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The Flight Before Christmas [Import]

2 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Actors: Carly Baker, Patrick Fitzsymons, Morgan Jones, Norm MacDonald, Andrew McMahon
  • Format: Color, Full Screen, Subtitled, NTSC, Import
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: English, Spanish
  • Region: Region 1 (US and Canada This DVD will probably NOT be viewable in other countries. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 1
  • MPAA Rating: G
  • Studio: Weinstein Company
  • Release Date: Oct. 28 2008
  • Run Time: 81 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B001B3LIRE
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Product Description

A reindeer boy named Niko dreams about flying like his father, whom he has never met. Despite suffering from severe vertigo, he sneaks out of his home valley to take flying lessons from Julius, a rare member of a Finnish family of flying squirrels. Stills from The Flight Before Christmas (Click for larger image)

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Most helpful customer reviews

Format: DVD
i was really excited about recieving the shipment quickly i ordered it couple days before christmas because my daughter wanted it so badly and i couldnt find it anymore in the stores it arrived christmas eve. she was really excited
thanks again
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Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Loved the movie. Even watched the second one on Netflix. Nikko2. Little brother-Big trouble. Also a great movie for the season. I would recommend both movies.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 92 reviews
25 of 30 people found the following review helpful
Good European animation -- for older kids and grown-ups Dec 14 2008
By Rowana - Published on
Format: DVD
When this popped up on CBS TV the other night, I started watching it, and the first thing I thought was "This is not an American-made film." For one thing, it's fairly densely plotted and has a much more complex and dark storyline than a U.S. cartoon would have. Sure enough, although CBS zipped through the ending credits almost too quickly to read them, I saw that it was made in Finland. That explains it! The night I watched, it followed on the heels of the awful 1996 "The Return of Frosty" cartoon, which made the Finnish production seem that much more intelligent.

As a grown-up viewer, I thoroughly enjoyed the story -- a young reindeer searching for his father, whom he believes to be one of Santa's heroic flying squadron. The youngster is helped along his way by a fatherly, protective flying squirrel and a female ermine/weasel (?) who warbles pop tunes like an American Idol contestant. There's also a pink French poodle who appears suddenly and disappears mysteriously once her plotline is over (what becomes of her??). Yes, there are implications of reindeer one-night stands (how very Scandinavian of them!), and Niko's real dad turns out to have, shall we say, commitment issues (many kids will relate, I'm afraid). And there are some scary wolf villains -- but really, no scarier than the hyenas in "The Lion King," which this production seems to channel (one could say "copy" if one were ungenerous) more often than not. The digital character animation looks a bit clunky, with giant grinning amorphous faces that too often really look computerized -- but the backgrounds and landscapes are quite lovely. There are shots of the Scandinavian forest with the aurora borealis overhead that are very memorable. The musical score recalls Howard Shore's "Lord of the Rings" and almost seems a bit too grand for the room. But this is an hour-long cartoon that is really trying to be quite epic in its story and scope, and I think it's the first Finnish production (that I can recall, anyway) to make it to the U.S. TV market in such a big way (major network broadcast).

As for the scare factor of the big bad wolves -- really, can ANYTHING be scarier than the classic 1939 "Wizard of Oz"?? "Oz" gave me tornado and flying-monkey nightmares for years as a kid, but I loved it and watched it whenever it was on. I think a few good TV scares never hurt any child! Classic Brothers Grimm and Hans Christian Andersen fairy tales are chock-full of scary and often quite violent situations; even the best Disney films (like "Lion King") are full of scares and sadness. I give the Finns points for offering a little darkness and scare factor, and not serving up sugary holiday syrup like "Frosty Returns" (or even the original 1960s "Frosty the Snowman," which also preceded "Flight Before Christmas" the other night -- yup, it may be a beloved classic, but wow, it's so sweet it makes your teeth hurt!).

So, yes, I recommend "The Flight Before Christmas" -- a Finnish production that is a quite worthy and surprisingly intelligent entry into the annual holiday animation derby.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
Enjoyable, different type of holiday movie Dec 20 2012
By Victoria L. - Published on
Format: DVD
This beats the vast majority of those sickeningly-sweet holiday specials out there, but it's obviously not for everyone. I think that little kids would be entertained by the animation and the characters, but until they are old enough to understand they probably won't realize that the reindeer Niko was the result of a "one night stand". And, really, kids are so much more sophisticated these days so although I would expect that a middle-school age child would "get it", it probably doesn't affect them as much as most of the other shooting and killing and maiming that goes on in tv shows and movies anyway.

