The Snowman — This charming British animated short film (it's just 23 minutes long) is a 1982 production of London's Channel 4, based on the classic children's book by Raymond Briggs and crafted with a colored-pencils-on-p... more »aper look, like fluffy, hand-drawn illustrations. Small children should be entranced by the story of a small boy in rural England whose lovingly constructed snowman comes to life and takes him flying over the white-blanketed landscapes, in a beautiful rotoscoped (traced) sequence based on live-action flying footage. Part of the charm of the film is the gentle, everyday quality of its fantasy adventures: the snowman is invited in to try on clothes and play with the Christmas decorations, then plays host to the boy at a party in the woods, at which his snowy relatives do English country dances. This is one of the very few Christmas tapes on the market that really deserves to be a holiday perennial, a gentle fable of friendship and the power of imagination. --David Chute Father Christmas
This irreverent Santa breaks from tradition in many ways. He has no Mrs., owns only four reindeer, and decides to convert his sleigh into an airborne motor home for a pre-Christmas vacation. He finds France too snooty, Scotland too cold, and Las Vegas just right. Tanned and rested, he returns to the North Pole in time to sort through the mail, pack up the toys, and hit the skies. Like the Santa of the Raymond Briggs book on which this 24-minute video is loosely based, he narrates his own story (splendidly voiced by Los Angeles stage actor William Dennis Hunt). But fans of the 1973 book will find the animated version far less cranky than the original. Although the book was aimed at ages 4-8, the video may have a wider appeal, depending on how you feel about the children seeing Santa gambling at the casino tables, dreaming of bikini-clad babes, and suffering a bout of diarrhea. --Kimberly Heinrichs« less
Brooklyn John | Eugene, Oregon United States | 11/20/2000
(4 out of 5 stars)
"When I first saw the Snowman, I was just enthralled with the style and care taken in the animation. Not to mention the charming story. When, later, I learned that there would be a sort of Snowman part 2, I was very happy indeed. Father Christmas was hillarious. Partly because of the story of the hard working Father Christmas' time off. But also because of the brilliant voice talents of Mel Smith. Smith, a very well know actor and comedian in Europe. But Mel Smith's Voice has been removed from the Americanized version shown on the DVD. A Los Angelino has been brought in to soften and re-direct the story. Makeing the brithish accent more accessable by an american audience and making the comic story of a slightly grumpy Santa, who just wants to have a nice vaction, thinner and more geared toward America's sterilized "children in a vacum" nature. I was very disappointed in this change. This has gone from being a classic Christmas comedy for the whole family... to watered down pap suited only for those 5 and under. If the video version still has Mel Smith, I urge you to get that. Or just watch it during it's seasonal run on local PBS stations. Where they're not afraid to treat an artist's work with the respect it deserves and not change it to suit their likes. This, in my opinion in exactly tragic as Colourizing films. It's still a great show, they haven't figured out a way to tamper with the great animation... But it's not as great as it was before some misguided executive decided to make it "better"."
Snowman:Great - Father Christmas:Butchered
piratebearus | Charlotte, NC USA | 12/12/2002
(4 out of 5 stars)
"This is the first time that the Snowman has been on dvd. Added is an American version of Father Christmas. The Snowman Comes intact, and complete. All the charm and stunning animation is complete. It is wonderful to get the snowman on dvd. Slowing down someof the flight sequences are stunningly beautiful.BUT,The of Raymond Brigg's Father Christmas is a Butchered Americanized version. Narrated by an American actor, this version looses all the charm of the English version voiced by Mel Smith, the Original Father Christmas! This is NOT that version! This is a censored chopped version that just doesn't translate well over to American audiences.In Father Christmas, Santa is not the Politically Correct Santa that prudish Americans would like you to see. He is a cantankerous Santa whom complains, and grumbles all the while that he is doing things. So much so, that he takes a vacation to Scotland, where he drinks at a Pub/bar. Vegas, were he gambles and smokes around bikini clad women. This Santa is shown as a normal person. At a couple times, they even show his [behind], to which my God daughters think is the most hilarious thing. It gives a very strong impression that he is a real person. The American version is trying for that rankin/bass whimsical Christmas thing, but it just doesn't work with English Humor. Even the Finally song sung by the American actor shows a more benevolent, Richard Attenburough figure. The Elf-boss (Rudolph, the Red Nosed Reindeer) is more cantankerous than the actor in this one. The original is more like an annoyed Bob Hoskins. ..."
Half The DVD is Good
piratebearus | 12/23/2002
(3 out of 5 stars)
"I bought this DVD mainly for Father Christmas, as I had almost worn out my VHS version, taped off PBS years ago. As others have said, the version on this DVD is a travesty, with the gruff, but lovable Mel Smith's voice replaced by a much too benign voice that rather resembles Sebastian Cabot's as Mr French from the old "Family Affair" show. This feature definitely got the "PC" treatment, as all Santa's witticisms were cut, and phrases like "happy bloomin' Christmas" were changed to "Merry Christmas".
On the flip side, I was quite pleased with "The Snowman", which was a beautiful and haunting little film, with a fine musical score. If you get this DVD, get it ONLY for The Snowman. Don't even watch Father Christmas! What are you doing? I said don't watch it! Not even once!
If you have a DVD player or computer capable of playing region 2 DVDs, you can order the British version and hear Mel Smith in all his bloomin' glory."
Beautiful story...broken DVD
derek laney | nebrasksa | 12/01/2003
(1 out of 5 stars)
"I have purchased this DVD twice and have tried to play them on our regular DVD player as well as on two laptops. No matter what I've tried, The Snowman has never played. Only the very different and very awful Father Christmas will work. I finally gave up and bought the VHS tape of The Snowman, so that my children could see the most wonderful and haunting Christmas movie ever made."
Sanitized American version
derek laney | 11/30/2003
(1 out of 5 stars)
"First, the DVD is defective. Only the Father Christmas story plays. This version is a sanitized American version which eliminates the British Engllish expressions that give life to the story. SKIP THIS DVD! If you ever have a chance to see a British PAL video, you'll see why."