The Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer holiday special is my LEAST favorite holiday special and it would NEVER have been made today. I’m actually surprised that there aren’t people out there protesting the yearly airing of it. Especially considering the fact that now-a-days people will literally complain about anything.
Here are few things that are so very wrong with the 1964 original version of everyone’s beloved Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer movie.
First of all, there is far too much singing. Far too much. If there absolutely HAS to be that much singing it should at least be upbeat, fun songs that my kids are going to listen to over and over and over, and then sing over and over and over until I want to rip my ears off my head.
Second, that beginning scene where Donner’s wife gives birth to their very first baby, Rudolph. Shortly after (skinny!?) Santa’s annoying song, Donner comes up with the idea to cover Rudolph’s nose with mud so he can be (and I quote) “a normal little buck just like everybody else.” (WHAT?!) And Mrs. 1964 Donner just sits idly by and lets it happen. That would NOT happen today. Nope. Mrs. 2015 Donner wouldn’t just stand there batting her doe eyes while Rudolph learns the invaluable lesson that it is not okay to be different. No, the scene would have gone more like: Skinny Santa sings his annoying song, Donner makes his dumb comment, Mrs. 2015 Donner says, “Hold up. Now, I KNOW you did not just say what I think you said. What do you know from normal anyways? You better change that attitude, and fast. Otherwise, you can just pack up your sorry ass reindeer bags and hit the road. Rudy and I will be just fine without you.”
At least that’s what I would have said.
The third thing I would like to point out is the Reindeer Games. This is where we see the little punk reindeer kids first giving Rudolph a hard time about his shiny red nose. Maybe in 1964 it was okay to all gang up on the one poor little reindeer who happened to have a weird nose, but we don’t treat our reindeer that way these days. Today those little reindeer hooligans, who were dancing all around Rudolph and making fun of him, would have immediately been suspended from reindeer school for bullying, and their families would have been shamed as the story was broadcast over social media. Then there would have been some sort of school-wide assembly making sure that everyone knew about the incident, and making sure that everyone was okay with the incident, and making sure that everyone felt safe from bullying in light of the incident. Anti-bullying signs would have been hung up all over the school, and in an act of solidarity all the other reindeer would have come to school with their noses painted red during school spirit week.
Fourth problem: the reindeer coach. The reindeer coach was basically the ring leader of the whole debacle, and skinny Santa was actually on his side! Today the jerky coach would have been fired on the spot. There would have been a full investigation, and a review of the security tape would have shown that he actually said the words: “From now on gang, we won’t let Rudolph join in any reindeer games. Right?” OMG! What the heck was THAT all about? What an asshole.
Fifth. The only bright spot in the entire ugly Reindeer Games scene is that Rudy’s new lady friend stands by his side. Yay! A light among the darkness. But her name is Clarice. And no one (and I mean no one) can hear that name without thinking of Silence of the Lambs. So the one nice reindeer is ruined due to her creepy name. (It is important to point out that this is not a flaw of the movie, per se. It is just a most unfortunate coincidence.)
Sixth problem. After Rudolph has been ostrasized by everyone including his coach and skinny Santa, he meets a stranger and decides to run away with him. (Which is something I’m pretty sure his mom told him NEVER to do.) Then the two of them meet another stranger, who has a gun strapped to his belt, and decide to hop a ride with him (another thing his mother most likely advised against.) And they all end up spending the night in the same bed in yet another stranger’s house. (Rudolph’s mom would be horrified.)
Seventh. It’s pretty obvious that The Land of the Misfit Toys is really just an island with an insane asylum where things that weren’t perfect had to go live. That is creepy and weird and scary. That part of the movie used to scare the crap out of me when I was a kid. An insane asylum. In a holiday movie. Unnecessary.
The Eighth problem…the eighth problem I almost can’t even write without gagging. But I’m going to give it a go. When Donner starts to feel bad about what a jerk he was to Rudolph he decides to go out and look for him. Okay, fair enough. But when Rudolph’s mom wants to go too, Donner tells her “no” because it is man’s work. Man’s work! Man’s. Work. Again I would like to point out the difference between 1964 Mrs. Donner and 2015 Mrs. Donner. 1964 Mrs. Donner cried a giant tear. 2015 Mrs. Donner would have kicked Donner’s ass. And then divorced him. Because he is an idiot.
Yes, I know the whole thing wraps up nicely with everyone feeling badly about their atrocious behavior. And, yes, I know Rudy saves Christmas with his shiny red nose. But I sort of wish Rudolph had flipped skinny Santa the bird and told him to take a hike when he asked him to guide his sleigh. Or at least made beg a little.
Even though one of the “messages” of this particular movie is supposed to be that Rudolph had been misjudged (harshly) because he looked different, but now here he is leading the pack of reindeer as the hero who saved Christmas. Truth be told, the message seems to be more like, it’s okay be mean to someone who looks different than you…unless you need them for something, then you should be nice to them. Oh, and it’s okay to run away with strangers.
Its a weird movie.