The other night I had the unfortunate opportunity to watch Jack Frost, the 1998 Christmas-themed movie about a kid and a snowman. The kicker here is that the snowman is his father reincarnated a year after his death. Intriguing, right? I didn’t think so either, but I sort of watched it anyway.
The movie starts off like any other Christmas movie – a family with its unique ups and downs, a wide-eyed child looking for something more, a parental figure who is too busy to notice some things, etc. You know the drill. Seriously, some of these haphazardly thrown together Christmas movies stick WAY too close to the generic script, but I digress. So there is the standard family that you’ll find in any Christmas movie. Michael Keaton plays the father and does a pretty good job with the role that he’s given: he’s not quite an arrogant jerk, but not quite ready to be the father figure that he needs to be…and eventually he’s the voice of a snowman. Joseph Cross plays the son and I thought he did an exceptional job, as did Kelly Preston in playing the mother.
Again, the movie starts like any other and then Keaton’s band gets a big break and he needs to be somewhere important on Christmas day. Cross gets pissed off, gives him back a magical harmonica (yep), and then Keaton dies trying to rush back to his family before Christmas.
A year goes by, life is miserable for the young kid, he builds a snowman to remind him of the one he and his Dad built a year before, he blows on the magical harmonica, the snowman is infused with his Dad’s spirit. Simple story, right? Cross finds out the snowman is his Dad and he spends the rest of the movie trying to hide this fact from the world – including his mother who now thinks that her son is nuts. If your kid was walking around talking to snowmen, you may think the same thing!
The folks who put this one together attempted to include a bunch of touching scenes throughout the movie, but most of them come off as just awkward. Even through the final scene of the movie (which I won’t be wretched enough to share here) this viewer received more of an awkward feeling than anything else. There is even one moment towards the end of the movie where the bully antagonist (because these awkwardly thrown together Christmas movies always have a bully antagonist) and the young, bright-minded protagonist become friends. Awww… I almost threw up.
If you’re a freak for Christmas and Christmas movies, then you can go ahead and watch this one, but everyone else should run away from this movie.