Merry Christmas! I hope everyone is having a lovely time, enjoying some well-deserved time off and cherishing the time spent with their loved ones! In order to get fully into the festive cheer, my recommendation for this week is to take a look at some great Christmas animated films – both new and old. Therefore, in no particular order:
This is Netflix’s brand new holiday release, so it’s pretty clear cut where you can find it and what it is about. Despite the very promising voice cast, which includes Luke Evans, Olivia Coleman and Jessie Buckley, and in spite of the creative approach (including supernatural elements and a time-travelling angle), it seems to have not exactly lived up to the expectations, receiving mixed reviews from both critics and viewers.
A much more warmly received Netflix production is Klaus, which is still fairly new – releasing three years ago. It centres upon the friendship between a postman and a toymaker and delivers plenty of Christmassy moments. It includes voice acting from J.K. Simmons and Jason Schwartzman, and it should have really won the Academy Award for Best Animated Feature – instead, they went for the uninspired decision of choosing Toy Story 4, as opposed to an actually original and charming project.
As a good Robert Zemeckis film, The Polar Express includes Tom Hanks (or, at least, includes his voice) and is a great choice for a Christmas Eve watch. Because, well, it is set on Christmas Eve, and a particularly special one for the central character, who embarks on a train journey to the North Pole. Based on Chris Van Allsburg’s book, it is perhaps not the finest Christmas film ever made but it has plenty of bright moments to light a cold evening.
Could it be a list of Christmassy animations without a specific Tim Burton project being included? No, not really, so here it is – The Nightmare Before Christmas. It centres upon the King of Halloween Town and his discovery of Christmas Town – which ultimately leads him to a quest of bringing some Christmas elements to his hometown, to the confusion of many. It’s a real classic, great to rewatch now and again.
Japanese animations are among the world’s best, and while there are not many Christmas-based ones, Tokyo Godfathers is one of them. It centres upon a group of three friends – a middle-aged beggar, a trans woman and a young girl – who find an abandoned newborn among some trash piles in Tokyo on Christmas day. Ultimately, they decide to keep it and start looking for the parents – which leads them on many adventures.
And finally, one classic from the early 60s involving everybody’s favourite Christmas reindeer. As a young reindeer, the son of one of Santa’s most trusted reindeers, Rudolph is expected to one day take Santa’s sleigh around the world, bringing presents to everyone. However, one minor appearance difference – his red nose – leads to him being treated very differently by others.