Tim Allen’s first starring movie role!
The Santa Clause is about a man who kills Santa Claus and takes over his life. Sounds pretty dark for children yet somehow it is totally charming. As far as I can remember it was my first Christmas movie I owned (probably given to me for Christmas – but I was 6 years old so who knows?). So logically it was probably my first favourite Christmas movie as I was too young to appreciate my current favourites but it’s definitely been inched out of my top movies now.
That being said, it is still a wonderful movie and I wouldn’t be hurting to watch it more frequently. It definitely is more appropriate for kids and it keeps the Santa magic alive. Though even after I stopped believing in Santa Claus I continued to watch and enjoy this movie. Until recently though, I hadn’t watched this movie since my childhood.
I’m sure I loved this classy leg action just as much when I was a kid!
The Santa Clause was Disney’s 2nd original live action Christmas movie and it was immensely successful. It followed One Magic Christmas released in 1985 and Babes in Toyland in 1961 (which was based on an operetta). The Santa Clause made back over 7 times its original production budget and was in the top 5 highest grossing films of 1994. It terms of Christmas movies it is in the top 10 highest grossing Christmas movies of all time (all 3 movies in The Santa Clause franchise are in the top 10). Other than Home Alone, the Santa Clause franchise is the most successful Christmas franchise!
The Santa Clause may have been magical to children but what makes us remember it and keep it in our hearts as adults is the clever story and fun dialogue. Watching this for the first time in many years as an adult I have been finding myself laughing at quite a few jokes I wouldn’t have appreciated as a kid. There are also a bunch of plot holes but who really looks that close in Christmas movies anyway.
Uhh… where’d the sleigh go?
The story answers the questions that kids who doubt Santa start to ask which makes the movie very smart for kids. It also never feels like the movie talks down to the children in the audience which is important. Then of course there are the hidden adult jokes that are put there to humour the parents who end up watching this with their kids. The lines themselves are good but I also love the sarcasm and off the cuff comments Scott makes throughout the film; which in fairness given my harsh stance on bullying could sometimes be seen that way considering his comments toward Neil. Somehow his comments in this movie seem much lighter and more in jest than aggressive.
Given this is a family film I’m surprised they were able to fit in so many of the naughty adult jokes. I think my favourite was when the principal asks Scott/Santa what he did with Charlie on Christmas Eve and he responds “We shared a bowl of sugar, did some shots of brown liquor, played with my shot guns, field-dressed a cat, looked for women…”. I don’t remember that at all from when I was a kid since I’m sure the humour in that went right over my head but I’m surprised they were able to joke about that at all in a Disney movie!
“It’s okay I’m used to it, I lived through the 60’s!”
Something else I want to mention is that I’m pretty certain that this movie was one of my earliest exposures to the idea of divorce. It is something that hasn’t been a part of most Christmas movies (I’m not counting Four Christmases since it is terrible and aimed at adults) which is a real shame since unfortunately many families in modern times are dealing with divorce (maybe fortunately to some – I do not judge). I did not grow up in a divorced home but after seeing this movie (and probably a few others that I don’t remember) I did have friends and family deal with divorce and I understood the idea better because of movies. The portrayal of divorce in this movie is not perfect (for example Scott being sarcastic and snotty to the step-dad) but it is nice to have the blended family included in a Christmas movie aimed at kids.
Overall, The Santa Clause is over 20 years old now and in my mind is definitely a Christmas classic. It has plenty of Christmas spirit, without the commercialization; plenty of family values, without trashing or hyping divorce; and it is funny – to both children and adults. It captures all of the main ingredients to a quality family Christmas film. It may not quite be old enough to be a true classic; it continues to be popular and memorable, not to mention the fact that it spawned a franchise – enough to be a classic in my book.
Almost forgot the Home Improvement reference!
What do you think of The Santa Clause? Is it enjoyable as an adult? Let us know in the comments!