Wednesday, December 14, 2011


The Snowman is a short film based on Raymond Briggs' picture book. It was first broadcast four years after the book was published and has been an annual staple of the British Christmas T.V. schedule ever since. As with "Father Christmas", this is the first time I've watched it.

It starts out on a winter morning when it has been snowing. James, a little boy, runs out and builds a snowman. At midnight, the snowman comes to life and James shows him around the house. Then, the snowman takes James on a magical journey where they fly over to the snowmen party where the boy also meets Father Christmas (the same one as from the other animation).

During the whole 26 minutes, not one word is spoken. The story is told by the visuals, orchestral music and the iconic song "We're Walking In The Air". The music is beautiful and the way it helps the tale along reminds me of "Peter and the Wolf". The animation look just like the books illustrations have come to life. I really like the hand-drawn quality of it. You can see all the lines and shadings move, making it look very lively and full of character.


"The Snowman" has a very different mood than "Father Christmas". While the latter is cheerful and cosy, I felt a kind of melancholy all throughout "The Snowman". I wasn't really quite sure what to think about it. I wasn't sure if I even liked the story. James seems like a sweet and lonely boy. When the snow comes in the morning he's playing by himself and has no friends there to have snowball fights with. Because of that the ending seems even more poignant and the whole story feels very bitter-sweet. Now James found such a wonderful friend, they only had so little time to spend together. I think maybe that's the reason why this story is so special to so many people. It shows that you really have to live in those magical moments and cherish the people you care about, whether as a child or adult, when they happen because they'll be gone before you know it. In the morning James still has the scarf he got from Santa, reminding him of his special adventures with his friend, just like anyone will have memories or even items left over from their childhood, their friendships to remind them of their importance and reality.

For myself, I'm still not certain whether I'd want to watch it every Christmas because it so much struck a chord with me, as I think it will do with anyone really. That is also the exact reason why this is such a good story, it tells a lot and makes you feel so much in such little time. Definitely one I think everyone should watch at some point, but maybe not make it the only feature during your celebrations.

No comments:

Post a Comment