The Christmas That Almost Wasn't
The Christmas That Almost Wasn't (Full name- Chuck E. Cheese In: The Christmas That Almost Wasn't) is a 1982 adventure Christmas special. This special was made by Atari and Pizza Time Theater Inc. through an animation division known as Kadabrascope. The initial intention of the film was to test new animation technology that they had developed, which involved every key-frame being hand drawn, then the in-betweens would be set and generated by a computer (basically, it was an early version of Adobe flash) However, both companies faced major financial issues due to the Video Game Crash of 1983. As such, the special went unfinished (not that it was too memorable to begin with) and they slapped it on a VHS tape and put it up for sale at their "Jasper's General Store" at Chuck E. Cheese's Pizza Time Theatre stores.
Chuck E. Cheese and Jasper T. Jowls try to get to the North Pole to send Santa their Christmas letter, meanwhile the elves try out robots at their workshop.
Why It Sucks
- The pacing is way too fast in the special causing major plot holes. For example, it begins with Chuck and Jasper taking off for the North Pole with zero exposition beforehand on how Jasper convinced Chuck to go on the journey or even how they got the robots.
- The elves are said to have not been particularly fond of the robots taking their place, however this is barely shown in the special.
- The animation (If you can even call it that) consists entirely of key-frames. Being fair, there is an actual legitimate reason it's like that, but it's still a major issue with the special.
- The special has a last minute moral, which is "Sometimes, it's better to learn things on your own." This moral seems to be the theme of the last 7 minutes of the special, however because the elves weren't really seen largely protesting against the robots or anything, this message comes out of the blue.
- This sound mixing is particularly bad and the character's voices can barely be heard at times.
- Wouldn't the house being buried in snow cause major working climate issues?
- Chuck and Jasper don't really seem to have enough screen time. Their overall character doesn't feel properly established as a result.
- The story feels like a first draft. Being such, all the major plot pieces are here, so the special could have been improved with a bit of re-writing.
- The voice acting is pretty good, for the most part.
- The background music is pretty cool sounding.
- If the animation had been completed in this, it looks like it may have been promising.
- A few of the characters actually have distinctive designs to them.
- This was one of Scott Wilson's earliest roles as Chuck E. Cheese (He only does Chuck's musical number in the special).