Rudolph is my favorite Christmas movie of all time. Loved it when I was a kid. But I hadn't watched it in many years. Hadley and I watched it this holiday season, and I was quite disturbed.
What the hell is wrong with Santa in that movie? He is sullen, grouchy, losing weight, and in general gives off an attitude that he is sick of Christmas. Like the whole thing just is driving him crazy and he can't take it anymore. Maybe they were going for Santa being burnt out, which is distrubing in and of itself, but it goes beyond that. Santa seems heavily depressed and angry.
This attitude, of course carries over to the birth of Rudolph, whereupon, seeing Rudolph and his red nose, Santa immediately tells Donner how "disappointed" he is in Donner. Really? Disappointed in the father over the birth of his child, all because of a genetic abnormality? It's not enough the new young reindeer is healthy and robust. HE'S DIFFERENT, so therefore a disappointment to the Great Santa. Santa has apparently become a Nazi, which is only reinforced by the portrayal of Fraulein Claus, his wife, who keeps reiterating in her heavy German accent "Eat Santa, Eat." Not to mention all the misfit toys Santa and his elves have, not only rejected, but banished to a cold and distant island. Santa is well on his way to establishing the perfect, genetic society in the North Pole.
Santa does not snap out of his depression until the VERY END OF THE MOVIE, when he learns he can exploit Rudolph's genetic abnormality to his advantage. So the very condition that caused him to unceremoniously reject a newborn baby as unworthy and a disappointment is now the very thing that brings him out of his depression and makes him "Santa" again. Maybe Santa is bi-polar, and in need of heavy medication. His attitude andactions in the movie, needless to say, are indicative of a troubled and embattled personality.