on June 14, 2004
There are some films that just have to be watched every Christmas and this is one of them. It is a feelgood film for a feelgood time of year.
The story is simple. Scott Calvin (note his initials) is a divorced father who frequently lets his young son down due to his busy working life. That is until he accidentally kills Santa Claus. To his disbelief and dismay, and his sons delight, he has to become the new Santa. The film follows his changing life and attitudes and shows the newly developing relationship between father and son.
There is nothing taxing or complex about this movie, just a heart-warming, funny story that is ideal for all the family. Watch and enjoy.
As with all holidays there are always holiday classics; some of the Christmas classics you might remember stem from "Babes in Toyland" to "Miracle on 34th St." And who could forget "A Christmas Carol"?
Nowadays we have a new series of films vying for that position; some are animated and some are goofy. However "The Santa Clause" brings the Christmas wonder and an overt perennial message.
Scott Calvin is divorced. He will have custody of his son for the Christmas holiday. They are both a little awkward with each other as they now live in two different worlds. Something tells me soon this will change. As Scott puts his son to sleep reading Clement Clarke Moore, they hear such a clatter. This is where you can hear us gasping whatever you do don't go out and look. But he goes out anyway and there he surprises a jolly old man which causes the man to slide off the roof. Scott rushes over to help the man sees a card and reads it but forgets to read the "Santa" clause.
I will not go through the story as that is why you're buying this product. I can only say that you will not be disappointed. And in the end you may also get a Christmas present.
on March 16, 2004
Here we are once again! It's the usual time of the year when the holiday themed feature films are out in full force, flooding multiplexes across the country for the Thanksgiving holiday and going into December. And it seems work as usual for the Walt Disney Company with their release of The Santa Clause, but what makes this project unique is the concept it uses, one that has never fully been developed on the big screen before. The feature is also unique in that it stars Tim Allen, who is best known for his hit television show, Home Improvement, on ABC. Does that mean an automatic is lying in the waiting to flock to theaters for Allen's flick? Not necessarily. Granted there are people who are die hard fans who will love the actor/actress for whatever work they do but for others, they are pretty critical of television stars who believe they can easily make the jump to the big screen. Can Allen pull it off? Only the holiday box office will tell.
The story centers around a man who goes from being divorced, self-centered business man to possibly the most care-free, charitable man on the planet, Santa Claus. Scott Calvin works for a toy company, has recently divorced from his wife, and is stuck on Christmas Eve with his son, who is just as excited as his father is being together for the holidays. Once he tucks his kid into bed for the night, Scott hears a noise on the roof and goes to investigate. When he tries to confront the man on the roof, he falls off and when Scott encounters him, the mystery man is dressed like Santa Claus. He and his son enter the sleigh and the puts on the Santa suit, all thanks to the urging of his son. When the sleigh returns to the North Pole after a long Christmas Eve, Scott discovers that he is the new Santa, thanks to the Santa Clause, which is a contract stating who ever puts on the suit becomes the new Santa Claus. He notices physical changes like the color of his hair and his weight but soon he notices that he feels more and more like Santa on the inside. The story for The Santa Clause is quite possibly one of the most original holiday films in years, which is surprising considering the concept is such a simple one that it is hard to believe that it has never fully been attempted before. The feature does a wonderful job at mixing comedic elements with emotional values, which is hard to do at times. The Santa Clause defies that and presents how it can be done right.
The film revolves mostly around Tim Allen's character and generally that is all that really matters for the film but at the same time the character can be ruined if he doesn't interact with supporting cast members. Fortunately this doesn't happen here or at least not very often. Allen is marvelous in his role as Scott Calvin aka Santa Claus. He successfully translates the comedic magic he had on his television show and amplified it ten times. There is also a lot of emotion behind scenes that he has with his son, Charlie. David Krumholtz, who plays Bernard the head elf at Santa's workshop, is quite possibly the most enjoyable highlight of the film. He work extremely well with Allen as the two are able to play off each other in several moments within the film, that if they had been performed by anybody else would have been flat. The character of Charlie, Scott's son, is moderately played out by Eric Lloyd. Lloyd begins to get pretty annoying and whiny as the film progresses but then again what can you expect from a cute little kid?
