A look at The Santa Clause trilogy

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While we haven’t even neared Thanksgiving yet, as always, some people are heading head first into the holiday season. And If I’m being honest, I don’t want to keep waiting until December to have to do this and it’s my blog so I’m gonna do it so welcome to Christmas in November. In recent years I’ve noticed Tim Allen’s The Santa Clause has gotten a little bit of a nostalgic following. While I definitely have nostalgia for it as well, I’m not sure why this is the case. And on top of that there were two sequels that no one seemed to pay any attention to. Nonetheless I’m gonna look at all three.  

The Santa Clause (1994)

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The first Santa Clause movie was released in 1994 starring Tim Allen as Scott Calvin, a divorced dad who has custody of his son Charlie on Christmas Eve. After accidentally causing Santa to fall off his roof leading to his death, he puts on Santa’s coat at his son’s request and finds himself subject to taking on the role and responsibilities of Santa by the next Christmas. While the day after Christmas Scott dismisses the whole thing as a dream, Charlie knows otherwise. Over the next several months he finds himself until he finds himself gaining weight and a white beard no matter how hard he tries to turn away from the job. Probably my biggest qualm in the movie is what this all leads to: Charlie tells everyone what happened, no one believes him, Scott gets pulled into being Santa and can’t get out of it, no one believes him either, but of course everyone is going to find out he was telling the truth. It’s very much as by the numbers as you can get with not much humor to it. Tim Allen definitely gets a laugh with some lines but they don’t really work that much humor with the story which can get really predictable. But to the movie’s credit it does have a sense of whimsy and magic such as the look of the North Pole even though it’s obviously a set it’s still a very beautiful, bright, and colorful look with a nice scale to it. The elves being kids is an interesting choice but it’s one that I find works with trying to go with that jolly spirit. Not that adults or little people aren’t incapable of doing the same but you can’t capture it the same way with kids. At the end of the day, while the story is predictable, there is a genuine sense of Christmas magic in it and occasional Tim Allen laughs for good measure which can appeal to many.  

The Santa Clause 2

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The second Santa Clause movie was released in 2002 with all the majority of cast members reprising their roles. Many would say that the sequels declined in quality but truth be told I do kind of like this one. The story involves Scott having been the new Santa for eight years since the events of the first movie and kids and his elves enjoy him greatly. However, things hit a speed bump when not only does he find out his now older son Charlie has landed on the naughty list but also he has a mere month to get married otherwise he will stop being Santa forever undergoing a de-Santification process gradually turning him back to normal. Thus he heads back home to set things right with Charlie and hopefully find a wife while leaving a toy replica of himself to look after things at the North Pole. So the good stuff first: Like the first movie there are moments where it feels genuine and magical. A prime example of this lies in Scott courting Charlie’s school principal, Carol Newman whose rage Charlie invokes after he defaces the school lockers. He thinks of her as extremely cold-hearted with her refusal to embrace holiday cheer but as he spends more time with her he learns there’s more to her than what meets the eye. They have believable and charming chemistry and it leads its way to some of the romantic highlights like the sleigh scene and the scene as a party. Even if it is all done in like one date and it could be paced better it’s still very well done. Another good aspect is the villain in this one. The toy Santa replica is also played by Allen as his character attempts to take over the North Pole marking the whole world as naughty and his portrayal of this character is just so awkwardly hilarious and it will get at least one chuckle out of you. We also see a lot more of the North Pole and a nice sneak peek at a lot of other magical creatures like Easter Bunny, Father Time, Mother Nature, Cupid, and the like and it makes for a very interesting world. But as for the bad stuff: The romance leads once again to the same thing as the first movie where he tells Carol the truth and she doesn’t believe him although thankfully it’s not played out very long. I do kind of get what they’re going for with Charlie’s complaint that he has to keep his father being Santa a secret and that Scott can’t be around but it never comes full circle by the end, and the whole thing with him being on the naughty list, the movie could have done without it. But for the most part this movie definitely does go in more interesting angles than the first even though there are moments that are difficult to stomach. But I can definitely say this a movie that did show what kind of unique Santa Tim Allen could portray.  

The Santa Clause 3: The Escape Clause

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Sadly though while I liked the first two I can’t say the same for this one released in 2006. The story involves Scott being under immense pressure while he has to deliver all the toys for Christmas, be there for his wife while she’s pregnant, disguise the North Pole as Canada for his in-laws, and stop Jack Frost from taking over Christmas. The movie is all over the map with these plots and yet nothing of it comes together. The whole thing with trying to pass off the North Pole as Canada could potentially be hilarious but nothing comes of it. The thing with Jack Frost trying to de-throne Santa just leads to another whole sub plot entirely where he’s in an alternate timeline and it did nothing for the movie. Carol’s parents are miserable characters (as much as I love Alan Arkin). And the rest just resolves itself with no meaning whatsoever to it. There are a couple upsides such as we’re in the North Pole once again and we see places like the hall of snow globes which has a nice design. And Martin Short as the villainous Jack Frost gets his fair share of laughs in a movie that is mostly miserable. The problem is though this move is just so muddled and not nearly as fun.  

At the end of the day though this trilogy does have enough well-fitting of the Christmas spirit that makes it worth at least one watch. But unfortunately, there is no shortage of bad that you have to sit through in each movie. But hey if you have any kind of love for Christmas movies there’s nothing bad this movie can give by bad Christmas movie standards. And with that being said enjoy your holidays. No matter what you may celebrate.