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Western Animation / Little Angels: The Brightest Christmas

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Little Angels: The Brightest Christmas is an animated Christmas Special produced in 2004 by Golden Films and distributed by GoodTimes Entertainment.

Daniel (voiced by Cam Clarke), Amelia, and their younger brother Jimmy (both voiced by Debi Derryberry) live with their father in a cottage on an isolated mountain. When their father leaves to find work, Jimmy gets hurt in a sledding accident, so Daniel takes the journey to go and find a doctor, braving the elements and rough terrain.

The kids are watched over and aided by a group of bumbling angels, who try to cheer the kids up and guide Daniel safely. Meanwhile, Amelia stays behind to care for Jimmy and wait for her brother to get home. Most of the plot deals with Daniel having to survive his dangerous journey through the mountains, and the angels working to protect him and his dog from harm.

Provides examples of:

  • Adults Are Useless: Many of the adults in the film are incompetent for one reason or another. Daniel's father in particular should probably have negligence charges filed against him; for starters he apparently doesn't consider getting a job of any sort to provide for his kids until his own son tries to do it instead, and even after that he sees fit to leave them by themselves in a secluded cabin in the wilderness with no way for them to contact anyone when they need help.
  • Big Eater: Zeke Eaterman, who excitedly gives Daniel food and goes on and on about the contents of his gigantic sandwich. Later, he offers Daniel even more food before he leaves, before deciding that he needs another snack.
  • Braving the Blizzard: Daniel and his family live in isolation within the mountains, not even having a working phone line. While their father is away, his little brother gets badly hurt, so Daniel and the family dog go on a journey to find a doctor, braving the blizzard all the way through.
  • Boring Return Journey: Daniel's trip to the town is a perilous adventure where he has to climb steep mountains, cross a raging river, and nearly gets hit by a truck on a road. When he finally reaches the town to get help for Jimmy, they're able to get back to the house a lot sooner. The fact that they clearly used a car, which wouldn't be able to go through all these hazards, gives the impression that there was a far easier route Daniel could have taken without putting himself in danger.
  • Character Development: Over the course of his film, Daniel goes from being a selfish character, to being genuinely selfless and responsible.
  • Color-Coded Characters: All of the angels wear a different color, and notably turn into that color when they travel as a rainbow.
  • Darkest Hour: After a long journey, Daniel is finally on his way to town, but gets stopped when the only bridge for miles is swept up by the river. He collapses on the snow and announces his intention to give up, and only resumes his quest when the angels find a boat for him to use.
  • Forgot About His Powers: The angels wonder how to get Daniel safely to a distant cabin, seemingly forgetting the fact that they can not only fly, but have already used their ability to carry other characters around earlier in the film. Instead, they create a rainbow trail to the cabin, and Daniel has to walk all the way there.
  • Good Is Dumb: The angels consistently undermine their own goal to help Daniel by forgetting to use their powers to assist him, or getting distracted by trivialities and forgetting to watch over him at important points in his voyage.
  • Hair of Gold, Heart of Gold: The blonde angel is kind and optimistic. Daniel's blonde sister Amelia is also portrayed as very caring and selfless.
  • It's All About Me: Daniel is introduced as a selfish character who doesn't think about the rest of his family.
  • Literal Cliffhanger:
    • In the opening montage, one of the angels' good deeds is to rescue a child who is falling from a cliff.
    • Daniel and Jimmy go sledding off a cliff, giving the little brother serious injuries and kicking off the plot.
    • When traveling to find a doctor, Daniel and his dog need to cross over a chasm with a log. The dog slips, and the angels need to rush to his rescue.
    • To reach town, Daniel and Scout need to scale another cliff, and this time it's Daniel who takes a fall and needs saving.
  • Ludicrous Gift Request: Jimmy tells his father that he wants a horse with "black spots and white stripes" for Christmas.
  • Mood Whiplash: Daniel's dog is hit by a truck, and Daniel winds up mourning over his body, grieving over the loss of his companion. The dog goes to Heaven...where the angels sing an up-beat song about the dog's death, and then bring him back to life, playing the scene almost for comedy.
  • Missing Mom: Only the family's father is present, and the mother's whereabouts are never explained.
  • Near-Death Experience: Double Subverted. When Daniel and Scout are in the path of a truck, Daniel escapes, but the dog is very nearly killed. It looks like they both survived, until it turns out that, somehow, the dog still died, and winds up in Heaven. The angels then send him back to Earth, like nothing ever happened.
  • Non-Human Sidekick: Daniel is accompanied on his journey with his family's dog, Scout.
  • No One Gets Left Behind: Zeke tells Daniel all about how his father saved his life in the war by selflessly carrying him out of danger, despite the risk to his own life.
  • Punny Name: Zeke Eaterman is the food-loving man who feeds Daniel.
  • Retired Badass: Both the children's father and Zeke fought in "the war", where the father had managed to save Zeke's life.
  • Ride the Rainbow: The angels travel by turning themselves into a rainbow, each of them acting as a separate stripe.
  • Scatterbrained Senior: Daniel seeks shelter in a cabin owned by an old man named Zeke Eaterman, who initially takes Daniel for a salesman and his dog for a horse, and rambles on while Daniel tries to set him straight. Then, when Daniel asks for the phone, he excitedly points it out to him, only to then mention that the phone isn't plugged into anything.
  • Speech-Impaired Animal: The angel dog says some words with an "R" sound.
    Dog: "Rey! Rook at all that food!"
  • Snowball Fight: While the kids are out sledding, the angels entertain themselves by having a snowball fight, knocking each-other out of the trees in the process.
  • Stock Footage: Several reaction shots are recycled, including the backgrounds, which tend not to fit the location.
  • Team Pet: The angel team includes a talking angel dog.
  • Younger Than They Look: Zeke Eaterman looks and acts like a Scatterbrained Senior, but he reveals that he served in the military with Daniel's father, implying they're around the same age. In the photograph that he shows Daniel, Zeke clearly looks much younger while Daniel's father looks almost exactly the same as he does now. Based on this, Zeke can't be nearly as old as he seems, and must have aged incredibly poorly compared to Daniel's dad.