More Fine Print: Our Review of ‘The Santa Clauses’

Posted in Disney +, What's Streaming? by - November 17, 2022
More Fine Print: Our Review of ‘The Santa Clauses’

Returning once again to his 2nd most recognizable character, outside of Buzz Lightyear of course, Tim Allen once again steps into the boots of Scott Calvin – aka Santa Claus. The 6 part follow-up series lands on Disney+ this week with a 2 episode debut, which means that the final episode lines up to release the week before Christmas itself this year. The Santa Clauses adds yet another line to the infamous business card of Clauses, which surrounds the right for Calvin to retire from being Santa altogether.

Over 15 years since the events of The Santa Clause 3, Scott Calvin now has 2 more children, Cal (Austin Kane) and Sandra (Elizabeth Allen-Dick), who have spent their entire lives living at the North Pole away from any other children of their age. Mrs. Claus (Elizabeth Mitchell) has trouble even remembering her life before the Pole due to the length of time they have lived there and starts to rail against the shallow, 1 dimension aspect that Mrs. Claus has in the story of Christmas around the world.

But even more frustrating for Scott is the level that the Christmas spirit has fallen around the world. The flourishing online sales market has depleted the need for the elves’ workshop and Christmas magic is a an all-time low. Determined to set a better example for his children, and disturbed by his failing magic, Calvin sets out to retire and find his successor. But when his eldest son Charlie (Eric Lloyd) passes on the job, Scott needs to start looking elsewhere.

The first 2 episodes that were provided for review are basically dealing with this setup, as the main story hasn’t even really kicked in by the end of episode 2. It explains why they chose a series format instead of another film as there is a lot more story to unravel here and they are also addressing issues that may have arisen in previous films. Mainly, it addresses plot holes that showed in the least successful installment The Santa Clause 3. In this case, it works as there is just enough material to tie in the series to previous films as there is new developing content, plus the series isn’t solely aimed at the younger audiences, though a lot of the original film goofiness permeates this series.

Fans of the series will likely love the inclusion and cameos of famous characters from Santa Clauses past as Mitchell returns as Mrs. Claus. We also get cameos from Eric Lloyd as Charlie and the already promised return of David Krumhotlz’s Bernard, a fan favorite missing from the 3rd film. Whether we see Scott’s ex-wife played by Wendy Crewson, her husband played by Judge Reinhold, Spencer Breslin’s Curtis or Scott’s parents played by Ann-Margret and Alan Arkin remains to be seen. But the returning cast here slip into their roles effortlessly, and Allen feels like he never stopped playing Calvin altogether. I won’t ruin my favorite character’s return though, which comes with little fanfare early in the first episode. Even with a recast, it’s still a mighty fun callback.

Another area that this excels at for a Disney + show is the production design, having to live up to the larger budget settings of the previous films in fear of looking low budget and out of place, Santa Clauses nails the feel of the north pole established in the previous films. The series feels much broader and bigger in scope due to the strong work in setting the stage, whether through set design, CGI, or both. Even the new characters fit seamlessly into what’s going on around them.

Sure to be a treat for Santa Clause mega fans. of which my mother is a definite one, The Santa Clauses looks to deliver a much-needed Christmas jolt this holiday season. And even though the show is still developing the main drivers of the plot by the end of episode 2, you can start to see where things are going, and there’s enough there to hook most audiences in for the rest of the ride. Just hurry up and give us Bernard’s return, we’ve waited long enough.

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"Kirk Haviland is an entertainment industry veteran of over 20 years- starting very young in the exhibition/retail sector before moving into criticism, writing with many websites through the years and ultimately into festival work dealing in programming/presenting and acquisitions. He works tirelessly in the world of Canadian Independent Genre Film - but is also a keen viewer of cinema from all corners of the globe (with a big soft spot for Asian cinema!)
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