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Eloise: Little Miss Christmas
Eloise: Little Miss Christmas returns young viewers to the cheerful animated world of Eloise, the six-year-old girl who lives at the Plaza Hotel in New York City. Eloise is excited about the coming Christmas, and as she dashes around the hotel, accompanied by her faithful dog Weenie, Eloise recalls a Christmas that "almost didn't happen."
The story here is fairly simple: Eloise and her young friends decide to stage a holiday show that celebrates the traditions of many countries. At the same time, Mr. Salamone, the manager of the hotel, is trying to get the hotel ready for an important inspection. We get a lot of detail about the arrangements for the show, and a long time spent on the actual holiday party and gift-giving. There's not a lot of material here, and it feels a bit padded to get to the full 66 minutes. One of the things that would have made Little Miss Christmas more meaningful is if the program had actually shown something about the "traditions from many cultures," but in fact these are just given lip service to, and kids won't learn anything particular about other cultures.
There's an attempt to put a good moral to the story; Eloise tells viewers at the end to pay attention to the spirit of the season, no matter how you celebrate it, and to keep the holiday spirit in your heart all year round. It's a nice idea, but I found it to be so generic as to almost be meaningless. I also found the relentless focus on gift-giving to be perhaps not the best complement to that "spirit of the season" idea: while it's implied that the real reason to celebrate is the company of family and friends, that's more evident to adults; kids might very well conclude that the holiday spirit is 100% about gifts. On the more positive side, there are a few nice notes about being inclusive in friendship, with several child characters who could be seen as "outsiders" being drawn into the celebration.
The story works best if you've already met Eloise; there's a quick introduction to her, but I think viewers should definitely start with Me, Eloise before watching Little Miss Christmas. Among other things, Me, Eloise introduces the character of Yuko, who appears here without additional comment.
Viewers have the choice of watching Little Miss Christmas in either 1:33:1 format or an attractive widescreen format that gives additional picture information on both sides. The image is clean and clear, with bright colors and a generally attractive appearance overall.
The Dolby 5.1 and Dolby 2.0 tracks are clear and satisfactory on all counts.
There's not too much material here. There's a memory game in the form of "Gift-Wrapped Kids," a sing-along carol, a section with information on the characters, a set of storyboard-to-film comparisons, and some DVD-ROM content.
Eloise: Little Miss Christmas isn't bad as far as Christmas-themed children's films go, but it's not a particularly stellar example either. It's a bit thin as far as story goes, and will probably appeal most to viewers who are already whole-hearted fans of Eloise and are just looking forward to seeing more of her antics. Rent it.