Hello, Spongey here.
It’s finally December and that means it’s time for CHRISTMAS! And other Winter Holidays I guess. This December should be better than ever because we’d have had a hell of a year and we really need this jolly-ness.
It’s a good as time as any to peddle Red Ribbon Reviewers again. This also means it’s time for the infodump
“Red Ribbon Reviewers began in September, 2010 as a way for internet based video reviewers to spread awareness and discussion on HIV and AIDS. Through the simple act of wearing a red ribbon during video reviews, it is hoped that this small but potent symbol will be recognized and discussed and that proper information about HIV, AIDS and its prevention be provided. “
Yeah, it gets repetitive having to do that every year but it would be worse to have to type something new about it every year. But yeah, good cause and all that. My new schedule means a bit less this year but there’s plenty look forward to.
And for our first of 2 Scene by Scene Reviews this month will be…interesting because it’s a animal movie worse than Nine Lives. Yay. Time for backstory! In 200, there was a TV Movie called the Dog who Saved Christmas.
It was a typical talking animal movie (…sort of, we’ll get to that) about this dog that this family got to be a guard dog. However, he can’t bark which becomes an issue. (Although to be honest, from experience I can say that you should consider that a godsend).
Spoilers, he manages to bark and stops two unfunny robbers after partaking in Bone Alone. It wasn’t very good, mostly due to unfunny humor and being incredibly boring in the 2nd half.
The most notable thing about it is that it has Serra McCormick and Mindy Sterling interacting two years before ANT Farm was a thing. However, I give it credit for actually attempting to have a story with some almost nice bits, with a moral and everything.
At some points, it comes close to feeling like a movie, as boring as it is. That’s what would made me say no to reviewing that. That and I saw it after having already seen it’s even worse sequel.
Oh boy. I knew about these movies from Bobsheux and the like. This series somehow has 6 entries, all about this dog saving things. He’s saved “the holidays”, Easter, and Summer, somehow.
This is basically the new Buddies series. I’ll look into the other that hasn’t been done someday. For now we’re looking at the first of many sequels. How bad could it be? Oh just you wait.
Our creative team is made up of people who only seem to work on crappy animal movies. Seriously, these animal movies are becoming like a new kind of Exploration film. …Animalsplotation, if you will.
Hey, Cinema Snob is doing them now, might as well call them that. By the way, this and the first one were ABC Family Original Movies. Between this and Cyberbully, I might have to look into them more…
Anyway, let’s do this.
This, is The Dog Who Saved Christmas Vacation
The movie opens with an establish montage set to Christmas music (get ready for a lot of those), as the Bannister Family is heading out for Christmas Vacation, with their Dog Zeus, played by Mario Lopez.
The kids have been recast, because not even a future Disney Sitcom Person wanted any part in this. The parents are still as bumbling and not funny as ever. Their scene has them argue over if they should ask for directions.
Because “lol men don’t ask directions” was still funny in 2010, right?
While this is going on, we meet up with the robbers from the first movie, who just happened in the general vicinity of them. Seriously, they just came here to do stuff and just happen to run into the family they tried to rob from.
They’re about as funny as before, and by that I mean they should be funny, but are just really awkward. The family gets to the resort thing they are staying it. A famous Celebrity, I’d say a Paris Hilton type happens to be staying there for some reason and her name is…London.
Okay, there’s no Disney Sitcom people here in the main film and I’m still finding connections!
I suppose now is time to get into an oddity about Zeus. He does not actually talk, instead he just talks to us through…thoughts, I guess. That’s fine but you’d assume that in the times he’s trying to talk to people, he’s barking and we’re just hearing it as English.
But the big conflict in the first movie is that he DOESN’T bark. …So why does he think people can understand him if he’s not communicating at all?! That’s less of an issue here but sometimes people talk to him like they can understand him, and it’s kind of weird.
They go their room and it turns out Mom’s Brother Randy is staying as their well, which they didn’t know about. He’s the typical family member who is cool and rags on the Dad for no real reason.
And he has a female dog for Zeus to fall in love with. You can tell because her appearance comes with a love song, because cliché. And she is voiced by Paris Hilton. ….No comment.
“What a Babe!”
…Did that really need the record scratch? Dad somehow can tell Zeus is in love (despite having the same exact face in every shot) and gives advice…to a dog he can’t actually understand. See what I mean?
He quickly finds out that Bella is a literal bitch who doesn’t like him. Which means they will end up together. We get a few minutes of the family talking, and the robbers just doing stuff, we get more of Zeus and Bella, as Zeus tells him how he was a police dog.
“Courage is such a turn on”
They bump into this big dog who’s actor cannot act at all. He tries so hard to be tough and it fails so hard. He acts like a douchey “ladies man” towards Bella…and she finds it hot. Okay, so we know she’s that kind of girl, guess Zeus will have to find love elsewhere.