Overall, The Santa Clause, just like the big man himself, spreads holiday magic to every boy and girl, nobody how young or old they are. It is such an original concept, one that hasn't been seen and may never be seen again for many years. Though there is much to praise the film on, there are also slight things to pick at. The messages that the film tries to convey, though meaningful and expressive, came off as being too forced. It would have been better if the filmmakers had slowly sunk the ideas in the heads of movie-goers rather then what they ended up doing. And, as was stated earlier, Eric Lloyd came as being too cute and annoying at times in the film but this is something that doesn't necessarily mean anything major, just a small squabble. Make sure to avoid the tacky holiday films like the remake of Miracle on 34th Street and make it your duty to catch The Santa Clause instead, which is sure to become a new holiday classic for the entire family.
on January 10, 2004
I heard about The Santa Claus movie a long time ago, but was never motivated to see it until after purchasing the sequel, which appeared even more family friendly than the first. You will definitely want to see them in order, but there are a few slight moments of objectionable content in this first movie, while I'll mention in a second.
PLOT: Scott Calvin is a divorced father, an executive of an advertising company, and getting set for a Christmas time visit from his son. Little Charlie isn't thrilled to be with his *other* dad for Christmas, especially when Christmas dinner equals Denny's. Charlie awakens Scott in the middle of the night when hearing thumping noises on the roof. Scott steps outside and hollers at the perpetrator on his roof - and looks on in stunned disbelief as a red-suited figure comes tumbling down. Scott finds a card in the fellow's pocket saying "If something should happen to me, put on my suit, the reindeer will know what to do." Climbing up on a magic ladder, Scott finds himself face-to-face with eight not-so-tiny reindeer...and one long night's work. He finds himself at the North Pole at the end of his journey, where head-elf Bernard irritably informs Scott that, according to the Santa Clause (the clause in the contract, as stated in microscopic text on the card he removed from Santa's pocket) he's the new Big Guy himself. Scott is returned home in disbelief, and must decide whether or not to accept the job ... all the while in trouble with Charlie's parents when Charlie tells them the tall tale of the North Pole visit.
GOOD POINTS: With a few exceptions, most of the humor in the movie is clean and humorous. And, again with a few exceptions, the whole movie is family-friendly, and a great holiday classic for everyone to sit down and watch.
BAD POINTS: There's a lot of discussion about whether or not Santa Claus is real. Charlie doesn't believe at first, and when he does after visiting the North Pole, his other father Neil attempts to dissuade him by raising numerous objections as to how Santa could do that. Neil and Charlie's mother Laura discuss the times they stopped believing in Santa. There's also some potty humor found in such things as Scott passing gas early one morning. Scott also hollers at a neighbor that he usually sleeps "butt-naked". During his first night taking over for Santa, he isn't very nice to one young girl who wakes up to see him, and grumbles about passing out the other gifts. There's also several "Oh my god" exclamations. Most of these "bad points" are minor, but might raise objections for those searching for a thoroughly clean family film.
THOUGHTS: The question of Big Red's validity will probably be raised again by this movie, even though he is proven by Scott's North Pole visit. But if you don't mind that, and a few other parts like those listed above, then you'll want to buy this movie. Six and a half out of ten stars.
