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Step right up, Christmas fans, because we've got one of the very weirdest pieces of Yule-time cinema that you're ever likely to see! We got Christopher Plummer as Santa Claus! Yes that Christopher Plummer! We got Kevin Pollak as a villainously bureaucratic little elf-bastard! We got not one, not two, but three separate plot threads that have virtually nothing to do with one another ... and as our talking, flying, intermittently invisible and curiously telepathic animatronic reindeer, we have, you guessed it, Whoopi Goldberg.
The Canadian-made and patently unbearable Blizzard is a Christmas movie about:
A. A young girl forced to leave her best boyfriend behind when he family moves away.
B. Another little girl who loves ice skating a whole heckuva lot, by golly!
C. A talking flying, intermittently invisible and curiously telepathic animatronic reindeer named Blizzard.
Basically, Blizzard feels like three TV specials that were too awful to be broadcast, and then haphazardly connected to form one seriously misshappen affair, glued together with voice-over narration and marble-mouthed exposition vollies.
The "framing" plot, as it were, involves a sad-faced little pre-teen who's just all bwoken up over losing her best friend. In steps singsongy Aunt Maggie, and the stories start spinning. So Auntie kicks in with the tale about the sad, poor girl who loved to skate despite her obnoxious brothers, her lack of training, and her parent's low-income status.
So just like any young girl who struggles to achieve something difficult and rewarding, this little moppet has a reindeer to help her! And it talks and flies! And it can disappear! And ...it can ... read minds and...
Yeah. Exactly. It was at about the 65-minute mark of Blizzard that I became absolutely certain that the screenplay had been written by three 9-year-olds nursing a juice-box filled entirely with corn syrup. Forget that Blizzard is overwhelmingly sappy, saccharine, simplistic, and simpering ... the flick makes next to no sense whatsoever. I understand that a movie like Blizzard is made for 8-year-old girls who love ice skating, Christmas, and ... talking floating psychic reindeer, but even the slowest kids at the Christmas party will be yawning their eyes out at the ineptitude on display here.
Here's a tip to keep kids interested: One cohesive story with interesting characters, funny moments, and heartfelt emotion works a hell of a lot better than three junky mini-stories wedged into one overflowing mass. Overflowing with shoddy special effects, broad and irritating caricatures where the characters should be, humor so limp it's not even "groan-worthy," and enough gee-whiz, aw-shucks, holiday-season preachifying to fill a shooping mall, Blizzard is the "annual fruitcake" of kid's Christmas movies: sticky, ugly, and entirely confusing ... as in "Who thought I'd actually enjoy this fruitcake?"
LeVar Burton, specifically, is the knucklehead who shaped this goofball confection into the DVD I hold in my hands right now. (Well, in two fingers, anyway.) Mr. Burton is best known for his work on Roots and Star Trek: The Next Generation. A fine actor who's also a very terrible director. Sorry to say it, Geordi, but this movie looks like it was made for television. (Television in Insano-World.)
Still, if you're a college student who smokes weed all the time, odds are you'll find a lot to chuckle at while Blizzard unfolds. My experience with the flick went from bemused to amazed to somewhat embarrassed. And then it was over, and I wondered to myself: When Kevin Pollak imagined himself working next to Christopher Plummer, did he expect it to be in a movie this outrageously goofy?
Video: Released theatrically, but not in the United States, Blizzard hits DVD in your choice of anamorphic widescreen (1.85:1), or "The Kid's Choice" of Full Frame. Either way, you're watching the cinematic equivalent of tooth decay, so have a ball.
Audio: Dolby Digital 5.1 English. Optional subtitles in English and French.
Extras: Apparently Santa read my letter, as there aren't any extra features on the Blizzard DVD. (Although I do consider the front cover kind of an extra feature: Try staring at Pollak's face without giggling. The poor guy clearly knows how bad Blizzard is, and he's wearing it all over his mug!)
Blizzard is one of the weirdest and worst Christmas movies I've ever seen. And I've seen Santa Claus Conquers the Martians, Santa Claus: The Movie, and that nightmarishly surreal Mexican Santa Claus movie that used to play on Mystery Science Theater. I'll admit that the idea of Plummer as Santa, Whoopi as a reindeer, and Kevin Pollak as a pissed-off elf might sound like the makings of a seasonal classic, but alas. Unless you're one of those freaks (like me) who loves to witness the very stupidest in holiday-related cinema, my advice is to avoid Blizzard as if it were an actual blizzard that could, with very little effort, freeze your brain into a melon-sized block of ice.
The holiday season is only here for six short weeks every year. If you have some kids around and everyone wants to watch a holiday-themed movie, I could think of 11 dozen alternatives to Blizzard. Unless you're all on acid, in which case it might make for a brilliantly good time.