Hooves of Fire (TV Short 1999) Poster

(1999 TV Short)

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10/10
Just thirty minutes long but a scream all the same!
Spike-7117 February 2000
This was the funniest programme on the television at Christmas in Britain. It follows the adventures of a young reindeer called Robbie (the son of Rudolph)who has been sent by his father to Lapland to train and navigate Santa's sleigh on Christmas Eve. However, there are a couple of problems in Robbie's way. He is lazy and will do anything to get out of work , a female reindeer called Vixen has caught his eye and made him go all gooey and the leader of the sleigh team, Blitzen, is constantly conspiring to keep Robbie off the sleigh team because he hates Rudolph (Robbie's father) and wants to humiliate him. However, Robbie's friend, Donner, learns of this plan and informs Robbie and tells him to train like mad for the Reindeer Games. You can be rest assured that all turns out well in the end. British viewers will enjoy the depiction of the British sport commentators, Des Lynam and Alan Hansen as a yeti and a snowman respectively, and look out for a joke about the singer, Seal. All in all, it was one of the funniest short animations I have ever seen. I was in stitches on Christmas Day and it is well worth watching, whether you're an adult or a child, or just a big kid!!!
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Hurrah!
Bondorf3912 July 2004
No one ever says "hurrah" do they? You never see, "And Gene Shallit says, 'Hurrah!'" in a newspaper. Which is a shame, because it's so much fun to say. Go on try it. No one's looking. Okay, on three, ready? One...two...three. HURRAH! There, that wasn't bad, was it?

Anyway, onto the actual film, it's wonderful. The story concerns Robbie (voiced by Irish comedian extraordinare Ardal O'Hanlon), the son of another famous reindeer (whose name is never uttered) who wants to be on Santa's sleigh team. Trouble is, he's lazy. In the end he gets up off his butt, defeats the evil Blitzen ("Around the World in 80 Days" star Steve Coogan) and finds love. The writing, performances, animation and everything are superb. You will find yourself laughing out loud at these reindeer and the silly things they do. But make sure you see the UK edition, because on CBS here in the States they've rerecorded the dialogue with Ben Stiller, Britney Spears, Hugh Grant and Brad Garrett and removed charming Britishisms like, "You're chucked" rather than "I'm breaking up with you."

There is an important point here. Americans are obtuse about other cultures. We are so convinced that ours is the best nation out there despite never EVER having set foot off her shores. Anything foreign, we remake and redo and Americanize. This is the logic behind American versions of British comedies, Kevin Costner as Robin Hood and the decision that American primetime TV audiences wouldn't like an Irish reindeer so let's make him Derrick Zoolander instead.

See the British version, I beg you. And its sequel, "Legend of the Lost Tribe."
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Better British
bizkitprinzess13 December 2002
I'm a huge fan of Robbie the Reindeer- and this is definitly the preferred version. CBS's American-ised re-dub of the voices is bland where the original sparkles with dry wit and humor. Robbie the Reindeer is the best Christmas special since the original Grinch, and everyone should get to see it at least once in their life.
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10/10
Funniest 30 minutes of Christmas TV, neigh any TV, in YEARS!
strangie9 January 2001
What to watch on Christmas Eve just before the 7pm news bulletin? The programmer at the ABC (Australian Broadcasting Commission) who scheduled this little gem of a film should be given a cigar, one hell of a raise and a promotion (to CEO of the network)!!

I cannot remember the last time I laughed so much in 30 minutes. A romp from go to whoa this film (incidentally named Robbie the Reindeer in Australia) follows the trials and tribulations of Robbie, son of Rudolph, trying to get a guernsey on the team leading the sleigh for Christmas. Robbie's secret weapon is, curiously enough, his nose, but not for the same reason his father was famous. Robbie can pin-point an exact location anywhere on the globe with his nose!! Double entrends, take-offs and a very, very slick script make this a highly enjoyable film. You'll like this film even more if you are a fan of "claymation" (think Chicken Run, Wallace and Gromit et al).
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8/10
Incredibly funny and entertaining!
Mightyzebra19 November 2007
As are most of the plasticine short films made, this one is funny, entertaining and very worthwhile! :-) Unfortunately it doesn't seem to be that well known and someone made an American version, which (not having actually watched it) seems ludicrous a wee bit stupid. From what other people have said, it seems that it is not good so let us all avoid it!

The original English version is very amusing. Entertaining for just about everyone, with slightly dirty jokes for the wee ones, jokes that make sense for older children and jokes that adults will get and find amusing!

Robbie, Rudolph's son (with a lovely Irish accent), is going to be getting ready for his first sleigh pull while his father is away elsewhere. Unfortunately, he is not very well exercised and is pretty gullible with Blizten - who seems suspicious... He is also head over heels with love for Vixen, ignoring Donner, who wants his affection more. Clearly he's in a wee bit of a pickle...