DVD BONUSES: Minimal. I'm guessing this was among the first few to enter DVD-dom because of the small extras. There's an interactive game you can play (keep Santa airborne by ducking flocks of geese, and chimneys) a Make Santa Snacks with some Chef you've never heard of but are supposed to have, and a "So You Wanna Be An Elf?" feature, which is an early attempt at a behind-the-scenes feature, but didn't quite make it.
on November 29, 2003
Really, I know this was suppose to be a kids movie, but I hear more about it from adults than kids which is understandable considering a lot of the humor would be missed by younger kids. This one is just so much more charming than the second one. I actually liked Bernard in this one. The movie really starts when santa falls off Scott Calvin's (Tim Allen) roof. He then has to become santa due to the santa clause on santa's card. This movie deals really more with Scott's relationship with his son Charlie than it does with the whole christmas thing. Scott is really trying to keep a great relationship with his son, but his divorced wife and her nwe husband try to get in his way, especially after Charlie starts talking about his dad being santa. Charlie's new dad Neil is also a shrink which really adds some humor between Neil and Scott. The acting in this is really above par and much better than I expected even with Tim Allen in it. This movie can really grab your emotions because it puts you in Scott's place. I mean you can really feel/see what the characters are feeling. This movie is hilarious and heart warming. It really has a lot to offer for people of all ages, but I think that the older age group really gets a lot more out of this movie.
on November 12, 2003
If you are looking for a great, feel-good holiday movie that everyone can enjoy, this is your movie. It is not just another typical cartoon, though. There is a nice mix of comedy, drama, and great holiday fun to turn this into the next holiday classic.
We begin with Scott Calvin, a divorced businessman with a child. His wife has got another man in her life that Charlie, their son, looks up to, while Scott is still alone. It is Scott's turn to take Charlie for Christmas that year, but Charlie is less than enthusiastic about staying with his work-involved, unattentive father. Nothing goes well for them that night with dinner (it is actually quite a humorous affair), and you can sense the distance between the father and son.
Later on that night is when things change. Scott scares Santa Claus into falling off of the roof. Charlie nags Scott into putting on the Santa suit and getting into the sleigh. From that point, there is non-stop action until morning as Scott finishes up Santa's job. At the North Pole later that night, Scott finds out that he is now subject to the Santa Clause and that he has become the new Santa whether he wants to be or not.
The next morning, Scott wakes up and assumes that it was all a great big dream. He is in for a rude awakening, though, when Charlie remembers the whole thing and insists that it happened. Scott spends the year denying that tey took a trip to the North Pole. All the while, his body undergoes some pretty hilarious changes in preparation for the upcoming Christmas.
Along with Tim Allen as Scott Calvin/Santa Claus and Eric Lloyd as a very cute little Charlie, there is a great supporting cast to add to the movie. Judge Reinhold plays as Charlie's role model and his mother's (played by Wendy Crewson) new boyfriend. He is a dull psychiatrist that manages to add his own humor to the story with his disbelief of Christmas and his loud sweaters. There is also the unforgettable David Krumholtz as the elf Bernard. Bernard has been around for quite a long time (just ask him) and has dealt with more than one Santa. Charlie takes a liking to him and he becomes a very integral part of the movie.
This is a great holiday movie for anyone and everyone. The blend of comedy, fantasy, and touching real-life issues (like family and divorce) will make it an instant classic.
on December 22, 2002
There have been a lot of tellings about how Santa came to be, and so far, only two have been really worth watching (I am, of course, not including other Santa-based movie that have nothing to do with his origins, such as "Miracle on 34th Street". The first is "Santa Claus is Coming to Town", the stop-action TV special starring Mickey Rooney's voice in the title role and produced by the "Rudolf the Rednose Reindeer" people. The other, believe it or not, is when Tim Allen falls prey to "The Santa Clause".
Tim plays Scott Calvin, a divorced dad working for a toy marketing company who can't stand his ex-wife's new husband, a child psychiatrist who doesn't believe in the value of childhood fantasies, and Scott is constantly battling with his ex over how to raise their son. Problem is, Scott is one of those dads who really loves his son, but never seems to want to BE with his son. So he's losing the battle; Scott's son is warming up to his stepfather more and more, and wanting to spend time less and less with his real dad.
