The holidays are nigh!
Here in New Zealand there will be no snow. No cold nights indoors by the fire. No hot roast dinners at three in the afternoon. Because it’s summer during December. We have humid tropical rain storms, and barbecues on the deck or on the beach.
So! I reminisce about white Christmases and relate to fellow Scrooges and Grinches by watching my top three favourite December flicks.
Because I haven’t reviewed any of these movies before, I’ll create short reviews in this piece.
A Christmas Carol
Director: Robert Zemeckis
Writer: Charles Dickens
Featuring: Jim Carrey, Gary Oldman, Collin Firth and Bob Hoskins
Charles Dicken’s novel, A Christmas Carol (published in 1843), was brought to life with every bit of wonder, magic and fantastical detail intact.
Scrooge was perfectly played by the comical Jim Carrey. Carrey played multiple characters including all three ghosts: Christmas Past, Present and Future. Some scenes were pretty scary, and other scenes were really comedic; Carrey plays both genres easily.
I remember seeing this at the movies when it came out. It was extraordinary in 3D.
Jodie’s rating: 8.5/10
The Polar Express
Director: Robert Zemeckis (Again! Genius.)
Writer: Chris Van Allsburg
Featuring: Tom Hanks and Josh Hutcherson (before he was cool)
Another motion capture film by Robert Zemeckis!
The Polar Express is about a child (Josh Hutcherson) who has serious doubts in the existence of Santa, and the magic of the holidays is slowly fading for him. One Christmas eve, the deafening sound of a train wakes him up. It’s the Polar Express destined for the North Pole.
I think it is such a magical film. Along the way, the most bizarre things happen, with some beautiful shots. My favourites being the ‘hot chocolate’ scene where the children on the train are served hot cocoa in the most extravagant way!
My second favourite scene is when we follow the journey of a lost train ticket: out the window with the wind, settling on the snow before being kicked up by a pack of wolves, snatched by a swooping eagle… In 3D it was fantastic.
My favourite characters include the ‘hobo’ (Tom Hanks), and the two train drivers. But the conductor (also Tom Hanks) has some great lines. Hanks has the best voice for children’s stories.
“One thing about trains: it doesn’t matter where they’re going. What matters is deciding to get on.” – Conductor
Jodie’s rating: 8.5/10
Dr Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas
Director: Ron Howard
Writer: Dr. Seuss
Featuring: Jim Carrey
A comedy about the Grinch: a Christmas-hating recluse. The story explores the idea of commercialism and what Christmas is really about. Despite this heavy, typical ideology, it’s such a pick-me-up story.
“Max help me… I’m feeling!”
It’s bright, absurd, funny and crazy! I love it.
[opens phone book] Alphabetically! Aadvarkian Abakeneezer Who, I… HATE YOU!
Aaron B. Benson Who, I hate you.
[looking into book]
Hate, hate, hate. Hate, hate, hate. Double hate…
Probably the best family Christmas comedy.
Jodie’s rating: 8/10
Despite these being my favourites, they all have a 6 or 7/10 on imdb… Perhaps I don’t have good taste in Christmas entertainment.
I think the best festive films are enchanting, magical and a tad bizarre. Which is why I picked these, and not the likes of Frozen or Bad Santa.
Have a jolly time.