Ewan Gleadow

Movie Review: The Santa Clause 3: The Escape Clause

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Copyright: Disney

The violent warpath of Christmas comes to a full stop for Tim Allen. Well over a decade after its initial conception, The Santa Clause 3: The Escape Clause marks one last venture through the operations room of Santa Claus. If you thought for one second this would be a relaxing final venture to the slave labour found in the festive halls of our favourite Eldrich monster, then think again. Wheeling a pregnant Mrs. Claus through the freezing cold on a gurney, slamming into just about everything and everyone, is a rather bold way to open the movie. Downhill from there, as expected, we shall never touch those heights again. Director Michael Lembeck, like Icarus, has flown too close to the sun, and will flail aimlessly before touching the frosted, tinsel-clad ground below. 

A fireplace stands from floor to ceiling, its gaping mouth encroaching on the comfort of the ambient setting, a cut out of the mighty Tim Allen’s face stands tall, as logs and embers burn and spit inside. Surely a metaphor for the burning passion Allen has for the festive period. Counting up his credited filmography sees a darker past than one would first expect. A trilogy of Santa-themed films, and the equally turbulent, terrifying Christmas with the Kranks. To doubt Allen’s love for Christmas is to doubt the fundamental laws of living. As expected, Allen tries his best to work with the worst shavings of decrepit Christmas misery. He steals Alan Arkin and Ann-Margret from their home, paralysing them with magic and taking them away to the North Pole.  

Unfortunately, The Santa Clause 3: The Escape Clause, isn’t nearly as random and erratic as the other two in the series. Whilst the first is a mediocre classic, and the second a bizarre film where Allen battles Dictator Claus, this final entry into the trilogy throws Martin Short into the mixture. Somehow pooling together a larger cast, The Santa Clause 3: The Escape Clause relies not on the manic hell of Allen, but that of Short. His role as Jack Frost is the energy Allen fails to replicate. A wildly strange ability to make his scenes bearable, Short’s energy and commitment to his role is demented. 

You’d think after ten years of giving us more or less the exact same concept over and over, Allen and Lembeck would offer something at least vaguely savoury. Far be it from me to expect quality from a man dressed in a fat suit yelling at a rather cold looking Martin Short, all whilst CGI litters the vaguest portions of their sets. That tired Disney sheen makes for a sickly sight indeed, the modernity of their swift conveyer belt monotony is found in this from the very first moments. Neutering Allen’s zany ability to turn horrid wastes into solid gold, and wheeling Judge Reinhold out as a mere caricature of what he used to be, The Santa Clause 3: The Escape Clause will quite genuinely destroy any hopes you may have of a happy holiday.