Claymation Christmas Celebration (1987) TV Review: More Raisins to Watch?

Drinking Game

Take a Drink: for each Christmas song

Take a Drink: for increasingly painful puns

Do a Shot: for every reference to wassailing

Community Review

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Movie Review

By: Oberst Von Berauscht (Two Beers) –

Claymation Christmas Celebration is an anthology of short musical segments all based on popular Christmas songs. As a wrap-around, each short is presented by Rex and Herb, two dinosaurs with a catty knack for getting on each other’s nerves.

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And they’re totally Gay for each other. (not that there is anything wrong with that)

The musical segments are as follows:

We Three Kings, with Jazzy Camels…

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With Jazzy, not at all culturally insensitive Camels…

Carol of the Bells

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That literally play with themselves…

O Christmas Tree

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With creepy, soul-shredding children…

Angels we have Heard on High

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No, I’m not sure why there are walruses in it either…

Joy To the World

The Art-house segment that childhood ME would fast-forward through, but adult ME really enjoys...
The Art-house segment that childhood ME would fast-forward through, but adult ME really enjoys…

Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer

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Celebrity Guests: The California Raisins!

A Toast

All joking aside, this is a special packed with neat visuals, whether it be through cartoony humor or tasteful spiritual imagery. Director and lead Claymation artist Will Vinton was a groundbreaker in stop-motion artistry, pioneering technologies and methods that are still in use today by studios such as Laika. Vinton’s Christmas special is endlessly rewarding for fans of the art style, while also satisfying children with colorful character-design, silly characters, and heart-warming Christmas wistfulness.

The music featured in the special is clearly recorded on a lower budget, but with tight production and creative choices that keep you interested. As an example, here is the “We Three Kings” segment, which combines a traditionalist reading of the classic carol with R&B interludes that pep up the beat.

Most of the songs on the soundtrack take a unique approach to the material; other stand-outs include the “Joy to the World” song, which blends world music and gospel traditions, and the California Raisins’ “Rudolph” rendition.  Those too young to remember when the California Raisins were popular are missing out on one of the strangest-silliest times, when a simple commercial promoting the dried grapes somehow managed to bring hit classic R&B covers back to the charts.

After not having watched this special since the early 90s, I can honestly say in revisiting it this year that this experience holds up as one of the most satisfying Holiday specials television ever produced.

Verdict

Fitting in a generous amount of Christmas spirit into just a half-hour, Claymation Christmas Celebration is a piece of 1980s nostalgia not to be missed.

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About Oberst von Berauscht

Oberst Von Berauscht once retained the services of a Gypsy to imbue in him the ability to accurately describe the artistic qualities of a film up to seven decimal points. To maintain this unique skill, he must feast on the blood of a virgin every Harvest Moon, or failing that (and he usually does), he can also make a dog do that thing they do where they twist their heads slightly (you know, when they're confused about something) at least a few times a week. I've gotten way off track here... The point is, Oberst is one of the website's founders, so... yeah

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