Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Too Many Clauses

The Santa Clause
Director: John Pasquin
Cast: Tim Allen, Judge Reinhold, Wendy Crewson, Eric Lloyd, David Krumholtz
Released: Novemer 11, 1994

The Santa Clause 2
Director: Michael Lembeck
Cast: Tim Allen, Elizabeth Mitchell, David Krumholtz, Spencer Breslin, Judge Reinhold, Wendy Crewson, Eric Lloyd
Released: November 1, 2002

The Santa Clause 3: The Escape Clause
Director: Michael Lembeck
Cast: Tim Allen, Martin Short, Elizabeth Mitchell, Alan Arkin, Ann-Margaret, Judge Reinhold, Wendy Crewson, Eric Lloyd, Spencer Breslin
Released: November 3, 2006

Oh, boy. This is a Christmas trilogy that gets considerably worse with each movie. I saw that they were all on Netflix and watched all of them in a span of two days. I had only seen the first one, but it had been a very long time since I had revisited it. All I had remembered was that Tim Allen kills Santa Claus (accidentally, of course, as this IS a Disney movie) and becomes him. There are a lot of unanswered questions and things that don't make sense, but they just brush over all of these.

The movie begins on Christmas Eve where Scott Calvin (Tim Allen) is spending the day with his six-year-old son, Charlie (Eric Lloyd). His ex-wife, Laura (Wendy Crewson) and her new psychiatrist husband, Neil (Judge Reinhold) drop him off. Scott is upset because apparently Neil has told Charlie that Santa isn't real, but Scott tells his son that he IS real and, just to humor his son, tells him he believes in him too. This movie would have made more sense if it had been Scott who told his son there was no Santa Claus. 

While there are no funny moments in the sequels (well, there are, but none of them made me laugh), there were some funny moments in the first movie. One of them is when Scott is reading his son "The Night Before Christmas" and when he sees Charlie is (seemingly) asleep, he yada-yadas through the last few pages. However, since it's Christmas Eve, of course Charlie is still awake. They both hear something on the roof and go outside to check it out. Scott sees a man dressed as Santa and yells at him. The man slips and falls off the roof with Charlie exclaiming, "You killed Santa!" Scott pulls out a business card from the man that says "Santa Claus North Pole" and there's a little riddle on the back telling the person who finds the card whoever puts on the suit will become Santa. There's also some very fine print on the border of the card that goes into more detail. Scott, like any sensible adult, is trying to make sense of it and just thinks it was some dude dressed up as Santa. I think he's more concerned that there's a dead guy on his front lawn than that it was actually Santa. However, he can't explain how a sleigh and eight reindeer (why does Rudolph always get the shaft?) and the body somehow seems to disappear.  He doesn't want to put on the Santa suit, but his son convinces him to do so and he becomes Santa Claus, delivering the rest of the presents. Apparently, it looked like the previous Santa was 99.9% done with delivering his gifts because Scott only goes to about three homes before the (scary CGI) reindeer take him and Charlie "home" to the North Pole.

None of the elves (who are all played by children, in fact, there's even a shot of a baby dressed in an elf costume at one point!) seem upset that the previous Santa had died. They welcome their new Santa with no questions. I thought for sure they were going to be upset that their Santa had died and wouldn't be accepting of the new guy, but nope that isn't the case. They just go on with business as usual. I had just assumed the Santa Claus who fell off the roof had been Santa for eternity, but we don't discover until the third movie that there have been thousands upon thousands of Santas throughout time. We know this because Santa Scott shows his ex-wife's daughter who she had with her new husband (the little girl refers to Scott as her uncle) a room filled with thousands of snow globes and tells her each one represents every Santa Claus that has ever been. Does this mean that being Santa Claus is like being a Vampire Slayer? When one dies, the next one takes its place? What if a Santa dies, but is revived? Does that mean there are two Santas? (Actually, that wouldn't be a bad idea...one could do the Northern hemisphere and the other could do the Southern. Why am I asking such stupid questions?) Also, why have there been so many damn Santas? No way Santa didn't exist back in the cave man day. Also, we know he has a long life span. We meet one of his elves who tells Santa Scott that she has been perfecting her hot cocoa recipe for twelve hundred years. There shouldn't have been thousands of Santa...unless the original was the only magical one who could live for thousands of years and when he did finally die, he passed on his powers to just mere mortals who only lived out the rest of their lives. But what happens if a woman puts on the suit? Or a child? I'm so confused. Why do I have so many stupid questions about this movie?

