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Western Animation / Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer (1998)

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In 1998, GoodTimes Entertainment adapted Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer into a movie (unrelated to the Rankin/Bass Productions adaptation of the same name). It is a Coming-of-Age Story that centers around Rudolph's dream of becoming a Flyer- one of the heroic reindeer who pull Santa's sleigh- and triumph over Arrow's bullying. Eventually this bullying escalates to the point where Rudolph runs away from home.

Unfortunately, the North Pole is experiencing a terrible blizzard, and it threatens not only Christmas, but Rudolph's life...

Good Times later made a sequel film, Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer and the Misfit Toys, however it was an All-CGI Cartoon sequel to the original Rankin/Bass specials.


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The film provides examples of:

  • All-Knowing Singing Narrator: The Sprites of the Northern Lights plays this from straight beginning to end. They also becomes Interactive Narrators before the beginning of the climax.
  • Award-Bait Song: "Show Me The Light". In the film it was performed by the composer and his wife. The credits version was sung by Bill Medley and Jennifer Warnes.
  • Bad is Good and Good is Bad: Stormella operates under this logic. Until Rudolph uses a "wish" for her to be nice.
  • Batman Gambit: Arrow of all people pulls off one. During a race, Arrow riles Rudolph up by pretending that Zoey only likes Rudolph because she feels sorry for him. Rudolph is aware that it is a lie, but the mere fact that Arrow would badmouth Zoey in that manner makes him so mad that his nose glows and blinds Arrow, causing Arrow to crash and causing Rudolph to win the race...which is considered cheating, so Arrow ends up winning by default since Rudolph is disqualified.
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  • The Bully: Arrow has bullied Rudolph his entire life due to his red nose. It only gets worse when they crush on the same doe.
  • Christmas Elves: It is a Christmas movie that is an adaptation of a famous Christmas story and the elves of this variety are featured in the film.
  • Clashing Cousins: Rudolph and Arrow are cousins. This isn't mentioned in the narrative, however their father's are brothers. Rudolph and Arrow don't get along and are pining after the same girl.
  • Creepy Shadowed Undereyes: Arrow has shadows under his eyes and is a villain.
  • Cunning Like a Fox: The character's name is Slyly. It doesn't get more blatant than that.
  • Everything's Better with Penguins: Stormella has a penguin butler named Ridley who doesn't appear to be as evil as she is.
  • Exposition Fairy: A literal example with four fairies who sing about the story. They also contribute to the plot; they're the ones who finally inform Rudolph what his nose can really do.
  • Expy: Being the love interest to the titular character and one of the few who accepts his deformity, Zoey is obviously meant to be a stand-in for Clarice from the original special.
  • Friend or Idol Decision: Sort of. After Rudolph saves Stormella from falling to her death, she is bound by the Rules of the North Pole to grant Rudolph a wish, anything he wants. The Friend or Idol decision part comes into play when Stormella has a suggestion of her own: Rudolph could wish for a normal nose, what he's always wanted! Rudolph insists that his wish is: "I want you to be nice."
  • An Ice Person: Stormella, who even has the power to create a massive snowstorm.
  • Hate Sink: In a classic fashion, Arrow is considerably more hatable than Stormella, the real Big Bad of the movie.
  • I Owe You My Life: Stormella eventually owes Rudolph her life after Rudolph saves her from falling off a cliff to her death. And according to the Rules of the North Pole, that means Stormella owes Rudolph a "wish". Rudolph wishes for Stormella to be nice.
  • Jerkass: Arrow is a bully who teases Rudolph for his nose.
  • The Lady's Favor: Before the Reindeer Games begin, Zoey gives Rudolph her heart-shaped locket to wear while racing in them. Unfortunately, she's still dating Arrow at this point, and Arrow sees it while competing against Rudolph and gets pissed. After Rudolph leaves the village, the locket is one of the few things he takes with him.
