Guest Author - Bonnie Sayers
Anyone familiar with The Simpsons will enjoy the humor in Olive, The Other Reindeer, as well as the animation and witty dialogue that passes quickly in this forty-five minute movie. Either four or five times the characters break into song and dance that flows along with the story line. The neighborhood mailman is the only one who does not want Christmas to happen. He breaks into a solo song that adds its own animation portraying the heartache a Mailman goes through for several weeks each year. This is due to strain on his shoulders from the heavy bags carrying catalogs, cards and gifts.
The voice for the Mailman is that of Dan Castellaneta (Homer on The Simpsons), he is a short man with black hair and moustache that dons many disguises along this journey that takes Olive to the North Pole. One of the funniest scenes is in the beginning when Olive helps an animal family snag a Christmas tree. The problem is that the trees are too big for them, but Olive returns with a small green pine tree that is really the air freshener kind you hang on your car mirror. This gag went unnoticed by my son, but adults sure would get a kick out of this scene.
Olive is not your typical dog that barks or digs holes, instead she has a pet flea that cannot hear very well and mistakes an announcement over the radio that sets the journey for Olive, The Other Reindeer. While moving the dial around on the pink radio Olive is wrapping the slippers she is giving her owner Tim for Christmas. Tim is upset because Santa just cancelled Christmas because the reindeer Blitzen has broken a leg and Santa cannot fly with only seven reindeer.
The first time I viewed Olive, The Other Reindeer it certainly did sound like Santa stated he would have to get Olive, The Other Reindeer, but he was really saying “All the other reindeer”. While this slip up seemed easy to make, Fido (the pet flea) made a few more blunders when Tim was calling into the pet house to Olive. Fido made it seem that the apology Tim was giving to Olive was the other way around and this angered Olive so much that she decided it was up to her, Olive, The Other Reindeer to make sure Christmas would come.
Earlier in the day while Olive was out and about in town she came across Martini a penguin that had been dismissed of his duties at the local zoo. Martini carried around a briefcase trying to sell fake Rolex watches. Olive questioned why there were so many x’s in the name of Rolex, but I doubt kids would find that gag funny either. Another goody Martini has stashed in his briefcase is the stationery of the Zoo.
A funny scene happens when Olive and Martini are walking past the Zoo. Inside the animals all have saws and are trying to remove the bars that are holding them in their cages. If you turn your head during that moment you miss this. While Olive is at the bus station getting her ticket for the North Pole Martini arrives and wants to go with her. Problems arise when the Mailman learns that Olive is on a quest to save Christmas. He has no intention of allowing this to happen and this starts a chase between the Mailman and the bus.
The character of the Mailman is a bit evil and treats the animals badly, so this might be hard to watch for smaller children. In Olive, The Other Reindeer the roles are reversed and instead of the Mailman being scared of the dangerous attack dog, it is the Mailman we need to keep an eye on. It turns out that all the letters Santa has received were really the work of the Mailman, each one telling Santa how much they hated Christmas. While the journey to get to the North Pole is going on we also see news media camped on the hill at the North Pole while Santa and the reindeer discuss what to do.
When the bus arrives at one destination they decide to stop for a bite to eat at a restaurant. The same time the Mailman arrives and goes into the backdoor. The mailman dons a pink apron and covers his facial hair with a menu to get their orders. The entrees they all order have silly names that go with the story. Olive tells the patrons she is on her way to save Christmas. The waitress/mailman fibs to Olive that Santa is waiting for her out back for an audition and kidnaps her.
The chain of events continues with Olive in the back of the mail truck as the Mailman informs her it is a federal offense to open mail and how she has to be quiet. This is rather amusing considering the laws this Mailman has already broken. She opens a package that helps her escape and stumbles upon Martini in the process. There is a stop at a bar along the way with only twenty miles till they hit Santa. By the time they leave the bar they have hitched a ride and brought back the spirit of Christmas to all the patrons.
Olive is confident from the very beginning and in time she brings hope to all those she comes in contact with. She believes that you must earn your holiday gift and help save Christmas in the process. Since I am not too familiar with Drew Barrymore her voice for the role of Olive was perfectly suited from my perspective. My son is routing for her all the way and likes to laugh at the stunts that fail on the Mailman. The rhyming lyrics for the songs are not really a benefit to him as he watches Olive, The Other Reindeer, but they add to the mix in an off beat way that makes this work for the adults watching as well.
Luckily my son did not get too sad over the response given to Olive when she inquired to the whereabouts of Rudolph the Red nosed Reindeer. One of the other reindeers informed Olive that this was just an old urban legend. The fact that Olive is a dog aided the ride in the sky because twice her nose guided the sleigh due to the fog up North. She was able to smell Martini in the back of the mail van and captured the evil Mailman. Mrs. Clause stood outside on the hilltop at the North Pole with a plate of freshly baked Gingerbread cookies.
I was hoping this would not end there because I really wanted to see Olive get home and see Tim and Fido. Fido already knew that Olive made it to the North Pole when he was flipping channels on the television seeing her with the media. Martini was now famous as he visited his old pals at the Zoo. The Director decided since the monkeys had also escaped that work needed to be done and having the media around Martini would be good for business. The remaining scenes show everyone opening their presents and having a good time.
This is certainly a holiday film worth purchasing for the family or grandkids to watch the days and nights leading up to Christmas. The animation was reminiscent of The Simpsons, with the same brand of humor mixed in. Edward Asner is the voice of Santa Clause. The color is vibrant through out the movie with a fast pace of silliness thrown in.
Previously published on Epinions
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