Burl lves makes for the perfect narrator and performer for this 45-minute celebration of the Christmas season, but it’s hard not to notice how flawed the entire production is. Rudolph himself is extraordinarily poorly treated by all characters (even including Santa Claus!), and the morale here is that those who don’t fit in should figure out how to be useful to their bullies. It’s… not great. In addition, the narrative is thin and, despite the short running time, it’s often rather dull. That being said, the music is lovely and recalls some of the best of traditional holiday music, and there’s such a history of tradition with this annual broadcast that it highlights the warmth and tradition of the season. It’s just not quite as entertaining or winning as its reputation suggests.
Rating: ★★★ (out of 5)