Enjoy "Robbie The Reindeer: Hooves On Fire"! :-)
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10/10
Splendid entertainment!! (be sure to switch to UK voice talent!!!)
imdb-939418 September 2005
Everyone else has fairly well summed up this movie for you. It is a truly superb movie with tremendously good writing and voice talent (UK version).

As others have noted, the addition of a US voice cast is appalling!! Having seen the former release with ONLY Hooves of Fire on it, the default US voiced version which came on the new Hooves / Lost Tribe double disk was a shock! This does not mean that I don't like the voice actors, in fact I quite like several of them, but the UK cast is FAR superior. The problem is that this is a British comedy which has British dialog (as previously noted, the English re-writes don't work), and I kind-of expect the British accents (OK, I should say UK-ish accents since Robbie is voiced by an Irishman). I don't think you should boycott it, though, just make sure that EVERY time you play it for anybody you first go to AUDIO OPTIONS and switch to UK VOICES!! Trust me, you'll thank me for that...
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10/10
Instant classic
guyb10 November 2001
I stumbled across this at the local library and brought it home for my 3 grade daughter. After the first 10 seconds, I stopped it and held it for us all to view. What a great surprise. We've been fans of the classic annual Christmas cartoon specials and this rates right at the top of the list as a new must see annual classic. There is so much happening in this short animation, you have to watch it again and again. I'm sure we didn't get all the British humor, but we still laughed a lot. Maybe they will do Frostie next?
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10/10
one of the funniest british animations i have ever seen at christmas
andynortonuk7 November 2002
Ardal O'Hannon, Steve Coogan, Ricky Tomlinson, Paul Whitehouse and Harry Enfiled and Allistar McGowan! This must be a dream! No it isn't! They do provide voices in this hilariously rib-tickling Christmas treat! The story is extremely orginal, and the spoof "Chariots of Fire" title just makes it a true gem of british comedy, and aniamtion, of course! The animation is just as good as any claymation classic, like Creature Comforts or the Wallace and Gromit films! In fact it's only slightly better! It well-deserved the BAFTA TV Award forBest Entertainment (Programme or Series)"production team"! It just had one of best production team ever to assemble an animated film ever! Also, at the Berlin International Film Festival, it recieved 2 awards: a Deutsches Kinderhilfswerk - Special Award for Best Short Film, and a Glass Bear for Best Short Film! Well done Richard Goleszowski, who recieved the 2 awards! In addition to his awards cabinet, Richard Goleszowski recieved an Audience Award at the 2000 Leipzig DOK Festival! But it should have received the Academy Award for Best Animated Film, as well but that went to Aleksandr Petrov's The Old Man and the Sea, which I must see!
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9/10
An Instant Classic
jet-empire17 December 2005
In 1999, when Hooves Of Fire was put into production, who could've known that it would have turned out to be one of the best Christmas films ever made. From that echoing opening music, to the brilliant acting by Adral O'Hanen (Or however it's spelt), playing Robbie, "Robbie The Reindeer's" first appearance has blown away fans, not just in Britan, but all over the world.

According to the narrator, the film is set in "Coldchester," which is Norther than North, where good old Santa (Father Christmas, Saint Nicolous) lives. Robbie, son of Rudolph, ("Don't EVER... say that name.") has turned up to take a position on the sleigh. At first, there is some mistaken identity ("It's a... It's a... It's a thing!"), which is soon settled ("It must be the last of some poor, endangered animal."), then re-opened ("Cool! Let's kill it!"), and then settled once more ("Call me Robbie, 'cus, I am.") And those jokes are nothing compared to some of the films other lines.

This film will captivate audiences all over the world at any time of the year. A FULLY recommended Christmas comedy with a gift. Maybe you could sit down and watch it late on Christmas Eve, early on Christmas morning, after Christmas lunch, or late at night before bed. Whenever you watch it, be it Christmas, Christmas Eve, or April, you will love it.
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8/10
Very nice.
MartinHafer24 September 2009
Warning: Spoilers
HOOVES OF FIRE is a very pleasant little Christmas special from BBC. Oddly, however, when the DVD for this nice show was released in the US, a "special" audio track was substituted for the original voices. Instead of Ardal O'Hanlon and the rest doing the voices like they did in the original, Ben Stiller and some other Americans did the voices for track #1. Fortunately, the original sound track is included, though oddly it's #3. And, sadly, the original voice credit were all removed from this American edition! That sure seems tacky! As I had already seen this show on American television with the British/Irish voice track, I refused to listen to track #1 and stuck with the original when I watched it again tonight.

