Christmas is Here Again
Christmas is Here Again is a 2007 direct-to-DVD animated Christmas musical comedy, directed by Robert Zappia. It is the first feature production from Renegade Animation, which is known for producing Hi Hi Puffy AmiYumi.
Sophiana, an orphan girl who carries a cane, sets out to find Santa's toy sack (which is a magical source of toys since it was made from the baby Jesus' swaddling clothes), which was stolen thirty years previously by Krad ("dark" spelled backwards) in revenge after Santa stopped handing out Krad's coal to naughty children. She is helped in her quest by Paul Rocco, one of Santa's elves, Dart, a reindeer calf, Buster the fox, and his friend, Charlee the polar bear.
Why Christmas Isn't Here Again
- The film is noticeably visually cheap, as the characters all have limited movements and the backgrounds are very simplistic.
- The producers make the cast the top priority in the film's marketing. No joke, over 2/3 of the back cover on the DVD is just the cast listing (which is weird considering the cast is already on the front cover) and other (and better) productions they've been involved in. This just comes off as desperation.
- The songs are absolutely dreadful, the lyrics are as generic as they can get, the melodies are in no way catchy, and they're so forgettable that you won't be able to remember a single one by the time the film's over.
- Sophiana is a cookie-cutter orphan protagonist, with a cruel matron and a heart locket with a picture of her lost parents.
- What makes Sophiana one of the weaker orphan protagonists is that she also requires a cane. That's nothing against handicapped people, but the problem with Sophiana's cane is that it seems more like a prop to gain sympathy votes, since she's able to walk for long distances, climb trees, and cook and serve delicious meals.
- In fact, there's one scene where she literally stands and even walks perfectly fine without her cane, just adding onto the cane's pointlessness.
- Norm MacDonald gets a musical number, and his singing (if you can call it that) is atrocious. It doesn't help that the song is just abhorrent, maybe even the worst song in the entire film.
- The film tries to blend the Santa story with the Nativity, which isn't a bad idea, but it's handled poorly. Christmas is put to a halt for 30 years because people didn't get any gifts from Santa, so people literally stopped celebrating Jesus' birth because they didn't get any presents.
- Absolutely abysmal jokes, especially from Charlee.
- Krad makes for a poor villain, his motivations for stealing Santa's sack are because Santa stopped punishing naughty kids with coal, so him wanting to put an end to Christmas altogether because of it feels more like pettiness than malice.
- It's not just Sophiana that's a dull trope. Krad is the basic villain, Buster and Charlee are the overdone "straight man and goofball" comic reliefs, Dart is the typical dreamer, and Santa is...well, just another Santa for the collection.
- Buster randomly spurts out a Lord of the Rings reference, which not only doesn't tie in with what's happening in the film, but also comes off as just weird.
- Dart's dream to be able to fly is insanely predictable; from hearing him mention it for the first time, you just know he'll learn the ability when circumstances call for it. In fact, when the inevitable scene does come, you'll practically know the circumstances off by heart.
- Most of the acting is horrendous, especially from Ed Asner and Norm MacDonald.
- Jay Leno doesn't fit as a narrator, his voice sounds too standard, and he never shuts up. He constantly explains what's going on and intrudes on the story to the point where you almost have no choice but to say "shut up, Leno."
- The film has a lot of wasted talent, but none more than Shirley Jones. Her great, operatic singing voice is put to use on one of the movie's worst songs.
- During Shirley Jones' song, the animation suddenly becomes stilted and lazy, when it actually had a lot of potential to become more creative and lively, so it reeks of missed opportunity.
- It uses the overused “Christmas is cancelled because Santa Claus didn’t come” cliché. Because of the fact that in real life people celebrate Christmas whether Santa comes or not, this films existence is pointless.
- As previously stated, the idea of mixing the Santa story with the Nativity isn't that bad, and it could work in another film.
- Madison Davenport and Shirley Jones (despite the misuse) are actually good singers and do a decent job in their acting roles.
- There are a couple of funny scenes.
- The idea of naughty children being turned into lifeless mining drones is honestly great, even if a bit poorly executed.
- There was a Puffy AmiYumi puppet seen in one of the musical numbers.