Snowtime!Spring 2017 DVD
In Snowtime!, a CGI-animated remake of the 1984 French Canadian film The Dog Who Stopped the War (La guerre des tuques), the plot starts simply enough. A group of kids in a small village plan a snowball fight to fill time over the Christmas holidays. One team is led by Luke and the other team is led by new-to-the-neighborhood Sophie. These 11-year-olds fight to defend a snow fort and whoever occupies it at the end of the holiday break will be declared the winner. But what starts as a merry winter pastime soon escalates and lighthearted competition takes a turn into darker territory. Friendships are tested and, eventually, a nasty rivalry leads to a terrible tragedy. (Without giving any spoilers here, suffice it to say the twist will hit many children - and even adults - hard. Very hard.)
Parents, do be aware that in addition to the serious themes alluded to above, the Luke character lost his father in the war and we also see sad flashbacks of his funeral. Program information says this film is for children ages 8 - 15 so its appropriateness really does depend on an individual child's readiness for such weighty subject matter.
The DVD/3D Blu-Ray includes featurettes with voice-stars Sandra Oh (Frankie) and Ross Lynch (Piers) and features with performers on the soundtrack, including Celine Dion. The soundtrack includes two renditions of the same song, one recorded in English, and the other performed in French and sung as a duet.
Overall, this 80-minute film portrays serious themes with sensitivity, even if we do find ourselves in such solemn territory rather unexpectedly, considering the buoyant tone of the film's beginning. The characters are sympathetic and the humor, at the beginning, hits its mark. What emerges is an affecting, albeit sometimes uneven, parable about handling conflict, defining war, and building unity.