack might be a little worse. It’s a bit of a stretch to recommend this film, but it’s very short at around 30 minutes so it can’t hurt that much and you’ll get to see Frosty again. That may be a good enough deal right?

Overall 5/10

Frosty The Snowman Review


I’m sure that just about everyone has heard of Frosty The Snowman. This guy is a living legend when it comes to Christmas movies and you definitely don’t want to miss the yearly airing of his film. It’s a pretty nice story that leaves you feeling good. It’s rather old, but the animation is still easy to look at and it doesn’t hamper the movie.

The plot is pretty simple as a few kids decide to celebrate as they get off from the final day of school. They didn’t like the magician who came in to entertain the class very much so they dashed outside to build a snowman. They put a magic hat on him and he becomes…Frosty The Snowman! Unfortunately, the weather begins to warm up so their big plans will have to be put on hold. Frosty knows that the only way he can survive is if he makes it to the North Pole so Karen decides to accompany him there. Will they really make it all the way there and still get Karen home in time for supper? This will be close!

This is the kind of film that you just don’t see anymore. It’s charming and it really has no faults. It’s a pretty fun film from start to finish and Frosty is a pretty likable lead. He only wants what is best for everyone and he makes the ultimate sacrifice to help his friends. It’s a very touching story and the implications of one scene are very huge. Let’s just say that Frosty may have had the chance to save his life if he had busted through a window, but he knew that could have endangered the lives of many plants and Karen to he kept still. He is a true hero.

Karen is a pretty good character as well. She makes a rock solid case against Mr. Hickle on why Frosty should keep his hat and she also decides to accompany Frosty to the North Pole without a whole lot of hesitation. Her one negative may be that she didn’t properly thank the rabbit at the beginning. He went to a lot of trouble to help the heroes out so it would have been good if they had acknowledged that.

Mr. Hickle is the main villain and he’s actually pretty sinister. He’ll do just about anything if it means that he can get rich and he resorts to stealing from little kids. It’s a good thing that Frosty and Santa were there or he could have kept embarrassing himself in front of crowds with his fake magic tricks. He is also pretty fast since he chases Frosty across a few hills and he doesn’t feel any remorse when he traps Frosty in the equivalent of an oven to the poor snowman.

Luckily, Santa Clause sets everyone straight by the end. This is Santa Clause as you would expect him to be portrayed. He’s virtually indestructible and his super strength knows no bounds. He is able to basically give every character what he or she wants for Christmas and he does it without breaking a sweat. He probably doesn’t even need the reindeer at this point, but he probably loves the view. It’s a team effort after all so all of the players have to pitch in to help. Santa’s also pretty cunning since he knows just how to break Mr. Hickle without having to use one of his famous energy blasts.

As I mentioned earlier, the animation is pretty decent. It’s old so naturally some of the proportions can be off at times and most of the characters have big heads, but that just gives it an extra boost of nostalgia value. It still feels more real than many of today’s shows and you can tell that a lot of work was put into this one. I’ll still take old hand drawn animation over C.G.I. almost any day. The soundtrack is decent and you’ll hear a lot of Christmas songs. I’m not a huge fan of some of the Frosty The Snowman renditions, but they’re not bad either. They definitely get you in the mood for the film.

Overall, Frosty The Snowman is another good title to watch for Christmas alongside the Little Drummer Boy. It’s a pretty emotional story where the stakes actually end up being pretty high. Frosty may be a little oblivious at some times and you have to question his selective memory, (He knows about thermometers and other snowmen, but he doesn’t know what a traffic light is) but he always tries to learn what to do for next time. Mr. Hickle is a pretty tough villain and he’s someone that you can root against. I’m also sure that everyone will be pleased with Santa’s portrayal since he looks pretty tough from start to finish. The title is only about 30 minutes so you’ll definitely have time to check it out before you go back to your Christmas celebration!

Overall 7/10