Blu-ray and DVD Reviews

The Santa Clause 2

Reviewed by: Scott Chitwood
Movie Rating:
7 out of 10
Extras Rating:
6 out of 10
Movie Details:
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Rating: G

Starring:
Tim Allen as Scott Calvin/Santa Claus
Elizabeth Mitchell as Carol Newman
Eric Lloyd as Charlie Calvin
David Krumholtz as Bernard
Spencer Breslin as Curtis
Wendy Crewson as Laura Miller
Judge Reinhold as Neil
Peter Boyle as Father Time
Michael Dorn as The Sandman
Art LaFleur as Tooth Fairy
Kevin Pollak as Cupid
Molly Shannon
Aisha Tyler as Mother Nature

Special Features:

7 Deleted Scenes

Gag Reel – Bloopers from the Cast

“Operation Toy Box: Save Santa” Set Top Game

“Inside The North Pole With Curtis” – Making Of Featurette

“True Confessions Of The Legendary Figures” – Interviews with Tooth Fairy, Mother Nature, Father Time And Easter Bunny

Director’s Tour Of Elfsburg Featurette

Audio Commentary with Michael Lembeck

DVD-ROM Features – Coloring Book Activity, Reindeer Games, Santa Libs Activity, Holiday Rush Game

Other Info:
Widescreen (1.85:1) – Enhanced for 16x9 Televisions
Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround Sound
THX Certified
French and Spanish Language Tracks
Running Time: 104 Minutes

Synopsis:
It has been eight years since Scott Calvin assumed the role of Santa Claus. Since then he has come to love his job and he's regarded as one of the best Santas ever. However, two new problems have arisen. First up, his son Charlie has become a rowdy teenager and has been bumped from the "Nice" list to the "Naughty" list. Second, Scott discovers that there's an additional clause to his agreement to become Santa. He must be married to a Mrs. Claus by Christmas Eve or he'll go back to his old life and the children of the world won't get their presents delivered.

Santa feels that he must go home to find a wife and help his son, but he's reluctant to leave the North Pole at such a busy time. Curtis the Elf offers a solution - make a life-size toy version of him to run things while he's gone. Bernard and Calvin will try and pass him off as the real deal while Scott takes care of business back home. It sounds like a simple plan, but things get complicated, of course. Charlie continues to be rebellious and becomes even more upset when his father starts courting his strict, no-nonsense principal. Scott starts losing his Santa magic to the point that he won't be able to return home. To top things off, the Santa replacement goes nuts and plans to deliver coal to every child in the world for Christmas. Can Scott set everything right and save the day?

"The Santa Clause 2" is rated PG.

The Movie:
I hated the first film, "The Santa Clause". I found it boring, depressing, and generally unfunny. So I was very happy to see that "The Santa Clause 2" was a big improvement over the first. It was funnier, more lighthearted, and more entertaining than the original.

While Tim Allen was fairly reserved in the first film, he's a lot funnier this time around. You can tell he's given more freedom to improvise, and the final product offers a lot more laughs. He particularly cuts loose as the mad toy Santa copy that develops a dictator-like personality. While he goes over the top in the role towards the end, Allen is funny as the toy for the most part.

In this sequel we get to see a lot more of the North Pole, the toy factory, and the elves. The reindeer really steal the show. Comet is hilarious as he speaks with a strange babbling voice and he offers some of the biggest laughs when he goes on a candy binge. A klutzy baby reindeer by the name of Chet also delivers some fun moments when he helps save the day.

Cameos by Art LaFleur as Tooth Fairy, Kevin Pollak as Cupid, and Aisha Tyler as Mother Nature also offer up some fun scenes. Peter Boyle, who had a role in the first film, returns in a more unrecognizable form as Father Time. Molly Shannon has a hilarious cameo as a Christmas obsessed Shania Twain fan that goes out on a date with Scott Calvin. Allen and Shannon really work well together and seem to have a lot of fun in the scene.

