Christmas advert for Vipps, a mobile payment system for Den Norske Bank. Based on a Norwegian Christmas favourite ‘Santa’s Workshop’.
Animation Studio: The Line
Director: Wesley Louis Character Design - Wesley Louis Compositor - Max Taylor Animators - James Duveen, Alvise Zennaro, Carlos De Faria, Giulio De Toma, Tim McCourt Inbetweening & Cleanup Amix FIlm Studio Ltd Background Art - Mathias Zamecki Storyboards - Xavier Saillo Additional storyboards - Tim McCourt Friends Electric production - Dom Thomson-Talbot Music/sound design: Verdens Sterkeste Mann Production company : Animasjonsdepartementet Executive Producer - Jakob Thommessen Agency: Pol AD: Stian Johansen Copy: Janne Brenda Lysø Project manager: Ina Egelandsdal
The last monster left in the ruins of Mon Ocampo’s home was, ironically enough, not one he created himself.
It sat, silent, locked inside a wooden chest by his bedside. The chest was wrapped in chains held together with a thick, rusted padlock. Dusted over and almost forgotten, he used the chest as a table for a simple altar; a small crucifix, a barely opened prayer book, and a Santo Niño statue. He slept next to it, unafraid, because it was easy to forget that it was anything more than a table. The monster inside the chest was always so quiet and still. Never did it snarl or roar. Not once did it ram against the confines of its dark cage. It never even tried to give him nightmares.
All monsters, even those who did not intend it, gave humans nightmares.
In his hand, Mon held the key to the chest.
“The art of monstercraft is, by far, the most human artform of all.”
There’s red on the ceiling and red on the floor, red dripping from the window sills and red globules splattered across the walls. It looks like the artist Anish Kapoor has been let loose with his wax cannon again. But this, in fact, is what the making of Christmas looks like; this is the very heart of the real Santa’s workshop – thousands of miles from the North Pole, in the Chinese city of Yiwu.
Our yuletide myth-making might like to imagine that Christmas is made by rosy-cheeked elves hammering away in a snow-bound log cabin somewhere in the Arctic Circle. But it’s not. The likelihood is that most of those baubles, tinsel and flashing LED lights you’ve draped liberally around your house came from Yiwu, 300km south of Shanghai – where there’s not a (real) pine tree nor (natural) snowflake in sight.
Christened “China’s Christmas village”, Yiwu is home to 600 factories that collectively churn out over 60% of all the world’s Christmas decorations and accessories, from glowing fibre-optic trees to felt Santa hats. The “elves” that staff these factories are mainly migrant labourers, working 12 hours a day for a maximum of £200 to £300 a month – and it turns out they’re not entirely sure what Christmas is.
Nearing the end of a Christmas-themed questline, I used my Berserker Rage ability to prepare to make the killing blow on an elf who stole Santa’s supernatural coat. Immediately after, my teammate cast a perfect Smite Evil on the elf, killing him instantly. Sure, it was a good win…But I wasn’t satisfied. And neither was my sorcerer buddy.
And after hatching a well thought out explanation for my next move (and talking it over with my sorcerer buddy) we both rolled d20s. He didn’t do well, rolled a 4. I, on the other hand, rolled a 17. My plan was to throw someone off the mountain for no reason at all.
Everyone else protested and one person rolled higher than me. So, I rolled again and got a Nat 20. I threw an elf off the mountain. No one tried to stop me, and I did it, shared high-fives with my friend, and just said “Hey I needed to blow off some steam from my Rage.”
We finished the quest, and Santa rewarded us. Most of us got coal, so we took it all. As we were walking out, our sorcerer leaves the coal under the wooden steps outside along with a flaming arrow.
“As you finally reach the base of the mountain,” the DM says, “You all turn around to see Santa’s Workshop, completely on fire. Congratulations, you have simultaneously saved and ruined Christmas in the same day. I hope you’re happy with yourselves.”
Ok so who remembers the Rankin-Bass claymation Christmas specials from way back when that are still aired every year? You know, like Rudolph, and Santa Clause is Coming to Town and Jack Frost and junk like that? Well, apparently, there is one that no one ever talks about and no one I’ve talked to has apparently ever heard of, and I feel like I need to tell people about this hilarious, disastrous masterpiece of a holiday classic, only known as Rudolph and Frosty’s Christmas in July.
