The Snowman and the Snowdog: Review
According to the press release “The Snowman and The Snowdog is the brand new charming sequel to the Christmas classic The Snowman. Raymond Briggs’ iconic children’s book follows the wonderful adventures of a young boy and the remarkable snowman he creates. Adapted for the screen in 1982, the Oscar-nominated film – wordless, apart from its evocative theme, Walking in the Air – has been screened by Channel 4 every year since it was first transmitted and has enchanted generations of children.
The Snowman and The Snowdog is directed by Hilary Audus and art directed by Joanna Harrison, both of whom worked as animators on the original film. Producers are Camilla Deakin and Ruth Fielding. The sequel will be dedicated to the late John Coates, who produced the original The Snowman film and was instrumental in getting The Snowman and The Snowdog into production.
The Snowman and The Snowdog is a Snowman Enterprises and Lupus Films production.”
I sat down to watch The Snowman and The Snowdog eagerly anticipating a warming sequel to the original. I found it has made me reflect on the original, which I loved. I wonder if it was sentimental and knowing. This updated version although charming, is nostalgic, and has perhaps some of the most obviously clumsy product placement for the Snowman brand. I did shed a tear, but perhaps more for the reminiscence of Christmas past… 30 years since I first saw the Snowman on the relatively new Channel 4. I was 14 at the time. I was amazed at the drawing skill involved in the production of such a beautiful piece of animation. I remember how a few years later, I was so depressed by the apocalyptic When the Wind Blows, which acurately tuned in to the zeitgeist of 1980s fear of nuclear destruction. I enjoyed the new version of the Snowman, but felt that the amount of time and money that has been invested in this production could have been spent on a completely new story. It is reflective of a time when conservative values are once more bearing down on creativity and society. There must have been pressure for this film to deliver in the same way as the original, to enhance the brand. Interestingly Wallace and Gromit seemed to deliver something delightfully unexpected each and every time, but then Wallace and Gromit came out of a time of investment in the arts. The Snowman and the Snowdog was indeed a beautiful bit of animation, which will undoubtedly delight young children who already love the Snowman and Spot the Dog, but it failed to deliver anything “new” or that we haven’t already seen. It will be watched again for Christmases to come.
A supremely talented songwriter and multi-instrumentalist, Andy Burrows first came to attention with Razorlight, joining as drummer in 2004 and going on to co-write some of that band’s biggest hits, including the #1 single, America. Leaving Razorlight in 2009, Burrows joined We Are Scientists as a part-time member, before releasing the album Sun Comes Up Again, under the moniker I Am Arrows, in 2010. Sun Comes Up Again garnered righteous critical acclaim and massive radio airplay for its Green Grass single.
What followed for Burrows was an incredibly prolific purple patch. First he joined up with long-time friend and Editors frontman Tom Smith as Smith & Burrows for 2011’s Funny Looking Angels, an album of wintery vignettes and Christmas melancholy. Then, he agreed to decamp to New York to become a full-time Scientist. And midst all this, Burrows was hard at work on his own material, using a more straight-ahead approach than on his debut, all of it injected with Burrows way with an earworming hook.
The resulting album, Company, emerged as Burrows’ truest yet. He embraced a straight-ahead approach, building an album steeped in rock classicism and raw, melancholic melodies. The result is effortlessly intoxicating – the sound of an artist who’s thrown the shackles off and emerged as an bewilderingly creative tour-de-force.
Ilan Eshkeri is a British composer best known for his film scores to Stardust, The Young Victoria and Kick-Ass, as well as his collaborations with bands. His career is notable for its diversity; recently he scored Ralph Fiennes’ Shakespearean directorial debut Coriolanus, Rowan Atkinson’s comedy caper Johnny English Reborn, collaborated with electronic music legend Amon Tobin on a live performance of his work, and was commissioned to write for the world renown pianist Lang Lang.
Eshkeri is currently working with Ralph Fiennes on his second film as a director, The Invisible Woman, a Dickens’ biopic. Other current projects include co-writing the score for Stone Roses inspired film Spike Island with Ash frontman Tim Wheeler and scoring the animated film Justin and the Knights of Valour starring Antonio Banderas.
Early in his career Eshkeri composed the score to the cult british gangster film Layer Cake, which earned him a nomination for ‘Discovery of the Year’ at the World Soundtrack Awards. His score to
Stardust won the International Film Music Critics Association award for ‘Best Original Score’. Eshkeri’s soundtrack to The Young Victoria topped the classical music charts for several weeks and received a nomination at the Ivor Novello awards. Eshkeri has also been nominated for three world soundtrack awards.
Eshkeri’s collaborations with bands and solo artists include arrangements of Annie Lennox’s best known songs for her concert with the BBC Symphony Orchestra, arranging for David Gilmour on his last album On An Island, co-writing with The Cinematic Orchestra, and collaborating with Tom Smith, Editors, and Andy Burrows, Razorlight, on their Christmas album collaboration Smith & Burrows and with Emmy the Great on her album Virtue. He also wrote the song Only You for Sinead O’Connor and worked with Take That on the film Stardust.
- The Snowman by Raymond Briggs – a Christmas classic (calmyourbeans.wordpress.com)
- The Snowman and the Snowdog: the making of (telegraph.co.uk)
- The Snowman and the Snowdog, Channel 4 – The Arts Desk (theartsdesk.com)
- The Snowman and the Snowdog: How do you rival The Snowman and, more terrifyingly, ‘Walking in the Air’? (independent.co.uk)
- The Snowman and the Snowdog, Channel 4, review (telegraph.co.uk)
- Animator ‘proud’ of Snowman film (bbc.co.uk)
- VIDEO: Makers ‘confident’ in Snowman sequel (bbc.co.uk)
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Tags: Andy Burrows, Christmas, Ilan Eshkeri, Ralph Fiennes, Raymond Brigg, Snowdog, Snowman, Young Victoria