"The Snowman" (1982)
Genre: Adventure, Animation, Family, Fantasy
Directed By: Dianne Jackson, Jimmy T. Murakami
Written By: Raymond Briggs
Released: December 26, 1982
Runtime: 26 minutes
Studio: Sony Pictures
After a young boy makes a snowman on Christmas Eve, it comes to life to take him on an adventure to the North Pole to meet Santa Claus. Based on a popular wordless book by Raymond Briggs that told the story through a series of pictures.
This is the ultimate Christmas film. Short, sweet and simple but packed with all the essentials. It wouldn’t be Christmas without a showing, or hearing the infamous chorus of “Walking In The Air”.
Peter Auty sang the version of the song featured in the film. The song was released three years later in 1985 sung by Aled Jones. The reason for him singing it was because the song had been re-recorded for an advertisement for an English toy shop’s Christmas campaign which also featured another animation.
The flying scene in which the snowman takes the little boy on a magical ride in the sky is probably the most iconic from the film, and what brought about an Oscar nomination back in its day.
My brother and I have a great time watching this film. We enjoy inputting our own interpretation. It’s a cartoon and one must suspend belief to enjoy the basis of the plot. If you think about it too much, how suitable is it really for children? A snowman kidnaps a little boy and takes him to a rave in a forest. Not only that, but the little boy had previously brought the snowman into his home to a raging fire. When the snowman opened the fridge, the little boy slammed the door shut on the snowman. – He was just trying to get cold! And after surviving all this, the snowman melts and there it just ends, followed by the words “The Snowman was” – We get a great kick out of this… In my opinion that’s a very morbid ending for such a classic Christmassy movie for children. It prepares them for the harshness of the world I guess.
It wold seem that our fun isn’t too far off the money however. Raymond Briggs apparently confessed that the story was in fact supposed to be about death and introduce children to the idea of mortality and should never have become a festive favourite. Christmas sentimentality was the order of the day for this adaptation. And honestly, that’s really what the world needs at Christmas time. We have soaps to bring us tragedy at Christmas!!
Part of this fun was brought about by a “Cork Version” of the film made and posted on YouTube. Somebody has added dialogue spoken in a very Cork accent and the video had us in stitches.
A sequal to The Snowman, titled "The Snowman and The Dog" was also made a few years later in which the snowman is resurrected for some more festive fun. The little boy, who is was named James for the purpose of the film, now has a dog who flies off with him and snowman for some more fun. Given that the dog survived this one, the ending isn't quite as upsetting (the little boy still has a friend), but to think that he clearly didn't learn from his mistakes the first time makes you wonder.
Whatever the original reason for Raymond Briggs creating The Snowman, the film that we all know and love will forever remain a festive classic.