I swear to god I’m not making this shit up. This was a real fuckin thing that came out in 1979 and its exactly what you fucking think it is. A real, legit crossover between Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer and Frosty the Snowman. And honestly every other damn Christmas figure under the sun, save for lil Baby JC, of course. You have Santa, Jack Frost, Frosty’s rando wife from that one animated special I can’t be bothered to look up, even that damn whale with the clock on its tale from the Rudolph New Year’s special (which yes, was also a real thing).
So like, this shit actually doesn’t take place in December at all, but like in the middle of the goddamn summer, hence its title. Rudolph and Frosty are somehow besties (if not a little honestly gay for each other even though Frosty has a wife and two kids (watch the movie and you’ll see what I mean, its weird as fuck)). I mean god just look at these two bozos:
Speaking of which, Frosty does have a wife and she’s kinda cool but he also has two little shitlet snow kids who are annoying as fuck and you wish would melt by the end of the movie (which is something that happens).
But whatever. So apparently out of goddamn nowhere Rudolph’s nose starts blinking out like a malfunctioning lightbulb or something and then he passes out and just look at how randomly melodramatic this bullshit gets in the first ten minutes:
And then they kissed. So yeah, something’s obviously wrong but who cares about any of that. Rudolph gets like, instantly better aight. Cause we have to move this stupid plot along somehow.
So anyway, this rando in a hot air balloon comes by and he’s like, an ice cream man or something? (I’m honestly giving you the plot of this shit off the top of my head, I haven’t watched it in years). But anyway, this guy wants to bang this hot lady who works at a circus or whatever, but the circus is gonna go out of business, so dude’s all like “yo, Rudolph, Frosty, my dudes, ya’ll are a bunch of fucking freaks, why don’t you come down to the circus and like preform or whatever” and they’re both like “lol sure”
Oh but fuckin hold up, bitches cause if you thought this shit was a cutesy little silly story then ya’ll are dead wrong. Cause here’s where we get fucking deep into Christmas lore (I can’t even believe that’s a thing). So there’s this asshole:
who’s some sort of winter wizard (think of a male, proto-Elsa but with a massive stick shoved up his ass), and he’s all pissy and whatever because way back in the day, dude kept freezing anyone’s ass who was trying to go near the North Pole because I dunno he’s trying to binge on Netflix and doesn’t want to be bothered. Still, the dudes kinda cool cause he as ice snakes or whatever:
And this unholy magic mirror abomination thing that scared the shit out of me when I was a kid:
But anyway, wizard dude’s a massive dickweed to everyone until this this bitch comes along:
And she’s like some sort of northern lights fairy or something? I don’t know. But she basically bitchslaps wizard dude hard enough to put him to sleep for hundreds of years, which allows one certain jolly old prowler to come settle in the North Pole:
Yeah that’s right, Santa bitches. So Santa builds his sweatshop workshop and everyone’s chill and happy and great until dick wizard wakes up again and is super pissy this time, especially when he hears about Santa. So he’s like “fuck this noise, Imma send a crazy ass storm to kill that holly bastard”. So he does, and northern lights lady is like “aw shit I gotta stop that fucking bs”. So she does so in the stupidest fucking way ever, of course, by giving some of her unexplained glowy powers to a fucking newborn reindeer and that makes his nose glow and hence Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer was born. Yeah that’s right. You ever wanted to know the origin story of Rudolph the goddamned Red Nosed Reindeer? Well HERE IT FUCKING IS! AND ITS PROBABLY STUPIDER THAN YOU THOUGHT!
So there’s like this one stipulation northern lights lady tells Rudolph about is deus ex machina nose: he can’t ever use it for evil or it’ll go out and like, ok fine. We gotta have a moral for the kiddies in this bout of fever dream insanity somewhere, right? So like yeah, years go by and the whole Rudolph song sequence happens and what do you know, Rudolph guides Santa’s sleigh through the storm and you know the rest.
