The Santa Clause 3: The Escape Clause

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Rating: G

Starring:
Tim Allen as Santa/Scott Calvin
Elizabeth Mitchell as Mrs. Claus/Carol Calvin
Eric Lloyd as Charlie Calvin
Judge Reinhold as Neil Miller
Wendy Crewson as Laura Miller
Spencer Breslin as Curtis
Liliana Mumy as Lucy Miller
Martin Short as Jack Frost
Ann-Margret as Sylvia Newman
Alan Arkin as Bud Newman
Abigail Breslin as Trish
Art LaFleur as Tooth Fairy
Aisha Tyler as Mother Nature
Kevin Pollak as Cupid
Jay Thomas as Easter Bunny

Special Features:
Blooper Reel
Alternate Opening
Jack Frost & Mrs. Claus: A Very Different Look
The New Comedians: On The Set With Tim & Marty
Audio Commentary — With Director Michael Lembeck
Creating Movie Magic: Visual Effects Secrets, From The Hall Of Snowglobes To Santa’s Fireplace
Christmas Carol-Oke: Sing Your Favorite Songs Of The Season
Music Video — “Greatest Time Of Year” With Aly & AJ

Other Info:
Widescreen (1.78:1) and Fullscreen (1.33:1)
Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround Sound
Spanish and French Language
Running Time: 92 Minutes

Synopsis:
Some time after “The Santa Clause 2,” Scott and Carol are expecting their first child together at the North Pole. However, Carol is homesick and misses her family. Despite the looming Christmas deadline, Scott agrees to bring her parents to the North Pole (which they’ll disguise as Canada, eh!). He also brings his family along for the ride, too.

Unfortunately, at the same time Jack Frost comes to town secretly wishing to be as popular as Santa. Scott takes him on as extra help, but Jack uses the opportunity to sabotage the Christmas efforts. Will all the pressure of family and work drive Scott to wish he’d never become Santa? And what would happen if Jack Frost took over the role?

“The Santa Clause 3: The Escape Clause” is rated G.

The Movie:
Despite the fact that this is the third “Santa Clause” movie, the creators still managed to come up with some fun new ideas. Most notable is the elves’ plan to make the North Pole look like Canada. They throw in a few amusing Canada jokes that liven the story up. And Martin Short as Jack Frost, though mostly toned down, does have a few moments to cut loose and deliver improvised lines that are quite funny. Ann-Margret as Sylvia Newman and Alan Arkin as Bud Newman also have a few moments to shine, most notably when they inevitably discover that Scott Calvin is Santa Claus. I also have to compliment Liliana Mumy as Lucy Miller. She has more life than anybody else in the cast. And be sure to watch the end credits for the bloopers. It looks like this was a fun set to be on.

On a side note, as a “Lost” fan, it’s awfully weird to see Elizabeth Mitchell go from Mrs. Claus to one of The Others and back again.

Unfortunately, I was flat out bored by “The Santa Clause 3.” My kids watched it with rapt attention, but I was keeping my eye on my watch. This movie did nothing for me. The characters were bland and never used to their full potential. The story didn’t really do anything new or different. The whole thing had a feel like they were wringing the last dollars out of the “Santa Clause” franchise.

And if I never see Tim Allen and Spencer Breslin in movies again, that will be OK with me. (Well, maybe except for Allen in “Toy Story 3″ or “Galaxy Quest 2.”) Allen just isn’t that funny anymore and it’s baffling why Breslin is still acting. Even with a strong cast of other Legendary Characters, none of them were used to their full comic potential. It was quite a disappointment.

The Extras:
Here’s what you’ll find among the bonus features:

Blooper Reel – This blooper reel was a lot funnier than the movie itself. Short and Allen get to cut loose and do what they do best.

Alternate Opening – In this alternate opening we join an elf classroom in a classroom taught by Elizabeth Mitchell as Mrs. Claus. In it, she recaps he events from the first film. It’s rather redundant if you saw the previous films.

Jack Frost & Mrs. Claus: A Very Different Look – In this featurette, we see that both Jack and Mrs. Claus started out with dramatically different looks. They actually shot a couple of days worth of footage with the original look. Think a blue David Bowie. As for Mrs. Claus, she originally looked like the chubby, traditional version. Eventually they went back to her normal look.

The New Comedians: On The Set With Tim & Marty – This shows the interaction between the two comedians. The other actors talk about their chemistry and clowning around on the set.

Audio Commentary — With Director Michael Lembeck – This is your usual audio commentary, unfortunately not with any of the actors.

Creating Movie Magic: Visual Effects Secrets, From The Hall Of Snowglobes To Santa’s Fireplace – The title of this is fairly self explanatory. They talk about all the work that went into the big effects scenes from the movie.

Christmas Carol-Oke: Sing Your Favorite Songs Of The Season – This one’s pretty self explanatory, too. Lyrics to a number of Christmas carols play as clips from the Santa Clause movies play.

Music Video — “Greatest Time Of Year” With Aly & AJ – More of Disney’s patented, cloned, blonde pop starlets sing this rock Christmas song. It’s your usual video featuring clips from the film and shots of the band playing music.

The Bottom Line:
Kids will love “The Santa Clause 3: The Escape Clause” but adults may find themselves quite disappointed by it.

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