The Snowman (1982)

TV Short   |  G   |    |  Animation, Short, Adventure


The Snowman (1982) Poster

On Christmas Eve, a young boy builds a snowman that comes to life and takes him to the North Pole to meet Father Christmas.


8.2/10
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29 September 1999 | Tug-3
10
| "A wonder without words"
Raymond Briggs' illustrated book, upon which this holiday special is based, has been accurately described as a "wonder without words." This short movie can be described just as accurately with that phrase. _The Snowman_ may be my favorite animated film of all time, ranking alongside _Watership Down_. These films share the common bonds of not underestimating the intelligence of their audiences, and of providing spectacular and moving animated sequences. The flight sequence of _The Snowman,_ set to the haunting song "Walking in the Air," is a sequence that could have been lifted from _Fantasia_: the landscape unfolds, revealing wonder after wonder--city lights, cruising ships, penguins, aurora borealis--as the music rolls like turbulent winter waves. The story is short and simple, and more than a little heartbreaking, but captures the tragedy of transience without padding the action with sophomoric song and dance routines. This cartoon also features perhaps the best rendition of Santa Claus (or "Father Christmas," to be more true to the show's British roots) ever caught on film: a wholly charming, smiling, warm person, fun and grandfatherly and kind.

Three brief suggestions: if you can find it, buy the soundtrack to this film, as it makes great background holiday music; see if you can locate versions that feature opening narration by David Bowie (the video version usually features an opening sequence with the author, the PBS version a short scene with Bowie); stay far away from the waaaay inferior sequel, "Father Christmas," an oddly sardonic follow-up replete with bad jokes and--believe it or not!--nudity!

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