Well, it’s Christmas Eve and seeing as how I’ve dissected the likes of Frosty Returns and Rudolph The Red Nosed Reindeer, why not do the same for another Frosty holiday special, one that came out recently and a lot of people don’t seem to remember it, 2005’s The Legend Of Frosty The Snowman:
The Legend of Frosty the Snowman is a 2005 American/Canadian direct-to-video animated film produced by Classic Media and Studio B Productions. This movie has also been bundled with the original 1969 Rankin/Bass special and the CBS Entertainment Productions sequel. The special airs annually on Cartoon Network in the United States, and it now airs on Kids & Teens TV since December 11, 2011. Narrated and sung by Burt Reynolds, with veteran actor/voice artist Bill Fagerbakke in the role of Frosty, the film has very little continuity with the original, featuring a rebooted back-story.
Though technically a sequel to the classic 1969 Rankin/Bass Frosty the Snowman, The Legend of Frosty the Snowman holds only loose continuity with it. The characters in flashbacks resemble those of the original film but have different names and roles. The young Mayor Tinkerton strongly resembles one of the unnamed children from the first film, and his father also shares the design of Professor Hinkle. Hocus Pocus has a cameo during the bob-sled scene. On the cover of the comic used in the film are two other children that also resemble the original film’s cast. Frosty’s back story is strongly altered, but still features him coming to life due to the hat’s magic. Furthermore, unlike the classic original, the film seemingly has nothing to do with Christmas whatsoever nor does it even mention the holiday or any nuances thereof.
Frosty the Snowman goes where he is needed most, and the town of Evergreen sure needs a visit. Mr. Tinkerton, the mayor, runs a tight ship, and there’s no room for talk of magic or any other such nonsense. But, when Frosty the Snowman blows through town, he shows the town’s children that magic is real. Tinkerton’s sons, Charlie and Tommy, along with their friends Sarah and Walter, want to spread the word about Frosty’s fun-loving, magical antics but meets resistance from Evergreen Elementary’s dastardly principal Hank Pankley. In the end, good wins out, and all the citizens of Evergreen happily learn that magic is real and fun is for everyone!
The funniest thing is that the only decent Frosty The Snowman sequel that has come out was Frosty’s Winter Wonderland, the one Rankin/Bass did in 1976 but even that one is not really a sequel as Frosty’s design is completely different and there’s a ton of continuity issues and plot holes….something you can start to notice very quickly with a lot of these Rankin/Bass specials. So, judging by this synopsis for Legend, you’d think this would finally be that great sequel to the original Frosty special, right? Well….not exactly….sort of…
Yeah, it’s hard to talk about this one because there’s a lot about this that I do like…but there’s just as much stuff here that I don’t like. How do I explain this one?
Well, let’s begin with the positives, for one thing, the animation looks really good for a direct-to-video feature, this is Studio B Productions, or as later they would be known as DHX Media, the same guys that did the animation for My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic, and it does look really solid all things considered.
Another thing I’ll give the special credit is that they do try to at least somewhat connect it to the original special but then again, the main story is nothing but a reboot, I’ll delve more into that a little later.
The best aspect of this special is the voice cast, they got a really solid voice cast here, not only do you have Bill Fagerbakke, the voice of Patrick Star, as Frosty, couldn’t be more perfect casting, but you also have Larry Miller, who’s always great at playing these asshole characters whatever he’s in, as well as a ton of the best voice actors out there including Tom Kenny, Kath Soucie, Grey DeLisle, Jeannie Elias, Tress MacNeille, Candi Milo, Tara Strong, a lot of the best voice actors working in the animation business are in this and they all do work off each other very nicely. Plus Burt Reynolds gives a surprisingly nice narration to this that works really well.
But then you have the problems with the special, for one thing, the setup is pretty generic and predictable, it’s a town that is stuck in a ‘do-this-do-that’ pattern like something out of Pleasantville and it’s just like, unless you can do something new and different with the concept like Pleasantville did, just don’t do it.
Another problem is that you can tell that there’s a somewhat political satirical element being thrown in there with the principal of the town, played by Larry Miller, trying to dethrone the mayor of the town by using feelings over facts….gee, that doesn’t sound like somebody who just got elected to the highest office in the country right now. *cough*Trump*Cough* But there’s nothing really groundbreaking or inventive about it, it’s about as generic as you pretty much get.
But the biggest fault of the special is going back to what I was talking about before, connecting to the original special, they had the perfect opportunity to connect this story back to the original special and yet, they don’t do it here. It would’ve been more interesting if this is the same town from the original film and these kids were the same kids grown up, like they had forgotten the magic and Frosty’s return brings it back…which they kind of do here except there’s some sort of spell cast over the town…I guess…by a comic book…sort of…it doesn’t really make any sense at all. Like what if the Principal was actually the son of Professor Hinkle, that would’ve been an interesting twist to the plot but they don’t do that here. They are trying to connect this to the original special while also trying to reboot it as well and you can’t do that, be one or the other.
And it’s a shame because this is written by Emily Kapnek, who made the criminally underrated Suburgatory on ABC and the surprisingly not as bad as it looked Selfie, also for ABC as well as As Told By Ginger on Nickelodeon, she’s more than proven her work as a writer and the fact that she does this and it’s not really good, it’s a big disappointment.
There is so much that could’ve been done with The Legend Of Frosty The Snowman that could’ve made it work but it just doesn’t, it’s the perfect example of a mixed bag, the animation is really solid, the voice work is nicely done, when it does connect to the original Frosty The Snowman, it works kind of but the biggest fault is how it fails to connect to the special and how the overall story fails to come together. You can tell there was effort being put into this in almost every aspect except the story.
If they had gone with more of turning this into a straight forward sequel that takes place a couple of decades after the original special where this town has lost its’ imagination after Frosty’s arrival, then this would’ve worked a lot better but it just doesn’t come together at all. I really don’t know how to classify this one, it’s the ultimate form of a mixed bag and one that you should watch to decide for yourself if you like it or not.
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