Anyway, some of the Bannisters become more interested in Randy, like when the son wants to go snowboarding with him. Yes, we’re going to be doing that story and screwing it up, trust me. Back with the Robbers, they plan to steal London’s Necklace as their first act after getting out of prison. Attempted Robbery only gets you one year, I did not know that. She’s at a spa that has shitty security, because these guys can easily sneak in and pose as Masseuses.
Oh, and during this, the fat one farts. Because Comedy.
They get the necklace and hide out in a store where they stash the necklace, hoping to come by later and get it back. Keep in mind that the authorizes are already aware one is missing now. You better hope they don’t search that store, or no one happens to stumble upon it.
Oh hey, the family stumbles upon it while looking for a present for Bella. I’m so shocked. It conveniently looks enough like a Dog Collar for them to buy without anyone at the store finding it odd that an expensive looking necklace ending up in the Dog Collar Bin.
I’m just saying that this situation is a bit hard to swallow.
Zeus gives the “Collar” to Bella and she loves it. Ah nothing like materiel possessions to bring people-er, dogs, together. After a few minutes of nothing important/interesting happening, we join the family for some food.
“No one eats Bacon anymore, it’s the 21st Century”
….How is the most baffling sentence in the entire script?
At this point, they are just mocking Dad for no real reason, and even the movie is forcing him into hi-jinx that make him look bad. Randy is pretty much an asshole but only George sees that for some reason.
The Robbers find out where their Necklace got to and plan to steal it back. They’ll get a convenient chance to do so as the family leaves the dogs alone so they can go chop down a tree. …Then the dogs come anyway because whatever.
Here’s some free out of context lines:
“It looks pretty big”
“Are you sure you can handle it George?”
We get more wacky antics that make George look crappy and Randy look awesome. This movie can get more than a little repetitive. Honestly, the pacing is pretty bad, as a lot of is just…stuff happening, and the actual plot isn’t much better.
George and Randy cut their own trees and George’s is small and Randy’s is big. ..You’re not helping that out of context line.
They set up their trees and George gets his done quickly while Randy’s takes awhile. Then Randy’s won’t fully light up due to one missing bulb and yes George took it. Okay, that is a dick move. You’ve been in the right due to Randy being a dick , but now you’re doing this so the movie can say both sides suck.
This really causes them to butt heads, so Randy suggests settling this the mature way….with a snowball fight. ….Remember when this movie was about a dog?
“Good doing Dad”
Uh…he didn’t suggest a snowball fight, you know.
Thus, we get a big snowball fight scene which is basically pointless. It’s an overly long pissing contest which ends with George accidentally hitting someone with ice.
“It’s just a game”
Oh screw you guys. Randy not only has been acting like an egotistical ass this whole time, but he suggested thi fight to begin with. George isn’t totally innocent but all you guys are worse.
I can’t believe I’m saying this but please, get back to the dog. They thankfully do as Bella is fawning over that big dog who can’t act from earlier, further showing how much of a bitch she is.
She turns him down here and I don’t care but I care about George and Randy even less so fine. So you can imagine to George being the center of the next scene.
He gets a call from Grandma, played by that other person from ANT Farm I mentioned. Okay, there’s one Disney Sitcom connection here. Grandma reveals that Randy had “No where else to go” and acts weird when George tells her that Randy said his wife had to work.
Yeah, you can figure out what is going on here. While this is no excuse for his actions, it at least explains why he’s here. George pesters Randy like a dick but the scene just kind of stops.
We get more antics with the Robbers with the fat one dressing in drag because COMEDY. It’s not offensive, just really dumb and pointless because the resulting scene doesn’t’ add to anything.
Also, random farts thrown in because these writers are just that desperate at this point. We have 20 plus minutes left of this.
The robbers finally just sneak in to steal the necklace but Bella doesn’t bark or really do anything to alert the family who is like a room over from her. Zeus speaks up eventually but she’s already been taken by then. Good going.
The family goes out to find Bella but George and Randy just end up fighting again. George decides to just confront Randy about why he’s really here. Then even the movie gets sick of them as Zeus just leaves to get Bella. I can’t believe I’m siding with the dog here.
A bit after that we have George and Randy asking this resort guy to help them and they’re just buddies now. Yeah, they are working together. There’s more to after this but there’s no transition to them fighting and just working together with no issues here. Bah.
That scene is pretty much pointless as it accomplishes nothing and they just go back out on their own. And it’s here where they talk things out!
“I don’t know why you didn’t say enough”
Because your wife leaving you and taking some of your kids isn’t something you want to tell everyone about?
“Dotty thinks that I’m selfish, self absorbed, pompous, rude…”
I can’t imagine why.
The scene just turns into some lame jokes and we move on. Overall, his excuse isn’t written too well into the story and it doesn’t make up for my complaints about his story up to this point.
The Robbers take to Bella to their place and then leave to do something, thus giving anyone a chance to come in and take her back. Well, they are supposed to be stupid, I guess.
