Tag Archives: Idina Menzel

Great Christmas Films To Watch This Season

Hey everybody! Christmas is coming up on us fast, which means it is time to deck the halls and set up the Nativity scenes. To spread a little more Christmas cheer, I thought a list of Christmas films was in order.

Here’s a look at the movies I like to watch to get in the Christmas spirit:

Related imageThe Muppet Christmas Carol

This is the Christmas film I have watched since I was a tyke. Christmas is never complete for me without at least one viewing of The Muppet Christmas Carol. It is a fun movie all around – and it is best viewed, in my ‘umble opinion, in the lead up to Christmas Day.

Related imageRise of the Guardians

Okay, technically, the story in Rise of the Guardians is set three days before Easter. It has nothing to do with Christmas except for snow, Santa Claus (North in the film), and a lot of presents.

Still, this is a great movie, and it is well within the spirit of Christmas. It may not be truly seasonal, but I feel I can recommend curling up with the family to watch this movie during the Christmas season – before or after Christmas Day. Either time in December works.

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The Polar Express

Now this film has a much stronger claim to the Christmas season than Rise of the Guardians. It is perfect Christmas fare. The songs for this film are also really good. My personal favorite is When Christmas Comes to Town.

Of course, children will not be the only ones to get a kick out of the The Polar Express. It is a pity they do not make musicals in live action films the way they used to; now, one has to look for great song and dance sequences in animated films. Do not misunderstand – I like the animated routines just fine. But what is wrong with live actors and actresses dancing and singing on screen?

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A Charlie Brown Christmas

My best memory of this show is when the Peanuts gang re-decorates Charlie Brown’s pathetic little fir tree. When Charlie Brown returns, the gang shouts “Merry Christmas!” and sings one of the best renditions of Hark! The Herald Angels Sing ever recorded. This is probably one of the reasons why that particular carol has always been one of my favorites. A Charlie Brown Christmas is one of the best films ever made for this season. But you needn’t take my word for it – just watch it yourself!

Image result for frozenFrozen

Yes, I know. Disney’s Frozen has an even slighter claim to the Christmas season than Rise of the Guardians. It takes place in the middle of summer, for cryin’ out loud! And everybody has already written practically everything there is to write about it!

All true, readers, but the fact is that I promised a friend I would list this film with my Christmas favorites. And Frozen is a great family film, so it will also be on many a Christmas entertainment menu this year and beyond.

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White Christmas

 I suppose it is no surprise that Bing Crosby and Danny Kaye’s White Christmas is one of my favorite Christmas films of all time. The movie follows Crosby and Kaye, whose characters are World War II veterans turned successful song and dance performers. The two meet a sister act who also have a song and dance routine and are headed to a Vermont hotel to work for the proprietor.

Almost right away, Crosby and Rosemary Clooney’s character fall for each other. But when the four reach Vermont, they find everything warm and sunny when everyone was expecting – naturally – snow!

At the hotel, Crosby and Kaye find their former general from World War II is the owner. What is more, the lack of snow has led to no customers for the former general, who is on the verge of losing his establishment.

I will avoid spoiling the rest of the film for you, readers. All I will say is that this is a fun Christmas movie, with great songs performed by some of the best singers from a golden era. White Christmas is essential viewing for the season, in this writer’s view. If you get a chance to see it, give it a try. I doubt it will disappoint!

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It’s a Wonderful Life

Anyone who has watched NCIS from the beginning knows that a viewing of It’s a Wonderful Life was a Christmas tradition in Very Special Agent Tony DiNozzo’s immediate family. I have only seen this film (all the way through, at least) once in recent memory.

Starring one of my favorite actors from Hollywood’s “old guard,” Jimmy Stewart, It’s a Wonderful Life tells how the owner of a small-town savings and loan company runs into severe financial trouble. At this crisis, the worst Stewart’s character has ever faced, the audience is shown just how much difference one life can make in the world. While Dickens’ A Christmas Carol is a reminder to the well-off and comfortable to use their gifts for the good of others, It’s a Wonderful Life reminds viewers of the importance of living, period.