That is until one fateful Christmas Eve when Scott is awakened to noises on his roof, only to find and disturb Santa going through his work. Santa falls off the roof, and at the prompting of his son, Scott, still not believing at all what's going on, puts on the suit, climbs in the sleigh, and begins delivering toys all over the world in Santa's place. Eventually he ends up at the North Pole, where he discovers his actions have activated the Santa Clause -- a legal contract making Scott Calvin the new Santa Claus, permanently. Even as physical and psychological changes in Scott become more apparent over the next 11 months, he still finds it hard to believe that "fantasy" he'd felt the need to encourage for his son is actually real, and he's it. Making things harder is the ex and her psychiatrist husband, who are more and more becoming concerned that the changes in Scott's behavior, as well as the wild stories of trips to the North Pole they're getting from thier son, is reason for concern that Scott has lost his marbles and isn't safe to be around the boy anymore.
It's a sweet movie, and Tim Allen is actually quite surprising in both roles, as disbelieving father and eventually as the real-deal Santa Claus. Special credit also goes to the special effects and makeup departments, who have a lot of fun with a very imaginative script, enacting the changes in Scott.
But what's really nice is the way the script never falls into cliche with the characters or specific ideals. Okay, the overall story, especially the way it ends, is completely cliche and can be easily predicted even as the opening credits roll. But that's not the point -- here it's the magical journey, not the destination that's important.
The cliches I'm talking about involve mostly the ex and her new husband, the latter played by Judge Reinhold. Even though they have their concerns with Scott's behavior and are constantly butting heads with Scott about the health or dangers of perpetuating the Santa Claus "myth", they are never written as being evil. Granted Judge Reinhold's character can be as dorky as every other character he's ever played -- or maybe that's how Reinhold really is. But even though he's not as idealistic as the cop he played in Beverly Hills Cop, you never get the impression his motives are bent on evil or on ruining Scott's relationship with his son; he might not care for Scott and his motives at time might be somewhat misguided, but his heart really is in the right place. He's still wrong, but he meant well.
Frankly, this is a modern Christmas classic that is worthy of inclusion with such greats as "It's A Wonderful Life", the original "Miracle on 34th Street", and "A Christmas Story".
on December 9, 2002
YOW! The perfect modern Christmas classic! Believe me, I've seen far too many horrible kids' movies in my day, and horrible Christmas flicks, but this is far above them all. Methinks everyone will love this movie, not just the kids...
OK, so what's so great about it? It's funny and different, but still quite sweet and simple. There's some hilarious little gimmicks, but overall it's an honest, just plain sweet story. Tim Allen's great for the role of cynic-turned-Santa I that I would never have expected...really! He IS Santa, man. Eric Lloyd, who plays Santa's son, is an adorable but atypically not-[cruddy] child actor! yow! Judge Reinhold, who you may last have seen in "Fast Times at Ridgemont High" in a Pirate hat, now plays the eternally-unhip Neil. (The new step-father, general Christmas-skeptic, psychiatrist, and wearer of LOUD sweaters.) Everyone's got to deal with Scott (Tim Allen) becoming Santa Claus, and learning to BELIEVE. ("Seeing isn't believing, believing is seeing.")
BUT the best part of all??? One word: BERNARD. Portrayed by the magnificent David Krumholtz, he's the cranky head-elf who manages to DEAL with the new Santa. Come on, everyone loves Bernard. Shows up, shoves a pita sandwich down his gullet, comments on Neil's sweaters, and saves Christmas! WHAT'S NOT TO LOVE?!?
