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The Santa Clause 3: The Escape Clause(2006)
It's Christmas time once again and Scott Calvin juggles a full house of family and the mischievous Jack Frost, who is trying to take over the big guy's holiday. At the risk of giving away the secret location of the North Pole, Scott invites his in-laws to share in the holiday festivities, and upcoming birth of baby Claus with expectant wife, Carol. Along for the adventure are Scott's extended family, son Charlie, ex-wife Laura Miller, her husband, Neil Miller and their daughter, Lucy who, together with head elf Curtis, foil Jack Frost's crafty scheme to control the North Pole.
For more about The Santa Clause 3: The Escape Clause and the The Santa Clause 3: The Escape Clause Blu-ray release, see the The Santa Clause 3: The Escape Clause Blu-ray Review published by Martin Liebman on November 29, 2007 where this Blu-ray release scored 3.0 out of 5.
Starring: Tim Allen, Elizabeth Mitchell, Martin Short, Peter Boyle, Aisha Tyler, Judge Reinhold
Director: Michael Lembeck
» See full cast & crew
The Santa Clause 3: The Escape Clause Blu-ray Review
A subpar Christmas movie is an extraordinary Blu-ray release.
Reviewed by Martin Liebman, November 29, 2007
I hope you're not delivering when I'm delivering.
I'm not quite sure who the target audience is for the Tim Allen Christmas sequel Santa Clause 3: The Escape Clause. Adults certainly won't find much holiday cheer in this film, and younger children will most likely not get the complexities of the broken families angle, nor will they likely be entertained by (or even really understand) Jack Frost's scheme to become Santa Claus and cash in on the North Pole and popularity of Christmas. Teenagers, obviously, will not want to be caught dead watching this in theaters or picking up the Blu-ray. I'm guessing the "G" rating is trying to lure in parents who will drag their children to anything the MPAA says will be appropriate for them, and I'm also guessing most adults will be asleep as the credits roll and the kids will be jumping for joy that it's over and time to get a Happy Meal.
Tim Allen (Wild Hogs) plays Santa Claus. In the first film of this series (1994's The Santa Clause), he catches Santa on his roof. Santa promptly falls and dies. Allen (then playing troubled family man Scott Calvin) dons Santa's oversized red jacket and is instantly transformed into Jolly Old Saint Nick himself, Father Christmas, The Big Guy, the one, the only, Santa Claus. By the time this third film rolls around, Santa has a new and very pregnant wife, Carol (Elizabeth Mitchell, Lost). She is very concerned that the baby is yet to arrive and becomes overly emotional, yearning for a visit with her parents. As it happens, her parents are not aware that their son-in-law is Santa. They have been led to believe that he is a Canadian toy manufacturer. Santa contrives a plan to bring them to the North Pole. With the help of both the elves (who transform "Elfsburg" into a quaint Canadian town by plastering the word "Canada" all over everything) and the Sandman (Michael Dorn, Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, who will put Carol's parent's to sleep during the journey to the North Pole), the clueless parents arrive, falling for every last detail of the plan, never doubting that all Canadians are as short as elves. Scott's ex-wife Laura (Wendy Crewson, Eight Below), her new husband Neil (Judge Reinhold, Ruthless People) and their daughter Lucy (Liliana Mumy, Cheaper By the Dozen) also come along for a visit.
Meanwhile, the bitter Jack Frost (Martin Short, Father of the Bride) is facing trial in front of the Council of Legendary Figures for allegedly attempting to show up Santa by promoting a new holiday of his invention featuring, of course, himself. Council members include Santa, Mother Nature, Father Time, Cupid, The Easter Bunny, the aforementioned Sandman, and the Toothfairy, all of whom (except Santa) prove to be completely useless filler characters through the length of the film. Frost convinces the council to reach a compromise--he'll preform community service at the North Pole, helping to get Christmas back on schedule. He'll use this to his advantage, snooping around and finally learning of "The Escape Clause" from Santa's #1 Elf, Curtis (Spencer Breslin, The Shaggy Dog), who spills the beans on how Scott's reign as Santa can be reversed, opening up the position to Frost. Frost will resort to trickery and shenanigans to take over the role, and it's up to Santa and his family to stop him before he ruins Christmas forever.