Image result for Doctor Who: A Christmas Carol and The Doctor, the Widow, and the Wardrobe, with Matt Smith as The Doctor

Doctor Who: A Christmas Carol and The Doctor, the Widow, and the Wardrobe, with Matt Smith as The Doctor

Doctor Who is not among the top ten of my favorite shows to watch. However, I did develop a fondness for Matt Smith’s Doctor through these two Christmas specials. The first, Doctor Who: A Christmas Carol, retells Dickens’ classic as only the loony writers for The Doctor’s series can, while the next Christmas special, The Doctor, the Widow, and the Wardrobe, takes its name from the famous second book of C.S. Lewis’ Narnian ChroniclesImage result for Doctor Who: A Christmas Carol and The Doctor, the Widow, and the Wardrobe, with Matt Smith as The Doctor

Of the two, The Doctor, the Widow, and the Wardrobe has more laughs in it than A Christmas Carol. I definitely recommend you find and watch these shows, even if you are not a Doctor Who fan. I was not, and am not, a Whovian but I enjoy these particular shows no end!

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We’re No Angels

The original We’re No Angels with Peter Ustinov, Humphrey Bogart, and Aldo Ray is great fun. I will avoid giving you spoilers on this film, readers. Suffice it to say, do not buy or borrow the remake this Christmas. When it comes to this film, it ought to be the original or bust!

Well, there you have it, readers. These are some of my favorite films to view during the Christmas season. I have left out some great tales in this list, but I do not want to overwhelm anyone! It is a short list full of the Spirit of Christmas – small, and seemingly insignificant, but more beautiful than any jewel, and true as the Star that guides us all.

Merry Christmas, readers!

The Mithril Guardian

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Frozen – Let It Go

Let It Go

If you saw a post I wrote some time back which showed off a few of my favorite themes and songs from animated films and TV shows, then you know I enjoyed Disney’s Frozen. The movie has been a big hit, and while it may be getting more hype than it needs right now, it can rightfully find a place among the best movies ever made.

Part of the reason for this is its most popular song, Let It Go, sung by the film’s protagonist, Queen Elsa. Elsa begins to sing Let It Go when she decides not to stifle her cryokinetic powers any longer.  She experiments with her abilities for the first time in years, managing to make herself a huge, magnificent ice palace and a dress of fine frost and ice in a few moments. She declares she is no longer afraid of what she can do and casts her crown aside, choosing a life of hermitage away from others, so she will not hurt them.

Despite the song’s obviously triumphant tone and lyrics, I am skeptical that Elsa actually “threw off” her fear when she ditched her crown. If she had truly stopped being afraid of what she could do, why did Arendelle remain frozen up until Anna sacrificed herself to protect Elsa?

Yes, yes – the easy answer is that it was in the script. But I do not like easy answers with regard to stories; it is a rare tale that has an “easy” solution to a problem. And the “simplicity” of the dilemma is not necessarily related to how well a viewer/listener/reader can comprehend the story. Characters in stories react just like regular humans; when have we EVER made life easy for ourselves?

That is correct: we practically never do.

Elsa may have thought she gave up her fear, but I do not think she did. She gave up her terror of openly using her gifts, but she still viewed said gifts as a “curse,” recalling that the old troll who healed Anna had asked the King whether Elsa was “born with the power or cursed?”

Where Elsa once viewed her abilities as a gift, a power she could use to make her sister (and thereby herself) happy, she now views it only as something she wishes she did not have. Certainly, her bad experience of injuring her younger sister, however unwittingly, is partly to blame for this. But because of the old troll’s warning that “fear will be [her] enemy,” Elsa has grown to fear the power she once loved and controlled with relative ease.

And in this way fear is her enemy. It is not just the fear of her subjects, the Duke of Weselton, and Hans that is a threat to her. The biggest threat is her fear of her abilities. Her powers are so tightly tied to her emotional state that any strong emotion – love, fear, and anger – makes her powers react accordingly.  Love melts the snow, fear freezes her kingdom, and anger allows her to defend herself with the skill of a trained combatant.

So though she stops fearing the use of her powers, Elsa does not lose her fear of herself. She does not lose her fear of being a menace to society and to her own sister. This is why Arendelle remains a frozen kingdom, and only becomes colder and colder as Elsa’s terror mounts. Until Anna reminds her of how to let go of her fear, Elsa is unable to remove the snow and ice smothering her kingdom. Once she learns that she can in fact control her abilities; that they are in fact subject to her and not the other way around, does Elsa truly “Let It Go.”

This does not, in my opinion, make Let It Go any less of a great song. It may be a little premature in its setting in the film, but Elsa’s jubilation is more than somewhat premature! She thinks she is released when actually she is still shackled by her fear. Nevertheless, the song is enjoyable and a great piece of music to listen to when one can find the time.

So, readers, I will “let” you “go” until next time!

Later,

The Mithril Guardian