Sunday, December 22, 2013

Top 10 Best Christmas Specials [Part 2 of 2]

Last week I revealed some of my favourite Christmas Specials. This week I complete the list by revealing what I believe to be the five greatest Christmas specials of them all!


#05. Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer

This special has (or should have) been seen by everyone throughout the years and deserves the title of being the best of the Christmas specials from Rankin/Bass.This special makes the most of the opportunities presented by adding memorable characters (Yukon Cornelius!) and new story elements to an already classic song. All the new characters and story points add depth and pathos to the timeless tale. The animation is well designed, the voice acting is superb, and the songs have become yuletide classics with very good reason. This special is quintessential viewing for the holiday season!

#04. A Muppet Family Christmas

This special seems doomed to be lost to the ages. It has not aired on television for some time and the rare VHS/DVD releases have omitted several scenes. However, those fortunate enough to still have their old recorded copies on hand will be able to enjoy the entirety of this great Christmas classic! Muppet fans should love this special as it unites all four of the major Muppet franchises together into one hour-long celebration! Characters from The Muppet Show, Sesame Street, Fraggle Rock, and even The Muppet Babies show up at various point throughout the special. It provides several laughs, touching moments, and beloved versions of our favorite Christmas songs. Gerry Parkes also delivers a standout performance and the production team deserves recognition for creating a setting that feels warm and cozy even for viewers. This special should appeal to every Muppet fan with its heart and hilarious comedy brought to you by nearly every classic Muppet character literally under one roof. 

#03. A Garfield Christmas

Garfield and Friends was one of my favorite cartoons as a kid and this Christmas special remains one of the most memorable from childhood. This is one special that actually improves with age as the cynical, sarcastic, and subtly mature humor appeals to me as an adult viewer. Most of the comedy derives from Garfield's apathetic and snarky attitude, but several characters, including the bumbling Jon Arbuckle and his feisty Grandmother, deliver laughs as well. The special also offers one of the most heartwarming and simultaneously heartbreaking sequences of any special on this list when Garfield and the Grandmother share a heart-to-heart moment reflecting on past Christmases. Anyone who claims to have not been in tears by the end of that sequence is a liar. With comedy for all ages and even some mature content that is both hilarious and touching, this special is enthusiastically recommended! 

#02. Dr. Seuss' How The Grinch Stole Christmas!

This special has to be one of the best adaptations ever produced in terms of faithfully recapturing the look and spirit of the source material. The animation style is perfect in terms of color, design, and character movement. Boris Karloff is perfectly cast as the narrator and Grinch. His lively telling of the story engages viewers and his cranky tone for the Grinch complements the character flawlessly. The music is fantastic and the songs, especially Thurl Ravenscroft's "You're a Mean One, Mr. Grinch", are clever and catchy. Director Chuck Jones truly brought together the animation, voice performances, and music elements together perfectly to create what has become a defining special and character for the Christmas season. 

#01. A Charlie Brown Christmas

There was a period during my teenage years where I began to lose that feeling of excitement and wonder that came with Christmas. I tried hard to regain that childhood sentiment, but as my life gained more and more responsibilities I found myself struggling to find the magical feeling Christmas once offered. One year, after watching this special for what must have been the billionth time, I finally came to a revelation. My childhood Christmases may have been over and Christmas may come with stressful moments now that I am an adult, but that does not mean I cannot find new traditions and ways to find the Christmas spirit. Since then I have enjoyed Christmas just as much if not more as an adult than as a child and I have this Christmas special to thank for a reason. I could relate to Charlie Brown's disenfranchised feeling towards the holiday season. However much like how Chuck realized that the insanity engrossing everyone around him did not have to ruin his Christmas, I myself realized that the cynics and hostility that adults carry when Christmas arrives did not have to affect me as well. This Christmas special has wonderful animation, a masterpiece score from Vince Guaraldi, and hilarious comedy for people of all ages. It has become a classic for good reason. However, this specials greatest strength is its ability to remind viewers to slow down and remember that Christmas is what one makes of it and that it is the small aspects of the holidays that are the most important. 

Thank You to Everyone Who Read This Article
Merry Christmas to You All!

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