Yes, Virginia is a 2009 animated production that I only just saw for the first time tonight. Now it is not a cartoon like the 1974 version is, but it is a computer generated process where the characters look pretty human.
This show is based on a true story, one where a little girl named Virginia O’Hanlon writes to the editor of the New York Sun and asks him whether or not Santa Claus really exists. Frank Church, the editor, responded with an editorial that is still read today.
What makes this version different from previous ones is that it is given a more realistic spin. The editor of the Sun has a chip on his shoulder and his own issues to work out, for example. So in essence what the producers did this time around was not only tell Virginia’s story, but they gave a bit of plot to Frank Church as well.
In the end, the same beauty and warmth from the real Virginia’s story shines through. I had tears in my eye, as I always do when watching prior versions. There is also a little twist at the end with Santa Claus that just makes me smile. It was a great idea.
The voices of the characters are done by a couple of well known performers and some not so well known kids. Neil Patrick Harris plays the father of Virginia, while Jennifer Love Hewitt is the wife. Their daughter is voiced by Beatrice Miller. Her best friend, Ollie, is handled by Kieran Patrick Campbell. I actually think that he steals the show. He’s animated adorably, and the voice suits the character so well.
Alfred Molina gives a lot of dynamic play to the Church character, while Make A Wish child Taylor Hay did a fabulous job in a character developed just for her to satisfy her wish.
I was a little skeptical about the more realistic tale, but I didn’t need to be at all. This story from 1897 is as touching and viable today as it ever has been. Kudos to Macy’s for going along with another redo and letting the magic of this version join the ones that have come before it.