Day two of Nick’s Flixmas brings us to our first 2D animated film of the season, Frosty the Snowman. As one of the few non puppet members of the Rankin/Bass film family, Frosty is memorable for quite a few reasons.
Like Rudolph, Frosty the Snowman is a loose adaptation of the Christmas carol of the same name. And with that adaptation comes a great deal of darkness that’s only really perceptible as you watch this over and over every Christmas for 16 Christmases like I have. It’s a bleak film, you guys.
[Nick’s Flixmas is a 25 day celebration of films Nick watches every Christmas! Nick will do some analysis, review, and just generally walk down memory lane. Hopefully you’ll enjoy the ride. Merry Flixmas!]
The 1969 adaptation is the story of Frosty and a few kids as the kids discover the disheveled hat of a bad magician. Due to the magical wish (and odd dancing ritual) of this group of children who want a new friend, the hat is bestowed with magical powers that bring an ordinary snowman to life. Although Frosty is a lovable snow guy, his very existence disturbed me even in youth. Every time the hat’s placed on his head, the first thing he says is “Happy Birthday!” If his first line is indicative of his existence, then it leads one to wonder whether or not Frosty is reborn every time he comes back to life. Do the group of children constantly erase and summon Frosty back to our world? Is Frosty in a limbo state of consciousness without the hat?
If you examine the character’s design without his lovable magic consciousness, he has two pitch black eyes made out of coal (as the magic gives him the white sclera that surrounds his coal pupils). What exactly is going on in his, most likely, empty head? I’m sure the children didn’t think to give their snowman a proper anatomy (don’t even get me started on the fact he has children in a later Rankin/Bass special), so how does he think? How much of Frosty’s existence is Christmas magic? And which branch of the holiday does this magic come from? Does that magic stem from the Pagan Solstice celebrations? Is it a part of Christianity’s power of faith? Where am I even going with this?
Let’s back off Frosty for a second. What’s up with those kids? Without parents, one child decides to up and go to the North Pole with Frosty for some reason, nearly freezes to death, and gets Frosty, who for all intents and purposes is her child, killed. Oh and that one kid loves Oatmeal. Frosty couldn’t have picked a worse group of ritualistic kids to be born into.
You know what? None of this really matters since the film has a parade in it. How many Christmas films feature parades? Surprisingly tons, but how many of them have a living, breathing snowman? Yeah, I thought so.
So that’s Frosty the Snowman. Frosty himself may be a lovable dullard, but his environment is far too wrecked to enjoy the film completely. It’s something I’ll always watch as tradition and nothing more. Probably explains why this entry is slightly more angry and confused than future entries will be. Trust me, Nick’s Flixmas is just getting started.
Stay tuned for Santa Claus is Comin’ to Town tomorrow! It’s one of my favorites!