The Snowman and the Snow Dog: Review

December 24, 2012 by  
Filed under Film Reviews

The Snowman and the Snow Dog

December 24th 2012, 8pm, Channel 4


For the last thirty years Raymond Briggs’ ‘The Snowman’ has been a stalwart of Christmas TV, its images of an idyllic Christmas snowscape and sweet story of a young boy’s friendship with magical snowman warm the hearts of old and young alike.

Not me though, even as a five year old I found it twee and cheesy. There were no laser guns or explosions and the enforced viewing of it every year drove me bonkers.

Anyway, that’s the past, but in this post-apocalyptic world, the powers that be have decided to give us a sequel. Not actually created by Raymond Briggs, but made with his blessing none the less.

As the original star of the tale, James would now be pushing 40 and so we have a new central character. His name is Billy and soon after moving into James’s old house his dog dies.

Before long he has found the accoutrements of the old snowman (hat, scarf) and a photo of the frosty golem with James and sets out to build another one.

As he misses his old companion and because this is a sequel, he goes one step further than James and knocks up a snow dog as well.

From then on it’s pretty much EXACTLY the same as the previous animation. The snow man pokes around the house, this time (because it’s a sequel) the snow dog starts to melt by the fire and then they all fly off to the north pole or something and have a party with some other snowy characters.

The one part of the original I liked was the flying. A brilliant sequence, as the boy hand in hand with his weird new friend flew across the land, seeing the night time world of 80’s Britain. Its excellence was only heightened by the haunting yet joyous song ‘Walking in the Air’ sung Peter Auty (the more famous version by Alled Jones was a cover version released in 1985, if you must know).

The song they have used for the parallel sequence in this sequel is atrocious. It sounds like an abominable cross between the worst of mid-seventies chart drivel and the forgettable weary warbling of an X-Factor runner up’s stab at the big time. Just dreadful.

I could say nice things about it. The animation is good and there are some nice sequences such as building of the snow man and dog but it’s nothing that wasn’t done in the original.

Like most sequels this is just a flagrant attempt to cash in on the success of its predecessor and it will no doubt get decent viewing figures this year for novelty value. But will it be held in such high regard as the first one in years to come? Not a chance.

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  1. K says:

    You miserable person! It’s a charming film, and I will not listen to a word you say, miserable person!

  2. Bentendo says:

    So a person who disliked the original has been asked to biasedly review it’s sequel? How very fair on a team of animators who hand drew over 17,000 images to make an animation masterpiece.

    Based on it’s own merits and plot I actually found most of it an improvement on the original. A quicker emotional connection with the lead character, a deeper story/narrative with his dog, and far far better animation with the flight through London.

    The nods to it’s past with red bikes and moments in-front of the fireplace were enough nostalgia for people rose tintedly comparing it constantly, while introducing enough new nods to make it relavent [The London Eye, multi cultural snowmen, etc].

    I think for the sake of a 30th anniversary celebration this was more than enough to make people smile and enjoy the start to their festivities. And if that’s all it achieves, then it’s existence it warranted.

    Well done to the team of 40 who put this together, you deserve a drink on us.

  3. Dave says:

    Am I the only one that thought that this was better than the original? While the other one felt more like an initial piece of art, I feel that this one payed tribute to the classic perfectly and I actually prefer the new track to the original walking in the air. It seems to represent a different person’s perspective of the flight. I saw the two back to back and I think that this is the perfect modernisation and we should just appreciate that it could have turned out a whole lot worse.

  4. Jb says:

    Thirty years after it’s release they make a sequel and this reviewer is saying that they’re cashing in on it’s success? Here’s a newsflash, if they did they wouldn’t have waited thirty years.

    I liked it. I loved the original, I love this one. Yes, walking in the air is iconic, but the lyrics of the song ‘hometown’ are so fitting, it’s scary. The sad ending is there once again, but luckily he has his dog this time and the dog giving his ball to the snowman was amazing.

    I don’t think it’s better than the original, but I think this is a good sequel.

  5. Brian says:

    I’m with you Dave, I think everyone involved did a great job!

  6. Sven says:

    Unlike the reviewer I really did like the original. But I’ve just read several reviews on different sites, all of them at best luke warm, and all hated the song. Sadly, (as I wanted this to be good) I have to agree with this review. It didn’t have the magic of the original. The story just wasn’t different enough, resulting in a kind of desperate attempt to capture the spirit of the first. I feel bad for the people involved who must know deep down this isn’t good enough. Maybe it be a lesson to leave old classics alone and do something new.

  7. Carol Baker says:

    It is a beautiful film and the more I see it and listen to the superb music the more I like it. Warm congratulations to everyone involved in its making for an excellent job well done.

    Ignore the old cynics. You cannot melt their hearts of stone however hard you try. I love it, my grown up daughter adores it and we appreciate what the creative team has done. Looking forward to buying the DVD and a copy of the music soundtrack as soon as it becomes available. Again well done to all.

    Happy New Year.