Written by Leonardo Benvenuti and Steve Rudnick
Directed by John Pasquin
Starring Tim Allen, Judge Reinhold, Wendy Crewson, Eric Lloyd, Mary Gross, and Peter Boyle
- Exclusive Santa Clause 2 Sneak Peek
- So You Wanna be an Elf? featurette
- Trivia Game
- Holiday Recipes
- DVD-ROM Content:
- Write a Letter to Santa
- Christmas Countdown Screensaver
Released by: Walt Disney Home Video.
My Advice:If you love Christmas or have kids, own it, otherwise, rent it
This is a really cute little movie. Some people had gasps of horror when they heard the premise was that Allen had to bump off Saint Nick in the first few minutes of the film...but those are the same people who gasp with horror at just about everything else remotely amusely that Hollywood comes up with, too. Anyway, Allen is perfect for the part. It's not too deep of a role, and being the perfect Everyman he can pull this one off. The film truly is a vehicle for him, and the rest of the cast seems to know this. For the most part, they do their jobs to support his character. The special effects are fairly decent. Look, don't expect Hamlet out of this movie: make no mistake, this is pure holiday entertainment, and it doesn't disappoint.
This DVD presentation is for little kids only...at least that's what I think Disney was trying to do here. The first couple of features on this disc are very much for the kiddos. The So You Wanna be an Elf? featurette is a look at Elf Boot Camp run by Bernard, the Arch Elf (played by David Krumholtz). It looks like it might be an attempt at making a "behind-the-scenes" featurette for kids. It does have some behind the scenes stuff, but mostly it looks and feels like a very short Saturday morning kid's show that is just not very funny.
The Santa's Helper game is really not that exciting either. Remember the old arcade game "Defender"? Well, this is very similar to that, except that it is hindered by the delay that is inherent when using the DVD menus. I got frustrated with trying to play it and gave up. Supposedly there are some trivia questions involved, but I didn't see them anywhere.
I will say this for the DVD--they have a really neat idea going with the menus. There is a snowflake button on the screen and if you click it, it has the same effect as shaking a glass snow globe. I dunno, I just thought it was kinda clever, but when you've seen it once, you've gotten all the excitement there is to be had.
This is where things get kinda weird. There is a whole section with celebrity chef Wolfgang Puck where he is presenting recipes for holiday treats...the first of which is a pizza. I don't know about you guys, but the last thing I think of when I think Christmas is pizza. Not only that, but they are too hard for little kids to be able to enjoy making. For example, he goes through the process of making the pizza crust...from scratch! The recipes are there, but all of them look like too much trouble to really be able to have fun with, at least where little kids are concerned.
DVD-ROM features are not all that special either, although they are much better for little kids than the stuff that comes off the player. There is a form that allows your little ones (or you, for that matter) to be able to write a letter to Santa. This is a pretty good idea, I think, and it's nicely done. The Christmas Countdown Screensaver is exactly what it sounds like: an installable screensaver that counts down to Christmas from twenty-five days out. This, too, is a pretty good idea for little kids, even though I'm sure you can find something like it on the internet without having to buy this DVD.
Perhaps the best idea Disney had when putting this DVD package together was including a voucher to see the sequel, Santa Clause 2. But, before you rush out and buy this DVD for this reason alone, let me warn you. There is a list of participating movie theatre companies that are will accept this voucher. The list is fairly large, and I'm sure that most everyone could find a theatre near to them that would accept it, but you can't just take this to a local small-town theatre and have them accept it. Plus, it's only good through December 13, 2002. If you don't use it by then, you just miss out.
So, if you've got kids and are looking for another good, clean holiday movie, you could do a lot worse that this one. Go ahead and buy it, but if you don't have kids, at least rent it to see the film again.