Anyhoo....Santa Scott (btw, notice Scott Calvin has the same initials as Santa Claus) and his son land at the North Pole and he meets Bernard (David Krumholtz), the Head Elf. He explains to him about the Santa Clause, showing him the fine print on the card. He also tells him that he's free to leave tomorrow to get his "affairs in order" and is due back at Thanksgiving to get ready for the holiday season. Now in the sequels, he lives at the North Pole year round, so I guess when they're making the transformation, they're allowed to go back to their real lives to make changes.

Scott wakes ups the next morning in his own bed and just thinks he had a crazy vivid dream. Okay, that does make sense, but shouldn't it send warning signals that his son is also talking about visiting the North Pole and his dad turning into Santa? It's pretty funny when Laura and Neil come to pick up Charlie the next morning who's blabbering on about this and they're just giving Scott a strange look.

Scott goes through some physical changes he can't do anything about on his first hiatus as Santa. For one thing, he gains a lot of weight. So much so that he can only fit into sweatpants and sweatshirts and even goes to an office meeting in a sweatsuit. Nobody believes him when he tells them he's all bloated because he got stung by a bee. And especially not after he orders a bunch of desserts when he's giving his lunch order. Supposedly in this universe, Santa loves his sweets. A LOT. When he goes to the doctor about his weight gain (among other changes), he tells the doctor that he's only been eating cookies and milk. Okay, real talk: If you visited billions of homes once a night (oh, and by the way, in case you really care, they explain how Santa is able to visit so many homes in one night by saying there's a space-time continuum) and ate all the cookies and milk the kids left out for you, would you want to eat cookies any other time of the year? No, I don't think so! I would think Santa would get so damn sick of all the sugar, he'd want to only eat vegetables the rest of the year! But, nope! According to this Santa lore, he loves the sweets! I like cookies too, but, ugh! Even Cookie Monster would get sick of all them cookies! Another physical change is that no matter how many times he keeps shaving, a beard keeps growing on his face and eventually turns into the snowy white  beard we all associate with Santa. There's even a scene where he has just shaven it, looks in the mirror and pats his face dry, and the beard automatically grows back. His doctor dismisses it as "a hormonal imbalance".  But even more concerning is that his doctor also dismisses the fact that when he listens to his heartbeat, he hears it thumping to the tune of Jingle Bells. Uh, you should have this man on the operating table, STAT!

Fed-Ex sends Scott a ton of boxes filled with the names of all the children in the world and whether they're on the naughty or nice list. While it's a funny visual gag because we see his house is just filled with all these boxes, from floor to ceiling, it just doesn't make sense. This is a world where Santa has magic so shouldn't it just be a magical scroll that has every name of all the children on it? (Also, wouldn't it be a pain in the ass to update that sucker every year?) And is Fed-Ex in on this?

The movie takes a bit of a weird, dark turn when Charlie's mom and stepdad are worried that he truly thinks his dad really is Santa Claus and want to take away his visitation rights. I had totally forgotten about that part. They also think Scott is intentionally changing his appearance so he does look like Santa. Someone made this great trailer of The Santa Clause as a horror/thriller and it's super creepy considering that they used footage and dialogue from the actual movie, a Disney family comedy! Now if they had made this movie, it would have been way more interesting! Click here to watch.

So clearly this is set in a universe where Santa does exist. I have no problems with movies like this, but if that is the case that he DOES exist, then why are people, like in this movie, so skeptical that he does exist? How do they explain the presents under the tree the next morning? Unless Santa skips the houses where he knows they don't believe in him because he knows the parents have the presents covered? Or do the parents just assume their spouse put the gifts under the tree while they slept? I am so confused by this. Also, over the course of the three movies, a lot of people find out about Santa, so they're not keeping him top secret or anything.

