Recently, I took my daughter to see the new animated version of The Grinch (in cinemas now, watch the trailer below) and couldn’t help but agree with the miserable green grouch on a couple of occasions. I’m fairly cynical and jaded, and prone to get a bit crabby about neighbours playing loud music or people being inconsiderate in general. “You know, he has a point,” I found myself thinking when the Grinch grumbled about something or other. Big difference: I’m not about to rain down misery on other people just to make myself feel better.
That all said, when my daughter teared up as the reason for the Grinch’s crankiness emerged – spoiler alert: he didn’t have any friends or family besides dog Max – I also found my three-sizes-too-small heart warmed by the tale and the character’s epiphany. In any other film, I would’ve found it all overly sentimental and cloying, but in a Christmas movie? Well, I’m not a complete monster. In fact, I kind of like an old-fashioned festive tale.
Perhaps it dates back to a childhood spent watching re-runs of Rankin/Bass holiday specials Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, Frosty the Snowman and, my favourite, The Year Without a Santa Claus with Snow Miser and Heat Miser. Perhaps I get caught up in the festive spirit as soon as Dec. 1 – the date when it’s acceptable to put up decorations in my book – rolls around. Perhaps Christmas movies are just better at putting me in touch with my emotions. Who can say?
This year, as well as The Grinch, a number of other Christmas-themed films are in cinemas, not to mention the deluge of classics and original movies that have landed on the various streaming platforms. And you never have to look too far to find Love Actually playing somewhere.
In Elliot: The Littlest Reindeer (in cinemas now, watch the trailer below), a miniature horse (voiced by Josh Hutcherson) has ambitions of being chosen to join Santa Claus’ sleigh-bearing team when veteran reindeer Blitzen retires. At any other time of year, a feel-good film like this with an important life lesson about hard work leading to triumph would be something I’d get my mum to take my daughter to see – it’s how I avoided having to sit through My Little Pony: The Movie. At Christmas, I want to see it myself.
On Netflix, The Christmas Chronicles (streaming now) features Kurt Russell as Santa, which is just about all the information I need to add this original movie to my viewing list. And maybe I’ll let the kids watch, too.
But just to prove I don’t become a total sap at this time of year, the movie I’m most excited about is Anna and the Apocalypse (in cinemas now, watch the trailer below), a musical zombie mash-up in which Anna (Ella Hunt) and her friends take on the undead … at Christmas time. It might be the most perfect festive movie of all time.