You know ‘Frosty’, and ‘Little Drummer Boy’, and ‘Santa Claus is Coming to Town’. But do you recall the worst holiday movie of all?
‘Rudolph’s Shiny New Year’ may be the worst Christmas/holiday movie ever produced, at least for the message it imparts on young viewers. A sequel to the 1964 stop-motion special, the movie focuses on Rudolph’s efforts to rescue the Baby New Year, Happy. Happy ran off because everyone laughed at his big ears. Father Time asked Rudolph to find the baby or else the new year would not happen.
If you’re concerned about spoilers, read no further.
At the end of the film, Rudolph finds Happy and they have to scare off this vulture that has been chasing them throughout the film. This is where the film gets really rotten. Rudolph, in an attempt to get Happy to take off his hat and show his ears, retells the story that made him famous.
Problem #1: Why not use footage from the classic Christmas special? It was the same production company so they must have had access and rights to the footage.
Problem #2 (Time 1:20): Rudolph, who knows what it’s like to have a birth defect, bullies Happy into showing him his ears. He even goes with the “We’re friends, aren’t we?” line.
Problem #3 (Time 1:35): He laughs at the Baby New Year! And worse yet, he comes up with an awful justification for his actions. “I couldn’t help myself. Those ears make me feels so wonderful that all the happiness inside me just, just had to pop out… Those ears, they make folks happy.” You see, kids. It’s okay to laugh at a birth defects. As long as it makes the person who’s laughing happy.
Problem #4 (Time 2:22): Rudolph once again pressures Happy to take off his hat. Now even Ben Franklin is laughing at him.
So, what can we learn from RSNY? First, it’s okay to follow the source material while ignoring it altogether. Second, it’s okay to pressure children to reveal their birth defects and laugh at them, as long as it makes the laugher happy. The feelings of the scorned should not be considered.