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Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer is an American 2021 Christmas musical fantasy film directed by Jon Favreau, produced by Warner Bros. Pictures, Warner Bros. Family Entertainment, Warner Animation Group, Warner Bros. Animation, New Line Cinema, and Village Roadshow Pictures.
Based on the Johnny Marks song of the same name which itself was based on the book of the same name and is inspired by the 1964 Rankin/Bass stop-motion animated television special, the film is a live-action/CGI film that tells the story of Rudolph, a young reindeer who was born with a glowing red nose who becomes outcasted by all the other reindeer. He meets Hermey, an elf who wants to be a dentist, and the two head out to find a better place for them.
A live-action short film of Frosty the Snowman is shown in front of the film during its theatrical release.
Production has been pushed for a 2021 release due to the 2019–20 coronavirus pandemic.
Sam the Snowman welcomes the audience to Christmas Town at the North Pole. Sam then recalls the year Christmas was almost cancelled due to a snowstorm and tells the story of how a very special reindeer saved the day.
Donner, Santa's lead reindeer, and his wife have given birth to their new baby fawn, Rudolph. Upon admiring him, they are surprised to see that Rudolph has been born with a glowing red nose.
When Santa arrives, he is dazzled by Rudolph's glowing red nose and believes that he is a special kind of reindeer and that he tells Donner to take good care of him. Although, despite Santa's orders, Donner decides to hide the nose by covering it with mud to allow Rudolph to fit in with all the other reindeer.
Over Rudolph's first year of life, Donner trains him in the basics of being a reindeer, including hiding from the Abominable Snow Monster of the North, a big and ferocious Yeti that preys on reindeer.
Rudolph enters the reindeer games, competing against his fellow fawns and befriends a young buck named Fireball. During flight practice, Rudolph meets a doe named Clarice who tells him he is cute, and kisses him on the nose, which causes an elated Rudolph to fly higher and faster than everyone else.
However, while celebrating with the other bucks, Rudolph's nose suddenly glows as a result of Clarice kissing the mud off, leaving Fireball and the others reacting with fear, then scorn and finally rejection as Rudolph is kicked out of the Reindeer Games by the coach Comet.
Rudolph tried to apologize to his father, but Donner just turns away from him in disappointment. Santa tries to cheer up Rudolph by telling him that he's special and that people say and do mean things because they're just afraid.
Rudolph walks with Clarice, who supports him, until her father firmly tells her to never have any more contact with a red-nosed reindeer. Then, Rudolph meets up with Hermey, an elf who ran away from Santa's workshop because he wanted to be a dentist instead of making toys, and they decide to run away together.
The pair then meet a prospector named Yukon Cornelius, who has fruitlessly searched his whole life for silver and gold. After escaping the snow monster on an ice floe, the trio crash land on the Island of Misfit Toys where unloved or unwanted toys live with their ruler, a winged lion named King Moonracer.
The king allows the group to stay for one night on the island in exchange for returning to Christmas Town to ask Santa to find homes for the unwanted toys. That night, Rudolph has a dream, styled to look like the stop-motion Christmas special, where he defeats the snow monster and gets to be Santa's lead reindeer. He wakes up and is visited by Lady Boreal, the Goddess of the North who is revealed to be the source of Rudolph's glowing nose. When Rudolph was an infant, she warned Santa of a snowstorm that ruin Christmas for all the children in the world, so to help Santa for his journey, she decided to leave something to "guide him". She visited the den of Santa's lead reindeer, Donner, and gave a gift to his newborn son, Rudolph, leaving him a special mark on his hoof, depicting a snowflake. She tells Rudolph that he must return to Christmas Town.
So, Rudolph decides to leave the island in the middle of the night on his own, fearing that his nose, which attracts the snow monster, will endanger his friends. Time goes by and Rudolph grows into adulthood; he tries and fails to find a place to settle where he will be accepted despite his nose, and eventually decides to return home. There, he finds that his parents and Clarice have been out looking for him for months; he sets out once again to find them, only to discover that the snow monster has captured them.
