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DVD Review

DVD cover

The Snowman
Special Edition


Universal Pictures (UK)
RRP: £9.99
Certificate: PG
Available 15 November 2010

On one magic Christmas day a young boy wakes to a world covered in snow and inhabited by one special snowman who takes the boy on a journey to the North Pole to meet Father Christmas...

The Snowman (1982 - 26 min, 03 sec) is a timeless and beautiful animated film which maintains its sense of wonder even to today, the film is famous for the song ‘Walking in the Air’ which was sung by Peter Auty.

The new release makes some changes to the original. My memory of the film had David Bowie introducing it, but here we have Mel Smith who voices Father Christmas introducing the story. The disc gives you the option to just have Smith do the brief into before the film moves into its normal voiceless animation; the only words in the film are contained in the song. For younger viewers, you have the option to listen to Smith narrate the story all the way through, a better version for very young ones.

Because of the style of animation the film hasn’t aged at all and the transfer here is clear and colourful. The story, of course is a classic, enjoyed by all generations.

As James goes through his adventure the audience is taken on an emotional trip, from the surprise of finding the snowman alive, to the wonder of his flight to the North Pole to the sad, but inevitable melting of his friend. Given that its relatively short for a movie, this is an enormous achievement.

The disc does have a number of extras, which starts with a documentary (23 min, 34 sec) with Raymond Briggs, which looks at the genesis for the book and subsequent animated film, with contributions from Iain Harvey, the executive producer of the film. It gives an insight into Briggs work and world. The contributions from the public are sometimes amusing, including the popular idea that Aled Jones sang the theme song, which he didn’t.

There is an Animatic (7 min, 21 sec) which represents a first rough draft of the film and a collection of storyboards and an Alternative Introduction (1 min, 43 sec), which has David Bowie introducing the film, odd this as this is the original which I remember and not the Mel Smith version, though as they have released Father Christmas at the same time they are obviously trying to link the two releases.

If you don’t have a copy of this film, get it, especially if you have younger children, this will keep them quiet through the most fractious parts of Christmas. It may also remind you of Christmases long past, when you watched it with your own parents, and it may just reawaken your hidden child.


Charles Packer

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