{18/12/2012}   The Snowman

I love animation, children’s stories and Christmas so for me The Snowman has always been a film I have enjoyed and which I reckon I’ve watched most years on the television.  It was first aired in 1982 and has been shown every Christmas except 2003 (to coincide with a DVD special edition).  This year, a sequel will be aired, The Snowman and the Snowdog.  I am ridiculously excited about seeing it.

For me the story of The Snowman is magical because it brings to life a snowman and an ordinary child gets to fly and go to the North Pole.  These are all things that I’ve always wanted to see and do!  I don’t know why I never tire of it or feel I’ve outgrown it, I even love the music, Walking in the Air. 

This year, I have read a fair bit about the making of the sequel, and an added element is that now I appreciate more the hard work that goes into illustrating and colouring in each frame by hand.  12 drawings are needed per second of action and the film is 24 minutes long.  I find this truly amazing.  This just adds to how special it is.  It also increases the intensity of my belief that it was genius of Raymond Briggs to refuse a sequel.  He could easily have cashed in and produced a story each year, but he had written the story as a one-off; after all, the snowman melts.

I am glad this sequel got Raymond Briggs’ blessing and input and I like that it’s set in the same house, which over the 30 years has been modernised!  I also think it’s a nice idea that there is another family living there and another young boy.  The sequel starts off sadly, with the death of the family’s old dog.  There is then a snowdog, which is a lovely idea.  I don’t think the dog’s death is the key sad event but apparently it’s a real tear jerker.  I cry at the original, which ultimately is “merely” because a snowman melts. 

I also think the writers have been clever to have some familiar London scenes, for example the Oxo Tower and the Houses of Parliament.  I am also very excited that there will be penguins, though I have a slight niggle they are solely birds of the South Pole? 

I know it might seem a bit sad to be of undeniable adult age and be looking forward to an animated film, but in the days of amazing computer generated graphics a film created by humans and pencils is a joy and a work of art.

So where will I be at 8pm on Christmas Eve?  Yes, in front of the TV ignoring any phone calls, though whereas I would have more likely first watched it with a mug of hot chocolate to hand, now it will more likely be a glass of Baileys (cos it’s Christmassy, right?!).  Roll on Christmas Eve!


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