Rudolph tries to save Clarice and his parents from being eaten, but the monster hits him in the head with a stalactite, dazing him. Hermey and Yukon return to Christmastown and go to save Rudolph. Hermey, posing as a pig, lures the monster out of his cave and Yukon drops rocks on his head to knock him out.
Rudolph rescues his Clarice, and his parents. Suddenly, the monster regains consciousness and attempts to attack the group again. Yukon drives the angry monster back, only to end up tackling it over a cliff with all his pack dogs. Mourning Yukon's presumed death, Rudolph reconciles with his father, and the gang return home.
After hearing the group's story, everyone apologizes to Rudolph and Hermey for their mistreatment, and Santa welcomes them back to Christmas Town, promising that he will find homes for the Misfit Toys; in addition, Hermey opens his own dentist's office, and Clarice's father apologizes for being so hard on Rudolph.
Yukon then returns with a reformed snow monster and demonstrates the beast's ability to trim a Christmas tree. While everybody's celebrating, Santa interrupts, sadly informing everyone that because of the storm, he is forced to cancel the Christmas trip.
Santa is soon distracted by Rudolph's red nose and realizes that its light could cut through the storm. He asks Rudolph to lead the sleigh and Rudolph agrees. First, the team then flies off to the Island of Misfit Toys, pick up the toys and takes them to their new homes.
When Rudolph returned to the North pole, everyone rejoiced now that Rudolph has saved Christmas and claimed that he will go down in history. The film ends with Rudolph guiding Santa's sleigh on another Christmas Eve night with the song Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer playing.
During the end credits, some footage of happy children playing with the misfit toys is shown.
- Justin Timberlake as Rudolph
- Jacob Tremblay as young Rudolph
- Amanda Seyfried as Clarice
- Mckenna Grace as young Clarice
- Ian Armitage as Hermey the Elf
- Robbie Coltrane as Santa Claus
- Imelda Staunton as Mrs. Claus
- Kristofer Hivju as Yukon Cornelius
- Mandy Patinkin as Sam the Snowman
- Peter Dinklage as Elf Foreman
- Hugh Jackman as Donner
- Nicole Kidman as Mrs. Donner
- Chris Diamantopoulos as Comet
- Rob Paulsen as Charlie-in-the-box
- Kath Soucie as Dolly
- Bill Fagerbakke as Spotted Elephant
- Tom Kenny as Ostrich-riding Cowboy
- Idris Elba as King Moonracer
- Jim Cummings as Bumble the Abominable Snow Monster (voice)
- Emjay Anthony as Fireball
- Hattie Morahan as Lady Boreal
- Jingle, Jingle, Jingle - Robbie Coltrane
- We Are Santa's Elves
- There's Always Tomorrow - Amanda Seyfried
- We're a Couple of Misfits - Jacob Tremblay, Andy Walken
- Fame and Fortune - Kristofer Hivju, Jacob Tremblay, Andy Walken
- Silver and Gold - Kristofer Hivju
- The Most Wonderful Day of the Year - Rob Paulsen, Kath Soucie, Bill Fagerbakke, Tom Kenny
- Run Rudolph Run - Chuck Berry
- Have a Holly Jolly Christmas - Justin Timberlake, Amanda Seyfried, Andy Walken, Robbie Coltrane, Imelda Staunton, Kristofer Hivju, Mandy Patinkin, Peter Dinklage, Hugh Jackman, and Nicole Kidman
- Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer - Mandy Patinkin
- The elves will be played by child actors, including Andy Walken. The director took this inspiration from The Santa Clause trilogy. Where all the elves were portrayed by children as well.
- In this version, Dolly is a talking doll instead of a ragdoll as it was never explained why she's a misfit in the 1964 TV special. In the remake, she's a misfit because she has no pull string.