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Raymond Briggs' The Snowman / Father Christmas (DVD)

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Genre: Children's DVDs / Director: Dianne Jackson / Actors: David Bowie, Peter Auty ... / DVD released 06 November, 2006 at Universal Pictures UK / Features of the DVD: Animated, PAL

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      18.12.2011 16:15
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      A charming duo of Christmas animations

      In our household, officially Christmas doesn't start until this DVD is pulled off the shelf. Two classic Raymond Briggs stories presented on one DVD, The Snowman and Father Christmas is an essential part of any Christmas. Although the Snowman is perhaps the better known of the two both are charming stand alone stories that help to raise the Christmas spirit.

      The Snowman

      Run time - 26 mins

      Originally a book written by Raymond Briggs, the Snowman was made into an animation for Channel 4 aired on Christmas Eve first in 1982. Since then it has become a popular part of Christmas and there are few around who do not know of it. Animated without speech, the Snowman relies on a stunning musical score to convey everything it wants the audience to feel. The story is sweet and charming where a young boy builds a snowman and magically it comes to life. The only words in the film is the iconic song 'Walking in the air' which made singer, Aled Jones who would later cover the song as well known as the film. Without saying a word, the Snowman is full of character and personality. Memorable sequences include their flight through the air and the Snowmans party with a cameo appearance from Father Christmas himself. Nominated for Academy award for animated short film The Snowman is one of the best loved christmas stories told to date and has become as much a part of Christmas as old saint Nick himself.

      Father Christmas

      First aired 9 years after the release of the Snowman, again on Channel 4, Father Christmas is a comical twist on what we expect of the traditional Father Christmas. Based on two of Briggs' books Father Christmas and Father Christmas goes on holiday, this version introduces us to a grumpy version of Father Christmas as he takes us through what he does with the rest of the year. Apparently it isn't as easy being Santa as we all might think. Travelling to France, Scotland and Las Vegas, Father Christmas deals with being one of the most recognisable figures in the world. Voiced by comedian Mel Smith, this version of Father Christmas is one who is both flawed but loveable. Rather than wishing folk a merry christmas, he wishes us all a merry 'bloomin' christmas, as though Christmas is more of a hassle than anything. Father Christmas later went on to appear in the Kit Kat advert.

      The Snowman + Father Christmas = Family, christmas fun

      Combined together and you have about an hour of Christmas entertainment. One a heartwarming and sad tale and the other a funny and light hearted animation, bring them both together and you have the perfect recipe for Christmas. Unfortunately there are no special features on offer in the DVD edition which is a shame as I would have liked to see how the books were transformed into the animations. It's nice to see a handdrawn animation style rather than the now fashionable computer animation. Buying this DVD you get two quality Christmas stories for the price of one. Even though it may only come of the shelf at Christmas time it is an essential part of your DVD collection.

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      11.01.2010 11:51
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      Brilliant films and British Animation at its best classic films for all the family.

      My children's favourite film at Christmas time, we bought this double DVD a number of years of ago, my eldest ran over to it and said "mammy mammy look it Father Christmas!" He had only previously watched The Snowman and of course read the book many times over so I purchased it. Now of course my youngest loves it to bits and my children love me telling how when i was a child, we (my whole family in cousins) used to sit and watch this every Christmas Eve. Many happy memories associated with this film.

      The Snowman:- The film is adapted from the Raymond Briggs book The Snowman which was written back in 1978. It's the story of a young boy who wakes up to snow covered fields and builds a snowman. at the stroke of midnight the boy wakes up to look at the snowman he has built when it turns around looks straight them. As the story enfolds the watcher sees a beautiful friendship blossom with the Snowman playing games with the boy. By the end of the story the Snowman takes the boy to the annual Snowman Party, introduces him to Father Christmas and brings him back home. The end of the film has such a sad ending, my five year old was tears when it shows the snowman melted away and the little boy standing next to it with a scarf in his hand. The film itself is introduced by David Bowie in the attic of the farmhouse where the above took place.

      Father Christmas:- This animated short tells the story Father Christmas of how he spends his time throughout the year right through to Christmas Eve. Now it may not be to everyone tastes as it features Father Christmas smoking cigars, drinking, gambling and dancing about Las Vegas showgirls. Now my children weren't really fussed about it and instead loved watching the reindeer's. The film also does not follow the Snowman story fully at the Snowman Annual Party. But all in all it's still a good short cartoon with laughs a plenty.

      Brilliant films and British Animation at its best classic films for all the family.

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        02.12.2009 14:57
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        Well made & beautiful animation & part of Christmas tradition.

