Ewan Gleadow

Movie Review: The Santa Clause

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Copyright: Disney

Nothing strikes Christmas cheer into the hearts and souls of capitalist consumers than the death of Santa Claus. So long as the cogs in the machine are still turning, the death of the jolly red legend will matter little, if at all. The Santa Clause muses on such an event, where resident hero and oddity of culture Tim Allen, slaughters Claus in cold blood. There is no hyperbole in that statement. Not an ounce of deceit or subterfuge to be uncovered. Kris Kringle is tragically taken from us prematurely, and replaced by Allen, due to a clause stating the person who kills Santa must take the reins of his sleigh until he himself is slain.  

Manic Christmas episodes are nowhere to be found. No lost children left at airports, no terrorists taking towers, nor an ounce of exiled elves hitting the streets of The Big Apple. The Santa Clause takes a rather sudden death and manages to turn the magic and whimsy of the festive season up a notch. Fitting Allen into pipes and crevices no man should ever venture down, we see Allen don the large red coat and black fitted boots. Looking more like a sleazy mall Santa than the real deal, Allen does what he does best and turns poor dialogue into enjoyable, over the top fun. He exists on a realm beyond ours, walking through the colourful sweatshop of Santa’s Lair, grinning maniacally as he tries to convince his family and friends that he’s Father Christmas.  

Everyone around Allen fails to keep up with his energy. They struggle on a primitive level to make do with the manic terror he brings to the screen. His performance explodes through all degrees of reality. Sarcasm seeps off of the screen through this role, and the supporting performers can do nothing to keep up with his pace. A relatively grounded storyline takes flight thanks to a man having a mental breakdown on the screen in front of us. Horrid CGI is expected, but Disney manages to avoid the essential pratfalls. Its cartoonish nature gels rather well with the over-the-top moments of having a new, erratic, and borderline insane Claus. 

Without nostalgia or a childhood giddiness, this Allen-led comedy flails around looking for some way to entice me into doing more than brushing it off. The Santa Clause is a subversive means of admitting fault in the face of denying an Eldrich deity’s existence. Not bad, not at all, in fact there are portions of likeable Christmas cheer. Impossible to hate, but even harder to like. Believing in Santa Claus may be childish, but to beg forgiveness from the man would be tremendously futile. To stare down the barrel of a rifle with Allen at the other end is a fate worse than missing out on Christmas.