• Warning: Spoilers

    That's the problem with kids TV nowadays. It's all so patronizing and condescending. `Wow, that was fun, wasn't it?' No it wasn't. And unfortunately it seems to have permeated into children films as well. And that is what 'Flight of the Reindeer' is all about. Admittedly I haven't seen 'Flight of the Reindeer' in a few years so I might be hazy on some points, but I remember being thoroughly unimpressed with it at the time.

    Essentially, the story follows a lecturer who is given a book for Christmas. Now, the lecturer is an esteemed scientist on the flying habits of some animal. I think it was bullfrogs. Anyway, through this book, Mr Lecturer / family man learns that reindeer can fly in exactly the same way as bullfrogs. Apparently this book was written by a scientist many hundreds of years ago who disappeared in the North Pole. Now, if it were me I would have thrown the book out the nearest window. Flying bullfrogs are a naturally occurring phenomenon, but flying reindeer is a fantastic and wholly unrealistic concept. But, Mr lecturer ISN'T me, so I guess that explains why he decides to fly to the north pole leaving his wife and kid at home with no idea where he's gone. Of course, things go awry and before he knows it, a flying reindeer has crashed into his private plane and he's stranded at the North Pole.

    Are you still following this? Good.

    His family, of course, are devastated. I would be too, I mean, what a suck-tacular Christmas. Elsewhere, Mr lecturer finds himself in a hidden town at the North Pole inhabited by midgets and one tyrannical figure who dresses only in red and white. Rather than try to escape immediately, as I would have done, he greets everyone there with open arms. This hidden civilization of midget monsters, and he greets them with open arms. Oooo-kayyyy. They feed him this story that they are the elves of Santa Claus and they spend all year round making toys for kids they have no idea exist. And Mr lecturer accepts all this. He even accepts that Santa Claus is in fact the scientist who disappeared two hundred years ago or whatever. There's just one problem - they don't want him to leave. The world can't know of their secret existence. After all, before they'd know it there'd be a McDonalds and a Starbucks on every street corner.

    Still with me?

    Now, Mr nice guy's family find the book and assume he's gone to the North Pole. Boy, wouldn't they be embarrassed if they found out he'd just gone for a brisk walk? Before the audience knows it, they're jetting off to spend a Christmas in the most authentic winter wonderland on the planet. Meanwhile, Mr lecturer gets sick of all the uppity midgets and decides to leave. I can't remember exactly, but I do recall him holding Santa Claus to gunpoint. A fire fight ensues when the midgets attack and he manages to escape via Santa's sleigh. With Santa hot on his heels and with bloodlust in his eyes, Mr Whatever, through some marvellous co-incidence, finds himself flying alongside his family's plane that is looking for him. So he jumps on to their plane, the planes flies back and everyone lives happily ever after.

    The fact is, there have been some shocking films made in the name of Christmas over the years but because they feature that festive charm they get away with it. And it's that charm that is utterly devoid from 'Flight of the Reindeer' There isn't much wrong with it; nothing which insults the intelligence (well, obviously there IS, but it's a kids film and thus can get away with such things) or anything particularly offensive, but the problem is there is nothing much right about it either. It just doesn't FEEL Christmassy. And for a film that is all about Christmas, that it a pretty major flaw. But hey, I don't think 'Flight of the Reindeer's target audience mind about that? Why should they? They're all so doped up on sedatives they probably couldn't spell `Christmas'

    I give it three out of ten. If it was a TV-Movie then I'd add another two stars onto it. We all know how bad they can get.