Live action apparently means PG. I did cringe having to explain "divorce" to Olivia, but content wise is pretty innocent.
DIRECTOR: John Pasquin
Having tiny kids means the snobbiness of this blog is severly limited by the fact that many of the movies I watch are meant for children, yet I feel like I have to critique them like any other movie I watch. On top of that, this movie is also dated by the very concept of 1994. I was 11 when I saw this movie in the theater. I don't think I've really seen it since then. Back in the day, I was a Home Improvement fan, as was most of the country. This movie is cast around Tim Allen, who at one points lends his legendary grunt to "Ho Ho Ho." I honestly could end the review around that concept. It's not a good thing. It's not a bad thing. It's a 1994 thing.
I think the next movie I'm reviewing is A Miracle on 34th Street and both movies really are based around the same moral: everyone needs to believe in Santa Claus. I love this plot. Again, I'm a sucker for Christmas and I get really emotional really easily with these movies. I don't know if The Santa Clause really knocks it out the part with the emotional hostage taking that the rest of this genre does, but my kids curled up with me watching this, so it really did its job. We often talk about expectations either being met or being defied, and The Santa Clause is a movie about meeting the expectations of the genre. This is a family movie that is aimed for kids. In the '90s, family movies really just started with the experimentation that some of the humor should be aimed at adults. There are plenty of jokes aimed at the adults, but a lot of them fall flat. But Comet farting? Drove my kids bananas. That stuff is timeless, so I can't really critique the movie too hard.
It's odd watching this movie from the parents' perspectives. Clearly, the antagonists are Charlie's mother and stepfather. But I couldn't help but identify with them. Scott's behavior is wildly erratic. There is nothing in the Santa Claus mythology to account for his behavior or rapid deterioration. Then Charlie is kidnapped? Honest to Pete, this was a horror movie from that perspective. Again, I often have to tell my brain to shut off when I'm watching a movie with the kids, but it did bug me how destroyed Judge Reinhold would have been during this movie. We're meant to hate him, but he's really just a guy who is trying to do the best he can from a medical perspective. But he wears goofy sweaters, so we're allowed to hate him.
The '90s were a mad scientist's playground when it came to CGI. The movie really tries using the dickens out of CGI to establish this as a big budget release. Remember, this is pre Pirates of the Carribean Disney, so their definition of big budget entailed something very different than what we are used to today. The special effects in this movie are quite terrible, but again, my kids didn't mind. How am I allowed to critique anything when it's aimed at a level for kids who don't care. Golly, I just realized a good chunk of my reviews are all going to be forgiven because I have to take into account an audience that's not me.
The movie is fun and the concept spawned a franchise. I think I've even seen all three entries in the franchise. Is it hilarious? Not really. Kinda funny, sure. Does it hold up? A little bit, but again...I was eleven when it came out and I am now 33. But I loved that my two-year-old son told my wife all about the movie and we had a movie night in. He loved it and it kind of locked in the reality of Santa into his mind. I think it may have also cemented Santa for my four year old skeptic, so that's always a perk.
Film is great. It can challenge us. It can entertain us. It can puzzle us. It can awaken us.
Mr. H has watched an upsetting amount of movies. They bring him a level of joy that few things have achieved.