Wednesday, November 28, 2007


A new treat for the 2007 holiday season is a new television special starring everyone's favourite ogre! That's right, this year Shrek got his own Christmas special!

More importantly, Shrek the Halls will premiere as a television special! It seems that these days television specials are a thing of the past with companies chosing to send them straight to DVD. But it is great to see Dreamworks creating a soon-to-be-classic television special just like the olden days.

The story is set after Shrek the Third as Shrek, Fiona and the kids prepare for their first Christmas together as a family. The only problem is that Shrek has no idea what Christmas is! Shrek comes to the conclusion that Christmas is all about decorations, a big feast and telling a Christmas story to his family. But all of his plans go to waste when Donkey shows up with all of their friends who want to party through the holiday!

I am not a fan of the Shrek movies but this special is something different. It looks like Dreamworks spent a lot of time making this look like the movies. The animation is just as good as anything from the films and all of the original cast of Mike Myers, Eddie Murphy, Cameron Diaz and Antonio Banderas returns to do the voices!

While the story a timeless classic, the search for Christmas and his reaction when it all gets messed up fits so well with Shrek's personality. The story doesn't feel forced and it is funny and heart-warming. But the best part is that it doesn't try to parody every Christmas special that ever came out (the constant movie parodies is a big reason why I don't like the movies).

All in all, this is a good special that I'm sure will be seen for years to come. It's not on DVD yet, but you can bet that if it doesn't come out this year you'll have to wait until next year to see it again.


Once again, just like I pointed out in this Batman post, everything that was wrong about the first X-Men Christmas episode was corrected here.

On Angel's Wings aired during the second season of X-Men: Evolution in 2001. In this story, a new hero is seen in Manhattan rescuing people in trouble. His name is Angel and he is a mutant, but the public doesn't know it. But when the public does find out, and the very people he had saved quickly turn into his persecutors, it drives home Xavier's need not keep the identities of the X-Men a secret.

Having this episode reiterate the mission statement of the series instead of getting overly Christmasy was a good idea. It doesn't stand apart from the series as a special episode but it does deliver a heartfelt story. The animation is also on par if not better than most episodes. Nothing was rushed so that they could get this out on time and the result is vibrant colours and beautiful backdrops and really nice movements.

If you wish to see this episode, it is included in X-Men: Evolution, Season 2, Volume 2 - Powers Revealed.


It's Jubilee's first Christmas with the X-Men and she is excited to be a part of the holiday cheer. Jean, with unwanted help from Gambit, is preparing a dinner for the family while Storm, Wolverine and Jubilee do some last minute shopping. But things don't go according to plans when the trio stumble upon the news that Leech, one of the Morlocks who live in the sewers of New York, is dying.

A far as Christmas episodes go, this one is quite awful. And as far as the rest of the series is concerned, this takes first prize for worst X-Men episode ever. There are two ultra sappy stories here. One focuses on Jubilee and how, since she is an orphan, she has never experienced Christmas with a family. I have no problem with this story. It is a good, wholesome, cliché Christmas message.

But the second story told here is the tale of the Morlocks, mutants whose mutation has altered their looks to the point that they cannot live amongst the public like the X-Men. This is Fox's way of sticking in a Public Service Announcement about helping those less fortunate than yourself. This is fine and noble cause but since NO ONE CARES about the Morlocks we find ourselves rooting for the Grim Reaper when Leech's pulse drops!

And what the heck is up with that blood transfusion anyway? Logan's blood can not heal anyone. That is not how it works! And if that were the case, why didn't they use Wolverine's blood to heal everyone who gets hurt on any of their missions from that point on? And why was Wolverine so stuck up about donating blood? They say he let someone down in the past but they never explain it!

The animation is rushed, the dialogue is terrible and the story rushes around so fast that you feel like you've accidentally hit fast forward on your remote!

I'm sorry to say that all you that want to see this episode will not be able to for a while as Disney, the current rights holders, have no plans to release this series on DVD in the near future. Maybe youtube?


Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer is a department store creation, created by Mongomery Ward in 1939. (Ward's is now an online only store based out of Cedar Rapids, Iowa). The character was adapted into a song by Johnny Marks and recorded by Gene Autry in 1949. But it wasn't until 1964 when Rankin/Bass produced its now-famous stop-motion tv special.

The story of the reindeer with the shiny nose followed the song very closely but added many subplots, such as an elf that wants to be a dentist, the island of misfit toys, and the abominable snowman.

Son of the famous reindeer, Donner, Rudolph has a bright red nose that Donner believes to be a flaw. Ashamed of his son, Donner covers the nose in mud so that Rudolph would appear 'normal'. But his nose is revealed during the Reindeer Games and Rudolph is shunned for being different. Meanwhile, Hermie the Elf is also having problems fitting in as he wants to be a dentist rather than an elf. Together, the pair head out to find out where they belong. The journey takes them on many adventures including a land where all of the misfit toys reside. They also face and, with the help of Yukon Cornelius, defeat the Abominable Snow-Monster.

