Since I go to the movies as often as I have hot meals, I’ve seen Cineplex’s pre-movie “Lily & The Snowman” commercial roughly 3828 times in the last two months. In fact, not only have I had the ad itself burned into my brain, I’ve also seen the “making of” clip they’ve aired during the preshow commercials in January. Cineplex can’t stop patting itself on the back for this ad…this monstrous monstrous ad.
So, this little girl creates a snowman that comes to life. The icing on the cake of this already-insane miracle is that the snowman can somehow project incredibly lifelike films using only its hands and reflected light. In order to keep this creature alive, Lily stashes him away inside the freezer in her parents’ garage. Now, this is a practical measure since, y’know, the snowman is a snowman, but by all appearances Lily then leaves him in there, assuming that he doesn’t require any sustenance or interpersonal interaction. (Then again, for all I know, the snowman can communicate with the frost caked on the inside of the freezer. How would I know, this is a phenomenon beyond the limits of human experience, I’m grasping at straws here.)
Lily does visit the snowman again, and while the montage implies that she only lets him out once per year, I’m willing to believe that she’s releasing him more often than that. Of course, Lily apparently has neglectful parents that somehow don’t realize that their young daughter is spending all-nighters in the backyard in the freezing cold. Hell, for that matter, it’s pretty implausible that neither parent ever goes to the icebox even once over the years and notices the goddamn living snowman, but sure, whatever. Maybe the unwritten message here is that Lily is watching her movies to escape a living hell of a home life —- while she frolics with her snowman buddy, her alcoholic dad is in a drunken stupor on the couch, leaving the TV on and thus creating the light that leads to the snowman’s projections in the first place.
So eventually, Lily starts to ignore her snowman, as shown as the universally-recognized anti-millennial trope of a teenager gabbing away on her phone. Teenagers can be blasé about many things, granted, but keep in mind that she’s now ignoring a LIVING FILM PROJECTOR OF A SNOWMAN IN HER FREEZER.
The years go by and the commercial involves into true horror — Lily just straight-up leaves the snowman in there to rot for years and years. How long, exactly? I’d guess a bare minimum of six years for “phone Lily” to become “harried working mother” Lily and that would be presuming that she was already pregnant during her phone call (“omigod, you’ll never guess what, I’m late!”) and her own daughter is six years old. I’m guesstimating six since Lily’s daughter looks roughly the same age as Lily was when her godless abomination of a snowman first arose to tragic life. So that’s six years minimum, but man, you could easily argue it’s anywhere within the 10-20 year range.
By the time frazzled Work Lily spills her coffee, she’s apparently completely forgotten about the MIRACLE OF CREATION AND EVIDENCE OF MAGIC THROUGHOUT THE UNIVERSE living in her icebox. Again, maybe, just maaaaaybe I could buy that Lily’s gotten a bit tired of the experience. I mean, maybe the snowman’s films aren’t very good. Are we supposed to believe these are originals? You’d have to think so, since it would be hilarious if Cineplex was advertising the idea of pirating movies. In any case, maybe the snowman’s films are aimed at younger audiences and as Lily grows up, she has the uncomfortable realization that these movies are pretty weak. It’s essentially the same reaction I had a few years back when I caught an old G.I. Joe episode on Teletoon.
Even if Lily has outgrown the movies, however, that’s really no excuse for blithely forgetting the snowman’s existence altogether. For instance, when she finally goes to release the creature, she moves a bunch of stuff out of the way to get to the icebox. Now, I’m extrapolating from this that Lily bought her parents’ old house and is living there herself now, as evidenced by the montage of junk piling up in the garage over the years — had new owners moved in, that garage would’ve been cleaned. Since Lily was taking over the house herself, her deadbeat parents probably didn’t even bother cleaning their junk out beforehand. Or, another theory: the deadbeat parents are dead of alcohol poisoning and/or liver failure and Lily received the house in the will to raise her child from a possible teenage pregnancy. Again, this commercial is supposed to be a feel-good Christmas ad. My point is that since we see stuff get piled up in front of the icebox, Lily really should’ve clued in and thought of the snowman AT SOME POINT in all the years of his entombment. I mean, she’s been in the garage within the 6-20 year span, right? She may have been so self-involved as to ignore the snowman once on the phone but that kept on going for as many as two decades?!
The Geneva Convention should come down on Lily like a ton of bricks. And the worst part is, when Lily finally releases him, he SMILES in a classic case of Stockholm Syndrome. This poor creature may not have had the cognizant awareness to realize what was happening to it. I suppose if you left a dog alone for years and then returned to it, the animal could still recognize you and be friendly. Of course, if you left a dog in your goddamn fridge for years, you’d be rightfully thrown in jail for wanton animal cruelty. Again, this commercial is supposed to be a feel-good Christmas ad! Replace the snowman with a dog and this is the most horrific thing Cineplex has ever shown on its screens, and that includes all of the Saw movies, the Paranormal Activity movies and Mark Wahlberg’s “The Gambler.”
This poor snowman then returns to its captive state, showing movies to Lily and her daughter like nothing had happened. If these movies are original creations, I wonder if the snowman ever included plots about a hero being trapped in captivity for years and years, leading Lily to nervously tug on her collar.
So, this was Cineplex’s heartwarming Christmas message. The movies are all about forcing a miracle to do your bidding, or how it’s cool to keep a sentient being locked away for years with no repercussions. The message is also apparently about how fun it is to enjoy movies at your house and not at a theatre, so Cineplex is apparently endorsing Netflix. Oops. Maybe the new slang term for spending a night in to watch movies provided by your miraculous living snowman is "Cineplex & Chill"