Prancer (1989) Sam Elliott, Cloris Leachman, Rutanya Alda, Abe Vigoda, Rebecca Harrell Tickell, Ariana Richards, Johnny Galecki Movie Review

Prancer (1989)   2/52/52/52/52/5

Rebecca Harrell Tickell in Prancer (1989)

Prancer's Depressed

I'm really confused as I thought "Prancer" was a kid's movie, it certainly looks like one with a little girl and a reindeer on the cover. But "Prancer" is one of the most depressing Christmas movies I have ever watched and I can't see what child would be able to sit through it, it is that depressing. It almost feels to me like that "Prancer" is a movie really for adults with its focus on a family with problems but as an adult I still found it depressing. I guess I like my Christmas movies cheerful and obvious and if you are the same I suggest giving "Prancer" a wide birth.

Times are hard for farmer John Riggs (Sam Elliott - Road House) not just financially but also as a parent as since his wife died he just can't cope with raising their children and he might have to send their youngest Jessica (Rebecca Harrell Tickell) to live with relatives. But whilst that is upsetting for Jessica she has other things on her mind as she has come across an injured reindeer and believes it is Santa's Prancer. Determined to nurse Prancer back to health and take it back to Santa in time for Christmas Jessica has to deal with her father who when he discovers the reindeer has other plans.

Sam Elliott in Prancer (1989)

Here is a simple way to think of "Prancer", think of "E.T." but with none of the humour and lashings of depressing reality. Now if that is your cup of tea then great go ahead and watch "Prancer" but that is far too depressing for me especially as we are talking a Christmas movie. Now in fairness "Prancer" is never trying to be sweet and sentimental and its focus is not really on the reindeer but on the dysfunctional Riggs house where John barks at his children as he doesn't know how to be a caring parent. And in fairness the grim reality of "Prancer" is very good and it is a rare Christmas movie which has depth.

But I am sorry "Prancer" is still one depressing movie which for an hour just piles on the misery in such a way I can't imagine any child enjoying watching it. Yes the final 30 minutes are an improvement but that first hour is a slog and not what I really want to watch in the lead up to Christmas. And what makes this doubly worrying is that "Prancer" looks like it is a movie made for young children but with a depth I don't believe its target audience would get.

The saving grace for me is that "Prancer" has some good acting with Cloris Leachman delivering the most entertaining performance as the crotchety Mrs. McFarland whilst Sam Elliott's gruffness as John Riggs is hard hitting. There is also some young talent in the movie which for the sharp eyed will notice a young Ariana Richards under a lot of hair as well as Johnny Galecki in the supporting cast. But the star of "Prancer" is Rebecca Harrell Tickell as Jessica making her a very real young girl who acts and says things like an excited young girl.

What this all boils down to is that if you like your Christmas movies bubbly and cheerful then give "Prancer" a wide birth as it is a depressing movie with a grim reality about it which makes me question whether it really is a children's movie. But if you like realism then "Prancer" might just be your sort of thing.

Tags: Christmas Movies