It’s Christmas time, there’s no need to be afraid. Well, not strictly true as I’m rolling out the dodgy poetry once more. Yes, once again we approach the season of goodwill, and I hope you’ll extend me all of yours. Following the success of last year’s Half Dozen December picks with their own Christmas songs and carols, I once again present my top six trailers of the month, each with its own song or carol (or in the case of Kill Your Darlings, piece of classical music which you’ll find it difficult to fit the words to unless you know it really well – sorry). I’ve also included a link to the original so you can sing along at home with my new words. Merry Christmas, everyone. Which leads me nicely to…
(to the tune of Shakin’ Stevens’ Merry Christmas Everyone)Snow is falling, all around us, Which is strange as it’s July Tis’ the season for barbecues and swimsuits, But it’s snowing (don’t ask why). Time for Disney and princesses, Cash tills ringing all night long Time for parents to buy their girls more dresses, Merry Christmas, Disney Store.
Kill Your Darlings
(To the tune of For Unto Us A Child Is Born from Handel’s Messiah)For unto us a child is born, unto us a wizard’s given (repeat) And the world will never see him as anything but Harry Potter (repeat) And his fame shall be based on Rowling books, Potter films, it’s such a shame He’s really a great actor, devoid of cheese.
The Hobbit: The Desolation Of Smaug
(To the tune of Little Donkey)Little hobbit, little hobbit on another road Little hobbit, always walking – must it all be showed? Little hobbit, bunch of dwarves and wizard with a stick, Why don’t you just use the eagles, why are you so thick? Ring out of sight tonight, hide it again, hide it from men, Spiders and dragons fright those little men, walking again, Little hobbit, little hobbit, we still cannot see Why your short book needed to be films so many – three?!
Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues
(To the tune of Hark the herald angels sing)Hark, the herald newsmen sing Afternoon Delight’s their thing Peace on earth for them’s no good Fighting puts them in the mood Joyfull all ye nations are Paramount’s seen sense at last We thought they might miss a trick But now we’ve got more of Brick, Champ and Brian, it’s great to see, And the legend, Burgundy.
The Harry Hill Movie
(To the tune of Mariah Carey’s All I Want For Christmas)I don’t want a lot for Christmas There is just one thing I need I don’t care about the Oscars (At least until January) I just want to go and see Some funny films with Mrs E Make my wish come true All I want for Christmas is you I don’t want a lot for Christmas (Although Blu-rays would be nice; Think my mum is buying Star Wars Hope she gets a decent price.) I don’t need a costume drama Or a lengthy biopic I just need the guy from TV Burp, plus hamster being sick I just want to go and see Some cheesy films with Mrs E Think this one will do All I want for Christmas is you, you, Harry
All Is Lost
(To the tune of O Holy Night)O holy boat, your star is brightly shining Although he hasn’t got much to say O holy boat, Bob Redford’s not for whining Even when he’s had such a bad day Patching up the hole as best he can Such a hero, not just an old man Fall on your knees, and hear the rush of water, O night in brine, ’cause the trailer gives away The boat, the holy boat, has had its day.
Gather round, one and all. The spirit of the season is upon us, and cinemas will be filled with festive treats and reissues of The Muppet Christmas Carol, It’s A Wonderful Life and, if you’ve been really good this year, Die Hard. But as well as that, there’s a host of fresh Christmas goodies, all wrapped and waiting, plus at least one other seasonal treat getting a fresh airing.
So here for your seasonal entertainment are my selection of trailers for this month, each one accompanied by a Christmas ditty or piece of prose of some sort which I’ve
shamefully ripped off reworded slightly in honour of the film in question. A Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to everyone.
‘Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse This close to midnight, the Mogwai was waking But no food for him, no chance Bill be taking When down in the lounge there arose such a clatter He sprang from his bed to see what was the matter Away to the kitchen he flew like a flash To grab him a knife, some Gremlins to slash
The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey
O little town of Hobbiton How still we see thee lie Above thy deep and pipe-fuelled sleep A fire-breath’d dragon files Yet in the dark caves shineth The elven “sword” called Sting The hopes and fears of Gandalf’s peers Rest not yet on a ring
Oh, the weather outside is frightful But the photo’s so delightful And since we’ve no place to go Let it snow, it must snow, oh please snow! It’s showing large signs of thawing And the world is still ignoring Al Gore would have liked this show Let it snow, it must snow, oh please snow!