    Slyly: Who gave that to you?
    Rudolph: Somebody special...I don't want to talk about it.
    Slyly: I don't blame ya, kid. Love is for suckers.
  • Lighter and Softer: Than the Rankin/Bass special. Santa and Rudolph's parents, while still troubled by his nose, are much more accepting towards him. Most of the movie is lighter than the first.
  • The Movie: Inverted. Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer: The Movie is a re-imagining of the song. The sequel, however, is an unofficial sequel to the famous Christmas special.
  • Ooh, Me Accent's Slipping: Let's face it, Eric Idle can't hold onto a Brooklyn accent long enough.
  • Papa Wolf: While he never does Blitzen says that he will lock antlers with the next buck to make a crack about Rudolph's nose.
  • Puppy Love: Zoey and Rudolph are still kids but have crushes on each other.
  • Reasonable Authority Figure: Because of its Lighter and Softer tone, the film seems to make a point of having nearly everyone in a powerful position be either this or sympathetically motivated. Let's go down the list:
    • Santa Claus is a responsible, caring boss to his workers. There's a point in the film's beginning where Rudolph is running away from school, in tears because (almost) every child there was bullying him. Santa finds him- this lonely colt who he has no knowledge of- and takes the time to reassure Rudolph, giving him an encouraging pep talk about how every deer and elf is welcome in his village. Later on, when his elves are being bullied by Stormella, he refuses to allow the sorceress to 'punish' (i.e, kill them) any of them, defiantly protecting his employees. (He does demote Boone and Doggle after learning of their crime, but that's understandable given the circumstances.) And in the film's climax, when Rudolph and Zoey's parents realise that their children are missing, he immediately sends out a search party.
    • Rudolph's parents are loving and supportive.
    • The unnamed referee at the Reindeer Games has good reasons for disqualifying Rudolph from the race he won. The usage of Rudolph's light did cause an accident, and this accident could well have had serious consequences. That Rudolph didn't mean to create it is irrelevant; the other racers could have been badly hurt. This doesn't explain why he didn't disqualify Arrow for crashing into the other racers at the beginning and causing one elf to have to be carried away on a stretcher. However, since the referee was standing near the finish line, this can easily be justified by the referee simply not having seen Arrow's behavior since he did it at the start of the race.
  • Running Gag: A strange one, in which Slyly keeps stealing Rudolph's teddy bear to snuggle with while he sleeps. Rudolph just gives it to him for Christmas at the end.
  • Save the Villain: Rudolph saves Stormella near the end of the film.
  • Sibling Triangle: Variant. There's a cousin love triangle between Rudolph, Zoey, and Arrow.
  • Singing Voice Dissonance: Rudolph's voice is noticeably more adult (and male) in "Show Me the Light".
  • Speech Impediment: Leonard tends to stutter.
  • Theme Naming: Friends Boone and Doggle names come from "Boondoggle": work or activity that is wasteful or pointless but gives the appearance of having value.
  • Those Two Guys: Elves Boone and Doggle are always in each other's company.
  • Tuft of Head Fur: Bucks like Rudolph and Arrow have fur on their heads while does like Zoey don't.
  • Unwitting Instigator of Doom: Boone and Doggle accidentally set off most of the problems in the movie when they accidentally wreck Stormella's ice garden. This prompts her to show up demanding that the two be handed over to her for "justice"; when Santa Claus refuses to give them up, Stormella tries to wreck Christmas as revenge.
  • Villain Song: "I Hate Santa Claus", sung by Stormella.
  • "Well Done, Son!" Guy: Reflected in this adaptation from the Rankin/Bass special. There's also a subversion: Rudolph overhears his father say "That nose of his was an accident", and in response, he runs away. The subversion is that Rudolph heard that sentence out of context: his father was standing up for him to the referee, contesting the decision to disqualify Rudolph for blinding Arrow, since the nose problem isn't Rudolph's fault.

Alternative Title(s): Rudolph The Red Nosed Reindeer The Movie

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