        This DVD has two animated British Classics to offer. The Famous (possibly infamous!) The Snowman & the lesser known Father Christmas. If you buy this DVD from somewhere on special offer then it really isn't bad value for money. Mine came from HMV at £3.98 but I wouldn't pay more than a fiver as The Snowman is on every year without fail.

        The Snowman was originally a Childrens Book by author Raymond Briggs published in 1978. The Book was completely without text & was essentially a picture book. The book was turned into a 26 minute animation for Channel 4 in 1982. It was screened for the first time that Christmas Eve & was an immediate success. It has been shown on Channel 4 every year ever since.

        The Story shows a young boy creating a Snowman on Christmas Eve. That night at the stroke of 12.00 midnight, The Snowman comes to life. The story then shows the boys adventures with The Snowman (including a visit to Father Christmas) accompanied by only music & the Song "We're Waling In The Air". The entire cartoon has no dialogue & a very famous ending which makes parents question whether or not young kids should watch it. Noteably too their have been three different openings to the Story. I like the cartoon & it is a beautiful piece of animation & due to lack of dialogue, almost art. A true British Classic & a part of Christmas.


        Father Christmas is an adaptation of two Raymond Briggs Books. Father Christmas (1973) & Father Christmas Goes On Holiday (1975). The animation was produced in 1991 for Channel 4 & aired the same year. The Boy from The Snowman along with the title character also make an appearance in the film which is a nice addition & helps gel over the orignal ending a little better.

        The cartoon is a distinctly British take on Santa. Father Christmas lives in a house in Britain with no elves or misses Santa. He is slightly Grumpy but has clear affection for both the animals that live with him & children. The piece is different than The Snowman in that it has dialogue & takes place over a year beginning with Father Christmas arriving home on Christmas Eve & ending at the same moment a year later.

        I like the piece & think that the cartoons both go well together. It is funny & great to see Father Christmas going on holiday & doing other things. I do think that most modern children might take issue with it because it doesn't match up to the modern image of Santa, living in the North Pole with Elves making the presents.

        The DVD is good, with decent qulaity picture & sound indicative of the age of the cartoons on it. There are no extras at all though which is pretty rubish & a reason not to pay a lot of money for this. I recommend the DVD, especially for the right price as Father Christmas is now rather rare & isn't shown every year

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        27.11.2009 16:13
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        A brilliant christmas DVD for children and nostalgic adults.

        The Snowman was originally a childrens book written by Raymond Briggs. The Snowman was written in 1978 and was turned into a 26 minute long animated film in 1982.

        The Snowman is introduced by David Bowie, who claims to be the boy from the story (and has the scarf to prove it). The story of The Snowman starts on a snowy, winters morning - all the houses, fields and trees are covered in thick snow. A young boy (James) wakes up in his bed, sees the snow and runs outside to play. He makes footprints, throw snowballs and finally makes a big snowman with a green scarf and hat, satsuma nose and cole for eyes and buttons. It begins to get dark and the boy has go to indoors to bed, but all he can think about is his snowman. He eventually gets in his bed and falls asleep, but shortly before midnight the boy wakes up and goes downstairs to have another glimse at his snowman. The clock strikes midnight and the boy can't believe his eyes when his snowman comes to life! The boy and snowman embark on an all night adventure which sees them exploring the boys house, riding a motorbike, flying through the skies and attending a very special party.

        One thing which I love about The Snowman is that there are no voices or sounds - everything is done by an orchestra. All activities, emotions and feelings are captured and conveyed by different instruments. The Snowman also features the well known song 'Walking In The Air' sung by Peter Auty (a young Aled Jones also released the song in 1985).

        The illustrations are lovely - very simple, quite grainy and slightly dated but this all adds to the charm of the film. The length of the film is also good as it is long enough to tell a good story but doesn't drag on and holds a childs attention right through to the end.

        The only thing which I've never really liked about the film is the ending, but I couldn't imagine it any other way. It's quite a tear jerker and could quite easily upset young children (but don't let this put you off).

        I have great nostalgic memories of The Snowman and watching it on repeat every christmas when I young. This is a great film for the festive season and will get everybody in a feel good, christmas mood.

        The second film on the DVD is called Father Christmas.

        Father Christmas originated from two seperate childrens books written by Raymond Briggs. Father Christmas was written in 1973 and Father Christmas Goes On Holiday (the sequel) was written in 1975. In 1991 the books were made into a short animated film.

        The film tells the story of how Father Christmas spends the other 364 days of the year and shows you how he spent his past year. It turns out Father Christmas has had quite an eventful year and has travelled to France, Scotland and Las Vegas. When Father Christmas eventually comes home he is met with loads of stressful christmas preparations and as Christmas Eve arrives Father Christmas makes his way around the world delivering presents. When all the presents have been delivered Father Christmas makes his way to a party where he is met by James and The Snowman (from the previous film on the DVD) and realises he has forgotton to deliver a present to a very special someone.

