Santa Claus cartoons and animated projects are a clearly overlooked genre of christmas specials. It’s what I always wanted to watch during the holiday season as a kid and sadly there weren’t too many. At least not where Santa is the main hero; I can understand how Papa Noel can be a difficult main character to write for but it’s still a shame that he hasn’t been used as much. Luckily in more modern times we have at least gotten two great animated specials heavily focusing on father christmas himself. And while he might share the spotlight with others, he is clearly the driving factor of these movies.
This animated special won tons of awards and yet it feels like it passed by without getting much notice and forgotten. The first thing you’ll notice is the amazing animation the movie has. It feels like a high budget movie from another time, perhaps the 90s. It’s just such a beautiful movie to look at and overall the movie has tons of heart.. I like how they explain the different parts of the Christmas lore. One thing I did not like is that it doesn’t feel very Xmas-y at times despite it being one. It definitely feels mroe european. A great origin for Santa and fun.
The movie itself is a twist on a different type of origin for Saint Nick and while not traditional at all it just works. I love the kid social network idea of how information was passed in the past despite there being no internet. This is actually something that RL Stine mentions is how Goosebumps spread in the early 90s. Visualizing the moral of altruistic acts helping make others be kind to one another is heartfelt. A true act of good will always spark another. Great movie.
Rise of the Guardians
Now for something very different we have a very intense movie, just looking at the character designs here you have a Santa with tattoos. Definiely a much tougher interpretation of the character that I’ve ever seen. What I like about this movie is that it’s about all the fantasy creatures that we beleived in as kids, I’m talking about the Sandman, the Easter bunny, the tooth fairy..Everyone is here and a dream come true for my kid self. The Nightmare before Christmas had teased the idea of other holdiays being explored and here we have it in a superhero kind of movie.
Now the movie itself doesn’t have much to do with Christmas, it’s more of a fantasy movie type of thing full of myths and legends. Of course Santa being one of the main heroes makes it be a bit more of a Xmas movie than not but it’s also kind of stretching it. It’s similar to Santa Claus. It also feels aimed at slightly older kids 10 or so since it has an angsty story and for that age it would have the most impact since it’s very much so still a very kid oriented movie.
Santa is a tough character to write I feel but these two movies show that you an make great ideas with the character and very wildly different ideas to what you think a traditional Santa Claus story is. Neither of this films takes a traditional role and both deliver great stories that expand the Christmas mythos. Let’s hope there are more Santa stories in the future as the season is lacking animated specials and cartoons.