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Western Animation / Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer and the Island of Misfit Toys

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Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer and the Island of Misfit Toys is a 2001 animated Direct to Video feature, produced by GoodTimes Entertainment (who had produced the 1998 animated film). Serving as the third sequel to the original animated special, the movie sees Rudolph and his friends Clarice, Hermey, Yukon Cornelius, and Bumble attempt to save Christmas once again, this time by thwarting the schemes of the terrible Toy Taker, who's been stealing toys from all over the world.

This movie contains examples of:

  • Aesop Amnesia:
    • The previous two sequels saw Rudolph not only very proud of his nose, but completely devastated if it ever went out. Here, he conveniently forgets such a lesson, and is still ashamed of his nose, though in this case it's because of the celebrity it brings him and not because it's making him a target for bullying.
    • Similarly, the Elf Foreman is still incensed that Heremy quit the toy-making staff just so he could become a dentist, as it left his team one elf short.
  • Anti-Villain: The Toy Taker turns out to be this way. Is what he doing malicious and undoubtedly traumatizing to children everywhere, not to mention putting Christmas at risk? Absolutely. But when it's discovered he was accidentally abandoned when his owner grew up, he decided to "rescue" toys from this fate without any sort of malicious reasoning other than for their own safety, the others feel pretty bad for him.
  • Ascended Extra:
    • It's downplayed, but the tall elf with glasses from the original special (who sang the "We don't like to brag" verse in "We Are Santa's Elves") gets a few more lines than he did originally, and is even named "Hank" this time around, being key in identifying the Toy Taker's methods of travel.
    • While Clarice was a main character in the original special, she didn't have as much screen time as Yukon and Hermey. In this film, she plays a bigger role by not only having her own subplot about learning to fly. But also helps Rudolph and friends take care of The Toy Taker and even chases him inside the Peppermint Mine alongside Rudolph.
  • Award-Bait Song: "Beyond the Stars," a romantic ballad showing Clarice and Rudolph fly in the night sky.
  • Backhanded Apology: Bumble joins the rest of the Christmas Town residents in trying to stop the Toy Taker, disguised as a giant bunny rabbit. However, he's way too big to fit in the blimp, or even the vacuum being used to bring them up. As such, the Toy Taker leaves the big guy behind, even apologizing to the poor fellow for not being able to take him along.
  • Brick Joke: Early in the film, Hermey describes his dream of getting a date with the Tooth Fairy, which Rudolph even mentions to Queen Camilla. She gets him that date at the end of the film.
  • The Bus Came Back: Aside from Rudolph and Santa, the near entire cast of the original special return after being absent for a very long time. However, it's downplayed in Clarice and Comet's case, as the former appeared in Rudolph and Frosty's Christmas in July during a flashback and a photograph in Rudolph's dressing room, and Comet was always used on Santa's team in the other Rankin-Bass specials (though just as a plain old reindeer without his trademark coaching hat).
  • Call-Back:
    • Charlie in the Box, Dolly, and the Spotted Elephant are amongst the kidnapping victims of the Toy Taker. Charlie even specifically mentions how he used to be a resident of the Island of Misfit Toys until Santa found him a home.
    • When Rudolph considers surgically altering his nose to be more normal, Hermey asks him if that's wise, considering another foggy Christmas Eve could possibly occur.
    • Yukon is seen working in a peppermint mine, which he specifically found at the end of the first special. He ends up closing it until the end, when he finds his precious silver and gold in the rocks.
    • Bumble tries to chase after the Toy Taker when he can't be brought along on the blimp. However, his attempts to swim after them falter, as the first special showed Bumbles are notorious sinkers.
    • When Rudolph gives Clarice a flying lesson, he uses Coach Comet's advice of "picking up speed and jumping into the wind" to teach her.
  • Canon Discontinuity: Ignores the events of Rudolph's Shiny New Year and Rudolph and Frosty's Christmas in July, treating this film as a direct sequel to the original special.
  • Catch a Falling Star: Yukon Cornelius attempts to pursue the Toy Taker on top of his blimp. It might have gone a lot smoother if Yukon had changed his shoes, as the spikes on his boots (primarily for gripping the snow) poke holes in the top, causing the blimp to lose air and slowly sink to its doom. Bumble is able to catch it, fortunately.
  • Chuck Cunningham Syndrome: Neither Mrs. Donner, Clarice's father, or even Sam the Snowman appear in this special, and receive no mention at all.
  • Comically Missing the Point: When the gang is disguised as toys to follow the Toy Taker, Hermey just dressed like a tooth. Rudolph points this out.
    Rudolph: The idea was to dress as TOYS, Hermey!
    Hermey: Um... I'm a misfit molar?
  • Continuity Snarl: Shares some with all three previous specials, and with itself:
    • Rudolph is still ashamed of his nose, only this time it's because of all the celebrity it brings him. The first sequel established how proud he was of his nose, and the second made it clear he would be utterly crushed if it stopped working.
    • The Elf Foreman, as mentioned above, is still mad Hermey left his team to become a dentist, when the first special ended with him begrudgingly letting Hermey set up a dental office.
