Wednesday, 19 December 2012

The Santa Clause

Lowdown: A non-believer finding himself in Santa’s shoes has to fight for his child.
Till now I have never seen me 1994’s The Santa Clause in full, but I had the impression the bits I did see appeared funny. Further, I seemed to recall the film receiving positive review. Under these assumptions I sat down to watch the film – me, an atheist with a non-Christian background. Hey, Tim Allen can’t be wrong, can he?
Yes, he can.
Allen plays Scott, a successful exec at a toy company but a failed family man, at least by the way he treats his divorcee and her new husband. He loves his son, though, but can’t for the life of him supply the son with a proper Christmas dinner experience. Things change when Santa crashes off Scott’s roof and he’s forced to replace him and become the new Santa. Together with his son they deliver gifts across the world, a feat they manage but which leaves the son at a problematic position: his arguing about the Santa experience causes people to think ill of him and his father. There lies the main conflict of this film, with the divorced couple pooling in different directions. Until the wrong side sees the light, that is.
Things quickly come down to a simple equation: if you believe in Santa you’re good, and if you don’t you’re bad and a spoilsport. Only problem is, what should kids (the movie’s target market) take from such a message? Should we really tell our kids that what is factually wrong is actually right just because you believe in it? And can we say this with a hand on our heart while knowing fully well the whole Santa thing is made up?
I really don’t see the point of movies like The Santa Clause (other than fetching money to Disney coffers, of course). Interestingly, we watched this one the day after my 5 year old told me some of his kinder colleagues insisted Santa was real (sending us off to one of those pleasurable “what do you think?” conversations). I’m pretty sure the conflicting messages he’s receiving are leaving him confused; I hope he’s got enough of a rational to figure things properly for himself and not fall for social ignorance.
Oh, and those funny bits I thought I remembered? They turned out to be as real as Santa.
Second worst scenes: I won’t even bother dealing with the film’s worst scenes; you should have got the gist by now. I will, however, point out how spoiled we have become through digital special effects. The Santa Clause is not that old a movie yet its special effects appear pathetic and so dead obvious! It is as if digital technology is rendering everything predating it obsolete.
Overall: I can only recommend The Santa Clause to people wishing to become schizophrenic. 1 out of 5 stars.

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