12/17/09

RVOD090 The Night Before Christmas

(1946, Short/Holiday/Animation, b&w)

Riffers:

Mike Nelson, Kevin Murphy and Bill Corbett

Oh no, honey. The Joker’s on our lawn.

Rating: ***

In a Nutshell
:

The famous poem, acted and occasionally animated for our viewing pleasure.

Summary:

The jolly housebreaker himself.‘Twas the night before Christmas, and so on, and so forth, not even a mouse. Because he’d been killed, stuffed and mounted to the floor. Cartoon egg things dance in the dreams of the youngsters upstairs, while our mustachioed protagonist hears creepy cackling from outside. Despite what must be near-zero outdoor temperatures, he sticks his head out the window to look at animated flying reindeer. Occasionally these dissolve into live-action close-ups of a sleigh, occupied by a certain red-clad embodiment of Christmas commercialism.

Santa pops down the chimney, stuffs the stockings with toys (shovels and swans and things) and favors us with an overexaggerated wink. He then waves his arms at the tree (which magically decorates itself) before popping back up and flying off again. Merry Christmas to all, and to all a goodnight!

Thoughts:

All kidding aside, there’s really not all that much wrong with the short that isn’t wrong with the original poem. And to clarify, by “wrong with the original poem” I mean “good-naturedly poked fun at by the riffers (in the short) and by myself (in this review) because its age makes it seem old fashioned these days”. The exception, of course, is the lingering close-up of the clearly dead mouse, which may have seemed even more inappropriately creepy at the time.

A few of my favorite comments: When the poem states, “I had nothing to dread,” Bill adds, “Nothing to dread other than the creepy winking giant who just broke into my house.” During the magical tree decoration, Kevin adds a verse of his own: “Then Old Saint Nick waved his arms like a blizzard. Did I mention the fat guy was also a wizard?” As Santa trundles back up the chimney with his sack, Mike wonders, “How do you think the other saints feel about Nicholas here?” And finally, Kevin’s own version of the final lines—“And I heard him exclaim as he drove out of sight, ‘If you don’t like your presents, my butt you can bite!’” It’s not the funniest Christmas short of the 2009 Live Show batch, but it’s pleasant enough.