This special airs every year on NBC making it the longest running Christmas TV special. And special it is. The lovable characters and fun songs make this a classic show for kids of any generation. The care that Rankin/Bass put into the stop-motion animation gives the viewer a feeling that heart and soul went into this production and even though details like lipsync seemed to be not important, the overwhelming charm made this incarnation of the misfit reindeer a timeless classic.

The main theme of this show is one that everybody can relate to. The story of one who is hated a feared for having extra gifts is something that everyone goes through at least once in their life. That is the connection that draws everyone in. Everybody has gifts and you should not be ridiculed for using them.

In many ways, this is the story of the X-Men. Rudolph is a mutant and should be a superhero. That's my inner geek talking.

Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer can be found in the Original Television Christmas Classics DVD box set.

Monday, November 26, 2007


In 1997, Batman: the Animated Series was given a total make over and dubbed The New Batman Adventures. The characters were given a more modern and stylized look and the adventures became a bit more kid friendly with the introduction of Tim Drake as Robin and Batgirl as a regular cast member. The series launched with this Christmas special.

Everything that was wrong about Christmas With the Joker was corrected with this episode. The animation is way smoother and the new look compliments the characters a great deal.

The story of Holiday Knights is also a better one and is written by Paul Dini (Lost). It is three mini-stories of events that happen during the two weeks before New Year's Day. First, Harley Quinn and Poison Ivy hypnotize Bruce Wayne and go on a wild shopping spree; then on Christmas Eve, Clayface is caught shoplifting by Renee Montoya, Harvey Bullock and Batgirl; and finally, on New Year's Eve, the Joker has a plan to blow up Gotham City when the clock strikes midnight!

It is charming and fun and fits in with the rest of the series, unlike that other piece of garbage I mentioned before.

If you want to check it out for your self Holiday Knights is available in Batman: the Animated Series, Volume Four

Friday, November 23, 2007


When Batman: the Animated Series hit the airwaves in 1992 it was an instant success. The dark and moody interpretation of the Dark Knight was welcomed by fans young and old. The first episode, On Leather Wings was very serious and was given a 'feature film' treatment in terms of storytelling, camera angles and voice actors.

But the second episode produced, Christmas With the Joker is almost a 180 degree turn in the wrong direction! I cannot express how much I despise this episode. It is the weakest of the series and a low blow after a fantastic pilot episode. The animation is awful, characters (Joker especially) were of model, the lipsync is way off and the story tries to cram way too much into 22 minutes.

I knew this one was bad news as soon as the episode started with the Joker singing 'Jingle Bells, Batman Smells' while blasting through the roof of Arkham Asylum on a rocket powered Christmas tree.

This is the first introduction to the Joker and in particular Mark Hamill as the voice of the Clown Prince of Crime. But while the Joker is an evil sadist bent on ruining Batman's life, this Joker is a funfilled jokester who just loves a good, deadly prank. While the pilot episode brought realism to the screen, this one brought absurdity.

If you want to check it out for your self Christmas With the Joker is available in Batman: the Animated Series, Volume One.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

The Santa Gallery!

Welcome to the Santa Gallery where you can see the many difference appearances that Santa has taken on over the years! This page will be constantly updated so check back often!

Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer

A Christmas Flintstone (The Flintstones)

Christmas Comes to Pac-Land (Pac-Man)

Toyland Premiere (Cartoon Classics)

Aliens First Christmas

Sonic Christmas Blast

A Chipmunk Christmas

Jingle Boo (Animaniacs)

Shrek the Halls

A Pinky & the Brain Christmas

Dexter vs. Santa Claus (Dexter's Laboratory)

'Twas the Fight Before Christmas (Powerpuff Girls)

Xmas Story (Futurama)

Nightmare Before Christmas

Frosty the Snowman

Friday, November 16, 2007


I know that I have been neglecting this blog. If any of you still read this you may be interested in knowing what I have been up to.

I have come to the conclusion that there are too many 'general animation' webpages out there. And while the features like Thursday Theme Songs (which takes way to much to maintain due to copyright infringement on youtube) and the Cartoon Character Challanges are fun, they are not enough to hold the blog.

So what am I going to do to keep this blog alive? I'm not sure quite yet, but I do know that last December, the Christmas cartoon reviews were a big hit so I may do some more this December and then figure out where to go from there.

On another note, I have created two new webpages that feature the wonderful world of Disney:

Covering the Mouse ( feature Disney music that has been reinvented by artists over the years. Can you imagine Gene Simmons singing When You Wish Upon a Star, Marilyn Manson singing This is Halloween or William hung singing Can You Feel the Love Tonight? Come on over and check it out!

Comics and Stories ( features the fun adventures of your favourite Disney characters from the pages of the Dell, Gold Key, Gladstone, Gemstone and Disney comic books!