So back to our goddamn main story (I swear there are like 60 subplots in this thing). Dickweed wizard is still mad but he has a plan now. oooo. So remember the circus thing? yeah me neither because the story just fucking derailed with all that damn backstory. But anyway, so the gang wants to go to the circus, but oh no! Frosty and his fam will melt in the hot weather. So the obvious conclusion is for everyone to say, “nah man we can’t go” but then wizard dude comes along and is like “you i got a solution to ur prob” and he gives Frosty and fam all like these medallion things that’ll make it so they won’t melt until the forth of july fireworks or whatever? I don’t know how it works and the movie does not care, obviously.
So everyone’s happy as hell and Santa’s like “Oh I’ll come too because I gotta have my time in the spotlight too, I’m motherfucking Santa Claus” but he says he can’t come with everyone else for reasons, so him and Mrs. Claus will come a few days later or whatever. So yeah. Everyone sets off in ice cream dude’s balloon:
So they get to the circus and everything’s hunky dory. They meet the tightrope lady who ice cream dude is creaming for and her mom, who owns the circus and is probably the coolest thing in this movie. Mostly because she has guns and she’s trigger happy with them:
So yeah a whole bunch of nothing happens for a long time. But then wizard dude goes to like?? this reindeer brothel or something??? I dunno, but he picks up this creepy sleeze bag reindeer, who I’m just gonna call Randolph because I honest to god cannot remember his real name:
So I honest to god don’t remember what Randolph does, I guess he like leads Rudolph astray or whatever but I do remember liking his voice for some reason, he was a sarcasthole. But anyway, dickweed wizard also sends a huge storm after Santa and his lady as they’re heading down to the carnival, and of course they don’t have Rudolph with them so they’re basically screwed.
Back at the carnival, shenanigans are going down, Frosty’s kids are annoying little shits, ect. ect. and Randolph is all like, “Yo Rudolph, my G, lets go steal borrow some money from the circus and Rudolph, being the incredible fucking moron he is, agrees to this nonsense and uses his nose to get a suitcase full of cash out of a dark room or whatever without questioning it at all. And what do you diddly fucking know? Rudolph’s nose stops glowing because he used it for an “evil purpose” but like??? He was tricked? So that doesn’t make any sense? Northern lights lady, you are full of some loophole bullshit.
So then Rudolph gets all sad and depressed because he’s basically fucking useless and everyone hates him now. And angst ensues:
Of course, Frosty is the only person who will still vouch for Rudolph, which is when dickweed wizard comes in and is like “yo, I’ll make Rudolph’s nose glow again (somehow) if ya give me ur magic hat that gives you life” and Frosty is like “ok sure I see no problems with this whatsoever” So he gives him the hat and dies stops moving or being alive or whatever and yet Dickweed wizard is a fucking lair because Rudolph’s nose doesn’t start glowing again, and Rudolph gets all pissy about that and there’s a stupid chase scene or something and Rudolph gets the hat back and somehow that makes his nose glow again I don’t fucking no it makes no damn sense.
But anyway, all the fireworks go off and what do ya know, Santa didn’t make it in time, which means Frosty and his whole damn family are fuckin dead cause they melted aw shit. And then dickweed wizard comes back and spouts some bullshit I don’t remember but like eventually he gets killed or something? or like I think the cool gun lady from earlier shoots him. So he turns into this abomiation that haunted my nightmares as a wee little lass:
So ding dong the wizard is dead. But Frosty and fam are still dead so everyone cries about that for a while until like? Jack fucking Frost comes in for no discernible reason? Seriously like he comes into the film like ten minutes before it ends right the fuck out of nowhere and he gives Frosty and fam a blowjob to bring them back to life:
So yay everyone lives (except for dickweed wizard lol he’s ded) and Santa comes several days late with Starbucks and he takes Frosty and fam back to the North Pole and everyone gets high off their asses and flies all over the place and this movie is a literal drug trip. The end.
So yeah this movie is pretty bizarre as fuck but I totally recommend it if you want a little insanity this Christmas. Though I recommend that you watch it either drunk or high or zonked on egg nog, just to make it even more enjoyable. Honestly, I didn’t even touch on half of the weird shit in this movie, but again, go check it out for yourself. You’ll thank me for it later.