Favorite Holiday Movies HD-Remastered!: The Polar Express

TEMPLARKNIGHT’S FAVORITE HOLIDAY MOVIES

7. The Polar Express

When this movie came out, I originally didn’t want anything to do with it. The animation looked bad, and I was much more into The Incredibles(which I saw 3-4 times in theaters). I went years without seeing it until 2012 when I was strongly gripped in the Christmas spirit and more willing to enjoy bad movies for the sake of trashing them.

It actually is fairly heartwarming and can hit the spot if you are in the mood for Christmas joy. And the animation is pretty good, as long as you only pay attention to the main characters. If you look at say, the waiters on the train serving Hot Chocolate, you see the deadfaced soulless faces of the damned, forced to live on the train for all eternity for sins of a most egregious nature.

The story follows a young boy known only as boy. Played by Tom Hanks. Yeah, I kid you not, they have his voice altered to sound like a young boy. Why can’t we have voice actors do that ALL the time instead of having women voice them all the time? Oh right. Money.

Yeah, Tom Hanks gets around in this movie. Most of them are obvious, but it wasn’t until I was watching Tom Hanks do the motion capture that I realized he was also playing the boy.

Well, Boy is having doubts about there even being a Santa Claus. He doesn’t send a letter to Santa and his parents are worried about him.

The kid from The Santa Clause and this kid need to swap families. It would divert the entire plot of both movies.

As Boy is about to slip off to dreamland, a Train pulls up outside and he goes out to investigate. Tom Hanks the Conductor greets Tom Hanks the Boy and invites him onto the Polar Express.

The Boy continues to be dubious, but decides to get on. They make another stop to pick up the only kid with a name in this movie, Billy.

Billy annoys me. Apparently, Christmas just “never works out for him.” Which I understand. However, he continuously excludes himself from everything. He almost decides to not get on the Polar Express except at the LAST minute, causing the whole train to come to a screeching halt. Then he decides to sit in the back of the train away from everybody.

Being antisocial myself, I get that one wholeheartedly.

Later he decides he won’t even get off the train to see Santa Claus. Until Boy and Girl convince him to go(before going into an entirely different adventure). He finally sees that he WILL be getting a present, but he refuses to let the present go, causing further mayhem and padding the movie out further.

I just find him annoying in his pessimism.

So going back to after they pick Billy up, the train conductor has the waitstaff of the damned serve hot chocolate to the children onboard. It is a fun little song and dance, but the song gets kind of annoying without the visuals.

As disturbing as those visuals can be. . .

The Girl notices that Billy didn’t get any Hot Chocolate, so her and the Boy take him back some. This is where we get the best song of the movie, “When Christmas Comes to Town.” It’s a nice duet between The Girl and Billy where The Girl talks about all the magical moments she experiences during Christmas and Billy lamenting all the things he has missed out on Christmas.

Through a weird series of events, the Boy somehow loses the Girl’s ticket and The Conductor seems like he is going to throw her from the train. The ticket goes on its own adventure before returning to the Boy. He decides to climb on top of the train to fight terrorists to return the ticket.

While climbing on the train, the Boy meets Hobo Tom Hanks. Hobo Tom Hanks is the voice of doubt in the Boy. But he also helps the Boy get to the front of the train. Just in time, because Thanos just snapped his fingers and Hobo Tom Hanks isn’t feeling very well.

The train nearly runs into a pack of caribou, then has to go ice skating to get back on course. They finally make it to the North Pole. Once there, Boy, Girl, and Billy all end up taking an unsupervised back lot tour of the toy factory and due to Billy’s clinginess, get caught up in Santa’s sack.

The elves who are loading the sack onto the sleigh manage to get them out and the children join the others waiting for Santa.

This last 15 minutes is honestly the heart of the movie. And honestly that is how most good holiday movies are made. The first 80% of the movie can honestly be absolutely bonkers insanity, but it is usually in that last 20% that the feeling of the season takes over and usually where the good movies separate from the bad.

The Boy sees the bells of Santa’s Sleigh being brought out and everyone can hear them except for him. Everyone is saying they are the greatest sound they ever heard, but he hears nothing. Then Santa steps out, but the Boy can’t get a good look at him due to the crowd. A bell falls off the sleigh and rolls to the Boy. He shakes it and hears. . . nothing.

Finally, the Boy chooses to believe and when he shakes the bell again, a ringing sound comes out. And Santa is right behind him.

Santa chooses the Boy as the one to receive the first present and the Boy asks for the bell. After Santa flies away, the children return to the Polar Express. Once back on the Train, the Boy realizes the bell fell out of the hole in his pocket. All the children are returned home.

