William Mortensen Vaughan
|As of: 2:55 p.m. E.D.T., Saturday, Juy 27, 2019|
Title: A Dennis the Menace Christmas
My Rating: **
Besides the lack of emphasis on Christ's birth, there is an obvious liberal agenda throughout this film. Instead of referring to Christmas as "commercialized," it is referred to repeatedly as a form of "capitalism."
An angel shows Mr. Wilson a future where free, purified air is given to earthlings by their government on holidays, and the angel tells Mr. Wilson that "SPF 800" has been added to the air since the year 2019, and earthlings "should have listened to Al Gore."
Dove Foundation Rating: N/A
M.P.A.A. Rating: General Audiences
Adaptation: Starring Maxwell Perry Cotton as Dennis "the Menace" Mitchell, Robert Wagner and Louise Fletcheras Mr. and Mrs. Wilson - Mr. Wilson being "the Scrooge."
Date Released: Tuesday, November 13, 2007
Formats Reviewed: live-action, feature-length film, on DVD
Is this adaptation reverent?: Not particularly. Dennis' "Christmas Spirit List" includes:
2. christmas tree
5. SANTA CLAUS!
Does it include the phrase, "God bless us..."? TBD
What does my wife think of it? She isn't interested in seeing it.
How closely does this adaptation follow the original novel, by Charles Dickens?
This adaptation makes several significant departures from the classic novel. First of all, the setting is a modern city named "Springfield," where a local Santa Claus impersonator says it hasn't snowed, on Christmas, for thirty years.
Another drastic departure is that "the Scrooge" has a wife. It could be argued that a second "Scrooge," David Bratcher (Jack Noseworthy), has a son, arguably, a third "Scrooge," named Jack (Isaac Durnford), whom he encourages to be a bully.
Another significant difference is that this adaptation features only one "ghost" - an angel in the form of a black man in a white tuxedo, with angelic, white wings with which he accidentally bumps almost everything around himself. He seems to be a supernatural version of the Santa Claus who disappears from the back of a police squad car after the police detain him at Mr. Wilson's house.
This angel shows Mr. Wilson that he (Mr. Wilson) was very much like Dennis when he (Mr. Wilson) was a child, so he (Mr. Wilson) has a change of heart about punishing Dennis and his parents, played by George Newbern and Kim Schraner.
Dennis and his father show the Bratchers a little kindness, and they reciprocate.
What dialect is used? Modern, American English.
When and where does this adaptation take place? This adaptation takes place, circa 2005, in a city called "Springfield," where it hasn't snowed, on Christmas, for thirty years. Of course, it snows on the Christmas depicted in this story.
Is this adaptation a prequel or a sequel? No.
Is this adaptation supernatural? Yes, this adaptation is supernatural, featuring an angel and time travel.
Is this adaptation "framed"?
In a way, it is. It starts out as a long, five-part episode of "Dennis the Menace," in which Dennis terrorizes Mr. Wilson in particular, and Springfield in general - nothing supernatural.
Then the local Santa Claus disappears from the back of a police squad car en route to the station, and appears to Mr. Wilson as an angel, taking him on a journey through time. This supernatural portion of the story seems out of place. Then, of course, Mr. Wilson wakes up and goes over to the Mitchell residence to forgive their debts to him (for the havoc Dennis wreaked on Mr. Wilson and his property). The supernatural interlude seems a little out of place to me, being such a small part of the story, framed by such a large portion of the story which is not supernatural.
What original musical numbers and/or dance routines are included?
This film is not a musical; music does not seem to be a significant aspect of it, although it has enough background music to make it seem professional.
How attractive is the visual art?
The set, wardrobe, architecture, and art are adequate.
How creative and instense are the transitions, especially when "the Scrooge" is taken from one time and/or place to another?
The transitions are adequate. The angel turns himself and Mr. Wilson to gold dust, and they re-materialize in a cloud of gold dust.
Is there nap-of-the-earth footage?
Yes! There is an excellent sequence during the opening credits, in which the "camera" goes from outer space into a snowglober in Dennis' bedroom. This sequence includes a cockpit view of travel through outer space, into the various layers of the Earth's atmosphere, and through a snowy canyon.
What use is made of background extras?
Effective use of background extras is made, at the school and the mall, and in the street race scenes, for examples.
What is the most remarkable thing about this adaptation?
The most remarkable thing about this adaptation is, perhaps, that it is, essentially, an extended episode of "Dennis the Menace."
The opening sequence is pretty remarkable, too!
What extras are included on the DVD?
The following "Special Features" are included on the DVD:
"The Making of 'A Dennis the Menace Christmas'"
Audible languages available are English, Spanish, and Portuguese.
Optional subtitles are available in English, Spanish, French, and Portuguese.
Test your knowledge of this film by taking these quizzes:
Quiz 1 of [TBD]
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