Jack Frost:An enchanting story of a boy who makes a snow golem of his dead dad which isn’t creepy and unsettling at all….

28 02 2012

“Why didn’t you make me a snow cock so I can make love to my wife one last time??!! WHAT AM I?!?!?!”

 The noted critic Roger Ebert referred to the CGI abomination that was summoned into being and cursed with the nomenclature “Jack Frost” as;

“….the most repulsive single creature in the history of special effects.”

He wasn’t wrong. Released into the wild in 1998 and starring Micheal Keaton, (who was clearly in need of a new swimming pool) this was supposed to be a bittersweet children’s movie to warm the hearts of America. It is  hokey tale about a musician dad who let his son down by getting killed in a car accident whilst on tour and being cursed to walk the Earth as a being made of ice crystals and coal until he has repented for his sins.

The more you look into this concept the more horrifying it becomes as you realise the nightmarish situation Micheal Keaton finds himself in, conjured into being by his son who hasn’t thought out the ramifications of his unworldly act. Summoned back into being from beyond the grave Keaton’s soul is stuffed into a body incapable of feeling the warmth of human contact once again for fear of melting and who fears the first signs of spring as anyone nearing their 30th birthday would in Logans Run.

Jack Frost first gazes upon the monster that he has become

What am I?!! Why am I?!!!

 The cheesy trailer for Jack Frost, with it’s hackneyed tropes and predictable one liners belies what is really a chilling warning to all Dads whose work  keeps them away from the family home. Not even death will end your suffering in this universe for you may be brought back to atone for your lack of parenting by being reanimated as a sexless plaything for your offspring. Between bouts of hi-jinks with bullies and capers on snowboards your eternally dammed soul will be left to ponder the awful horror of your situation as you are left outside in the cold and dark to watch your best friend (played by a tired and chubby Mark Addy) usurp his way into your family while local dogs urinate on you with total indifference.

 In defense of the soulless atrocity that stares back at you from the silver screen, with it’s haunted eyes the snowman was originally designed by Jim Henson’s Creature Shop to imprison George Clooney but as he was in the ascendant while Micheal Keaton was on the wain Jack Frost’s contorted visage was stretched over a face for which it wasn’t  originally intended. The abortion of a creature was left spluttering around in existential crisis, muttering butt jokes and cheesy puns based on it’s cryogenic form.

Micheal Keaton & George Clooney

For months Hollywood was all talking about who would take the lead in Jack Frost. Then it was settled in a steamy bath house in a trial by bestial man-strength.

 Jack Frost’s identity crisis continues through the film, eventually his mind is tormented to the point of delusion and he snaps. Proclaiming himself to be “The Wizard of Blizzard” he goes berserk and attacks a large group of children before abducting his son and going on a joyride down a snowy mountain side.

 

“Yeah Charlie, I’m your Dad!! The mutherfucking Wizard of Blizzard!………………….kill….me…….”

You can’t blame Jack, many an estranged father must feel like running off into the sunset with their children after the courts have passed their judgement but few have to deal with the added torment of having died and being reincarnated into the body of a man made of snow. A demented James Bond style death chase and impromptu spell of confused gender identity must seem like a sane course of action for a man troubled by his deadbeat parenting and onward march of the seasons.

Snow Dad fashions some crude breasts to tantalise passing teenagers

"Dads Gone Wild: Apsen Edition"

 Sadly this spiral of irresponsible and self destructive behaviour continues and driven by some misguided sense of duty Jack Frost stumbles his way to a ice hockey rink where his son is playing an important  tournament against a team led by ultra-competitive dad and go-to guy for thick necked bit parts in failed 90s block busters, Henry Rollins. Despite the trauma of having to deal with an icy simulacrum claiming to be his dead father (and undoing a year’s worth of grievance counseling ) the boy Charlie manages to win the game and the respect of his peers only to have this moment of triumph ruined by discovering his snow-dad slumped drunk under the bleachers.

Charlie discovers Jack Frost drunk under the bleachers

"Why did you do this Dad? This is just like the time you spoiled my 9th birthday party and blew chunks over the magician!"

Can we really blame Jack Frost for turning to substance abuse to deal with his insane situation? Do many of us have the clarity of thought and strength of will to hold things together when the temperatures are rising and the cruel mockery of a human form that your body now is starts to degrade back into the earth from which it came? Sadly, or maybe mercifully for Jack his time is nearing an end. Charlie bundles his rotting snow-replicant dad into the back of a truck headed for the Rockies to die a lonely and best forgotten death next to some Unabomber style wood cabin.

Jack Frost didn’t do brilliantly at the cinema, it didn’t make back it’s estimated $50 million budget nor did it revitalize the flagging career of Micheal Keaton (but lest we forget he did some cracking movies when we were little.) It did however put the fear of whatever deity fathers hold dear should they let down their children by getting selfishly killed in a car accident. When Jack Frost first comes back into existance he howls at the cruel and unoriginal universe which had brought him back into being, and what better message to give children these days? 🙂

“When Jack Frost first comes back into existance he howls at the cruel and unoriginal universe which had brought him back into being, and what better message to give children these days?”

Jack Frost at the IMDB

Roger Ebert’s review in 1998

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