The charming animation from Raymond Briggs’ story gets a special edition release along with the sequel of sorts, Father Christmas, which has Mel Smith as the cantankerous bearded one and both short animations work perfectly together to provide two very different sides to seasonal tale Briggs weaves.
The Snowman appeared in 1982 and instantly captured the imagination of the public and still has that power. I can imagine people watching this for the first time and falling in love with the simple story of a boy and his Snowman, and the unique nature of Briggs’ illustrations are spellbinding even now in amidst the furious torrent of CG and 3D animations. The celebrated Walking in the Air section is still a highlight.
The extras on the Snowman disc focus on the production and the legacy of the iconic animation and it is fascinating to see the animation process detailed with a love of the hands-on, tangible quality. Dianne Jackson, whose vision and artistry is arguably the reason both animations translated Briggs’ humour and charm perfectly, is given her moment in the spotlight quite rightly, and Briggs himself appears, a little bemused by the endearing nature of the two tales, but there’s a sportive sense of humour at play here.
The filmed intro for US TV with David Bowie carrying off an excellent seasonal ensemble is present and of course there’s a brief catch-up with Peter Auty, the young boy whose rendition of Walking in the Air is often mistakenly ascribed to Aled Jones. There’s also a new introduction for the DVD featuring Father Christmas himself.
The Father Christmas disc had no extras at all and the lower price reflects this, but it should enjoyed with the special edition of The Snowman whose extras complete a fitting tribute to an enchanting Christmastime story.
The Snowman Special Edition DVD and Father Christmas DVD are out now.