zaterdag 7 december 2013

Christmas movies - Children

Yes, I'm back! With a whole lot of Christmas movies to spend the holidays with. Sure, it's only just december, but it's never too early to start watching Christmas movies when it's getting colder and colder outside and you simply wanna snuggle up and drink hot cocoa. Last year I talked about Romance, Classics and Drama, but now I'd like to start with children's movies. They have the most wonderful stories, filled with magic and beautiful sets. So here we go: 

Mickey's Christmas Carol (1983)If you don't know the story, let me give it to you short: Seven years after the death of Ebenezer Scrooge's business partner Jacob Marley, on Christmas Eve, Scrooge has no compassion, kindness or charity and hates Christmas. He doesn't do gifts or parties, except for giving his underpaid clerk Bob Cratchit Christmas Day off with pay. That night when Scrooge goes home, he's visited and warned by the ghost of Marley that three spirits will visit him that night: To stop him from having the same afterlife as Marley the spirits will confront him with the choices he made in life in the hope of turning his life around. There are a lot of movie adaptations of this story, including this one with Mickey and his friends. In this version of course it's none other than Scrooge McDuck who plays Scrooge and Mickey as Bob Cratchit.

Why watch it? It's the Charles Dickens story! But now with all the characters we grew up loving: Mickey Mouse and his friends. It's the first version of the classic I ever watched and I'll always remember it. It's a very short movie, but ever so lovely. Once again all the characters are integrated perfectly and it's one of my faves. You gotta love them all singing 'We Wish You a Merry Christmas'. Seriously: You have to see it at least once in your life! It's now available on Daily Motion ;-).

Home Alone 1  & 2: Lost in New York (1990 & 1992)
The youngest of a family, Kevin, get's in trouble the night before the family leaves for the Christmas holidays. He's sent to the attic to sleep by himself and when everybody oversleeps, he's forgotten. At first it's the best time ever for Kevin, but then he finds out that two burglers are planning to rob his house and he'll need to come up with a plan to stop them.

One year later, Kevin isn't forgotten but he looses his family at the airport and gets on the wrong plane. Only to end up... in New York! With his dads credit card in his bag he checks in to the Plaza and has the best time on his own. Who needs family anyway? But what do you know?? Two bandits escaped out of jail, and they are none other than Harry and Marv: The burglers Kevin helped put a way a year before. When they spot Kevin, all by his lonesome, it's time for payback!

Why watch them? Well, for one it's written by John Hughes. Need I say more? I'll say a little more: It's got the most perfect songs and soundtrack, insane characters and perfect jokes. Macauley Culkin is perfect as Kevin and super cute as well, while Joe Pesci and Daniel Stern are epic as the villains. They takes celebrating Christmas to a whole new level, filled with the dream that some children might have of what to do when they were actually on their own. It's got snow, family, love, Christmas decorations, Christmas trees, Santa's, choirs, you name it. Even after all these years it remains a joy to watch! And that goes for both movies.

The Muppet Christmas Carol (1992)
Here Dickens is again! Like I said, there are many adaptations/version of this story. This is the Muppet version of Charles Dickens' story, where Kermit is Bob Cratchit and Michael Caine plays Scrooge. "Bah, humbug!"

Why watch it? A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens is a classic. So you can't not watch a version at Christmas. There are way too many of them of course, but this one is awesome. Hello: MUPPETS!!! It's wonderful to see all the know characters and how they integrated them into the story, along with the songs. It's truly amazing and a joy to watch.

Look Who's Talking Now (1993)
The second one in a row of three movies (Look Who's Talking and Look Who's Talking Too are the other ones) this movie centers on a family Ubriacco: James and Mollie with children Mikey and Julie. Mollie is a top accountant at her firm, but because her salary is so high, she's suddenly laid off. In the meantime James is hardly at home because of his job: as private air pilot for Samantha d'Bonne, who has a crush on him. The movie also adds two dogs: While in the previous movies the baby's were voiced in a voice over, in this movie it's the two dogs (since the children are old enough to speak).

Why watch it? It balances the adult and child story very well: there's the dogs for the children, while having to be unemployed and ending up as an elf is something more for grown ups. While child actors can be annoying from time to time, Look Who's Talking Now has the wonderful David Gallagher who's always a joy to watch. In the main leads you've got John Travolta and Kristie Alley who's chemistry is amazing. So in short: it's a lovely movie, with cute dogs, sweet kids, nice jokes and a good storyline.

Miracle on 34th Street

When the Cole´s Santa Clause gets drunk before taking part in the Thanksgiving parade, Dorey Walker (Elizabeth Perkins) - Cole's director of special events - fires him and needs to find a replacement immediatly. She spots an old man (Richard Attenborough) and begs him to take over. This man, Kris Kringle, does so well that he's hired as Cole's main Santa for the holiday period. All the children in New York begin to believe that he's the real deal, except Dorey's six year old daughter Susan (Mara Wilson). Then one night he's arrested for supposedly assaulting a man on the street and the case is taken into court.
Based on the original movie from 1947 with the same title.

