Thursday, 18 December 2014

My Top Three Christmas Movies

My Top Christmas Movie List

Christmas wouldn't be Christmas without the wonderful films that you can watch all over again to get into the festive mood. Ever since I moved out of my parents home, it is my very own tradition to watch a film on the evening of the 24th December (instead of unwrapping presents) and then celebrate Christmas in the morning of the 25th.

Some of the films are mostly anime and cartoon-based as they remind me of my childhood and I feel that these movies bring back that special festive magic which I experienced as a child. I don't really like the modern, hyperactive American movies ala Home AloneMiracle on 34th Street, Santa Claus or Jingle All Away. My ultimate all-time-classic Christmas movies are:

1. Anastasia (1997)

In a dramatic night, the entire Russian tsar family Romanov is killed by the evil magician Rasputin. Only grandma Romanov and the youngest daughter Anastasia can survive the attack and flee, but are separated and Anastasia suffers from amnesia. Many years later, Anya (Anastasia) leaves her orphanage and searches for her history and origins. The only clue she's got is a necklace with a charm reading 'Together In Paris. United'. On her quest, she meets young Dimitri and his friend Vlad. Both are fraudsters (Anya doesn't know but will discover it later in the film), but charming and good-hearted. They are on their way to Paris to see grandma Romanov who has put a reward for those, who can bring back her lost grandchild Anastasia....

This masterpiece comes from 20th Century Fox and can definitely keep up with the high quality of Disney classics. I would even say Anastasia is better than some of the Disney's films. Having learnt Russian in school for more than 8 years, I'm familiar with the royal history of the tsars and I think the story is quite complex but is charmingly told for children. The anime feels very realistic and authentic, with a lot of attention to detail. I particularly like the colours and drawing style which reminds me of 'Beauty and the Beast'. The cute sidekicks Pooka, the dog and Bartok, the bat, are very child-friendly but I think Rasputin is a bit scary. I also really enjoy the music, which has a unique charm and catchy tunes which enchant me every time. I regularly press the repeat button when the first song 'News From St. Petersburg' finishes - I love it so much!

2. The Muppet Christmas Carol (1992)

I have to confess though I studied literature, I'm not too keen on Dicken's stories but The Muppet Christmas Carol is always a pleasure and fun to watch. Christmas in my family always runs the same procedure. First, it is granny's birthday in the morning, but when The Muppet Christmas Carol comes on in the late afternoon, it means Christmas is finally here and we will unwrap presents after the film.

The characters are all lovingly animated and the film finds the right balance to portray a Victorian society appropriately for a child audience. It shows the harshness and change in Ebenezer but still remains a children's movie. The mixture of muppets living with humans makes the film interesting and I find Gonzo as the storyteller and Rizzo the rat very cute. Another great aspect is the music, which makes me nostalgic for my childhood. Some of the emotional songs can even make me cry as an adult! This is such a wonderful little Christmas gem, do not miss out on it!

3. Beauty And The Beast (1991)

What would Christmas be without a good, old Disney classic? Beauty and the Beast is, in my opinion, one of the best films ever. The atmosphere, the music, the anime style...every detail is truly enchanting and magical. A mysterious castle haunted by a beast, an enchanted prince, who can only be rescued by the love of a beautiful girl. That's so romantic and to me a Christmas must-see.

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There are so much more brilliant Christmas classics out there. I haven't even mentioned Love Actually or Disney's Enchanted, The Nutcracker Prince, Grimm's fairy tales, including Hänsel and Gretel or Frau Holle, nor all the wonderful Czech fairy tale movies including Cinderella, Stag with the Golden Antlers, The Hunchback Pony, The Tale of the 12 Swans, Flame Red Rose (the Russian version of Beauty And The Beast).

Hope you've enjoyed and let me know your favourite Christmas movie! Let's get festive.

Thanks so much for reading and till next time,

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