Review: A first-timer discovers holiday classics

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Hares Mirbacha, Staff Writer

As a relative newbie to holiday older holiday films, the Sentinel staff encouraged me to watch five classic Christmas movies for the first time and react to them. All of the movies chosen are older than me, so age played a factor in many of my reviews, but some of these older classics have become my new favorites. Read on to see what this first-timer thought.

Polar Express (2004)
“The Polar Express” is a classic animated Christmas movie, directed by Robert Zemeckis and released on October 30, 2004. The movie is meant for young audiences and is quite entertaining, but creepy at the same time, due to the characters’ emotionless eyes. Most of the characters’ voices are performed by Tom Hanks, who is the executive producer of the movie. The movie is about a boy who can’t fall asleep the night before Christmas when a magical train arrives. The boy gets on the train which then heads to the North Pole. On his adventure to the North Pole, the boy makes friends on the train and witnesses bizarre and supernatural events. Towards the end, the boy gets the toy he’s been wanting from Santa personally himself, forcing him to believe once again. Overall it was a very captivating and interesting movie; I was just really thrown off by the emotionless eyes.

Christmas Story (1983)

“A Christmas Story” was a comedy Christmas movie directed by Bob Clark and released on November 18, 1983. The movie is hilarious and brings back jolly memories of Christmas from elementary years. Due to the movie’s age, there is some inappropriate racism directed at Asian people, which is one downside of it. There is a good amount of swearing in the movie for a family movie, but it is quite hilarious. The star of the movie is Ralphie, who is played by Peter Billingsley. The whole movie centers around Ralphie’s Christmas, when he finally stands up to a lifelong bully, receive the Christmas gift he has been wanting, and learns a lesson on profanity. Throughout the whole movie, there are funny moments, like a scene where one of his friends gets his tongue stuck to a cold metal pole. Overall it is a hilarious movie, but in the middle, the plot gets pretty dry.

Grinch (1966)
This version of “The Grinch” is one of the oldest and is an animated movie based on the Dr. Seuss book itself. The movie was released on December 18, 1966. The story is about a Grinch who hates Christmas and noise so much that the night before Christmas he steals everyone’s presents and toys. He gets caught by a little girl who then changes his point of view on Christmas and cheer. The movie is a pure classic. The plot is interesting enough that you don’t want to miss what’s going to happen, but since I have seen the newest version of the Grinch, I found this one less interesting.

Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer (1964)
“Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” is a stop-motion animated classic directed by Larry Roemer and Kizo Nagashima and released on December 6th, 1964. The movie was really fun to watch, but due to it being such an old movie, it had a few downsides. It was an unpleasant surprise to see Santa being naughty and bullying his elves and reindeer. The graphics of the movie made it kind of difficult and tedious to watch, and there was some definite sexism in the movie, which also hasn’t aged well. The movie is about Rudolph being embarrassed about his red nose and treated differently because of it by other reindeer. He later encounters a monster, which he escapes with new friends, an elf, and a prospector. They find their way to the Island of Misfit Toys, where the king there asks them to help find homes for the toys. Rudolph heads back to Santa to ask him for help when a blizzard hits and Santa is deciding to cancel Christmas. But then Santa realizes that he can use Rudolph (and his blinking nose) as the head reindeer to find his way. Overall the plot of the story is interesting and there is a lot of action in the movie. The only reason I disliked the movie is because of the poor graphics. If this movie was made now, it would be breaking charts.

National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation (1989)
“National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation” is a comedy Christmas special in a series of two other movies centered around the Griswold family, directed by Jeremiah S. Chechik and released on December 1, 1989. The movie was quite hilarious with a lot of cringey, awkward family experiences and funny moments happening frequently. The movie is about Clark Griswold, who is played by Chevy Chase, wanting to have a nice, traditional Christmas with his family. His family prepares for a huge Christmas, which hosts their whole, extended family and causes them all types of chaos. Hilarious moments happen throughout the movie like the power shortage Clark causes due to insisting on an extreme amount of Christmas lights. Overall this movie was my favorite out of the five. It was a little old and sometimes included bad graphics, but the content was hilarious and made you want to keep watching. This movie is much recommended.

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