Scott seems to accept his duties as Santa without question and is fine taking on such a big responsibility. It's too bad there's not some way he can get out of this job he never asked for in the place...oh, wait, we'll get to that later! By the time next Christmas comes along, he does much better than last Christmas. There is a funny moment the first time he's Santa he tells a little girl he's lactose intolerant, hence why he doesn't drink the glass of milk she left out for him. The next Christmas she has soy milk for him because she remembered what he told her.

Laura and Neil realize that Charlie was telling the truth about his dad being Santa all along and give Scott (even though he is now Santa, he still goes by Scott throughout the movies...only the kids and elves seem to call him Santa) back his visitation rights. They now believe in Santa because Laura gets her Mystery Date game she always wanted and Neil gets the "weenie whistle" he always wanted when he was three, but never got, hence the reason he doesn't believe in Santa. A few things:

1. If there REALLY is a Santa, wouldn't he know what Laura and Neil wanted when they were kids? Duh.
2. Neil's parents couldn't splurge for a stupid "weenie whistle?" (BTW, if you don't know what that it, it's a whistle in the shape of a hotdog).
3. Isn't a whistle a choking hazard for a three year old? This one is especially small. That's probably why you didn't get it, Neil! Although, that doesn't explain why Laura never got her board game.
4. Who stops believing in Santa when they're three?
5. Who even remembers anything when they're three?

I did laugh at the end of the movie when Charlie says he wants to go into the "family business." Um, is he going to kill his dad so he can be Santa? Oh, one more thing. This movie came out during prime Home Improvement time so of course we get a scene of Tim Allen grunting "Ho, ho, ho" like he did on that show. No kid watching this movie today or in the future will get that at all. Also, in an early scene before he turns into Santa, we see a store in the background called something Timone. This is a cute little Easter egg (um, Christmas cookie?) because Timone is a character from The Lion King, another Disney movie from 1994 and it stars Allen's TV son, JTT!

Okay, it's time to move on to the second movie. The third one is probably the worst in the trilogy, but this one might be my least favorite. The main premise of this one is that Scott can't continue on being Santa unless he gets married because he needs a Mrs. Claus! Ugh! Can you imagine if the roles were reversed and this was a movie about a woman who couldn't keep her job unless she got married? Also, um, I don't remember the previous Santa being married because we never met his wife in the first movie! Unless, when you die as Santa, Mrs. Claus automatically dies as well!

Santa Scott goes back to wherever he was from in the United States for two reasons:
1) to find a wife
2) his son, Charlie, now in high school, is now on the naughty list because he's been spray painting around the school. And he's super surprised when Bernard tells him this (or maybe it was Spencer Breslin, who plays the next-in-line elf, who told him...I don't remember). Um, you're Santa Claus. You're the one making the naughty or nice lists! Shouldn't you know this? Especially your own kid?

There is an amusing scene where Scott's ex sets him up with one of her friends (Molly Shannon in a terrible blonde wig) who is obsessed with Christmas. She wears a sweatshirt with a huge print of Santa's face and shows him her Christmas charm bracelet. Nevertheless the date is a bust. While Scott is in "the real world", he begins to look like his old self and thus looses weight and gets rid of the awful beard so he no longer looks like a Santa doppleganger. This is probably only for him to attract a mate, because, let's be honest: Who would be attracted to Santa Claus?

Guess who he ends up falling for? The principal of Charlie's school, Carol (Elizabeth Mitchell aka Juliette from Lost).  They bond over Christmas or something...IDK. I could really care less. Scott ends up telling her, after their first date that he's Santa Claus, but she doesn't believe him. Not until Charlie shows her the snow globe that makes her believe. Oh, yeah, I forgot to mention the damn snow globe. It's kind of an important thing in the movies. Get this: whenever Charlie wants to see his dad (since he lives so far away in the North Pole), all he has to do is shake the snow globe and his dad will appear. However, in the third movie we find out the snow globe is locked in a special room in Santa's workshop. So why is it there and not with Charlie? Did he give it back when he got older and didn't care about seeing his dad that much anymore? These movies make no sense.

