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Overlooked Specials 11th Day of Christmas


11th Day of Christmas:
The Little Matchgirl
In less than seven minutes this mesmerizing piece of animation exudes more emotion and character than over half the Disney films, which isn’t to insult Disney by any means. This short was made by Disney, based on the Hans Christian Andersen story and is both warming and genuinely heartbreaking. Told with no dialogue and with gorgeous music, it’s about a poor little girl attempting to sell matchsticks in Revolution-era St. Petersburg during a harsh winter. I won’t say much more but the animation is absolutely stunning, easily among the best I’ve ever seen in the hand-drawn medium. It’s colour scheme that alternates in some instances, sets the mood perfectly and captures what bleak winters often seem to look like. Though it’s only explicitly connected to Christmas through brief imagery, the central theme is very heavily a Christmas one, and has been ever since Dickens emphasized it in A Christmas Carol. If you’re willing to be moved possibly to tears by an exquisitely crafted, beautifully told little story, watch this hidden gem the first chance you get!

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Overlooked Specials 12th Day of Christmas

12th Day of Christmas:
Blackadder’s Christmas Carol This Christmas Day how about we dispense with the feels in favour of a mean but comedically genius one-off of Britain’s best series. Even if you’re unfamiliar with Blackadder, the series about a witty schemer reincarnated through various periods in British history, this special should still make you laugh. An inversion of A Christmas Carol, Ebenezer Blackadder played of course to perfection by Rowan Atkinson is the kindest man in England which everyone uses to take advantage of him. But an encounter with a Spirit of Christmas causes him to change his ways. Most of the Blackadder cast: Atkinson, Tony Robinson as Baldrick, Stephen Fry, Hugh Laurie, and Miranda Richardson appear here and are excellent, as are guests Miriam Margolyes, Jim Broadbent, and Robbie Coltrane in a role I’m sure inspired J.K. Rowling to request him for Hagrid. And the writing from Richard Curtis and Ben Elton is as sharp as ever. It’s relentlessly enjoyable, funny…