All right, so I havn't done a great job convincing you to see/buy this movie. It sounds cheesy, you say. WELL IT'S NOT! It's actually a preety darn touching story of grumpy old cynical adults coming around to Christmas magic, father and son bonding, a new magical look at the North Pole, and one fabulous head-elf. What more do you want from a Christmas movie? I promise you won't regret seeing this movie. Go rent/buy it for the kids! No kids? Go to the store and make like you're renting/buying it for "the kids." Enjoy!
on December 8, 2002
"The Santa Clause", directed by John Pasquin, is an upbeat, Christmas tale classic that the whole family will love.
PLOT SUMMARY: Scott Calvin (Tim Allen) is a divorced dad who co-owns a toy company. During this particular Christmas, Scott's son, Charlie (Eric Lloyd), comes for a visit while his mother, Laura (Wendy Crewson) and her new husband, Dr. Neil Miller (Judge Reinhold) go away. Charlie is reluclent at first staying with his father...especially after Scott accidentally burns the turkey dinner and they have to eat at Denny's restuarant. After Scott tells Charlie the 'Night Before Christmas' story and he goes to sleep, Charlie hears a "clatter" on the roof "just like in the poem," as he says to Scott. So Scott goes outside to see what is wrong, when he is shocked to find Santa Clause on the roof! Appearently, Santa is also shocked to see him, so Santa falls off the roof and dies. Now, Scott (after putting on the Santa suit, getting in the sleigh, and bringing the preasents to the rest of the houses), is the new Santa Clause...only he doesn't realize this until after he and Charlie are brought to the North Pole and are introduced to the Arch Elf, Bernard (David Krumholtz), who tells him that he is indeed, Santa, by showing him the "binding contract" on the little card Scott found in the red suit. Now Scott is stuck doing something he really doesn't want to do or believes in, and he has one year to start looking like the real Santa. And if Charlie doesn't stop telling everyone that he's Santa Clause, Scott will be in a heap of trouble--especially with Laura and Neil, who feel that Charlie's strong belief in Santa Clause isn't good for him, and even try to prevent Charlie from seeing Scott when they think Scott is encouraging him.
OVERALL THOUGHTS: First of all, the acting...is absolutely superb! Tim Allen is perfect as the new-but-obligated Santa Clause. Eric Lloyd is cute and charming as Charlie, and the rest of the cast is brilliant. The storyline is humorous and fun--who wouldn't laugh when Scott keeps forgetting Bernard's name, or is making fun of Neil, or when they first arrive at the North Pole? The directing is wonderful, and the script is well-written. The special effects are darn good, too.
This special edition DVD is wonderfully packaged with a limited time movie pass to "The Santa Clause 2: Mrs. Clause" (the brand new sequel), exclusive sneak peak at the sequel, an original featurette, trivia game, holiday recipes, and DVD-ROM extras. The DVD is available in both wide screen and full frame formats.
I highly recommend "The Santa Clause".
on November 27, 2002
"The Santa Clause" has a neat premise: a divorced suburban dad finds himself being turned into Santa Claus because he unwittingly put on the suit of the Santa who fell off his roof. Kids are sure to enjoy this story of Santa, his North Pole, and how the jolly man in the redsuit gets all those toys delivered on one night. As an adult viewer, though, I found myself cringing during certain scenes, which were so sugary that my teeth ached. Also watching one bad child actor performance after another can get quite tiresome. (The kid who plays the son is especially annoying. And what is with that bowl haircut? Why do all movie kids look like they stepped out of my 1970's elementary school class pictures?) The most painful scene: the part with Santa, his elves- all played by talentless kid actors, and his annoying son marching to the tune of "Sharp Dressed Man" by ZZ Top (or as the Brits would say ZedZed Top.)
However, Tim Allen's performance may be enough to keep adults interested in this picture. He is the anchor that keeps this movie from sinking into a sea of sap. Mr. Allen's trademark cynical dad character dominates this movie's first half and the results are funny and entertaining. Unfortunately, the more Mr. Allen's character becomes Santa the less his comic personality is able to combat the heavy-handed saccharine of the film's second half.
Summary: Good kids' movie. Maybe tolerable for adults.