The next morning, the Boy finds a present under the tree from Santa containing the missing bell. The parents can’t hear it, but the Boy and his sister can. The narrator tells how the bell fell silent for everyone, even his sister, except for him.

I honestly recommend this film to anyone who hasn’t seen it. If you get the chance to see it in theaters in 3-D, even better. Like I said, The visuals are amazing as long as you stick to the main characters and not the background stuff.

Next Time: An animated Movie where you should look at EVERYTHING. . . though technically an easter movie.

Favorite Holiday Movies HD-Remastered!: Mrs. Santa Claus

TEMPLARKNIGHT’S FAVORITE HOLIDAY MOVIES

OH DEAR GOD NOT THAT ONE!

THIS one!

8. Mrs. Santa Claus

I’m not sure how many people are aware this movie even exists. For me the most memorable song was where the evil toy factory owner was singing about how the toys only needed to last until Christmas.

Obviously back before return policies.

Angela Lansbury plays Mrs. Santa Claus. And of course she is the epitome of grandmotherly grace. She is so heartwarming I would let her bake me into a pie and feel good about it.

We seriously need to have Angela Lansbury and Betty White do a buddy cop film before one of them dies.

Mrs. Clause(DAMNIT)-Claus appears to be the soul behind the toyshop in the North Pole. She is the one the elves credit with keeping everything perfect. However, she feels neglected and that she could be doing more. Santa is busy reading all the letters because they are addressed to him and he doesn’t want to shortchange the writer by delegating it to someone else.

Mrs. Claus suggests that he take a different route this Christmas in order to save time. Santa ignores her because he’s busy. So Mrs. Claus steals the reindeer and sleigh and decides to test run her route.

She ends up crash landing in Florida and getting help from the Ice Cream Bunny New York in year 1910. One of the reindeer sprains its leg and she has to stay in New York for one week while it heals. Oh and this is a week before Christmas.

So Mrs. Clause(F***!)-Claus decides to go under the Pseudonym Mrs. North which will thankfully be easier to not misspell in this review.

She ends up working in a Toy Shop called Tavish Toys run by a man who looks a LOT like Hugh Laurie, but in fact played Bob in the Dresden Files TV series. He sings a song mirroring the opening Mrs. Santa Claus song where instead of the elves singing her praises, he sings about the toys will break immediately.

Mrs. North is staying with Tzeitel from Fiddler on a Roof and her Suffragette daughter, Sadie. Mrs. North assists Sadie with her cause, and Sadie in turn gives advice on how to deal with Tavish.

Throughout the movie, they break into several musical numbers. No other real commentary.

Back in the North Pole, Santa has noticed that the Hot Cocoa tastes bad. This results in him finally noticing that Mrs. Claus has been gone for two days. This results in him getting depressed. The elves try and break him out of it with a surprise dance number, but it just results in a lot of awkward stares.

Returning to New York, Mrs. North decides to enact a slow down at Tavish toys. They manage to stick together and route Tavish’s threats. For about 30 seconds. Then forces them to work Christmas day. Then they sell out Mrs. North immediately. She gets fired.

Mrs. North then decides to not only steal the plot from Mary Poppins but Newsies as well. She inspires all the children in New York to Strike! Sadly no awesome strike song, but I can imagine it being cut in later. Tavish is seen fuming.

Mrs. North goes to the Policeman’s ball where she is dubbed “The Mrs. Santa Claus of Avenue A.” Throughout the movie she nudged a few couples together, but now she is finally missing her Mr. Santa Claus. So she decides it is time to go home, now that the reindeer is all better.

But the Reindeer ARE GONE! Mr. Tavish has stolen them, after detailing out how he figured out Mrs. North’s TRUE IDENTITY! Dastardly clever of him, even to admit Santa is real. Apparently his brother stole his teddy bear as a child and thus he hated the Holiday ever since.

Mrs. North convinces him to give up evil and he agrees. CHRISTMAS IS SAVED! Mrs. Claus makes it back to North Pole. Santa decides to let Mrs. Claus join in on the sleigh ride this year.

Honestly, it is a nice little movie that I recommend most people check out.

Next Time: Animated Musical next. . .

Favorite Holiday Movies HD-Remastered!: The Muppet Christmas Carol

TEMPLARKNIGHT’S FAVORITE HOLIDAY MOVIES

9. The Muppet Christmas Carol

There are dozens of Christmas Carol adaptations, and this one is my favorite. It has songs, it has double the Marley’s, Michael Caine as Scrooge, and of course MUPPETS!

I do enjoy the fact they make new muppets for the spirits instead of converting existing characters into the spirits(such as the Micky Mouse version).

Honestly, the thing that clinches this for me is the songs. My favorite being “Marley and Marley.”

Of course, Michael Caine doesn’t do the best job singing, but what Caine ya do?

