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Emmet Otter's Jug-Band Christmas (1977)

Jim Henson’s Emmet Otter’s Jug-Band Christmas is most certainly one of those films in which if you did not watch when you were a child, it will be difficult to appreciate it later in life. Being part of that group of people, I found it hard to fully appreciate the film. In the 1970’s, the film most likely came off as incredibly cute and touching; the idea of a mother and son, who have nothing but each other, giving up important items simply to make the other happy on Christmas day is certainly touching, but the delivery (as well as the film as a whole) has not aged well. As with most productions put together by Jim Henson, the delivery of the stories he creates are often cheesy and do not appeal to a large audience. Adolescents would have been about the only group that this film appealed to, leaving the parents of those children feeling underwhelmed with the product. While the story could have potentially touched the hearts of those parents (heavily touching on ideas such as appreciating the smaller things in life and the people closest to you), as mentioned before, the delivery and the lack of attention to emotion caused the film to fall short of effectively reaching an older audience. Considering all of the film’s shortcomings, the amount of work that would have gone into a production like this has to be acknowledged. Working hundreds of puppets at a time when animatronics was still a fairly new technology would have been a difficult feat and, again, considering the time period, Henson and the rest of the puppeteers accomplished their goal almost flawlessly. Hours upon hours of work must have gone into perfecting each of the scenes and making sure that the puppets appeared as realistic as possible (considering the medium). When all is said and done, in the year 2019, Henson’s creation falls short emotionally but delivers in terms of tenacity on the part of the crew and animation (especially considering the time in which it was created). If you have not watched this film as a child, do not expect to fully appreciate it as an adult.



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