Why watch it? Once again there's a story about children not believing and it's set in a very relatable environment. It's a long road to Christmas and to believing, but this movie has it all. A wonderful and touching story, sweet children, a jolly Santa, romance, drama and humor. It also plays well into the consumerism that surrounds the holidays these days. And of course the discourse about adults believing and why they would do so.

Anastasia (1997)
When the revolution in Russia ensued
(1916), many members of the royal family didn't survive. Grandmother Marie and granddaughter Anastasia were able to escape, but soon lost each other outside of the walls of the palace. Ten years later, in 1926, Russia is under communist rule and the grandmother, now in Paris, is still looking for her granddaughter. Whoever brings them together again, will get ten million rubles. Two russian men, Dimitri and Vladimir, will do anything to collect that award and soon meet Anya. An orphan who lost her memory (and is in fact the real Anastasia). The only thing she has of her past is the necklace with the words 'Together in Paris'. In a deserted palace she finds Dimitri and Vladimir, who are struck with her resemblance and decide to take her with them to Paris. But all isn't as simple as it is. Because Rasputin. the one who cursed Anastasia's family and caused the revolution, still wishes to kill her and destroy the Romanov line.

Why watch it? I love this movie so much, ever since childhood. And I watch it every year. Though it technically isn't a Christmas movie it starts in Russia and there's a lot of snow. Anastasia has some beautiful songs,there's a lovely romance, a rich history, great characters and a sweet story with adorable animals like Pooka and Bartok.
(Credits song, I seriously love it!)

The Grinch aka How the Grinch Stole Christmas (2000)
Dr. Suess stories always do well around Christmas and holidays. Jim Carrey took on the role of the Grinch in Whoville, the city where everyone celebrates Christmas with much happines and joy except for Grinch. He despises Christmas and the Whos and they don't care for him either. Cindy Lou, an 8 year old girl, meets him one day and wants to find out the true meaning of Christmas as well as Grinch's story.

Why watch it? I guess for everyone who read the books, it's a classic. For me it's just a funny story with an hilarious Jim Carrey as The Grinch as an evil, but also misunderstood creature. He's got the cutest dog, it's a lovely children's story with lovely songs ('Where are you Christmas?') and it's full of Christmas spirit.

The Santa Clause (1, 2,3) (1994, 2002, 2006)
Tim Allen is Scott C alvin/Santa Claus... or better yet: Will become Santa Claus. A divorced man who lives for his work (as an advertising executive for a toy company) and has a soon but is mostly neglecting his fatherly duties. When he accidentaly causes Santa to fall of his roof and to his death on Christmas Eve, he needs to take over for the sake of the world. He will then go on a journey and some major phyical changes to become Santa Clause, to learn more about himself, his son and family values.

2: The Mrs. Clause: Eight years have gone by since Scott Calvin first took up the Santa Claus suit. Now he couldn't be happier and he's at the top of his game, until Bernard and Curtis - the head elf and the Keeper of the Handbook of Christmas - break the news about another clause: The Mrs Clause. Which states that only a married man can become Santa. Now it's up to Santa Clause/Scott Calvin to find a bride. But there's a more personal issue as well: Scott's 16 year old son, Charlie, is on the naughty list.

3: The Escape Clause: While Santa Claus is having his entire family over to the North Pole - without them finding out he's Santa Claus and making them believe he's a toy maker in Canada - Jack Frost is reaking havoc. The Escape Clause gets invoked, going back to the moment where Scott Calvin became Santa so Frost can take his place. Back to his old toy advertising self again, Scott has to find a way to make everything right again.

Why watch it? It's nice to watch a trilogy sometimes, even if the first one is still the best out of  three. They are funny, always deal with the cutest children en show a magical wonderland of Santa's workshop. The elves are wonderful and Tim Allen makes one convincing Santa. All of the questions (how does Santa enter when there's no fireplace? etc.) are creatively answered and that's just one of the many joys of watching. Of course there's more beneath the story about Calvin rediscovering what it means to be a good dad for his son, who's overjoyed.

The Polar Express (2004)
In the late 1950's - on Christmas Eve -  a young boy questions his belief in Santa Clause. He hears a sound outside and while investigating, finds that it's a steam-powered passenger train named 'The Polar Express' which is headed to the North Pole. With some hesitation he jumps on at the last minute. There he meets other children and many different people on his way, with whom he has many adventures while on the train.

Why watch it? The Polar Express is the first all-digital capture film and it looks amazing!! Then there's Tom Hanks who plays six distinct roles, which is a joy to watch. But what you really like about a Christmas movie is the story and this movie is the perfect example. It's a touching story about a boy who doesn't believe, just like so many children at that age set again all of those who do. You've got the winter wonderland, filled with snow and a whole lot of magic (so to speak).

Take a look at this link to view some of them:

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