Sorry, I had to.

So my runners up for A Christmas Carol are the George C Scott version and the Jim Carrey animated version.

The George C Scott version is just an absolute CLASSIC. When I think of A Christmas Carol, this is honestly the one I think of. It has some very neat effects and portrays all the characters perfectly.

The Jim Carrey version on the other hand is honestly very creepy and frightening at times. It gets balanced out with humor and is just amazing in its animation quality at times. However, it loses some points because some aspects are CLEARLY just to show off its 3-D effects.

However, the most disappointing Christmas Carol for me was the one with Patrick Stewart.

I honestly wanted to like it so much because I love Patrick Stewart, but I was just disappointed. It has been so many years, I can’t even tell you why, but I just remember it not being up to my Christmas Carol snuff.

Next Time: While on the subject of Christmas musicals. . .

Favorite Holiday Movies HD-Remastered!: Scrooged

TEMPLARKNIGHT’S FAVORITE HOLIDAY MOVIES

10. Scrooged

Like everybody else, I love A Christmas Carol, particularly representations of The Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come. Whenever a new version comes out, I just eat it up. Due to there being SO MANY versions of it, I decided to stick to only 1 version of A Christmas Carol on my list, to avoid just having a dozen different versions and clogging the list.

This is NOT that version. This is a modern retelling of the story without a Scrooge, Crachets, or even properly named spirits. So loophole bitches!

Honestly, despite this largely being a comedy, at the end when Bill Murray is filled with Christmas spirit, it actually is fairly joyous and heartfelt. Heartfelt at gunpoint, but hey, it worked in Christmas Vacation.

Yeah, not a lot to change here, take your gifs and get out of my face.

Next Time: And my Favorite Version of the A Christmas Carol is. . .

Favorite Holiday Movies HD-Remastered!: National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation

TEMPLARKNIGHT’S FAVORITE HOLIDAY MOVIES

11. National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation

Saw this for the first time about three or four (or seven) years ago. Again, due to my mother dictating what I watched for much of my childhood, and her disliking “stupid movies,” this movie never really crossed my path.

Watched it for the first time, and became entranced. You’d think I’d use this to then go see the other Vacation movies, but no. Still haven’t seen the others.

Three years later and this still remains true. Wally World to me is just a name for Wal-Mart. When I was younger, the first National Lampoon movies I became aware of were Senior Trip and Vegas Vacation. Somehow I mentally put them together and for decades thought that Chevy Chase took seniors on a trip to Las Vegas.

Hey, are they still trying to get the Community movie off the ground? Tell them to call me, I have a GREAT (or Terrible) idea!

The first National Lampoon movie I saw was actually Van Wilder. I saw a smattering of the other films like Animal House(because it needs to be on the shelf of every College boys dorm), Dorm Daze, and (mouth vomit) Christmas Vacation 2.

But I digress, for good reason. This movie is a Christmas classic and is honestly something everyone should check out. It IS kind of stupid, as my mother would say, but it also has that heartwarming Christmas feeling along with it.

Next Time: Time for a Modern Retelling of a Classic

Favorite Holiday Movies HD Re-Mastered!: While You Were Sleeping

TEMPLARKNIGHT’S FAVORITE HOLIDAY MOVIES

12. While You Were Sleeping

Yeah, growing up, due to spending more time watching tv with my mother and sister than my dad(because it was apparently more acceptable for me to be exposed to stuff like Exit To Eden and Best Little Whorehouse in Texas than the action and horror movies my dad watched) I ended up watching a bunch of chick flicks and musicals. So as a result, rom coms are a decent portion of my movie catalogue.

Also, Sandra Bullock. Hummina hummina hummina

I will have to say that this movie ONLY works because it was the 90’s and it was a woman crushing on an unconscious man. Good freaking luck pulling this off with the roles reversed.

THAT DOESN’T COUNT! But yeah, if Prince Phillip decided to fall in love with Aurora’s sister while she was cursed and unconscious, some fairy godmothers would be arguing over the color of Prince Philip’s full body cast.

Honestly the love story is decent, but the actual heart and soul of the movie is Sandra Bullock’s interactions with the family and the side characters.

Joe Junior is probably my favorite.

Yeah, the holiday kind of takes a back seat, but hey, it has a Christmas tree bursting through a window, so it COUNTS!

Next Time: CHRISTMAS TREES THROUGH ALL THE WINDOWS!

Favorite Holiday Movies HD-Remastered!: Babes in Toyland

TEMPLARKNIGHT’S FAVORITE HOLIDAY MOVIES

13. Babes in Toyland

“Well for instance,” he pressed on,” I rented the strangest movie last night. Did you know that ‘Babes in Toyland’ was a Christmas movie?”

