The Little Drummer Boy Reviews
The Little Drummer Boy isn't particularly the best looking of all the Rankin and Bass stop motion shorts. The character designs aren't as well detailed as most of their films, and the film's animation is a bit rough. Many times the characters don't seem to move smoothly, and the majority of the background characters move in limited and very stiff fashions that can get distracting at times.
But I enjoy this film a lot, mainly because I like the way it handles the character of Aaron (voice of Teddy Eccles), an orphaned drummer boy who holds a grudge against mankind after a couple of bandits killed his parents and destroyed his home. His path is crossed with that of the three Wise-Men on their way to Bethlehem, where he learns a lesson about love and the true good that humanity can bring.
The movie ends with the Vienna Boys' Choir version of "The Little Drummer Boy," which for some reason gives me chills each time I hear it. There isn't much to this film, but it manages to get me a little misty eyed towards the end each time I watch it. Again, not one of the best of the Rankin and Bass films, but certainly one I have to view each Christmas season.
The sequel to 'The Little Drummer Boy' follows Aaron (the drummer boy) with the wise men on a quest to rejoice the birth of Jesus. This time, they are against Roman thieves who make their lives difficult and who end up capturing Aaron and his animals. Although it is a pretty good follow-up to 'The Little Drummer Boy', it lacks the same originality and lessons that the original film has. (This one follows the origins of the song 'I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day'.) I would rate this as a 5/10 as it does go a little bit slow in places, and it seems to lose the plot, but it is still quite good.
Try and catch both of these films next Christmas.