Six Degrees Below Zero

I guess it’s the holiday season now, so whoop-de-doo and dickory-dotch, and here are some things that I watched.

The Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special – Like the movies, this special doesn’t take itself particularly seriously, but it does work within the established universe. The Guardians are now the owners and managers of Knowhere, the space station in a dead Celestial’s head, and Peter Quill has introduced some Christmas traditions from Earth, with mixed results. The team decides that they want to get Quill a present. To that end, Mantis and Drax go to Earth to bring him Kevin Bacon, whom he presented as a great hero. With help from Mantis’ empathic powers, they manage to bring him back, but are horrified when they find out he’s really an actor.

Come to think of it, that hatred of actors is probably why Quill told them movie plots as if they were true stories in the first place. There are a lot of amusing moments throughout, including Drax developing a fondness for a decorative elf and Bacon watching Santa Claus Conquers the Martians. Flashbacks to Quill’s childhood with Yondu are animated, and there’s a closing scene where Rocket and Cosmo try to make Groot into a Christmas tree.

And I couldn’t help but think of Weird Al’s “The Night Santa Went Crazy” when the musicians in Knowhere (played by the Old 97’s) mistakenly sang about Santa having a flamethrower. Mantis and Drax’s experiences on Hollywood Boulevard make it clear that there are still people posing as Marvel superheroes in a world where those heroes are real people. I guess that would make it more like dressing as a real-life celebrity than as a fictional character, but do people who pose for pictures in public places ever do that?

Beauty and the Beast: The Enchanted Christmas – This is one of the interminable direct-to-video sequels to animated movies that Disney used to put out. I think it’s the first one I’ve seen all the way through, although I remember seeing enough of the LIttle Mermaid sequel with Ariel’s daughter to get the gist back when I worked at a toy store. Aside from the wraparound segments, this movie takes place entirely within the span of the original, during the winter when Belle and the Beast developed feelings for each other. Since that’s still ongoing, it pretty much precludes any real character development. It’s mostly a low-stakes plot centering around Belle trying to celebrate Christmas at the castle against the Beast’s wishes. Yet, somehow, it also has everyone almost die. It does bring back most of the voices from the film, and adds in Tim Curry, Paul Reubens, and Bernadette Peters. Curry voices Forte, a pipe organ who used to be a composer, and doesn’t want the spell on the castle to break because he was unappreciated before, but now the Beast is soothed by his music. I guess it’s a play on the expression about music having charms, but why would he suddenly stop liking it if he became a human prince again? Yeah, I know he didn’t like it before, but that was when he was a bratty kid. And if Forte were human, he could always leave if he really wanted to. So yeah, it’s a pretty stupid motivation. So is that for Reubens’ character, a piccolo named Fife, who apparently serves as Forte’s henchman just because the organ promised to write a solo for him.

Forte looks like a computer graphic, and Fife is animated to look even goofier than the other living objects. Peters plays an angel ornament, and there’s also a Jewish axe who talks in a Borscht Belt dialect. The whole thing culminates in a fight between Forte and the Beast, where the former tries to destroy the whole castle and ends up being smashed up. Does that mean that, after the enchantment is broken, the composer’s corpse will be lying around in the basement? Or did someone dispose of him in the interim? And the castle breaking up and a court member dying aren’t things anyone bothers to mention afterwards? I guess you could say the story is simultaneously too big and too small to work. I feel like I should also mention there are references to How the Grinch Stole Christmas and A Charlie Brown Christmas, although I don’t really have anything to say about them.

This entry was posted in Cartoons, Celebrities, Christmas, Comics, Holidays, Humor, Magic, Music, Revisiting Disney, Television, VoVat Goes to the Movies, Weird Al Yankovic and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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