The history of turning animated Christmas specials into live action movies is not one that promises success should it become a trend. Ron Howard and Jim Carrey managed to transform the Grinch from one of the move lovable characters in Christmas special history into the star of a movie only slightly below waterboarding as a means of torture.
The less said about the adaptation into live action of the story highlighted by the appearances of Snow Miser and Heat Miser, the better.
But should these attempts be considered trend killers? Are there no other animated Christmas special that might just possibly be successfully adapted for the big screen with flesh and blood actors inhabiting the roles made famous by two-dimensional drawings?
For instance, despite the fact that "The Year Without a Santa Claus" was a massively epic failure on every single level of filmmaking, that does not necessarily mean that its Rankin-Bass cousin "Santa Claus is Coming to Town" would by definition be an equally inept enterprise.
Lest you have forgotten "Santa Claus is Comin' to Town" in your eagerness to eschew wobbly stop-motion animation and embrace "stolen" celebrity sex videos, let me remind you that this is the animated Christmas special whose legacy will forever be contained in these two words: Burgermeister Meisterburger. Yes, "Santa Claus is Coming to Town" is mainly interested in telling a rather fanciful yet strangely believable story of the origins of Mr. Claus, but let's be honest and admit that without Burgermeister Meisterburger, this animated Christmas special ain't got much. The Burgermeister is the equivalent of Snow Miser and Heat Miser and as such should be given a much bigger part in a live action big screen comedy.
The character of Burgermeister Meisterburger is quintessentially Teutonic in nature. His antecedents clearly include Hitler, Kaiser Wilhelm and Bismarck. That fascist nature of his character is unnervingly timely in an America bifurcated by two distinct ideologies. Burgermeister Meisterburger and his authoritarian fear and hatred of toys specifically and enjoyment of life in general speaks to a thread of neo-fascist traditionalism representative of the political party pandering to and guiding the interests of one-half of America.
As such, "Santa Claus is Coming to Town" could work as a big screen comedy with a darkly political edge that speaks to the need for a savior before we find ourselves tripping backward in time to seek out a Golden Age that existed only for a very small and privileged minority, if it even ever existed at all.
For more from Timothy Sexton, check out:
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