The Flight Before Christmas
Produced By: The Weinstein Company
Reviewed by Melissa Minners
This year, I'm coming across a lot of animated Christmas specials that I have never seen before. Why, just the other day, I found Silent Night, Holy Night, an animated special from my childhood that I never remember seeing. And the other day, I saw coming attractions for a movie about a reindeer who wants desperately to fly. Apparently this movie aired in 2008 and, again, I never saw it. Well, I would just have to remedy that fact now wouldn't I?
In The Flight Before Christmas, Nico (Andrew McMahon) is a young reindeer who has never met his father. His mother, Oona, has told him that his father is a member of the Flying Forces and that he swept her off her feet one year, but never realized he had a son. Nico dreams of becoming a famous flying reindeer like his father. His trusty friend and father figure, a glider squirrel named Julius (Norm Macdonald), is always there for him, encouraging him in his endeavors.
When Nico's attempts to fly get the reindeer herd into trouble with a roving pack of wolves, he heads off on his own to find his father at Santa's Fell. Julius reluctantly joins him, but cautions Nico as to what he might find. After all, some heroes are quite a bit different when you actually meet them in person. And when the wolf pack decides to set their sights on some loftier goals, can Nico warn Santa and the Flying Forces before it's too late?
I thought this movie was cute - great for little kids with a very little inside humor for adults provided by a singing weasel named Wilma (Emma Roberts) and some of the cocky members of the Flying Forces. There are some inconsistencies in this hour long special, but if I reveal them, I will ruin it for you. You'll just have to watch the cartoon to pick them out. Just a hint - if Santa was there the whole time, why didn't he do anything? There, not enough to give things away, but enough to get you thinking.
The animation was more sophisticated than the claymation and cartoon specials in my childhood and much more attractive to the younger generation of today who have grown up on Disney-Pixar films. The storyline was cute, but more important was the messages the movie brings. First, believe in yourself. Second, always realize the blessings you have at home before you set off for something "better." Third, not every hero is as heroic up close as they appear to be from afar.
All-in-all, I found The Flight Before Christmas to be enjoyable enough to elicit quite a few laughs from me and keep me interested in its outcome. Yes, I am a traditionalist and enjoy my old claymation and cartoon holiday classics, but I think I can add this special to the list of Christmas cartoons to watch again next year.