I think this little game has gone on long enough, don’t you? Since I started reviewing all the Beethoven movies, I’ve been playing coy with how many films are actually in the franchise. For those keeping track this is the 7th film so far, and I’m happy to announce that this is the penultimate one. Yup, Beethoven’s Treasure Tail is the 8th and final movie–as of time of writing–so we’re so close to being done! I’m almost free from this self-imposed prison of having to rewatch these films! We just have to get through the one that decided it was time for Beethoven to talk.
An opening narrator (Mr. John Cleese who has lately been an old man yelling at clouds about “cancel culture”) explains the premise: Santa gave new elves a role, and all but one were toy elves. Henry (Kyle Massey, who some might know as Corey Baxter from That’s So Raven and/or Corey in the House) is made a stable elf, putting him in charge of the reindeer. He doesn’t want this job and while trying to make a new toy to impress Santa, he creates a series of accidents that releases all of the reindeer and sends him and Santa’s sack flying. The elf and container end up in Minnesota, where Beethoven is staying with a kid named Mason (Munro Chambers from Degrassi: The Next Generation) and his mom, Christine (Kim Rhodes, the mom from The Suite Life of Zack & Cody, capping off the filmmakers trying to reach a specific demographic). This is still the famous “actor” Beethoven who normally lives with Eddie, but don’t worry about that. While Henry gets help from Mason trying to get the bag back, it falls into the hands of Sylvester Smirch (Robert Picardo) and his lackey, Kenny (Curtis Armstrong). The homoeroticism is strong with these two… Anyway, they take the toys from Santa’s sack and sell them for ridiculous prices, which means the villain this time is actually capitalism. Thanks to magic candy canes, Beethoven can now talk to Henry–and is voiced by Tom Arnold, making this perhaps the most star studded Beethoven movie–and later to Mason’s mom to get her on board with the plan to save Christmas. Turns out Beethoven is smart? The most unbelievable part of the film. In the end, Smirch is captured, the sack is recovered, and more Christmas magic lets Beethoven fly Henry back to the North Pole. Mason gets a new dog, who’s voiced by the Crypt Keeper.
During the mid-credits, there’s a brief scene where a kid gets his skateboard stolen. I think he had one line earlier? Otherwise it’s a mystery to me.
So this was one big commercial for the ASPCA. Beethoven is in this town to film an ASPCA commercial, there’s a big deal made when Henry finds out there are animals in the world without homes, and the Christmas float at the end again has an ASPCA themed ad. It’s not overly obnoxious–in part because the work the ASPCA does is good and they’re not crazy like PETA–but it still feels a little weird. I didn’t notice it when I first watched the film, so well done, I guess? That’s one point in their favor, I suppose.
Not everything in this was awful, which is high praise for a Beethoven sequel you’d need two hands to count to. Robert Picardo was delightfully hammy, which generally makes a villain more enjoyable. He and Kenny have the energy of a dom/sub couple that’s been together for a while and constantly bickers, but the sex is great and they don’t really have the drive or energy to break things off and move on. I know that sounds specific, but we get hints about their life together throughout that back me up. For example, right before Smirch gets arrested we find out that Kenny and Smirch had apparently been living together. That’s a damned smoking gun in a PG movie! I don’t really ship it, but I do appreciate them not looking at the camera and shouting, “No homo!” like the last movie effectively did. And speaking of the queers, the best character by far was this very gay guy whose credited as “Catty Elf,” because he debuted talking about how tacky Henry’s elf costume was. He shows up as part of a group of carolers and identifies Smirch as a recurring scammer at the end. I love him and wish I could find anything more about his actor, Ryan Miller. It’s just too generic of a name for Google…
These reboot films–Beethoven’s Big Break, Beethoven’s Christmas Adventure, and Beethoven’s Treasure Tail–have a problem with repeating story beats. Sure, one is about Hollywood, one is about Christmas, and the third involves pirate treasure, but they all have “single parent’s busy job creates a rift between them and their only child” as a plot point. Eddie’s son was resentful that he worked so much, Mason and his mom have to have a heart to heart before this film ends, and it’s there but not as prominent in the next one. I get the idea of it all–with one parent dead and the other always busy, the kid feels alone and unloved. But I’m not a kid anymore, so I sympathize with the parents struggling to make enough money by themselves to keep the rather large houses the protagonists in movies tend to live in. Yes, it sucks that they apparently didn’t take more time to be around their kid, but jobs suck. That’s the sad reality of life a lot of the time. But because these movies aren’t for me, the climaxes tend to have the parents prioritize their kid more. Good luck paying rent for your three story house when you ask for half the workload, I guess.
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