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Flying With The Snowman / Walking in The Air

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Porky Pig sings Blue Christmas

Before Robert Zemeckis "Polar Express" there was everyone's favorite heart warming animated adventure "The Snowman" (1982) about a young English boy who makes a snowman one Christmas Eve, only for it to come to life that night and take him on a magical adventure to the North Pole to meet Santa Claus.
The title comes from an animated cartoon, which is shown on TV every Christmas day in Britain and has become something of a tradition in the manner of the Queen's Christmas Day Speech to the Nation. Maybe the cartoon has been shown in the USA - I don't know? It's about a little redheaded boy who builds a snowman on his front lawn. Like most young children he's very reluctant to leave the snowman when his mother calls him in after dark. At midnight on Christmas Eve he peeps from his window and finds that the snowman he built that day has magically come to life. He then runs downstairs and dances with the snowman.

The Snowman takes him on his back on a magical journey, flying across many countries to the North Pole where every Christmas Eve there's a convention of snow people from all lands. They wing their way together to an icy landscape where they meet Father Christmas. There's much dancing and jollity. Eventually the tired out little boy flies back home to England on the snowman's back and goes back to bed. The snowman resumes his position in the garden.

Upon awakening next morning, the little boy rushes to his bedroom window to see his friend. Alas, you've already guessed the sight that meets his eyes. The sun has melted the snowman all away. All that remains is his hat and carrot nose. I always cry at this point, no doubt with millions of others. The soundtrack music is hauntingly beautiful.

Raymond Briggs' picture book is irresistibly brought to life in this wordless, animated tale. Probably best known for the soundtrack (which features "Walking in the Air" sung by Aled Jones) this charming film avoids the over-sentimentality which could have spoilt it and touches the heart in a delightful way. The music perfectly complements the animation, especially during the flying scenes, where the landscape unfolds in rolling images like waves. This is animation for all ages and nationalities, not only because it has no dialogue, but also because it carries an underlying message about life and love - and it also features a great old-fashioned Father Christmas.
The content of the film is poignant and has a bittersweet ending which could be upsetting to some young children. In this capacity it is more of an adult film than a children's animation, as adults have the ability to look back and understand what the film is saying and what it says about our own lost childhoods. But for children it will simply be a magical tale of excitement and friendship. In a day and age where most children's entertainment seems to revolve around violence, this is a truly charming and heartwarming short film.

Directed by Dianne Jackson.

We're walking in the air
We're floating in the moonlit sky
The people far below are sleeping as we fly
I'm holding very tight
I'm riding in the midnight blue
I'm finding I can fly so high above with you
Far across the world
The villages go by like dreams
The rivers and the hills, the forests and the streams
Children gaze open mouthed
Taken by surprise
Nobody down below believes their eyes
We're surfing in the air
We're swimming in the frozen sky
We're drifting over icy mountains floating by
Suddenly swooping low
On an ocean deep
Rousing up a mighty monster from his sleep
And walking in the air
We're dancing in the midnight sky
And everyone who sees us greets us as we fly
We're walking in the air
We're walking in the air

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Tags: Snowman, Polar Express, Walking In The Air, christmas, weinacht, noel, navidad, north pole