        Father Christmas is not portrayed as the happy jolly man that everybody knows and loves, instead he is quite a miserable man that says the word "bloomin" quite a lot. He is also voiced by Mel Smith and doesn't live in the North Pole, instead he lives in a terrace house. Father Christmas is seen doing a lot of everyday household chores such as washing up and feeding his pets. There is no sign of snow, elves, Mrs Claus or toy workshops - all traditional things that you would usually associate with Father Christmas. This might be slightly off putting for some and might take some getting used to but Father Christmas is very amusing and likable and should win you over.

        Overall I think Father Christmas has a good and unique story, with a different but still fun perspective on christmas. Young children might be slightly confused by Santa's behaviour but I imagine that most children will enjoy this film.

        The only real downside to the DVD is that there are no extras. This might bother some people but it isn't a big deal for me as I don't usually bother with DVD extras.

        You can find The Snowman/Father Christmas DVD at Play.com, Amazon.co.uk, HMV and Tesco (to name just a few). Price varies between £3.99 - £9.99.

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          21.12.2008 23:01
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          a must have

          Raymond Briggs The Snowman and Father Christmas DVD.....


          Last year in Woolworth's I saw this DVD was priced at a ridiculously cheap price of £5 so me being me I didn't hesitate to pop it into my, as usual, overflowing basket.

          Both The Snowman and Father Christmas are absolute classics as far as I am concerned. I do believe that Father Christmas is shown pretty much every Christmas morning at an exceptionally early time. I do remember watching it for many years as a child and now with this DVD I can watch both classics at this time of year at a more convenient time of day.


          The Snowman film is basically a short cartoon which has no script and really does not need to have words as the story is told well enough by the use of music and the drawings. This is a film that came about in the early 80's and has a very popular sound track. The story is of a young boy who makes a snowman in his back garden only for the snowman to come alive that evening and take the boy on a magical journey. They visit the North Pole where they meet tons of other Snowmen who are having a party. At the end of the party Father Christmas shows up and a jolly good time is had by all. As the night comes to an end the snowman takes the young boy back home and it gets a bit sad when the boy awakes to find his snowman melted away.

          I don't think I realised when I was younger that the whole film didn't have any words but I was able to enjoy the film and understand everything clearly without. In fact I would think having no words makes the whole film rather more magical than it would have been had the snowman and the young boy talked.

          The second film on the DVD is another Raymond Briggs short film and this tells a story of what Father Christmas gets up to during the year when he is not preparing for Christmas Day. We see Father Christmas as a fairly grumpy old man who decides to get away from England and revamps his sleigh so he can jet off on it to places such as France, Las Vegas and Scotland. However, none of these holidays turn out to make Father Christmas very happy and before he knows it is time to get back to work and get ready for the festive season. The film lasts for 25 minutes and each of these is filled with laughs. I love the way Father Christmas is portrayed and getting a glimpse into his life is truly wonderful.

          Both of the films are great in their own way but together they are quite different from each other. The Snowman can really e enjoyed by both young and older children where as I think Father Christmas is aimed at the slightly older child or even adult. I think the length of 25 minutes is good to keep children interested and it is enough to get a good story in.

          I cannot rate these films highly enough and I would say this is a must have to own and to watch at around this time of year. The ideas of both films are truly brilliant alongside the illustrations and music which makes them true winners.

          A five star rating for this DVD and an EXTREMELY HIGH RECOMMENDATION. This was one of my bargains that actually was a bargain.

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          14.12.2007 09:27
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          Watch this for a magical christmas!

          I bought this DVD about 2 years ago for myself when I was at University and Christmas was coming up. I was missing my family a lot, and I always saw these shows with my parents every year from when I was about 3 years old. So I knew it would be a great thing for me to watch to feel Christmassy. And this morning I was sorting out my Christmassy films and I found this one on the shelf. Harry grabbed it and kissed Father Christmas, so I put it on for my son's first ever viewing of the classic The Snowman and Father Christmas.

          Both of these are stories by the wonderfully talented Raymond Briggs bought to life in animated short stories. The Snowman is probably the best known Christmas story there is for young children, dating all the way back to 1982, 4 years before I was even born! However, it remains as popular as ever know, with books, cuddly toys, DVDs and other items. Father Christmas is probably my favourite ever version of the big guy, and watching this cartoon never fails to make me laugh and feel like Christmas is really coming!

