Tooncrap #46 - Frosty Returns
Snow Doubt About It! This Is Awful
Broadway Video: 1992
Written by: Raymond Gallant
Christmas is rapidly approaching, and more than
likely by now, you've seen several of the classic holiday specials air
on television. Maybe it was Rudolph, with it's mean spirited reindeer,
and utter asshole Santa. Maybe it was the Grinch, with the wonderful
narration of Boris Karloff, and the questionable meals of roast beast
and Who hash. Maybe you watched one of the billion Christmas Carol
related cartoons, or that Shrek special that sucks an ogre's ass (and
this coming from somebody who liked the first couple Shrek films). But
if you're like me, you anticipate one special. And that's the
Rankin-Bass classic, Frosty the Snowman.
Heaven help me, I love this snowy moron.
I really doubt I have to
go into much detail on this special, but for those who may have missed
it sometime in the last 41 years, the story tells of Karen and her
friends, who build a snowman. However, thanks to the help of a magic hat
owned by terrible magician, and all around lanky prick Professor Hinkle,
the snowman, named Frosty, comes to life. He marches around, sings, and
has all sorts of fun shenanigans. However, because heat and snowmen
don't get along, it's up to Frosty, Karen, and Hinkle's rabbit Hocus
Pocus to book it to the North Pole. All while Hinkle gives chase, trying
to get his hat back, instead of giving the snowman life. Even going to
the point of locking Frosty and Karen in a greenhouse, causing Frosty to
Hinkle blows. Also, I'd like to see his credentials. I highly doubt he's
But, Santa comes to the rescue, restoring Frosty,
and putting Hinkle in his place, so that's a plus. It's a better job
than the Santa from Rudolph, who would insult Frosty for even being
alive, and serving no worth to him.
Seriously, go back to that special if you haven't in years. He's easily
the cruelest Santa of all time.
Frosty the Snowman is an instant
classic. It has great music, wonderful animation, likable characters,
even the villain. And the story is classic, giving plenty of humor,
excitement, and drama from start to finish. It's everything a true
holiday classic can hope to be.
And then, 20+ years later, a
sequel was made. Despite a few specials, there was never really a true
sequel to the original. And in 1992, Frosty returned in... well...
Frosty Returns. Did it retain the spirit of the original?
Frosty Returns, released not by Rankin-Bass, but by Lorne
Michael's Broadway Video, is a half hour snowball to the nutsack. An
awful main song, lame and dated (even by 1992) humor, political and
environmental overtones, and, to be honest, If you didn't include a
talking snowman, I'd swear this was some half assed Peanuts special
judging by the animation (done by Bill Melendez Studios, so that's why).
It's a cold hearted cash in literally lacking in the Christmas spirit.
So, let's not waste any more time, and look at this animated
equivalent of yellow snow. Let's review this thing.
We open our tale with falling snow, and our narrator, a miniature
Jonathan Winters, riding a snowflake to a really terrible animation
effect. Well, he's no Jimmy Durante, but he'll do. But the question I've
always had is, I know he's the narrator, but what is he? An angel, a
conscience, the worlds shortest midget? Help me out here cause it's
really not explained. He's just known simply as the narrator. So, all
narrators are an inch high?
After the opening credits, we head to the town of Beansboro, which
according to Micro-Winters, holds an annual winter carnival. The town is
covered in snow, which means it's a snow day. But sadly, it's not the
forgettable Nickelodeon movie Snow Day, it's the one where rejected
Peanuts kids sing about the greatness of snow, and where the adults
bitch about how snow is an eyesore, and heart attack enducer.
From there we meet our protagonist Holly, and her friend
Poindexter... I mean Charles. Despite the two not being invited to play
with the other kids, Charles suggests making "snow fertility goddesses"
(Because either Angels is too religious for this special, or Charles is
a smartass). Holly has other ideas, and instead decides that the two
should rehearse their magic act for the winter carnival.
Their act including sawing the brainy little toad in half.
However, after opening the window, Holly's hat flies away. She gives
chase, until it eventually lands on a Snowman. The Snowman, as expected,
comes to life.
Oh boy, Frosty's alive! I wonder if his first
words will be something cute like "Happy Birthday"
"Whoa no you don't. You wanna take somethin', take the tie. Unless you
think I need it. How do you dress for this winter carnival anyway? I
mean, I don't wanna underdress. But I could get away with a tank top or
something more cas?"
No... Just... No.
Oh goody, we went from simple and friendly, to
annoying talking entity. I honestly doubt anybody was looking for a wise
cracking Frosty. And nothing against John Goodman, who is clearly just
reading the material and getting the cheque.
Holly and Frosty get
formally introduced. He dances around, sings opera (why? I don't know),
until Holly's mother shows up with a spray can. The stuff's called
"Summer Wheeze", and has the power to dissolve snow with one spray.
Cut to our villain, Mr. Twitchell, at a board meeting. One of his
lackeys suggests hanging a banner at the winter carnival, which leads to
Twitchell revealing his true motives. He wants to be the king of the
winter carnival. That's right, his big evil plan is to be a "king" of
some stupid holiday festival. Then again, it's not as bad as getting a
whole town to go after a kid with HIV.
Realizing Frosty's two
squirts away from being history, Holly tries to hide Frosty in her
fridge as she goes to school. However, she soon realizes that Charles
appears to be the only other person concerned about the impending death
of Winter. She ditches school, and meets up with Frosty, who didn't like
staying in the fridge because it game him freezer burn. The two
converse, as people pass by, not caring that a snowman is ALIVE FOR
CRYING OUT LOUD! We then get the main song of the special "Let there be
Snow", as Frosty sings about all the things snow is good for. This is
then sequed into what is easily the worst rap I have ever heard in my
life, as coincidentally at this very moment, Twitchell is rapping to the
exact same song about how much he's glad that there will be no more
snow, and how he'll be king of the winter carnival. Seriously, this
harbors dangerously close to Gottfried bad.
Charles meets Frosty. And being the skeptical little douche he is,
refuses to believe a talking, walking, unfunny snowman is in front of
him. However, Frosty's dancing jackassery catches the attention of
Twitchell, who sends his cat to chase after them with a can of Summer
Doesn't exactly get the job done, but still sends a convincing message.
The big day of the winter carnival arrives, as Twitchell arrives,
with evil in his heart, and a can of Wheeze in his hands. However, Holly
approaches him, and scolds him about how Summer Wheeze is dangerous.
They then unveil Frosty..
Who's alive and well despite not wearing the hat.
Frosty and the kids sing "Let There be
Snow" again, as Twitchell tries to run them over, only to end up falling
into a frozen lake. The town, not calling the news, or filming the
miracle of a talking snowman, decide to make Frosty the king of the
winter carnival. The trio take a toboggan ride, until they find
Twitchell. feeling sorry for the old fool, they give him the crown and
cape, along with their toboggan ride. Frosty, deciding that this place
is boring, leaves. The end.
And that's Frosty Returns. It's a
lackluster special. Its story is stupid, the characters dull, Frosty
tries too hard to be funny when he isn't, the main song isn't catchy,
and it's just forgettable. The polar opposite of the special it's
leeching off of. It's also arguable if this is a Christmas special or
not, since it doesn't mention the holiday at all, and the story involves
the Winter Carnival. But despite that, it still gets regular airtime
every holiday season alongside the original. And yet a far better
special like "Mr. Magoo's Christmas Carol" goes on forgotten. 'Tis a