Sunday, September 23, 2007

Olive, the Other Reindeer

A few years ago, a cute little book made it's way into our home. It was Olive, the Other Reindeer by Vivian Walsh and J. Otto Seibold. My daughter absolutely loved the story, and I found it cute and amusing, especially the illustration. In brief, the book is about a little dog named Olive that hears "Rudolf the Red-nosed Reindeer" on the radio and thinks it's saying "Olive the other reindeer," rather than "all of the other reindeer." So Olive sets out to the North Pole to help Santa.

The movie is not new, made in 1999 for TV, but I just ran across it at the library. A few share production credit (including Drew Barrymore - who is also the voice of Olive), but the standout is Matt Groening. I didn't know this when first watching the movie with the kids (guess I missed the credit on the jacket), and so I was beside myself at how fantastic the movie was. The story, although quite different from the book, was hilarious, and the animation was top-notch, especially because it closely followed the book's illustrations.

In the movie, you had The Postman (Dan Castellaneta) as the spectacular antagonist out to ruin Christmas. Olive (Drew Barrymore), goaded on by her pet flea, sets out for the North Pole in response to Santa's radio broadcast plea for help from "Olive, the other reindeer." On her journey, she encounters and is aided by a hilarious cast of characters including Martini the penguin (Joe Pantoliano), Richard Stans the bus driver, and Round John Virgin, the lumberjack-type guy. Along with Olive, these last two are mondegreens (here's your vocabulary word for the day). Richard Stans from the Pledge of Allegiance, and Round John Virgin from Silent Night. Ha ha!

Another witty reference in the movie that had me rolling on the floor was when Olive was trapped in the mail truck with no apparent way out. She suddenly notices a package addressed to her from a company called "Deus ex Machina" In it is a file which allows Olive to escape. You'd have to see the movie and understand Deus ex Machina to get it, but it is quite funny.

This movie goes right alongside Christmas Story and Elf as must-see holiday flicks.

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