Zeus comes in and the next bit is a bit confusing. Apparently this is some huge building, or there happens to be a full kitchen next door with people working there, as Zeus goes there to find…something. He approaches one guy and then it cuts to Zeus’ POV as the guy yells at him.
And for some reason, the sound quality drops down so hard that his audio sounds really tinny, and you can’t understand anything he’s saying. Seriously, the sound mix has been fine up to this point but now it randomly turns into Birdemic Quality!
It’s only that small bit but it’s so jarring. How does that even happen?!
The Robbers come back before Zeus can find a way to breka Bella out.
“Oh boy, here we go again”
Acknowledging that you are kind of rehashing the first movie doesn’t make up for. Yep, like the first movie this now turns into Home Alone with Zeus making traps for the Robbers. Except this is more like Home Alone 4.
“Time to save Christmas Vacation”
Roll credits! …Please?
His traps work and he frees Bella…but the Robbers end up capturing him. Whoops. But don’t worry, the big dog who can’t act is here to save them! Because we all cared about him. He’s good now and will lets Zeus have him because….aliens.
London happens to be nearby having some sort of sleigh ride and Zeus jumps on to get the necklace back to her. Long story short (too late), Zeus hits the robbers, London gets her necklace, and the family finds the dogs.
It happens too fast for me to really understand what happened. Doesn’t help that before this things got extremely boring, like the first movie did in the 2nd half.
“Bella, will you be my girlfriend?’
…Not the best time, I think.
“Zeus, I would love to”
Their hook up…even then Bella was a selfish bitch the entire time and had no development, only just now deciding she likes him. Thus kind of ruining the possible message it seemed like they were going for. Bah, I don’t care anymore.
We cut to Christmas morning for an actually proper wrap up. Yeah, the ending isn’t the best but it’s not crazy abrupt and things wrap up okay. Why does THIS movie get the almost passable ending despite how terrible everything else is?
Honestly I’m mad because I want this thing to end right now.
As a Special surprise, Randy’s Wife and other kids show up! And she just magically wants to try again and possibly get back together! Hooray for forced happy endings! By the way, I reviewed two talking animal films in a row with at least one reference to divorce.
Huh. I don’t want to get into exactly this doesn’t work but we’re almost done. They just need to take a couple minutes for the family to celebrate Christmas, then we zoom out and Roll credits filled with bloopers no one cares about.
I didn’t say it was a good wrap up. At least we’re done.
Man, this was a bad one. I don’t think I could really convey how much of a chore this thing was to sit through. I suppose it’s not the most annoying things but it has all these elements that build up to something bad.
If I had to say anything nice to start us off, I guess there an amusing line sometimes, and some of the acting is fine for what they had to work with. The parents were easily the best actors, and any weak acting can be blamed on bad directing.
Everything else pretty much fails. First off, the pacing is bad. Sometimes it feels nothing nothing is happening, then it feels like too much is happening. There’s a lot of pointless scenes and scenes that run on too long.
This thing gets really boring although thankfully in a way I can talk about, unlike the first one. The writing doesn’t really help either. We have plots going on. There’s the Robbers, which does all the stuff the first movie did only even less interesting.
There’s the Dog love story which is pathetic as it barely gets focus. Yeah,the dog feels like a supporting character in his own movie! He meets a girl, she’s a bitch and wants this other dog, then they drop it and after he saves her, he has her.
What an epic romance. Does she like him now just cuz he saved her? Cuz they barely interact otherwise. This seems like a very shallow romance. It feels like it gets no focus despite the movie being about the dog.
And there’s the George/Randy stuff which fails because the others are jerks to George for no reason and neither side is that interesting. All this time is wasted on it and I just don’t care. They do tie these plots together but it’s pretty lazy.
There’s also logic issues up the ass, and so many contrivances. It’s also not very funny. This whole thing is just a mess with bad writing, lazy plotting, and very poor pacing and humor. Very dull characters too.
I guess there is worse out there, but as far as Christmas Movies go, it’s up there as one of the worst, at least on par with Santa Buddies. So yeah, this was a bomb. The writing is a mess, the pacing sucks, and it’s not very good.
I know you can tell this is going to suck based on the first film but it’s somehow even worse than I expected. A great way to start our Holiday Season, eh? Humbug.
(Oh, and there’s an Easter movie in this series I’ll have to look out someday. Joy)
At least we’ll have better stuff throughout the month. But you know…i don’t the scene by scene reviews this month to just be be bad stuff. Hell, this year I’ll mainly done crap. What does it say when the best thing I covered is the Goosebumps movie?
The next Scene by Scene Reviews is the big Christmas review. I want to actually do something decent , or even good. I don’t even care if it give me tons of materiel or not. As long as it’s good, I’m fine. Any way to close out this crazy year!
It just needs to be at least half decent, and somewhat cheery.
Yeah, that’ll do. See on Christmas Eve for that!