‘The Small One’ (Film)


Please feel free to comment on my review.

A Donkey For Bethlehem

The first time I saw ‘The Small One’ short film was on the ‘A Christmas Miracle’ VHS that included both this and ‘Mickey’s Christmas Carol’. I had no idea the film was produced and directed by Don Bluth – nowadays considered one of the greatest animation film directors that ever lived in our time.

The story is touching and moving. It’s about a young boy who must sell his best friend, an old donkey called Small One in the town of Nazareth. However, no one wants to buy Small One as they consider him a ‘scrawny’ donkey. The boy and Small One do their very best to find someone who will buy him.

As a Christian, I like how the story unravels itself in the build-up to who actually buys Small One from the boy. The buyer happens to be Joseph who needs a donkey to take his wife Mary to Bethlehem. It leads to Mary eventually having the baby Jesus in Bethlehem where the star’s shining high in the sky.

The story did reduce me to tears towards the end and it reassured me of the true meaning of Christmas with the news of Jesus’ birth. It helps with the songs and music featured in the short film like ‘Small One’ at the start and at the end as well as ‘A Friendly Face’ sung by the boy to the donkey. 🙂

The animation style featured in ‘The Small One’ put me in mind of other Disney animation such as in ‘The Jungle Book’. This is especially with the young boy who is almost like Mowgli and could be played by the same actor. The boy is voiced by Sean Marshall who played Pete in ‘Pete’s Dragon’. 😀

There are quite a number of unsavoury characters the boy meets before selling Small One to Joseph. There’s the Roman guard who directs the boy and Small One to the tanner who wants to make leather out of him. There are also the three merchants who get in the way of the boy and Small One.

They sing their ‘Merchant’s Song’ a lot before directing the boy and Small One to an auctioneer. The auctioneer isn’t of much help to the boy and Small One either. In fact, he outright mocks Small One when the boy says he’s fit to be in ‘a king’s stable’. Soon, the boy and Small One escape for their lives.

The standout thing about ‘The Small One’ is how the boy and the donkey are close friends to each other. Even when they part, they still love each other. The animation is very good and it’s a cherished Disney animated short film that I remember very fondly whenever I think about Christmas.

I have fond memories watching the ‘Countdown to Christmas’ DVD back in 2002 with ‘The Prince and the Pauper’, ‘The Small One’ and other Disney cartoons included on it. The DVD may be unavailable, but I recall happy times of watching ‘Countdown to Christmas’ before Christmas arrived.

The ‘Countdown to Christmas’ DVD bonus features are as follows. There’s a ‘Sled Race Game’ and the ‘Christmas Around The World Game’. I find the ‘Sled Race Game’ very challenging to do. You need to have a lot of experience with playing games when you play it on your DVD or Blu-ray player.

‘The Small One’ rating – 8/10

‘Countdown to Christmas’ DVD rating – 8/10

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