Now that we’ve hit double figures for our Christmas movie advent calendar, I believe a celebration is in order. So how about instead of just one film to warm our cold December hearts today, we treat ourselves to an extra two? Sound good? If not then just choose one of the next three films featured in this article and be done with it. But if, like me you want to be greedy, let’s continue with The Santa Clause trilogy!
The Santa Clause
Released in 1994 starring Tim Allen, The Santa Clause surely should now be considered a classic. Although it’s full of all the usual family comedy clichés with a bit of Christmas thrown in for good measure, it’s still a great way to spend your time. Yes we’ve all seen the story of one half of a divorced couple who tries desperately to do right by their child and it’s not new to us at all but originality isn’t something you come across a lot, especially when it comes to Christmas themed movies.
Allen plays Scott Calvin (who’s initials are very similar to a certain Christmas character… what luck!) a divorced parent – tick! – who tries to connect with his son Charlie over Christmas but fails when he burns the turkey – tick!. That’s until late on Christmas Eve, the jolly fat man himself accidentally falls to his death off of Scott’s roof. Probably not the best of starts to a family Christmas film, but when Scott puts on the famous red coat he inadvertently accepts the role of Santa for the foreseeable future.
Although the supporting cast is interesting (Judge Reinhold (Beverly Hills Cop) makes some appearances) The Santa Clause is mainly held up by Allen’s performance and brilliant comic timing as Calvin. With lessons to be learned (such as how to cook a turkey properly) and a relationship with his son to be sorted out it’s not like he didn’t have enough on his plate already and now he has to deal with becoming Santa Clause!
The running time is an average 90 or so minutes, which seems to work just fine with not a dull moment in sight. And it’s always a treat to see Tim Allen on screen. If you close your eyes you can be instantly taken back to Toy Story. The only thing this film is really missing is Tom Hanks.
The Santa Clause 2: The Mrs. Clause
Filmed 8 years after the first instalment (which is rarely a good idea unless the film is Toy Story – Need I remind you all of the long gap between the third and fourth Indy movies and what that brought us?) The Santa Clause 2 takes us back to the story with Calvin having been in the role of Santa comfortably for the last eight years. However, as this is a sequel, situations must happen. And they must be bigger than last time. So now Santa faces an early retirement unless he is able to find a wife to be his Mrs. Clause within 25 days.
To help with this, his elves come up with a cunning plan to create a plastic looking duplication of Santa to keep an eye on the North Pole whilst real Santa goes out into the world in search of love. Little does real Santa know, however, that the fake Santa will soon start treating the North Pole like a sweatshop and is planning to give every child on earth coal for Christmas! OH NO!
Although the trilogy seems to have lost the magic it had in the first instalment, the sequel still gets points for trying. The use of double Tim Allen is a treat and the fact that the same cast all seem to be back is welcoming. Even the same little boy who played Calvin’s son, Charlie, hasn’t been changed. Which is quite surprising seeing as it’s been eight years and the kid wasn’t that great an actor in the first place. But still it’s nice to have some farmiliarity. Judge Reinhold gets a bit less to do this time around but can still be seen every now and then. And a lot of the same elves from the first are back and don’t seem to have aged at all, which is very odd seeing as they were all children eight years previously in the first film. Whether that’s the magic of Christmas or the magic of the make up department remains to be seen…
The Santa Clause 3: The Escape Clause
With all trilogies, there’s always a dull one. Lord of The Rings had The Two Towers, Back to The Future had Part 3, and The Santa Clause has The Escape Clause. Although there are hints at an actual villain for once with the inclusion of Jack Frost, not enough is really done to give us much dread. However seeing as this is a family comedy set around christmas perhaps it’s better this way.
There’s still an entertaining enough storyline and again most actors seem to be back with the exception of the odd one or two. Head Elf Bernard, for example, who has been replaced with a new elf, supposedly because he was too old to play the part. It seems however, that the series is getting on quite a bit. With Santa’s son now all grown up and only really cameoing in the film it seems a rather pointless waste of time. The dilemmas are getting more and more boring with each one. For example, this time Santa has to cover up the North Pole in order for his in-laws to visit. And apparently the best way to do this is to turn the North Pole into Canada and explain all the elves as Canadians…
All the while we have Jack Frost lurking around being bitter that he doesn’t have his own holiday and trying to find out the secret to nabbing Santa’s job. Martin Short’s Frost is nothing spectacular and yet it should have been. With a great look about him it was quite a disappointment for him to be so uninteresting.
Still, The Escape Clause will hold up for at least one viewing for you. For children it will probably be easily watched again and again but frankly if you’re going to put on a Santa Clause movie stick with the original first classic one.
Join me over the next few days where I’ll be revealing what’s behind the doors I’m late on (Sorry folks, I’ve been busy but we’ll soon be back up to speed I promise!)