Over the past 50 years, there have been a number of sequels to
beloved holiday specials produced (EX: Rudolph's Shiny New Year
in 1976, Rudolph & Frosty's Christmas in July
in 1979 and Frosty Returns
come immediately to mind) ...
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... but there has never been a really great one.Until now.
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Let me be blunt here: Disney "Prep and Landing: Naughty vs.
Nice" - Walt Disney Animation Studios' extremely entertaining follow-up to its
2009 Emmy Award-winning TV production - is the "Godfather II" of holiday
specials. In that it takes everything that audiences loved about the first "Prep and Landing" (which finally threw a spotlight on that elite group of elves who
stealthily get each home ready for Santa's annual visit) and then wittily extends,
expands & enhances that universe.
Mind you, if you're going to the D23 EXPO later this week, you'll
be able to catch the world premiere of "Prep and Landing: Naughty vs Nice" this
coming Friday from 12:45 - 1:45 p.m. What's more, "Prep and Landing" 's
director Kevin Deters & Stevie Wermers-Skelton as well as this holiday
special's producer Dorothy McKim will be on hand to talk in great detail about this
sequel-that-equals was developed.
But if you can't make it to the Anaheim Convention Center
this week ... Not to worry: The folks at Walt Disney Animation Studios have been
kind enough to share all sorts of production art from "Prep and Landing:
Naughty vs. Nice" with JHM. Which is why I'm now pleased give you your very
first glimpse of the Christmas Tree
Server Farm ...
... which is where Thistleton (who is basically the Bill Gates
of the North Pole) ...
... and his crack team of hi-tech elves keep track of every
human children on the planet. To be specific, who's on Santa's nice list and
who's on the Big Guy's naughty list.
Because (as everyone knows) naughty kids don't get presents.
They get coals in their stockings. What's more, these lumps of coal gets placed
there by some of the more mysterious folks who work for Santa: His Coal Elves.
Now - of course - we've seen these characters before (albeit
briefly) in the original "Prep and Landing" as well as in last year's stocking
stuffer "Prep and Landing - Operation Secret Santa."
But over the course of "Prep and Landing: Naughty vs. Nice" ... Well, this is the first time that we've ever
gotten the chance to board that Christmas ornament-shaped gondola ...
... and then taken the North Pole's Skyway-like transportation
system over to Coal Town (which is where all the elves who work on Santa's lump-of-coal
collection units work).
Once we disembark that gondola, we then get to meet the Coal
Elves. Who - after a hard day of work - like to head on over to their favorite
bar, Christmas Carol's ...
... so that they can then blow off some steam by knocking back
a few mugs of eggnog and/or by riding the electric reindeer.
"And why does a holiday special like 'Prep and Landing:
Naughty vs Nice' take us to the bar where the Coal Elves hang out?," you ask.
Well, I don't want to give too much away here. Especially ahead of this Friday's
"Christmas in August" presentation (which will be hosted by the Disney Geek
himself, D23's own Jeffery Epstein). But what I can do is tell you is that this
new Walt Disney Animation Studios production introduces us to this solid-looking North Pole citizen ...
... who has some pretty mad skills when it comes to the rotary
sparkle blaster as well as the coal air cannon.
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But as what this guy's relationship might be with Wayne
& Lanny (more to the point, the crucial role that a toy snowmobile plays
into "Naughty vs Nice" 's storyline) ...
... Sorry. But I'm not going to spoil everyone's Christmas
present. Especially those folks who are smart enough to make their way to Stage
23 this Friday afternoon so that they can then
catch the world premiere of Disney "Prep and Landing: Naughty vs. Nice" ...
... which (because I was lucky enough to get to see the
work-in-progress version of this holiday special back in June) I can tell you is
just as smart, just as fun, just as charming and - in a lot of ways - even more
exciting & entertaining than the original "Prep and Landing."
So don't make the mistake of missing out on this
extra-special presentation at the Anaheim Convention Center later this week. Because - if you do
- you'll be sure to have a blue Christmas-in-August.
For further information on the D23 EXPO, head on over to the
Official Disney Fan Club website and then check out the master schedule for this
three-day-long celebration of The Walt Disney Company.