Christmas Special Review- Frosty Returns

Where does one begin with Frosty Returns? Well, I supposed I could start out by simply saying that it is not recommended in the least and what follows will illustrate why:

Firstly, there is a stylistic incongruity to this special that’s hard to get over. The first few scenes set up different locations but are animated as if they are splicing scenes out of different projects. There is no sense of visual unity to the front end of the piece but it’s a problem that never fully rights itself.

Then there is the absolutely odd mixture of voice talents. The first mistake this special made in that regard was to carry on the tradition of creating a character that looks like the actor doing the narration. With the shoddy animation work and the fact that you have Jonathan Winters and not Jimmy Durante it’s a failed homage. You get a grab bag of comedic actors: Jan Hooks, Andrea Martin and Brian Doyle-Murray. Notable amongst the kids is Michael Patrick Carter a few year before his only true claim to fame in Milk Money.

Then there is John Goodman as Frosty, which ends up being the most troubling and much of the why doesn’t even have to do with him. He’s given quite a bit of weak dialogue to work with, nothing even shining a candle to what came before, and we all know John Goodman can sing but then he’s given songs not quite in his range and it wouldn’t work because the lyrics are terrible.

Then there’s this asinine plot about this aerosol type spray that will remove the snow, ruin a festival and the environment and in this crazed little town a majority of the kids hate snow, which is really weird.

If this hadn’t been included in the holiday specials set I got I never would’ve sought it out it really is an unfortunate misfire in all respects.

Christmas Special Review- Frosty the Snowman

The first thing that needs to be said is that Rankin/Bass are to the Christmas special what Cecil B. DeMille is to the biblical epic. They go big and more often not they create a classic in the process.

They always bring great voice talent into the equation and in this special they had the talents of Mr. Jimmy Durante as the narrator. While many of this generation may not know Jimmy Durante from anything else he will be immortalized to many from this special alone. Having a storyteller adds a certain magical quality to these tales and the right casting choice accentuates it.

This tale creates its villain on the spur of the moment, there is no overtly evil entity at play. It is merely that the magician Professor Hinkle sees the hat is magic and greed takes over.

It also starts on the last day of school before Christmas break so the kids in the mix are free to pursue their adventure, which mainly consists of getting Frosty (also brilliantly voiced by Jackie Vernon) to the North Pole.

This special also features a spectacular apparent defeat as it really seems that all has been lost. There is just something magical to a child, and the child in us all, about a snowman and the personification thereof is a nearly fail-safe formula.