Watched Date: 11/14/19
Next up is Disney’s Noelle. When Noelle started streaming on Disney+, the second original movie released on the then-recent streaming service, I did watch it back in November in the morning before heading to work in the afternoon. The reason I didn’t get the chance to write this review back then was that I was busy writing this paper for a class that was due the following Monday, and I was planning my drive to Chicago that Friday. Though, I’m not that surprised it’s been forgotten since it came out, but I’m loyal in talking about this.
What’s the Story: Noelle Kringle (Anna Kendrick) is the daughter of good ole Santa Claus and his full of Christmas spirit when the holidays are around the corner. Her brother Nick (Bill Hader) is training to become the next in line to become Santa, but that might not be possible after Noelle suggests that he takes a break and doesn’t return. With only a few days left until the big day, it’s up to Noelle and her nanny Elf Polly (Shirley MacLaine) to get on a sleigh and search for her brother and bring him back to save Christmas.
When Disney announced this movie a few years ago, this was one of those times that sounded bad, in my opinion. Sure, my love for Anna Kendrick has been real for a very long time, but there was no way this story sounded good from the get-go. One of the funniest things to come from this was on Collider Movie Talk when the late Jon Schnepp’s reaction to the news was one of the hysterical moments on the show when panelists Jeremy Jahns and Kristin Harloff couldn’t keep it together. Releasing this on Disney+ was a smart idea, considering not knowing how well this would’ve been if they stuck with its theatrical release date instead. Writer/ director Marc Lawrence (Two Weeks Notice, Music and Lyrics) does what he can to make this holiday comedy creativity as much as possible, yet the results are mixed, if you ask me.
Like always, I will have nothing but positive things to say when it comes to Kendrick. What I’ve always liked about her in most of the movies she stars in is that her bubbly personality is put in front of this on her journey to search for her brother and want she is really meant to do if she isn’t the next in line to be Santa. If she didn’t give a likable performance, Noelle wouldn’t work, and its pointless-ness would’ve been written all over this. Hader will always have significant screen presence with anything he’s given, and I thought he worked well opposite Kendrick as Nick. Did I want him more in this? Sure, but we’re focusing our attention on Kendrick. But was this funny? I couldn’t remember any hard moments of laughter but got the feeling kids would eat up anything that resorts to humor.
But as I was watching Noelle, I wasn’t hating myself for watching it as it wasn’t offensive by any stretch of the imagination. Sometimes the CGI is very terrible, especially any scene where the wannabe reindeer Snowcone appears. Another holiday that sounds familiar to Noelle is Elf, which is the one Christmas movie that’s a required watch every single year. I say that because both have principal characters that are obsessed with the holiday and are in a fish-out-of-water setting. Because of that, you automatically know what’s going to happen throughout when trying to get everything ready before the big night or about Noelle helping out this private detective Jake (Kingsley Ben-Adir), and let’s just say there weren’t too many surprises found while watching. Yes, I wasn’t expecting the story to pop and blow minds; I just wanted to be a little more original when getting its point across. It doesn’t help also when Billy Eichner and Julie Hagerty were wasted. Thankfully, this wasn’t anything like the mean-spirit of Fred Claus.
Noelle isn’t the most original holiday movie out there where it will be some kind of tradition of watching this every year, but it was nice seeing this come out before the eventual holiday gatherings come into play. Yet, if you’re a fan of Kendrick and want to see something resembling the joyful charm of getting into the spirit, give this a watch, unless you’ll rather settle for another Disney centric Christmas movie entitled The Santa Clause. After it was over, I honestly thought nothing more about it as my day went on. But at that point, this was only the start of the Disney+ movies that will surely come that are most unforgettable than this.
Overall Grade: C+