Thursday, December 17, 2015

shorts SHORT Review: Super Santa, Episode 04 - Vegetation

Super Santa
Episode 04 - Vegetation

Created by Mike Bell
Directed by Mike Bell
Written by Mike Bell
Santa was voiced by Mike Bell

Originally aired on Oh Yeah! Cartoons
Series created by Fred Seibert
Production Companies:
Nationally Distributed by Paramount Domestic Television
Internationally Distributed by Nelvana Limited

Our stout Santa has his last ride in this finale to the spectacular Super Santa shorts series, though this was not the intended last episode. Originally there was one last pitched and approved episode to Super Santa's adventures, titled appropriately The End. As mentioned in Episode 01: Jingle Bell Justice's review Oh Yeah! Cartoons had five unaired episodes, though I've found credits, it's either never aired or never created. It's hard to say with most television series how many have those "lost episodes" or pitches that didn't quite make it. I'd love to see the true last short of Super Santa, even in animatic form, but for the time being we'll see the last crusade of Father Christmas.

This is the last episode that the backgrounds will be designed by Miles Thompson. The theme music is completely gone, there's no Christmas music, instead it's replaced with something that one would think of when thoughts from the 1940's and Brazil's Carnival come to mind. Straight into the short we come to Santa's workshop, his mail box filled impossibly full, he's busy checking his list, once again. This perspective of the scene versus the perspective of the character, it's interesting, since it expands the room, though makes it feel less needed in the episode. Mrs. Claus comes in the room, Emma tells Santa that all the veggies in the world are gone. Not really sure how they'd know that, though it's making the people of the world unset, though it doesn't really seem like a problem that should be Santa centered.

Then an alarm goes off in the workshop and the narrator tells the Claus' what's happening instead of seeing what happened. This is something everyone in animation has done before, though when it's a show that has many drafts, it's hard for a mistake like this to slip through, I guess that knowledge of the show being canceled allowed a few mistakes into the series. It's the first time that the Claus' have encountered something other than people or magical toys or Christmas themed antagonist, it's interesting that there's not much dialogue for this short, though the action doesn't keep the interest of the episode, this really feels like the weakest of the four.

Professor Steeping and Gom watch on as Master Reindeer Champion Tea Steeping takes out the fearsome E.G.G.N.O.G. of Cnidaria, an annual evil group that only attacks during the winter holiday season.

Moving on, we come to the Island of genetically altered veggies and fruits, as the villain tells his story and rallies the troops, it's a block of text and a lot of static shots. That's right the villain's army is giant chemically altered fruits and veggies. It's a bit interesting, though there could have been many more holiday choices or enemies that could have taken his place. This feels more like a throw away character, something just to meet a deadline. The whole plan is to steal fruits and veggies from all over the world, instead of growing it themselves on the uninhabited island. Billy West, the potato, fires a missile at Santa, who takes the sucker head on, protecting his reindeer. Santa and Emma then surrender and are taken to the main villain, he backstories giving more plot, though it's not much and it doesn't make sense why he wants to rule the world.

The best fight scene in all of the episode takes place, Santa and Emma tossing this salad of evil plants. Then the Claus' do something that doesn't make sense, they allow the bad guy to win, capturing Santa and allowing Emma to escape, since they figured out how to stop the growth formula off screen. By spraying the produce army with gas that makes all the fruit and veggies adorable and small, though they return all of the plants from once they came, it makes me wonder if they were still sentient plants.

 Above is all that needs to be said about this, it was a called in episode. It had the passion of making ramen noodles, though wonderful animation, the story felt like it would be found in a Nick Jr. pilot. I apriciapte that they loved the character enough to produce more cartoons, but this wasn't the way I wanted to see this hero go. I only hope next time I see a truly fun Santa that's lampooning spies and 1970 superhero cartoons it will end with better taste.

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