    • Queen Camilla establishes she can surgically alter Rudolph's nose to become normal. It was established that this was impossible, as Rudolph's nose could only remain lit so long as he used it for good.
    • Early on the special, Clarice is shown having no difficulty flying alongside Rudolph whatsoever. Later on, she's shown to have difficulty doing so until the climax.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Queen Camilla has shades of this. For example, when Heremy warns Rudolph about getting a surgery on his nose to make it normal, he questions the possibility of another bad storm on Christmas Eve.
    Queen Camilla: Santa can't afford headlights, darling?
  • Demoted to Extra: Donner, Coach Comet, the Elf Foreman, and King Moonracer are given a much smaller role this time around. Donner gets no speaking lines whatsoever, which is pretty glaring considering he's Rudolph's father!
  • Easily Forgiven: Santa and the rest of the North Pole residents are awfully forgiving of Mr. Cuddles for his acts, even going so far as to get him fixed and return him to his original home on Christmas Eve.
  • First-Person Peripheral Narrator: Like with Sam the Snowman, Scoop P. Snowman acts in this manner, popping up only on occasion to continue feeding information to the audience about the plot. Unlike Sam, however, he only gets to sing one song.
  • Foreshadowing: Whenever the Toy Taker runs, he leaves a trail of stuffing behind. This points out that the Toy Taker was a teddy bear named Mr. Cuddles who's stuffing is falling off.
  • Heel–Face Turn: Mr. Cuddles is given this when Santa takes him to Castaway Cove to get him fixed.
  • Heterosexual Life-Partners: Heremy and Rudolph continue to serve as this, acting in complete and total support of one another. Rudolph volunteers to come help his friend when he's summoned to the Island of Misfit Toys for a dental checkup, which Heremy happily accepts. As the two travel to their destination, Heremy is encouraging of his friend, and ensures him that he'll always have his back in spite of his doubts about his nose, and Rudolph in turn continues to affirm he'll support his dental efforts.
  • I Just Want to Be Normal: Rudolph's motivation in the movie. Having gotten tired of being treated like a celebrity at the North Pole, he considers Queen Camilla's offer to surgically alter his nose to be a normal, non-glowing one. Hermey and Clarice urge him to stay as he is, for they care for Rudolph just the way he is. He ultimately decides not to go through with it in the end.
  • Ironic Fear: The misfit kite is afraid of heights.
  • Large Ham: Yukon Cornelius still hasn't lost his touch in the slightest.
  • Love Theme: "Beyond the Stars" for Rudolph and Clarice, a triumphant version is performed when she managed to fly for the first time as she rescues Rudolph after knocking himself out after hitting his head near a metal door from The Toy Taker's blimp.
  • Pep-Talk Song: Hermie sings "Keep Your Chin Up" to encourage Rudolph that he'll support him no matter what he thinks of his nose and he'll do just fine.
  • Reasonable Authority Figure: Queen Camilla is established to be just as proper as King Moonracer (albeit after an initial misunderstanding). She not only helps Rudolph and Hermey fix the Toothmobile but even offers to surgically alter Rudolph's nose to normal, even giving him time to think about it. When he turns down the offer, she is completely understanding.
  • "Scooby-Doo" Hoax: Mr. Cuddles assumes the spooky identity of the Toy Taker to save other toys from the fate he met once his owner grew up. The main characters even look for clues in Santa's warehouse à la the Scooby-Doo gang, and Rudolph even says "Let's see who he really is!" right before Yukon unmasks the Toy Taker.
  • The Tooth Hurts: How the film's plot is set into motion, thanks to King Moonracer developing a major toothache.
  • Took a Level in Kindness: Santa is much more mellow and nicer this time around than he was in the original special, being far more supportive of Rudolph than he used to be.
  • Vengeful Abandoned Toy: The Toy Taker's true identity turns out to be Mr. Cuddles, the teddy bear, but he's more of an Anti-Villain than most. After his former owner lost interest in him and threw him out, decided to capture toys so they wouldn't be abandoned by their owners either. He ultimately reforms for the better once he finds out that his owner didn't mean to get rid of him and actually wanted to give him to his daughter.
  • Villain Song: The Toy Taker gets his own self-titled song, singing about how he's going to take care of the other toys he's kidnapped.
  • Vocal Dissonance:
    • Rick Moranis uses a far more menacing and sinister voice as the Toy Taker, but this changes to his natural, more Louis Tully like voice when it's revealed he's Mr. Cuddles. Justified in that Mr. Cuddles is anything but intimidating.
    • There's also his laughter and exclamations during the minecart sequence, which are higher pitched than his speaking voice. This was due to those emotives being performed by Don Brownnote  instead of Moranis.
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist: The Toy Taker, otherwise known as Mr. Cuddles, holds this view. He kidnaps toys and takes them to his headquarters, thinking he's saving them from being thrown out by ungrateful children. It turns out, this happened to him, and he's trying to prevent this from befalling other toys.
  • You Don't Look Like You: Averted compared to the other specials, which used newer models (courtesy of most of the originals being trashed after filming finished). This time around, the characters look exactly as they did in the original specials, albeit rendered in CGI rather than stop-motion models.