“Of course! What did you THINK it was?”

“Well, I thought, well . . .”

-excerpt from The Stupidest Angel: A Heartwarming Tale of Christmas Terror, by Christopher Moore.

Yeah, the title always seemed weird to me. Especially considering Keanu Reeves is in it.

Yeah, by the time I saw it in the 90’s, “babes” had a very different meaning than when the title was originally made in 1903.

I saw this movie in class when I was very young and thought it was fantastic. Watching it now, yes there is so much stuff to make fun of about this movie, but I still enjoy it.

The story begins with 11 year old Drew Barrymore braving a winter storm on foot in order to tell her older sister to come home because the storm is getting worse.

Thing is, she manages to travel to the Toy store her sister works at on foot, but then coming back it goes through some treacherous forest path via jeep. That’s some weird geography.

Anywho, when she gets to her sister’s toy store, her sister and Keanu Reeves believe that they should send all the customers home because of the storm. Her boss scoffs at this and suggests she be nicer to him while stroking her arm.

As a result, she and everyone else quits while Drew Barrymore announces via the intercom that everyone should go home because she saw a report on the news about bad weather. And her sister steals a sled to give to Drew.

They then drive home and sing a song about Cincinnati. It is annoying enough that Drew Barrymore bails out of the car on her new sled.

She rides the sled all the way into a tree Toyland where she finds new versions of all the people she knows. Her sister is Mary Contrary, Keanu is Jack, and their boss is Barnaby.

Barnaby lives in a bowling ball.

The biggest threat is Barnaby getting in his bowling ball house and rolling it down through town knocking people over. Apparently this is just something he does.

Barnaby is about to get married to Mary. Everyone is just going along with this because nothing can be done. Until Drew Barrymore shouts that Mary can’t marry Barnaby because she loves Jack. This is apparently enough to disrupt the wedding and thwart Barnaby’s plans.

Everyone at the wedding cheers and sings a song for Drew Barrymore for saving the day.

Barnaby decides to go for his OTHER evil plan and steals all the cookies. Then he convinces everyone that Jack stole the cookies. And by everyone, I mean the Judge. The Judge locks up Jack.

What happens next is a cunning escape plan where Georgie Porgy simply walks in and unlocks Jack’s cell.

Everyone then goes to talk to the Toy Master, played by Mr. Miyagi. The Toy Master then tells them about bottling up all the evil in the world. Then he places it on a high shelf next to Chekov’s Gun.

Jack returns to the cookie factory to investigate the dissappeared cookies and discovers a trap door! The trap door leads down to a cell in Barnaby’s lair. Barnaby then tortures Jack with the villain song about how he wants to take over ToyLand and make it evil.

Drew, Mary, and Georgie go to Barnaby’s bowling ball and debate going inside. Mary decides she will be the one to go in AND gets immediately captured.

Drew and Georgie go to the Toy Master before Barnaby storms in and ties everyone up. Barnaby steals the evil bottle and leaves one cyclopian bird monster to eat them. The bird cuts the rope on Drew Barrymore and then gets led into a giant box. Good plan.

Georgie and Drew then arm themselves with bats and decide to take the fight to Barnaby! And get captured via another trap door slide. Seriously, that is three trap door slides that ALL lead to the same cell.

Barnaby sprays them all with the evil gas and Drew Barrymore is imune because she is not fictional from Cincinnati. She then cures them of the evil by making them sing the Cincinnati song from earlier. This also allows them to escape.

After a brief Mario Kart race with Barnaby and his minions, Barnaby decides to unleash a horde of evil monsters made from the evil gas on Toyland and everyone else retreats to the Toy Master’s shop.

Now, a big thing about this movie is Drew Barrymore CONSTANTLY screaming about how she isn’t a child. She’s eleven and has left such childish things behind her. Well, the Toy Master tells her that as long as she keeps screaming she’s not a child, the toys can’t help her. He then sings a song about it.

Drew Barrymore bends to peer pressure and tells all the toys she believes in them. This is enough to go out and destroy all the evil monsters. With bullets. And cannons.

Jack Wick then beats up Barnaby and throws him into the forest of the night with all the evil monsters that he no longer controls. He is apparently torn apart. The crowd celebrates with a wedding and returning to Cincinnati with Santa Claus.

Drew Barrymore wakes up in the hospital with a severe headwound from flying out of a moving car and slamming full force into a tree her home perfectly fine. She briefly tells of her Oz like dream and says she will embrace christmas because her heart grew three sizes.

Yeah, it is a weird movie, but I love it. It probably is the super nostalgia.

I’ve tried to watch the old one(s) but they just bore me. In fairness, I probably haven’t given them a fair shot, but who has the time.

Next Time: speaking of movies that occur while a character is knocked out. . .