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Western Animation / The Ugly Duckling

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The Ugly Duckling is a 1997 animated movie based off of the classic story of the same name that was released by Crayola. Yes that Crayola. Okay, it was actually released by Hallmark Entertainment, but they used Crayola when they released it in the United States as it was originally released in the United Kingdom.

Unlike the classic story of "The Ugly Duckling", this version is quite different. In this version the ugly duckling named Augustus, runs away after being rejected from his home by many of the residents. The reason that they don't like him is because of his clumsiness and bad luck, which involves unintentionally hurting others or breaking toys. When two residents tell his mother that they should consider sending him away, it sends Augustus into a deep depression and he runs away from home. While on the road, he runs into a rat named Scruffy who runs away from her home as well because her parents didn't want her to follow her dreams.

This movie is also a bit unique because it has two different English dubs. This movie was originally released in the United Kingdom with its own dub, but it was eventually released in the United States where they redubbed the movie, though many of the British accents were left in.

The Ugly Duckling provides examples of:

  • Adaptation Expansion: This film has much more of a plot than the original story, having the star character end up as The Runaway for being disliked by many of his town's residents and having him end up on an adventure.
  • Adaptational Heroism: In the original fairy tale, the duckling's mother only half-heartedly tried to defend him from bullies and at one point he overhears her wishing he was gone. In this version, she's the only one who does care about Augustus and at one point can be heard frantically calling his name when he runs away. At the end, a grown up Augustus visits her and she's very clearly proud of who he's grown up to be.
  • Affectionate Nickname: Augustus doesn't mind being called Ugly, since so many people called him it in his home.
  • Alliterative Family: The mother duck names each of her children a name that begins with the letter A, including the titular ugly duckling.
  • Astonishingly Appropriate Appearance: Frost, a minor villain who comes and goes with the Winds of Winter, is a white-and-blue ice crystal construct; With the movie involved with Crayola, the appearance part is that Frost looks like a strange, living, squared-off white crayon.
  • Blue Blood: The swans that Augustus meets at the end consider themselves to be of high class and when Augustus tells them about his time with rats, they consider them to be of lower class and that he shouldn't bother with them.
  • Born Unlucky: Augustus feels that he is this. Many bad things happen to him in the movie which really aren't his fault, but almost everyone in his home don't see things that way.
  • Canon Foreigner: The character, Scruffy the rat, never existed in the original story of The Ugly Duckling and was created for this adaptation.
  • Cats Are Snarkers: Tarquin is a bit snarky towards Ugly. When he falls asleep he talks about how his master will plan to cook him.
  • Cumulonemesis: The Winds of Winter, a trio of malicious snow-laden clouds with trollish humanoid faces, who come with winter and maliciously scour the land with freezing winds, snow and icy gales.
  • Cunning Like a Fox: In the middle of the movie, Ugly and Scruffy meet a fox who offers them a place to stay for the night. In reality, he runs a factory where he uses rats to create pots and pans for him, while he sells to people.
  • Crystalline Creature: Frost, the embodiment of winter who freezes everything he touches, is shaped like an ice crystal himself.
  • The Ditz: Augustus is this and also Born Unlucky. This is why many of the residents of his hometown don't like him much.
  • Despair Event Horizon: This happens to Augustus after two residents suggest to his mother sending him away. The next morning, he runs away from his home, feeling that nobody wanted him.
  • Earn Your Happy Ending: A strange case. After a fire breaks out at the theater Ugly and Scruffy were working at, Ugly runs away to a lake because he thinks that the fire was his fault. There he meets a group of swans that inform him that he is a swan, since he had no idea that he was one throughout the movie. But when he learns that they are snobby and care only about themselves and not anyone below them, Augustus doesn't wish to live among them and he returns to the theater to find Scruffy is fine and that he didn't cause the fire.
  • Elemental Embodiment: The Winds of Winter, a trio of living clouds, and Frost, a humanoid being made of animated ice crystals, elemental creatures of air and ice that come with the onset of winter and bring ice and snow in their wake.
  • Fattening the Victim: After ending up at a farmhouse while escaping hunters, Augustus doesn't realize that the woman at the farmhouse was planning on fattening him up to serve to her family. Luckily, Scruffy finds out about the plan and is able to get him out of the farmhouse.
  • Happily Adopted: Despite seeing that Augustus looks different from the rest of her ducklings, his adopted mother loves him as equally as she loves her other ducklings.
  • I Choose to Stay: Augustus chooses to stay with Scruffy after he learns that he's a swan because he hates that the swans he met were very snobby and they only cared about themselves.
  • It's All My Fault: When something bad happens to him or the people around him, he's always quick to blame himself even if it wasn't his fault.
  • Jack Frost: Frost, a tiny humanoid made of ice crystals, appears alongside the Winds of Winter to cover the land with ice and snow, while singing about how he enjoys making people suffer in the cold.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Scruffy isn't always the kindest towards Ugly. When she first meets him, she wants him to go away and to not bother her and she has a small attitude. But it is shown that she is very kind and she cares greatly for Ugly and they become Platonic Life-Partners.
  • Named by the Adaptation: The titular character is named Augustus as in most other adaptations, he isn't usually given a name.
  • Nature Spirit: The Winds of Winter and Frost are the personifications of bitter weather and icy gales of winter and all the hardships of the year's harshest season.
  • Never Accepted in His Hometown: Downplayed. Augustus isn't outright rejected from everyone in his home, but after many bad things happen to others when he's around them, many of the residents don't want to be around him. It ends up with him running away from home since he feels that everyone hates him.
  • The Old North Wind: The Winds of Winter are three malicious winds (and their "friend" Frost, who is depicted as a tiny crystalline creature) flying over the land and covering it with ice and snow, while singing about how they enjoy making people suffer in the cold.
  • Platonic Life-Partners: Augustus and Scruffy probably because he's a swan and she's a mouse.
  • Sand In My Eyes: When Augustus goes back to the theater to see if anyone survived the fire he finds Scruffy there crying. When she sees him she says she's not crying and she just has ashes in her eyes.
  • Tomboy with a Girly Streak: Scruffy is a tough little mouse who speaks her mind and isn't afraid to stand up for herself or people in need. She also wears ragged overalls and a Tomboyish Ponytail. However, she also dreams of being a famous actress and doesn't mind wearing a nice dress and hat for her performance.
  • The Runaway: Both Ugly and Scruffy. Ugly for being hated by nearly everyone in his home and Scruffy because her parents discouraged her dreams of wanting to join a theater.
  • Villain Song: "Winds of Winter", a smoothly sung, yet threateningly worded song marking the arrival of the harsh winter. Its sung by the three titular cloud like entities, that change the weather itself and makes it snow, and their crystalline friend Frost, who's the one who actually freezes everything with his light touches.