          The Snowman tells the story of a young boy called James who creates a snowman in his garden on a snowy Christmas Eve. Christmas magic must be in the air because the Snowman comes to life, and comes into James' house, trying on all the clothes and having fun with James. But more magic is to come when The Snowman flies James through the air to the infamous song "Walking In The Air" over to a party with many other magical snowmen, and Father Christmas himself! James and the Snowman have fun at the party and then fly home. James is crestfallen in the morning when his magic snowman has disappeared. I remember every year my little brother used to cry at that part, how sweet!

          One of my favourite things about this cartoon is the fact that it is completely wordless, aside from the song Walking In The Air. It adds a special something to it, as very rarely these days are silent cartoons produced. I think silent cartoons encourage children to use their imaginations more and they can make up dialogue for the cartoon as my brother and I used to do! It is also nice to see they have left it wordless and not updated it with dialogue over the years. There is an introduction from David Bowie to this cartoon, although I am not sure why this is on there! The cartoon only lasts for 26 minutes, but it is a magical and incredibly Christmassy 26 minutes, I love this cartoon. The soundtrack is also magical, and complements the action on the screen perfectly.

          Father Christmas is the second feature on this DVD and I would say this is aimed at slightly older children, because of the dialogue and a slightly more complicated plot line, as it were. We join Father Christmas just after he has done his Christmas Eve delivery around the world, and see what he gets up to in a year.Father Christmas is a bit fed up and decides to take a holiday in his new sleigh with his reindeers. However, after visiting France, Scotland and Las Vegas, he has to return home to get ready for another Christmas. We then see Father Christmas get ready, wrap all the presents, and jet all around the world with his full up sleigh. It ends with a wonderful song sung by a young boy about "poor old Father Christmas".

          What I like about this cartoon is the crossover between this and The Snowman. There is a scene in the cartoon after Father Christmas has finished delivering the presents where he attends a party full of snowmen, just like in the Snowman! James is also in this cartoon, which is great for young children to see continuity. Also, this cartoon has one of the greatest catchphrases, the use of Father Christmas saying "bloomin' " all the time! It is funny for young children to hear Father Christmas say that, especially when he says "And a merry bloomin' christmas to you an' all" at the end!

          Father Christmas is voiced by the wonderful Mel Brooks, who plays a gruff and grumpy Mr Claus. It is quite a sattirical cartoon, in that Father Christmas is not the cheerful happy man we all think, he is actually quite the opposite! He is recognised by normal people throughout the cartoon, enstilling the thought in young children that he really does exist, and I used to look around madly when I was young trying to catch a glimpse of him! The cartoon lasts for 25 minutes, again just long enough for young children.

          The DVD is a great addition to any young children's DVD collection, especially at this time of year. They will love it for many years to come, right from young children like Harry through to older children who still have that magical belief in Father Christmas. Even now, my Christmas isn't complete until I have watched this DVD on Christmas Eve after dinner in the dark with just the Christmas tree lights on!

          You can buy the DVD on Amazon for £9.98, or on Play.com for £9.99 with free delivery. There are no extras on the disk, just the option to view either of the cartoons, so don't expect anything more for your money than just the cartoons! Certificate: U. Running time is 53 minutes.

          Thank you for reading and a happy bloomin' Christmas to everyone!

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        • Product Details

          Two Raymond Briggs' animated classics, The Snowman and Father Christmas are here sensibly paired for maximum yuletide delight. Based on Briggs's classic children's book and crafted in a coloured-pencils-on-paper look, like fluffy, hand-drawn illustrations, The Snowman is a gentle fable of friendship and the power of imagination. It's the story of a small boy whose lovingly constructed snowman comes to life and takes him flying over the white-blanketed landscapes, in a beautiful rotoscoped (traced) sequence based on live-action flying footage. Part of the charm of the film is the gentle, everyday quality of its fantasy adventures: the snowman is invited in to try on clothes and play with the Christmas decorations, then plays host to the boy at a party in the woods, at which his snowy relatives do country dances. --David Chute In Father Christmas, an irreverent Santa breaks from tradition in many ways. He has no Mrs, owns only four reindeer and decides to convert his sleigh into an airborne motor home for a pre-Christmas holiday. He finds France too snooty, Scotland too cold and Las Vegas just right. Tanned and rested, he returns to the North Pole in time to sort through the mail, pack up the toys and hit the skies. He also narrates his own story (splendidly voiced by Los Angeles stage actor William Dennis Hunt), but fans of the 1973 book will find the animated version far less cranky than the original. Although the book was aimed at children between the ages of 4-8, this may have a wider appeal, depending on how you feel about the children seeing Santa gambling at the casino tables, dreaming of bikini-clad babes and suffering a bout of diarrhoea. --Kimberly Heinrichs