Pardon-me Pete, the official groundhog of Groundhog Day, tells the story of Jack Frost, who falls in love with a beautiful young woman and begs Father Winter to make him human so that she can see him. His request is granted, but only on the condition that by the Spring he has a house, a bag of gold, a horse and a wife. But Jack finds that life as a human is more complicated than he thought.
Not sure how, but this is easily one of the best movies all summer. Multiple levels of funny, never takes itself seriously, super colorful, and creative.
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Watching it is like watching the spectacle of a class clown at their best: you laugh at their jokes, instigate their defiance, and "ooooh" when they get in trouble.
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***This review contains spoilers***Elisa is the pretty girl to be won, but she also shows how beautiful other humans can be to other humans, so I love her. Even when she has to be rescued from the king, she isn't shamed for being helpless and she isn't even shamed for not loving Jack. She's treated as a person and considered a victim who didn't ask for it, although not as deeply as it could be, but this is for children. She matters beyond sexual reasons.Jack is the goody-goody guy who isn't that strong, but still so cute in his efforts to find love. He even cares about Elisa, after she doesn't fall in love with him and wants her happy. The story isn't one where the girl gets shamed for not being in love with the good guy main character. She can still make her own choices.Snip and Holly are the great sidekicks. They watch over Jack as the best friends in the world, who are even brave enough to venture to slightly unknown territory (earth) for him. Holly only has a few lines, but she's definitely a great feminist character who can overcome her own stature.Sir Ravenal Rightfellow is a strong, dashing, gentle knight and prince. He's so connected to Elisa and would be an ideal husband for any woman. You can tell he loves her for her heart and will treat her like an equal.Elisa's Mama and Papa feel like a real older couple you could meet. Their concern for money hits hard and they are so sweet to help Jack. It's old fashioned and patriarchal that Jack asks Papa to marry Elisa, but people did that in that time and he never meant to choose his daughter's husband. He always trusted his daughter and would be an ideal husband.Pardon-Me-Pete is funny comic relief, but also full of depth, not just a throw away character.Father Winter is strict, but within reason, and clearly cares about Jack as a son, but also how he and the others live by their work in nature.Kubla Kraus is evil and everything feminism fights against, when he captures Elisa. He oppresses everyone though, through financial control, but he's no match for our team of heroes. The voice work is amazing. ever character is distinct and memorable. The camera work is great, like a live action show. The filmmakers took such good care of this production.
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As I really like/love so much of Rankin/Bass' output, I realised that I had not seen Jack Frost. Being intrigued by the story concept, I knew I wanted to see it. And I really liked it on the most part, it is not a classic in the vein of Rudolph The Red Nosed Reindeer, Santa Claus is Comin' To Town, Frosty the Snowman, The Little Drummer Boy and The Year Without a Santa Claus, nor did it need or try to be and it is much better than it's given credit for. If there was anything I wasn't crazy about it was the groundhog Pardon-Me-Pete, who I find a trite character who fills the role of narrator but with not much personality or warmth(I know not all Rankin/Bass narrative characters have to be like Sam the Snowman for example but still). By all means Buddy Hackett does try hard but his character doesn't really allow him to play to his strengths and he does have a couple of jokes that fall flat.I personally much enjoyed the music though, the scoring is whimsical and dynamic. The songs are also lovely with the exception of the train-wreck that is I've Got a Day Named After Me. I found that the lyrics were really uninspired, the melody forgettable and stylistically jarring to the rest and Hackett's vocals consisted of singing painfully out of tune when he wasn't talking his way through the song. It's Lonely Being One of a Kind and There's The Rub were the ones that stood out to me the most, the latter as a matter of fact is in my head right now. The animation is beautifully crafted, every bit as accomplished as the earlier Rankin/Bass classics with backgrounds full of intricate and atmospheric details and colours that positively leap out at you.When it comes to the writing, Jack Frost is not one of the best in this regard(the best written for me is still Santa Claus is Comin' to Town) but it does at least maintain interest and is well-intentioned and sweet. The story didn't bore me in any way, there are some great ideas here, such as with the ice money, snowflake makers, snow gypsies and a knight in golden armour, and I was too engrossed in the story's imagination, charm and fun to really care about whether it made sense or not or whether it was propaganda(as I've seen it cited). The ending is different to what you'd expect, but it was refreshing to not have a "sugarcoated" ending once in a while and it was really quite touching. The characters are memorable apart from Pardon-Me-Pete, I found myself immediately liking and identifying with Jack, Dummy is hilarious and Kubla Kraus looks and sounds like Burgermeister Meisterburger as a cossack but is lots of fun all the same.The voice acting is very good, Paul Frees as Kubla Kraus, Father Winter and Dummy is simply genius. Robert Morse brings an appealing chirpish charm to Jack and Debra Clinger a youthful sweetness to Elisa. All in all, very under-appreciated if not one of the studio's very best. 8/10 Bethany Cox
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Jack Frost (1979) *** (out of 4)Fun stop-motion animated film from the Rankin-Bass team has a groundhog telling the story of the one and only time that Jack Frost was human. We learn that Jack Frost, when he was the bitter winter, fell in love with a girl and was given permission from Father Winter to become human as long as he would be able to fit in with human life. JACK FROST is certainly another winner from the duo who by this time were already legends in their field. This film clocks in at 45-minutes but it not once feels like its running too long and this is due to the wonderful animation but story itself is also a very good one with memorable characters. I thought the Jack Frost character was truly a memorable one and especially the way he came from being nothing but winter to a human. I found the story to be fun to sit through but at the same time touching and especially the ending. What really makes the film so memorable is the actual animation that just jumps off the screen. I really loved the visuals, the colors and especially how the animation just really makes the characters and location come to life.
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Buddy Hackett narrated this crap "once upon a snowflake".... pffft!The greedy people in town are in the dumps because their supply of 'ice-money' is melting and the Russian dictator down the block wants the hottest girl in the village to be his chick... or something like that. Calling Jack Frost to restore a cold weather climate to anywhere on the globe.Totally charmless holiday special with a sour plot which involves coins, taxes, going broke, and the 'flake-flipping snow gypsies'.... huh?Produced by Rankin/Bass, though they've done much better.