Sunday, November 29, 2009

RUDOLPH THE RED-NOSED REINDEER (Rankin/Bass, 1964, USA)

Hermie and Rudolph must shed the cloak of conformity and fight a desperate battle against their tyrannical oppressor: Santa Claus. Rankin Bass Productions have created a Cold War parable concerning the Cuban Missile Crisis and the Soviet Union’s incursion into the Western hemisphere.

Rudolph is a freak of nature, spurned by his own father, a rebel with a cause: he is Che Guevara with a fiery streak of individualism and bulbous glowing nostrils. He meets another expatriate, a would-be Dentist named Hermie, full of dangerous knowledge, an elf whose philosophical enamel armours him from abuse and allows him to earn his egoistic authenticity: he is Jean-Paul Sartre. For years, they struggle under the illusion of a Communist regime that preaches Equality and Justice for all, but soon learn that friends are dangerous enemies: Santa is a Dictator who is an allegorical stop-motion Fidel Castro.

Together, they fight against Santa and escape the island prison, only to meet a Capitalistic silver and gold companion in Yukon Cornelius: he is obviously an undercover CIA agent bent on the assassination of our heroes and the destruction of this tiny economy. Their travels bring them in conflict with the Abominable Snow Monster, a secret weapon genetically engineered by the US government. It is no coincidence that Yukon knows of the Bumbles bouncing ability, as he plans to fake their own deaths and endear them to the Communist population.

The trio flees to the realm of King Moonracer, the Czar of his own nation, who allows Santa a portion of his diabolical wealth: the sadistic misfit toys, mystical armament meant to infiltrate North America in the guise of holiday gifts; an allegory of the nuclear missiles poised to strike the United States from the shores of Castro’s Eden. After the final battle where the Bumble is apparently defeated, a political rally brings them all together where Santa manipulates Che into one last sacrifice.

When Yukon appears with the Bumble, it is only a matter of time before Rudolph will meet his lonely doom upon a bloody snow bank. Even Santa senses the deathly presence and escapes into the sky, murdering one of his misfit soldiers, a bird that can’t fly, by dropping him from the sleigh without an umbrella. Hermie must realize that there is No Exit and Hell is indeed other people.

Final Grade: (A)

No comments: