17 Mar, 2019
Magic Christmas Tree is not a very good movie. The film stands at just shy of fifty-seven Gregorian minutes of my life that I’m never getting back, plus the five that I had to rewind because I realized I had entirely tuned out. I’m not going to claim that it is the worst movie I have ever watched, as there are many films that I downright got five minutes into and had to shut off, but it has been around 15 minutes from the film ending and me typing this paper and I can remember next to nothing about this film. I was thoroughly bored while watching this, Richard C. Parish’s cinematic opus, and thus I made it a point to write down the major story beats so as I would pay attention.
The story takes place over three discrete holidays, those being Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas. Now seeing as this movie’s title is Magic Christmas Tree one would be able to assume that the focal point of the film would be Christmas, and one would be mistaken as there is no focus of the entire film. While there is technically a plot I suppose, it is entirely confounded to the point where, if it where handled in any other manner, it would be humorous to some degree. Thing is, it’s played in such a way that nothing is set up ahead of its introduction, nothing really comes of any interaction, and- besides unimpressive camera tricks- nothing interesting comes of anything.
We start the movie in monochrome with a child whose name escapes me and his three friends eating lunch outside and talking idly about what they are going to do tonight, being as it is Halloween-day. The main boy’s friend both tell him that they are doing things that night that the main boy feels are stupid and lame ways of spending Halloween and he tells them that he is going to visit the old creepy “Fitch(?) House” which legends say contains an old witch and sundry haunts. In the scene following we see an old woman in what looks like mourning attire calling for her cat “Lucifer” who is up in a tree. The main boy, whose friends left out of self-preservation instinct and are never seen or mentioned again, is caught by who I can only assume is Mrs Fitch. She asks the boy to help her to get her cat out of the tree by climbing up said tree. He promptly falls and is knocked unconscious.
When he comes to, he finds himself in a color film with Mrs Fitch now wearing a traditional witch geddup. He is told that the reason that everything looks differently is because the way he judges things has changed or something to that effect and equally as nonsensical. The now witch Mrs Fitch then gives the boy a ring that wouldn't look out of place in a crackerjack box with a decoration Santa hot-glued to it and gives him instructions on how to use it to create a magic Christmas-tree.
The next scene we are in is a Thanksgiving feast where the boy must get a wishbone to bury with the magic seed. He gets it with little trouble and we cut to his room where he gathers all of his items for his sacrament and talks to a tortoise he keeps in his drawer for no discernible reason. Under a full moon, he sneaks out of his room with a spade in one hand, a wishbone in the other, and a dime-store ring on his middle finger. He buries the appropriate items and chants an incantation. With a clap of thunder and a blitz of lightning, a metal rod with brown paint and some evergreen branches glued to it appears as if by magic. This is no less then thirty minutes into the film and we just now have seen the allegedly magic tree.
Up until now in the film, it was slow and painful to watch. This does not change as we careen wildly into the second half of the movie as we open on the father trying to mow the lawn in a way I assume is supposed to be humorous followed by the father trying to exercise the metal pole unsuccessfully. With this we cut to Christmas eve where the father has failed to get a Christmas tree, stating that he will buy one on that night so as it will not be dried out. When the parents leave the house, the boy goes out in the back garden and talks to the tree. The tree, who looks about half scrawny, talks back and zaps itself into the den with some popcorn and tinsel draped over it. The boy comes in and proceeds to ask the tree for an hour of magic. The tree questions his choice of only one hour but the boy is quite adamant. This leads us unto the next ten minutes of my life that I expended watching this film instead of Wallace and Gromit.
The next fifteen minutes of the film is spent entirely non-contiguously from the rest of the film, taking place in the daylight while in-between two scenes from Christmas eve night. He spends (presumably) and hour causing generalized havoc around town with his magic. This is represented by the director taking about five minutes of original film and stretching it out over approximately ten minutes. The scene is just padding as it does nothing to develop any character and seems to only put the plot on hold.
When the parents come home they are on screen for around three minutes and then they disappear entirely. The boy then wishes for Santa to appear to him and be trapped in his chair for an unspecified amount of time. Santa suddenly appears with a flash of light and is trapped as a fly on fly paper. The boy begins to ask Santa for several different things. We cross fade into later that night as Santa explains to the tree that he doesn’t blame the boy and how he forgives the boy for his trespasses. Santa and the tree wonder aloud where the child is which leads us into the last fifteen minutes of this tape.
We cut to the boy in what looks like a quarry with a Ball Bearing gun. It seems to be midday although the last scene had taken place at night and was suggested to have taken place if not simultaneously, then at least directly following. The boy wanders into a forest where he is confronted by none other then the well known Christmas fable man, Greed, the Forest Giant who Enslaves Naughty and Greedy Little Boys. It’s an Ohioan tradition. Greed, the Forest etc., tells the boy to stare into the crick to see what his greedy nature has done to the world. Apparently, a year without Santa Claus (the time-span, not the movie) has had such an adverse affect on the world, so much so that the United Nations has gotten involved. The boy was so remorseful that Greed simply let him go and threatened to steal away YOU, THE VIEWER.
When the Boy gets home, he wishes for Santa to be set free, backdated for the day before. Santa poofs away and the tree tells the Child that it is time for the tree to return to the land of magic. As the boy says his tearful goodbye, we fade into the final scene of the movie.
We cut back to monochrome Mrs Fitch’s home where the boy has been unconscious for a while. As he wakes up he realizes that the whole movie that has transpired was all a dream. He is promised milk and cookies for helping to get the cat down as he looks out into a forest on the crest of the hill. Roll credits.
I disliked this movie. It was forgettable (the only way I wrote this essay was via notes I took while watching), confused, and plain bad. It hasn’t upset me as much as it has just plain frustrated me. I think the movie is online somewhere but it really isn’t worth it. I really just wanna go to sleep so I’m going top wrap this up. If you see this tape or anything else republished by Goodtimes Home Movies, don’t expect something good. If bad is your bag, it’s right up your alley.