Truth be told, this isn't the worst movie I've ever seen, but it's utterly forgettable. I recently caught the first film of this series on television but I have yet to see part 2. Perhaps seeing all three in succession would have made the third a little more tolerable, but I thought this film had too many broken family dynamics going on to really catch the attention and understanding of younger audiences. Santa Clause 3, as a Christmas movie, just didn't work for me. It offers up a decent story that would perhaps have been better suited as a condensed hour long TV special. It takes way too long to get to where it's headed, and once there the situation is resolved literally within minutes. This is a classic case of a title in need of a story. It's an obvious cash grab movie, banking solely on the name of the franchise and the names on the marquee to woo audiences into buying into it. It's all too predictable (you know exactly when Carol is going to go into labor, for example) and resolved all too easily. I guess there's not much you can do with a "G" rating, but I simply fail to see to whom this movie will appeal. You may very well like it, and audiences were certainly not shy about seeing it. To date, the film has grossed over $80,000,000 domestically. Santa Clause 3 is safe entertainment for the entire family (no language, violence, or adult situations), but I'm just not sure exactly who is going to either like or entirely understand this movie.
The Santa Clause 3: The Escape Clause Blu-ray, Video Quality
Santa Cluse 3: The Escape Clause, presented in it's original theatrical aspect ratio of 1.85:1 and in 1080p high definition, is the epitome of what a modern high definition image should look like. The movie was filmed with no artsy look to it. It's a straightforward presentation and the source material is pristine. There is no edge enhancement to speak of, no noise, and no grain. This image is sharp, clear, offers up perfect blacks, is high in detail, and features bright, vivid, and eye-popping colors. The whole movie is filled with every possible color imaginable, and each and every one of them look perfectly natural. It's as if you're standing in the North Pole the entire time. This image is beautiful to behold.
The Santa Clause 3: The Escape Clause Blu-ray, Audio Quality
Featuring an uncompressed 5.1 audio track along with a lossy Dolby Digital 5.1 track, Santa Clause 3: The Escape Clause sounds just as good as it looks. This soundtrack features exceptional separation of the channels. Directionality is wonderful and surrounds are active with the sounds of the hustle and bustle of the North Pole at Christmas. Every speaker is seemingly it's own little world of Christmas sound. Music fills your room with Christmas bliss. Dialogue is clean, natural, and distortion-free. Bass is present but never overbearing. This is one of the finest audio presentations to date, bar none.
The Santa Clause 3: The Escape Clause Blu-ray, Special Features and Extras
The featured supplement is a commentary track featuring director Michael Lembeck. To say he's enthusiastic about his movie and this commentary track would be a vast understatement. He jumps right in to the nitty gritty of the filmmaking process and he never lets up until the end of the movie forces him to do so. Next is a rather worthless feature: Deck the Halls: Virtual Holiday Decorator. This feature allows you to decorate a generic living room complete with a designer Christmas tree, stockings, wreaths, and a Christmas jukebox. It's fun for about thirty seconds and it gets really old, really fast. Perhaps a six year old would find enjoyment from this feature, but the adults will want to pass on this one.
Jack Frost and Mrs. Claus: A Very Different Look (1080i, 4:02) is a look at the wardrobe and appearance changes these two characters underwent during filming. The New Comedians: On the Set With Tim and Marty (1080i, 2:59) is a brief look at the chemistry between these top comedians on the set. Creating Movie Magic (1080i, 4:03) discusses the creation of some of the numerous visual effects in Santa Clause 3. Christmas Carol-oke (1080i, 6:24) features seven Christmas carols, presented karaoke-style, while showing scenes from the Santa Clause trilogy. Songs include Jingle Bells and Silent Night, among others.
Other features include a blooper reel (1080i, 2:58), an alternate opening scene (1080i, 3:34) that is best left as the alternate, Greatest Time of Year: Music Video With Aly & AJ (480p, 3:17), and a movie showcase (several scenes that best demonstrate the top-notch audio and video quality of this release). Finally, a Tour of Elfsburg is a look around the main menu, a CGI version of the village of Elfsburg from the movie.
The Santa Clause 3: The Escape Clause Blu-ray, Overall Score and Recommendation
Santa Clause 3: The Escape Clause simply didn't peak my interest as I hoped it would. Others may feel differently, and it's certainly not a horrible movie, but there are many, many more Christmas movies out there that surpass this one in just about every way imaginable. However, none of them look and sound as good as Santa Clause 3 does on Blu-ray. This is simply the best looking and sounding Christmas movie ever to make its way onto home video. The supplements are alright but they are nothing you can't live without. This disc is worth a rental if only to see just how great it looks and sounds on Blu-ray.
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