The story involves Robbie the Reindeer--the son of Rudolph. Sadly, however, unlike his famous father, Robbie lacks ambition or confidence. He also is a bit lazy and doesn't see a need to keep in shape like the other reindeer who hope to pull Santa's sleigh. This mindset is made worse by Blitzen, who turns out to be a jealous jerk who hates Rudolph and by default also wants to see Robbie fail. He encourages Robbie to give up and for the first half of the film, Robbie is a loser. He doesn't recognize how sweet and stuck on him Donner is and he thinks it's impossible to be chosen so he just gives up. However, being a bit formulaic, you know that he eventually gets out of his rut, goes into training with Old Jingle (who is batty, to say the least) and ends up winning the day by the end of the film.

Overall, this is a very nice kids show that adults can enjoy as well due to some decent writing and voice talents. Don't expect something of the same high quality as an Aardman production (the famous British company that also makes stop-motion shows--but of a considerably higher quality) but it still is good fun.

If you liked this, two years later, a sequel, LEGENDS OF THE LOST TRIBE was made and is quite fun.
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1/10
Disgusted by US version
paul_en_irlande15 December 2004
I have just seen approximately 1 minute of the US version of Hooves of Fire. I had to turn it off in disgust. Why are US accents necessary? Are the people of that country so simple that they cannot deal with accents? Are they so xenophobic that they can't deal with foreigner's outside of the context of a story's evil characters? What was a charming, original and very British comedy has been raped and pillaged like so many before. If your propaganda machine permits, please see the original version. The original Hooves of Fire is a very different Christmas story. It is a refreshing change. The quirky humour is enhanced by the array of Irish, English, Welsh and other accents. The cast of well-known voices from the UK and Ireland (Father Ted, Ab Fab, The Royle Family, etc) proves there is life outside of Hollywood. The mixture of a so-called children's story with more mature content yields a rich result. This show is fun for children and fun for adults: it can reach a more diverse audience (sort of like Philip Pullman's Dark Matters Trilogy, only in a much simpler way). Boycott this travesty.
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7/10
A short story for kids
tributarystu10 January 2004
Warning: Spoilers
Few tiny spoilers

It just so happened, or, better said, I just so made it happen, that I saw this short animated movie. The story is about a reindeer who has to fight his way(metaphorically speaking) out of his father's shadow, the greatest reindeer of all times, which I suppose is Rudolf. It's a somewhat funny production, but it lacks a certain rythm in the way the reindeers move and the story itself is simply a nice story for children. Still, it's got some parts which raise above average and above what you'd expect from this thing, so I think I can be pleased with it all. I mainly wanted to see this for the first few seconds in which Robbie Williams is the narrator, in a kind of attempt to prepare myself for his future productions, in which he "lends" his voice. 7/10
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7/10
i loved this when i was little
mikamavvers15 December 2007
i remember i watched this when i was 4 years old, and i loved it, even if i was too young too actually know what the reindeer's where talking about, ha-ha. i also remember i used to call Robbie Rhudolph because i never could say Robbie ha-ha. i still watch it now and even though it is on video tape, it is still as funny as it was when i first saw it XD. i plan to buy the DVD, but i cannot seem to find it at all. i still love the animation and how it is filmed, it almost looked real when i was 4 ha-ha, especially when the snowman is melting and the snow melting from him did look real to me at that age.

xx maverick xx
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Clever story; British version is better
ermyntrude15 December 2005
I really enjoyed "Hooves of Fire", and thought the voices were an important part of the characters. With all due respect to the US cast, I agree with everyone who feels the "Americanized" version just isn't as good -- and I am an American. I was fortunate enough to see the original on Canadian TV. I have no explanation as to why some British programs get "dubbed into American". But I do I wonder if some US media and marketing people are just rather shallow, insecure, and naive about the rest of the planet, and assume everyone in America is as dumbed-down as they are. It's downright embarrassing at times. My apologies.
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4/10
Being British is not enough in this case
Horst_In_Translation4 December 2015
Warning: Spoilers
"Hooves of Fire" is a half-hour animated special for television that won quite a share of awards, such as BAFTA television award and also a prestigious honor at the Berlin Film Festival. I will not go into detail about the voice actors in here as you can check the list for yourself, but this is a pretty impressive lineup, especially in the American version. Maybe that one is already the superior one as the British original was not a great watch. There are many occasions when the film so obviously tries to be funny, but comes short completely. Yes there are a couple funny scenes and this is certainly not a complete failure, but it is not a good watch either I think. I myself did not like the animation style, but this is just personal preference of course. Finally, in terms of the story, this felt like a pretty weak version of "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer" to me. They obviously wanted to give it a more modern approach, but I cannot say that I liked what I saw. Not recommended, not even during the holidays. Thumbs down and I really hope the two sequels will be better.
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Those Crazy Brits...
GlennBrody031216 December 2002
The British have been best known for creating wacky claymation masterpieces, like "Wallace & Gromit" and most recently, "Chicken Run". Around this holiday season, you see A LOT of claymation Christmas stories, i.e. Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer. So, the creators of "Robbie" think up the idea...what if Rudolph had a son?

