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  • Elise Paris

The Best of Christmas : Day 17 & 18

Hello reader,

How’s it going?

Im in bed watching the Christmas edition of 'Nailed It', snacking on Pigs in Blankets crackers, and I am ready to update the advent calendar. We’ve firmly established at this point that I am horrendously lazy and apparently incapable of posting every day, but I’m not giving up now.

So let’s talk Crimbo movies.

Behind yesterday’s door (17th) is a 2004 festive comedy. Christmas with the Kranks is underrated in my opinion. Understandably, it is accused online of being corny and predictable, but isn’t that what you expect at Christmas? Festive films can not be watched through a critic’s eyes. Just accept and enjoy the film for what it is.

Tim Allen and Jamie Lee-Curtis fit perfectly in their roles and make for some genuinely laugh out loud scenes, my favourite being the post bo-tox dinner. This story pokes fun at the annual, systematic madness of Christmas and everything that comes with it. It’s wacky and and fun and still manages to squeeze in a moment of heart-warming awareness.

So if you’re looking for a festive comedy to watch with the family, this is it.

Moving on to the present, behind door 18 is a Christmas Classic that is not just ‘another Christmas movie’. Unlike others of it’s genre, The Polar Express demonstrates an unchartered quality of story and filmmaking that even critics can appreciate.

I remember when this movie came out on DVD, my family had just purchased a flat-screen TV with surround sound speakers. We all snuggled up on the sofa and we were completely swept away into a fantasy world. The soundtrack was immersive. The animation was revolutionary. The scene where the train arrives was so loud through the surround sound, that my bunk bed upstairs was shaking on the spot. It felt like magic. So yes, I have a lot of sentimental appreciation for this film, but as the years go by, I have an ever growing admiration for the direction and content. Firstly, Robert Zemeckis is one of my all time favourite directors. In this movie I think his early work in the horror genre seeps through. Though, not in a way that compromises childlike wonder. There is subtle eeriness to The Polar Express that makes the audience feel like anything can happen next. The narrative is not always clear and a lot of it is up for interpretation, which has made way for some crazy theories. Although often, interpretable material is the result of lazy screenwriting, in this case it is quite the opposite. Every scene is packed with meaning and purpose, much like Zemeckis’ Back to the Future trilogy. In my opinion, this film is about a dream had by a boy, who is stuck somewhere between his childlike desire to believe and the scepticism of adulthood. I also believe there is a strong and potent reason that Tom Hanks voices 6 characters in this movie. I’ve attached some links to theories I found particularly interesting:

This movie oozes Christmas magic through its music and visuals. From the herds of reindeer to the rollercoaster train tracks, and of course, the North Pole, this movie takes the audience on an picturesque journey. The soundtrack is also beautiful and rich in variety. My favourite song is ‘When Christmas Comes To Town’ which by the way, is sang by the purest character I’ve ever witnessed on my TV screen. When little, lonely Billy holds up his present at the end and shouts “Santa’s been here!” It kills me with joy.

Anyway, I could go on and on about The Polar Express but I think I’ll leave it here,

Thank you for reading and come back soon,


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