The Santa Clause (Special Edition)

Starring:
Tim Allen as Scott Calvin/Santa
Judge Reinhold as Dr. Neal Miller
Wendy Crewson as Laura Miller
Eric Lloyd as Charlie Calvin
David Krumholtz as Bernard, the Arch Elf
Larry Brandenburg as Detective Nunzio
Mary Gross as Miss Daniels (School Teacher)
Paige Tamada as Little Elf Judy
Peter Boyle as Mr. Whittle, Scott Calvin’s Boss
Judith Scott as Susan Perry
Jayne Eastwood as Judy, the Restaurant Waitress

Special Features:
So You Want To Be An Elf?
Santa’s Helper – A Trivia Adventure Game
Making Santa Snacks With Wolfgang

Other Info:
English, French, and Spanish Languages
Widescreen (1.85:1) – Enhanced For 16×9 Televisions
Running Time: 97 Mins.
Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround Sound
THX Certified
Captions Subtitles, Spanish Subtitles

Synopsis:
Scott Calvin is a divorced father about to spend Christmas with his son Charlie. Things don’t go so well between the two, but everything takes a turn for the surreal when Santa lands on their roof. When Scott accidentally surprises Santa, St. Nick falls from the roof to his death. It’s then up to Scott and Charlie to continue delivering presents to the kids around the world. The two find a new bond in delivering presents around the world. Little does Scott know that he’s expected to permanently assume the role of Santa Claus. Scott is told he has 11 months to wrap up his old life and prepare for his new life as Santa.

Of course, things don’t go so well. Charlie’s mother, stepfather, and classmates begin to think he’s crazy when he starts talking about how his father is the new Santa. Scott also becomes alienated at work as he gains weight and has a sudden change in attitude. When Scott’s ex-wife ends visitation rights with his son on grounds that he’s crazy, he takes off with Charlie to the North Pole. Thus the police begin a manhunt for Scott / Santa on Christmas Eve. Can Scott set his old life right and still fulfill his duties as Santa?

“The Santa Clause” is rated PG.

The Movie:
I should start out by saying that I didn’t like this movie when it first came out in 1994. I watched it again on DVD hoping that my opinion would have changed, but it didn’t. I still really dislike this film. What could have been a fun, silly movie ends up being a depressing and boring film.

This movie has quite a few dark moments that they try and play for laughs. I didn’t care for them. It starts out with Santa being killed. Then Scott Calvin is a jerk through half the movie. When he becomes Santa, he suddenly becomes rather boring. His son is ridiculed as being insane, and his ex-wife then goes to court to remove his visitation rights. Scott then kidnaps his son for a month and leaves a crying mother and stepfather behind. The police are then portrayed as bad guys and idiots as they try to get the kidnapped child back. Throw in a few fart jokes, boring elves, and an awkward ending for good measure and you see why I’m unimpressed.

The film does have a few redeeming moments. Tim Allen every once in a while delivers a funny joke. There’s a good one where he’s commenting on whether kids are naughty or nice as he walks down the street when a good-looking woman walks by. You get the idea of what happens next. A little of the Tim Allen we love from television shines through in a funny police interrogation scene. Finally, the makeup effects are pretty good as well.

In short, I don’t recommend this movie. It’s not nearly as funny as it promises to be. If you’re going to watch it, though, this widescreen version is the way to go. I’m hopeful that the sequel is much better.

The Extras:
The extras on this DVD are not much to speak of. First off is a feature entitled “So You Want To Be An Elf?”. Bernard the Elf acts as a drill sergeant training new elves how to do their jobs. In between skits, they throw in a few behind the scenes shots from the making of the movie. They go by fast, so don’t blink. It could have been a really funny feature, but ends up falling flat (like the movie).

Santa’s Helper is a DVD game where you must move Santa’s sleigh up and down to dodge obstacles while you deliver presents. This is actually a bit difficult. I never finished it, so I don’t know if there’s a prize at the end to make it worth your trouble. Kids might get more of a kick battling it than I did.

The final feature is “Making Santa Snacks With Wolfgang”. This is basically a kid’s cooking show with some celebrity chef that I’ve never heard of. You make pizza (go figure) and other holiday favorites with this guy with a funny accent. Along with it are text versions of the recipes and an ad for the chef’s latest book. This has to be one of the lamest extras I’ve seen on a DVD.

I have to compliment the DVD on one feature, though. The menus show the snow globe from the film. When you push a button, the globe shakes up the snow. It’s pretty cool. Other than this, there’s not much here for you.

The Bottom Line:
I wouldn’t buy this one. Save it to rent before watching “The Santa Clause 2″ in theaters. Hopefully it will be better.

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