While Scott is gone, he makes this really creepy clone of himself (played by Tim Allen with a weird plastic head) because they still need to have someone in charge of the elves since it's so close to Christmas and they need to continue making toys. Why didn't he just put Bernard in charge? All of these elves are really stupid because they believe he's the real Santa. He slowly becomes a dictator and it's a really weird B plot line and it's just best to forget about it.

Somehow Carol goes back to the North Pole with Santa Scott and, after, like a month of dating, he asks her to marry him and she's like, "Of course! Yes!" Excuse my langague, but what the f**k? Who decides to marry someone after only knowing them for a month? And who would uproot their whole entire life to move to a cold, remote location with the only company being a bunch of elves and a jolly fat man who eats sweets all day? No, thank you! I would much rather live on the Lost island! They are married right there on the spot and Scott automatically turns back into Santa. You know, I never really thought of this, but I was listening to a podcast and someone pointed out while Scott physically turns into Santa, Carol (haha, I almost typed Juliette) doesn't become a Mrs. Claus type: elderly, plump woman with gray hair and round glasses, but rather she stays young, thin, and blonde. So yes, they are married on Christmas Eve, exactly the deadline he needed to be hitched by, and hooray! Christmas is saved! Ugh!

In the third and (hopefully!) final movie, we learn there is an Escape Claus where, if in the event the person who assumes the role of Santa, does NOT want to be Santa, all he has to do is hold the super special Snow Globe and say "I wish I were never Santa" and everything goes back to the way it was. Gee, they conveniently left this out of the first movie! They never told Scott there was a way out of this. Of course, by this time, twelve years later, Scott loves being Santa and blah, blah, blah. He is now married to Carol and they are expecting a baby, and eww...I don't want to think of Santa procreating. Besides, it seems really unfair that Santa has his own child. You just know this kid is going to be the most spoiled kid in the world! He has every single toy right at his fingertips! What kind of bs is that?

In the second movie we were introduced to the Council of Legendary Figures (or whatever they were called) which includes Santa, the Easter Bunny, the Tooth Fairy, the Sandman, Mother Nature, and Father Time. (Hey! Where is the Hanukah Armadillo?) In this movie we are introduced to Jack Frost (Martin Short) who wants to take over Christmas and become Santa. I know "jack frost" is mentioned in The Christmas Song ("jack frost nipping at your nose"), but I don't think of it as a legendary holiday figure. Apparently he's the one who gives children their runny noses. He ends up tricking Santa into making him not be Santa anymore (and it takes awhile to get there) so he can take over the job. Scott is now back to his old self and we learn that he and his son are no longer close, his ex-wife divorced her new husband (yet their daughter was still born...I thought for sure in this timeline she wouldn't exist) and everything and everyone is so miserable. We also learn that Jack Frost as Santa Claus has made the North Pole into a theme park, charging everyone to come and visit. Scott tricks the Santa Frost into saying he wished he never became Santa and they go back in time to when Scott first became Santa. I thought for sure Scott was going to find a way to save the original Santa, the one who fell off the roof in the first movie, so he would continue on being Santa and Scott would remain himself and still maintain a good relationship with his son and ex-wife AND marry Carol, but live a nice, normal life in Wherever, USA. But no. He was destined to be Santa Claus.

There's also this stupid subplot where Carol's parents (played by Alan Arkin and Ann-Margaret) are coming to visit for her upcoming birth. They, of course, have no idea she's married to Santa Claus and think her husband works at a toy company in Canada. To trick them, they make signs all over saying they are in Canada and everyone says "Eh!" at the end of every sentence. Santa Scott brings the Sandman with him so he can make Carol's parents fall asleep while they're riding in the sled.

Yeah, these movies are terrible. Maybe I would have liked them better if they came out when I was a kid. The first one has its moments and is the most interesting so I would slightly recommend that one as a movie to watch around the holidays, but definitely skip its sequels!

1 comment:

  1. I enjoyed reading this.I just watched all 3 with my kids and totally agree with what you're saying :)