But that's not nesscessarly what they were thinking. By the looks of it, they were trying to do a remake of "Rudolph" with certain twist. Nevertheless, "Hooves of Fire", the first Robbie film, tells the story about Robbie the Reindeer, the son of Rudolph. Robbie wants to become a reindeer on Santa's sleigh, just like dear ol' dad. But, of course, there is a conflict. Rather than slicing Rudolph's notorious red-glowing nose, Robbie has a huge honker that he could bounce with. Robbie and his good friend, Donner, throughout most of the 20-minutes of the story, practice for the Reindeer Games, an Olympic-type event held in the North Pole. Robbie wants to impress this other female reindeer, Vixen, who's going with Blitzen, a clithe-jock that you see in practically every 80's teen flick. Robbie trains with an insane reindeer, Old Jingle and he eventually makes it to the games, but trouble (I'm not gonna say) occurs and stalls Robbie. But could he make it? Is that really important?

The voices of the characters are most likely celebrities in England, because I have never heard of them (besides Robbie Williams, who narrates the story.) Recently about a week ago, CBS showed the "Americanized" version of the special, that featured the voices of Ben Stiller as Robbie, Britney Spears as Donner and Jerry Stiller as Old Jingle. All and all, the Americanized version was pretty bizarre. Like I said, those crazy Brits! However, they also showed the follow up story to "Hooves of Fire", with a even weirder "Robbie the Reindeer and the Lost Vikings", whom Stiller and Spears both did, along with "Everybody Loves Raymond"'s Brad Garrett, James Woods and Jeff Goldblum.

Most of "Robbie" is not only bizarre, but also kind of adult subject matter. Donner, along we already know is a girl, has boobs! Reindeer boobs??? In a way, that's kind of Tongue-in-cheek, spite that Britney Spears plays her in the American version! There is also some violence and sexual innuendo. But it's still a fun movie to watch. I hope Amazon.com sells the American version (no offense to the British). Very funny.
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A Christmas treat in the mould of Wallace & Gromit and Chicken Run
bob the moo28 September 2002
Robbie is the son of Rudolph and is determined to follow in his Dad's hooves by getting a place on Santa's sledge team. However he is badly out of shape and is due to compete against Blitzen. He also is distracted by the seducing Vixen and ignorant of the doting Donner. Robbie must give his all in his race.

I've seen this twice but the first time I saw it I assumed that I'd hate it as it appeared to be the BBC trying to catch a lift on the coattails of animation such as Chicken Run etc. I was right in that the humour and the animation is the same, but happily this wasn't a cheap rip off, in fact it almost matches the Nick park stuff in terms of how good it is.

The plot is good but the characters and the side jokes make it worth watching at least once a year! Robbie himself is OK and O'Hanlon is a reasonable casting for the lead. Horrocks is a little dry but Coogan and Quentin are perfectly cast and really go to work with their characters. People like Enfield, Whitehouse, Ifans and Tomlinson just go to back up the calibre of the cast and add to the depth.

Williams is perfect as the narrator as he sets the cheeky tone really well. However far and away my favourite characters are the sports commentators for Robbie's race. UK viewers will know that Des Yeti and Alan Snowman are total spoofs on the BBC's old Match of the Day team. Everytime they were onscreen I was in hoots of laughter – McGowan always does them well in his own shows but here his voices combined with the images just make it even better.

Overall there is plenty for kids to love and they will be happy for the whole film, but adults will be laughing just as hard and will get a lot more of the jokes. Not quite as good as Nick Park's recent efforts but still well worth a look as it'll beat the pants off whatever else is on TV for kids this Christmas.
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Freaking Awesome
KenTuccio3 December 2001
I saw a review of this DVD and I automatically became interested. I mean, how often does a show come out where Vixen asks Blitzen to " stroke her fire " .... this is definitley an awesome DVD to have in my ever growing ( and may I say freaking awesome ) DVD collection. I highly reccomend picking this bad boy up as you will really like it.
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10/10
Serendipity!
ampersandranch3 December 2000
I was winding up my weekend, doing house-y errands with my television humming in the background......but I had to drop everything when this came on. A 30-year-old adult, watching this alone, and I was laughing out loud. I'd never heard of it before, but I'll be sure to tell everyone I know to add this to the list of Christmas "must-see" classics. Great voices, great animation, and a feel-good story as well.
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