Despite being a better film, "The Santa Clause 2" still had its fair share of problems. In the big climax of the film, the characters are reduced to poor one-liners and a lot of yelling. It became painful to watch the film degenerate to that.

Other parts of the story that had a lot of potential were thrown aside. I would have liked to have seen Santa trying to get a date with a variety of women. (Actually, we get this in the deleted scenes.) Molly Shannon was great, but I was hoping to see some more bad dates before they moved on to the inevitable future Mrs. Claus. Elizabeth Mitchell did a fine job as the strict principal and love interest of Scott Calvin. However, immediately after they marry (and I don't think that's a spoiler), we don't see much more of her. During the credits she is shown briefly transforming into the Mrs. Santa we all know while doing an energetic dance. It would have been nice to have seen her more assuming the role of Mrs. Santa beyond the credits. I also thought we would be treated to a scene where Scott Calvin encounters a mall Santa. It was hinted that this might happen, but it never does. The scenes with the other fantasy characters were strangely muted though there was a lot more potential for humor there. In the end, the movie was good, but it could have been better.

There's also a lull in the middle of the film that smaller children might get antsy through. Be warned. Overall, though, if you enjoyed The Santa Clause, then I think you'll really enjoy the sequel. If you didn't enjoy the first film, I think you might find the sequel worth giving a chance.

The Extras:
A few extra DVD features are included on this DVD. Here are the highlights:

7 Deleted Scenes – This is a series of deleted scenes, each of which is introduced by the director Michael Lembeck. One scene features Santa on a series of bad dates with women. It’s actually pretty funny and probably should have been left in. Another scene shows the new Mrs. Santa battling tin soldiers while another shows a new scene introducing the toy copying machine. Overall, though, the scenes are not terribly exciting and they are probably best left on the cutting room floor.

Gag Reel – Bloopers from the Cast – This is a series of scenes where all the cast flub their lines. Tim Allen seems to be the one with the best screw ups. It’s a fun little feature.

“Operation Toy Box: Save Santa” Set Top Game – This is a three part game. In one room, you must try and decide if Santa is real or a clone by answering trivia questions. In the second game you dodge attacking tin soldiers, and in the third game you shoot them with silly string. It’s fun for kids but I found the controls a little difficult to operate.

“Inside The North Pole With Curtis” – Making Of Featurette - Spencer Breslin hosts this tour of the set in characters as Curtis, the #2 elf. He takes you to the makeup trailer, the on-set school, the Elfburg set, and more. Things get heated, of course, when he runs into Bernard. It’s a cute feature for kids but it doesn’t give much insight into the making of the film.

“True Confessions Of The Legendary Figures” – Interviews with Tooth Fairy, Mother Nature, Father Time And Easter Bunny – This is a funny mockumentary featuring the holiday character actors being interviewed in character. It’s brief, but very funny as the director quizzes them about their roles in the film, what they think of the other characters, and more. It’s amusing to see these funny actors ad libbing for the video.

Director’s Tour Of Elfsburg Featurette – In this feature the director briefly walks you around the set. He rather annoyingly pretends that the kids are real elves and that the tin soldiers are real. With it obviously being in a studio and crew standing around watching everything, it takes away from the effect a bit. Anyway, you don’t learn much about the set or the filming here (or anywhere else on the DVD for that matter).

Audio Commentary with Michael Lembeck – Lembeck is an interesting guy and talks a lot, but he continues the annoying trend of pretending that everything on screen is real. He says that the locations are real, the elves are real, etc etc etc. When he tries to assert that Tim Allen is the real Santa it gets even sillier. I’d have rather heard him talk about the real filming of the movie. And at the very least Tim Allen could have participated in this extra. He doesn’t appear anywhere else in the DVD extras.

The Bottom Line:
The Santa Clause 2 is a fun movie for kids and adults. Even if you didn’t like the first film, this one is still worth checking out. The DVD extras aren’t spectacular, but they’re better than nothing.

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