A Freaky Talking Reindeer
Every story has sad parts, you just got to get through them to get the good bits - Aunt Millie
I am sitting here completely unsure of how I feel about "Blizzard" a Christmas movie which I am sure if I was stoned would have ended up entertainingly freaky, it has talking reindeers so do I need to say more. Anyway, the reason why I am unsure of how I feel is because "Blizzard" is three stories; all are quite week with forgettable characters, a certain amount of saccharine, at times rather dull and also features talking reindeer. But then at the same time its heart is in the right place, has a real nice nostalgic feel to it and to be honest "Blizzard" is quite charming... in places. So that is why I am so confused.
After her best friend Bobby (Demetrius Joyette) and his family move across country, young Jess (Jennifer Pisana) is left distraught causing her parents to call Aunt Millie (Brenda Blethyn - Saving Grace) in the hope she can raise Jess's spirits. Having arrived just before Christmas Aunt Millie decides to tell Jess a story about Erin (Brittany Bristow) a young girl who with two older teasing brothers is quite lonely until she discovers a passion for ice skating. But when her family is forced to move away from town she becomes lonely again that is until she meets one of Santa's talking reindeer.
So here is the thing about "Blizzard" and the storyline, it starts with one story about a sad little girl who is upset because her best friend has had to move away. And then thanks to an Aunt telling her upset niece a tale, all very "The Princess Bride", we then get another storyline about a young, lonely girl who finds friendship through skating. But then at the same time we get a third storyline about one of Santa's reindeers who has all 3 magical reindeer gifts. It is a little too much and whilst the skating girl and reindeer story manage to connect it feels all a bit too convoluted. Yes "Blizzard" is a magical Christmas movie aimed at children but it still feels like it's trying to cram far too much in.
What doesn't help matters is that director LeVar Burton seems to over indulge in making "Blizzard" sweet. There are scenes, those which are uplifting, that end up so sweet they are painful. Yes it gives it a nice feeling, an uplifting message about friendship but also makes things a little cheesy. And unfortunately that whole magical Christmas feeling vanishes as scenes at the North Pole with Kevin Pollak playing the over officious elf Archimedes make it a less than jolly place and Christopher Plummer looking more like Dumbledore from the Harry Potter movies than Santa Claus.
But the most heinous crime is the fact that "Blizzard" features talking reindeer. Now Whoopi Goldberg voices Blizzard the reindeer and does a nice job of making the reindeer sound quite lovely but manipulated mandibles and talking reindeer is surprisingly creepy whilst also tacky. Maybe it's just me, maybe I am just too grown up to appreciate the fun of a reindeer speaking its mind but for me it just doesn't work at all.
To counter the blasted talking reindeer "Blizzard" is a movie which whilst made for children has that nostalgic, feel good factor which will hopefully resonate with older audiences. It is a very innocent movie and although the North Pole is less than jolly and the talking reindeer are far too creepy there is nothing in the least bit offensive, not even a single slightly risque swear word or double entendre and makes for a pleasant change.
As for the acting well other than Whoopi Goldberg who does well to make a talking reindeer sound a little nice there is Brenda Blethyn who does exude quirkiness and warmth as the eccentric Aunt Millie. And then there are a few child actors who all deliver innocence and cuteness but to be honest nothing really stands out, well nothing other than Kevin Pollack looking a little freaky as Archimedes.
What this all boils down to is that "Blizzard" is a movie which really did leave me unsure. It is full of issues especially those talking reindeer but at the same time the innocence, nostalgia and charm wins me over. It's the sort of movie you could watch once, enjoy, be left a little unsure of and then forget all about it as it doesn't leave any resounding impression.
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