Life Of Pi
On the twelfth day of Christmas, all known Gods gave to me Twelve zoo crates moving Eleven Coldplay pop tunes Ten whales a leaping Nine ladies dancing Eight fish a catching Seven hours of swimming Six meercats playing Five shots of bling Four attempts at filming Three dimensions Two blokes just chatting And a tiger who wants me for tea
Christmas time, mistletoe and wine Children singing truly phat rhymes With logs on the fire, Anna K in the nip This gaggle of girls will try hard to be hip
At Christmas time, there’s no need to be afraid At Christmas time, we banish light and we let in shade And in the world of bad guys, Werner Herzog’s just a joy Can Jack Reacher save the world, at Christmas time? But say a prayer, pray for the other ones At Christmas time, they’ve no chance when Tom’s having fun There’s a world outside your window And it’s a world of dreaded fear Well tonight thank God it’s them, instead of you
My Muppet journey has finally arrived at Christmas. For a supposedly joyful season, Christmas can be a dark time: from It’s A Wonderful Life (a film about a man who attempts suicide, then goes a bit mad) to Bad Santa (where the nicest character is a thieving drunk who vomits in front of children), but for the Muppets it was an attempt to put behind them some real life dark times. Since The Muppets Took Manhatten Then Realised They Had No Idea What To Do With It, both Jim Henson (Kermit / Rowlf / Dr. Teeth / Swedish Chef) and Richard Hunt (Scooter / Statler / Janice / Beaker) had passed away, at a combined age of less than 100. So for their first visit to the big screen in eight years, it seemed fitting that the Muppet movies should undergo something of a reinvention.
So gone were the modern day settings, the self-referential knowingness and a lot of the Muppets that we know and love. (Wait, what?) Yes, call it controversial, but while The Muppets Christmas Carol has come to be regarded as a classic Christmas movie, it isn’t actually a classic Muppet movie. Part of this is the sidelining of so many of the main characters of the core Muppets ensemble: with the loss of Henson and Hunt, the likes of Rowlf and Scooter are sensitively rested this time out, but those that do make an appearance often have less screen time, with even the likes of Miss Piggy reduced to an extended cameo. The only two Muppets who get any extended screen time are Gonzo and Rizzo, as even the Ghosts themselves aren’t portrayed by regular Muppets (the original plan to have the ghosts portrayed by Miss Piggy, Scooter and Gonzo being, perhaps sensibly, put to bed).
But The Muppets Christmas Carol is a classic Christmas movie, even if, like many of its contemporaries, it didn’t grab audiences at the time. It’s A Wonderful Life wasn’t truly appreciated in its own lifetime, only finding life on cable TV re-runs many years later, and similarly The Muppets Christmas Carol struggled to find an audience first time round. Look at the box office chart (courtesy of Box Office Mojo) for 1992 for the US:
There it is, 47th best of the year. Note that it only just beat Howards End despite being on four times the number of screens, and lost miserably to The Lawnmower Man despite another screen advantage. (Screens is the number in the fifth column, in case you were wondering.) So why is it now so loved by so many at Christmas time?
In my book, there’s two reasons. One is the faithfulness of the adaptation; while respectful, it’s never reverential but captures just the essence of Dickens’ seminal seasonal story, even to the extent that the finer details, such as The Ghost Of Christmas Present aging during his time with Ebeneezer, are faithfully captured. The other reason is this:
Again, in a departure from previous efforts, there’s little human presence here. Steven Mackintosh is a moderately familiar face, and a couple of the young Scrooges have also popped up on TV, but the Muppet Christmas Carol stands and falls on the performance on one man, and thankfully the one man is one who has one of the safest pairs of hands in the business. Oddly, or maybe not, The Muppet Christmas Carol represents some of Caine’s best work and is certainly a better performance than at least one of the Oscars he’s picked up.
But while The Muppet Christmas Carol can stand toe to toe with It’s A Wonderful Life and Die Hard as perfect examples of Christmas movies, it’s not quite as good a Muppet movie as some of the earlier efforts. Guess you can’t win ’em all.
Current ranking of the Muppet movies
1. The Great Muppet Caper
2. The Muppet Christmas Carol
3. The Muppet Movie
4. The Muppets Take Manhattan
Next month Later today or tomorrow because I got quite some way behind: Pirates! AAAAR! It’s Muppet Treasure Island.