It's entertainment, nicely done and quite unique at that. Kids will watch it as such, and some adults can continue to pull it apart if they want to. But they shouldn't-- just watch and enjoy and don't feel the need to analyze or explain everything.
16 of 22 people found the following review helpful
GOOD Dec 13 2008
By cbh - Published on
Format: DVD
I'm 33 years old & saw this for the first time on tv . I couldn't move from my seat. a new Christmas classic . maybe it should've been PG but it wasn't even close to being as "bad" as some of the reviews made it out to be , saying that it was not for kids because it was to scary or violent . there are alot worse cartoons than this . for example Shreck , kids love that cartoon and the same parents that are trashing this cartoon , I bet , has bought Shreck & lets there kid watch it over & over and scary images ? what about all the walt disney cartoons ? what about Cruella Devil wanting to kill puppies ? or hunters shooting Bambi's dad ? don't listen to these uptight people , it is worth the money & your children will love it . I thought it was a very cute cartoon & I'm plan'n on buy'n it for my daughter .
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
DVD is much better than the condensed TV special version Dec 28 2012
By Joe - Published on
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
I first saw this as a 45 minute special on CBS a few weeks ago. It looked pretty good from the previews, so I had to check it out. While I thought the story was pretty good, I thought it left a lot of loose ends and unfinished plot. So imagine my surprise when I did a web search on it, and found out this was actually an 80 minute movie made in Finland! So I immediately sent for the DVD, which features the full length movie, and I have to say it was much better than the 45 minute "condensed for TV" version. All of my questions were answered and all of the loose ends were tied up. I honestly don't know what CBS was thinking, making a 45 minute special out of an 80 minute movie (essentially, cutting out half of the movie!) All of Niko's quest to find his father, and all of the dangers he encounters along the way, make the story so much more epic! Also, one reviewer pointed out that in the TV special version, the poodle character, Essie, simply vanishes once her part is complete - well, in the full length movie, you do get to find out what happens to her (nothing bad, by the way). I thought it was a very enjoyable story, and it's become my favorite Christmas movie this year. Santa's Flying Forces are a riot, as well! And I really liked the main message of the story, that if you believe in yourself, you really can accomplish your dreams. Another good message was that your heroes often just turn out to be ordinary people like you and me, so don't put them up on a pedastal. I know a lot of reviewers don't like the "one night stand" aspect of the story, but it's not really dwelt upon to any extent. Overall, I think this is a really great and exciting Christmas story, which I am sure I'll be watching every Christmas from now on.

The sequel movie, "Little Brother, Big Trouble" is also available on DVD, but I was only able to find it through Wal*mart. Amazon does have it as a download, though. It's pretty good, but not quite as good as the first movie, and all the voice actors are different.
13 of 18 people found the following review helpful
"A Maury Povich Christmas Spectacular for Kids" Dec 15 2009
By R. Leonard - Published on
Format: DVD
While I honestly feel for single-parent households whose children have never met one of the parents, taking traditional holiday characters and turning them into "deadbeat dads" is not the best plot idea for a Christmas special. As you read in other reviews, the basic premise is that the main character's mother (who cannot fly) by chance ran into Santa's flying reindeer after Santa's sleigh broke down. One of the flying reindeer fixed the sleigh, had a "magical time" with the mother, and quickly flew away. Months later, the main character Niko was born. When asked why the flying reindeer didn't come back to visit, the mother said that he "didn't know that (Niko) would be born months later, so why would he visit" and that "no one knows where Christmastown where the flying reindeer stay actually is".

Thus starts a long trek for Niko to find his father and understand why he has dreams of flying. Along the way, he meets a flirtatious female weasel who just happens to know where Christmastown is located. When Niko finally finds the flying reindeer in a bar, the weasel starts a sultry song-and-dance number about giving the flying team a "big surprise," and at the end of the song literally sings "one of you share the same DNA" and points towards Niko, which of course spooks the flying team. When Niko gives his mother's name and asks if any of the team remembers her, he is basically told that the entire flying reindeer team have "magical times" with the non-flying reindeer very often, and Niko is asked to perform a paternity test of showing he can fly to prove that he is actually one of their sons. Basically, to make a long story short, Niko "saves the day" and one of the reindeer steps forward very grudgingly and tells Niko that he can call him dad. Merry Christmas! Niko tries to get his father to return to the non-flying pack, the father says that he's part of a "flying team" and isn't willing to go back, and Niko tells a flying squirrel who had looked out for him since day one that he is more of a dad to him than his real dad would ever be. Then, the credits roll.

While the forced lessons of "it's ok to have a deadbeat dad" and "step fathers can be real fathers even if they look different" could be pertinent to certain families, it can also send the wrong message to children that it is ok to take advantage of others and leave without taking responsibility for your actions. What's worse is that when you watch the movie the second time knowing which one of Santa's reindeer is the actual father, you see a new perspective from the bar scene forward of the father knowingly trying to deny Niko, even going so far as denying meeting Niko's mother in the bar, letting Niko throw himself into a bottomless cliff during the "can you fly" paternity test, and basically saying "well you can't fly, guess no one here is your father" after Niko fails the test.

In all honesty, not one part of this film gave me a warm holiday spirit, and I seriously would warn parents about the movie's message before letting their children see it. Do not be tricked by the cutesy cover, characters, and descriptions... this children's flick feels like it was written and directed by Maury Povich.

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