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On Christmas Eve, Niko the young reindeer must find his little brother who has gone missing. But in order to save Christmas, it's going to take a lot of help from Niko's friends in order to save the day. While on his epic journey to save his brother, Niko learns the importance of friendship and family, in this heartwarming Holiday tale that all ages will enjoy.Written by
Not quite magical and little in originality and scope but big on fun and charm
As said in my review for the predecessor 'The Flight Before Christmas' (which to me was surprisingly enjoyable), love Christmas films, and Christmas is my favourite time of year. Am also a fan of animation, always have been since 2 years old getting into the Disney classics and always will be. So would see anything that are a mix of both, especially when this mix has seen films and specials that are good to classic (notably the best of the Rankin/Bass Christmas specials).
Its sequel 'The Magic Reindeer' (the UK title) isn't quite as good, rated them about the same but 'The Flight Before Christmas' gets the slight edge, but comes close. There is nothing here that will blow the mind, but it is an easily likable watch and passes the time effectively. Like 'The Flight Before Christmas', 'The Magic Reindeer' is not perfect, not many films are in retrospect, but to me as a family film it ticks most of the right boxes with room for improvement.
'The Magic Reindeer's' weak point is the story, that it's standard again is not quite as forgivable this time, 'The Flight Before Christmas' felt much fresher and livelier in pace whereas there were parts where this felt tired.
Some of the dialogue again lacks natural flow and cheesy and there are oddities in the translation.
However, the animation is great and actually more even in quality than the previous film with the characters looking better and more consistent quality-wise. It's very lavishly coloured and most of the characters are drawn well particularly the reindeer. Where it scores most highly is in the meticulously imaginative and colourful backgrounds and the attention to detail for the little things as well as the big effects. Another improvement, while still not spectacular, is the voice acting which is hardly amateurish.
Music once more has liveliness, atmosphere and nuance, and the film again is successful in appealing to all ages, children and adults alike. The former will lap up the amusing and innocent humour, the cute characters, the easy to relate to themes the film teaches, the exciting adventurous elements and the quirkiness. The latter will be surprised again at the more mature (though not as much as the previous film and may actually may be more to people's tastes) content that appeals to them and how mostly well handled it's done, it's not disturbing or overdone and doesn't feel misplaced or like the film didn't know what it wanted to be or who to aim it at.
Parts that are more mature in nature may go over children's heads but they have enough to enjoy anyway elsewhere so it shouldn't be a problem. Meanwhile adults will like its cuteness, charm, the family and friendship values (not new but universal, relevant and important) and how sincerely and not patronisingly they're delivered and the universal message, as well as seeing how children are enjoying it. Things are kept simple but with respect. There are dark tense scenes that are likely to scare the very young, but there is nothing traumatising, most viewers will take these scenes well though me thinks.
Characters, with charming heroes, funny sidekicks, threatening but never too scary villains and a lovingly neutered family, are easy to warm to (although Niko learnt from his mistakes better before). One will relate to the main character's story (another aspect that both children and adults will like), the action excites and while the pace could have been brisker it's not dull either.
Overall, fun and charming sequel, that goes with the first well even though not quite as good, if lacking originality and magic. 7/10 Bethany Cox
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