Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer: The Movie,
directed by William R. Kowalchuk
(Goodtimes Entertainment, 1998)

I grew up watching the classic Christmas movies: Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, Frosty the Snowman and Jack Frost. It was a family tradition; my parents, sister and I would gather in the living room, with the lights shining from the Christmas tree, eating popcorn and making garlands for the tree. Now that my daughter is old enough to enjoy Christmas, I want to continue this tradition with her.

Imagine my disappointment, then, when I discovered that Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer: The Movie was not the movie I'd watched as a child. This remake is an animated musical production, complete with dancing elves, singing reindeer and heroic arctic animals.

The story starts as usual; Rudolph is teased because of his shiny nose and is forbidden to join in the reindeer games. He runs away, and his girlfriend Zoey leaves the village to find him. She crosses Queen Stormella's bridge, thus provoking the winter wrath of the wicked queen. Meanwhile, Rudolph meets up with Slyly the Fox and Leonard the Polar Bear. The Northern Sprites (four singing little fairies) warn Rudolph that Zoey is held captive, so he and his friends rescue her. In the process, Rudolph learns to appreciate being different. From that point on, the story reverts back to the original, with Rudolph being chosen to guide Santa's sleigh through the winter storm.

The movie features the voice talents of John Goodman as Santa, Bob Newhart as Leonard, Eric Idle as Slyly and Whoopie Goldberg as Stormella, along with Debbie Reynolds and Richard Simmons. The movie has eight original songs and a couple of Christmas favorites: "Wonderful Christmastime," by Paul and Linda McCartney and "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer," performed by Clint Black.

Although it doesn't rank up there with the classic version, Rudolph: The Movie is an entertaining family show, emphasizing the true spirit of Christmas. In the same spirit, proceeds from the movie go to help UNICEF. Each movie also comes with a special Rudolph Christmas ornament.

[ by Audrey M. Clark ]

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