Best Blu-ray Deals
Best Blu-ray Deals, See All the Deals »
Top deals |
The Santa Clause(1994)
Scott Calvin accidentally causes Santa Claus to fall to his death from his roof on Christmas Eve. When Scott and his young son, Charlie, finish the late St. Nick's deliveries, they go to the North Pole where Scott learns he must become the new Santa and convince those he loves that he is indeed Father Christmas.
For more about The Santa Clause and the The Santa Clause Blu-ray release, see the The Santa Clause Blu-ray Review published by Michael Reuben on October 22, 2012 where this Blu-ray release scored 3.5 out of 5.
Starring: Tim Allen, Judge Reinhold, Wendy Crewson, Eric Lloyd, David Krumholtz, Larry Brandenburg
Director: John Pasquin
» See full cast & crew
The Santa Clause Blu-ray Review
Be Jolly. It's in the Fine Print.
Reviewed by Michael Reuben, October 22, 2012
If show business lore and IMDb are to be believed, Tim Allen wasn't the first choice to play Scott Calvin, the toy company executive with the portentous initials "S.C." who learns the hard way that there really is a Santa Claus. Allen was at least the third choice, after Bill Murray and Chevy Chase, and his prior incarceration for drug charges required Disney to make an exception to a long-standing policy against hiring ex-cons. It was a smart move on Disney's part and a lucky break for Allen. The role fit Allen as closely as Santa's suit fit Calvin badly when he first puts it on. Allen's unique ability to remain down-to-earth and believable in the midst of outlandish events sold The Santa Clause's cartoonish premise and made the movie a hit. Already a success on TV's Home Improvement, Allen gained a movie career, and Disney gained a creative partnership that would soon lead it "to infinity and beyond". The Santa Clause is a kid's movie told from an adult's perspective, which is much harder to do than it sounds. Young Eric Lloyd does a fine job playing Calvin's son, who is struggling with the loss of innocence caused by his parents' divorce, his mother's remarriage and the revelation by an older boy at school that Santa doesn't exist, but the child's predicament is familiar and easily relatable. It's Allen who has to navigate the tricky passage from a cynical and emotionally distant adult to someone who believes in warmth, love and the magic of Christmas. Dickens did it with Scrooge by having him visited by spirits. Generations of filmmakers have tried their hand at visualizing what Dickens composed on the page, but they've always operated with the safety net of having everything vanish when Scrooge wakes up from his dream. In The Santa Clause, it's all real, and whoever plays Scott Calvin has to figure out a way to portray a man who remains grounded while discovering that elves, magic and the North Pole really do exist. And then, like Roy Neary in Close Encounters of the Third Kind, he has to face the prospect of saying goodbye to the life he's always known and beginning a new one. An alternate title for the film could have been I Got Swindled Into Becoming St. Nick, but who'd want to see it?
Scott Calvin (Tim Allen) runs the most successful marketing division at B&R Toys, where he's the pride of his boss, Mr. Whittle (Peter Boyle), but his son Charlie (Lloyd) feels ignored. Scott's ex-wife, Laura (Wendy Crewson), keeps trying to talk to Scott about their son's needs, but Scott is too busy cracking wise about Laura's new husband, a smarmy shrink named Neil (Judge Reinhold). All that starts to change, though, when Scott takes Charlie for Christmas Eve. After a depressing dinner at Denny's (because Scott has burned the turkey), father and son are awakened by noises on the roof. When Scott runs outside to investigate, he surprises a strange old fat man, who loses his footing, plunges to the ground and then melts away, leaving only his red suit. In the pocket is a card instructing whoever finds it to put on the suit; the reindeer will know what to do. Reindeer? Looking up, Scott and Charlie see eight reindeer hitched to a sleigh, and Scott follows Charlie up a ladder that has materialized from nowhere. At Charlie's urging, he dons the suit, and they ride (or rather fly) away on Santa's rounds delivering presents. Afterwards, they arrive at the North Pole, where stealth technology has concealed Santa's Workshop from prying eyes in a manner reminiscent of how British intelligence hides its various outposts in Bond films. There's even a version of Q, known as "Quintin" (Nic Knight). The interior resembles a fabulous Disneyland ride, especially since the elves are all played by little kids. (They appear in scenes throughout the movie.) One of the most chipper and charming is Judy (Paige Tamada), who has spent 1200 years perfecting her cocoa recipe. The head elf is named Bernard (David Krumholtz), and it's from him that Scott finally learns of the "clause" to which he's agreed. Hidden in tiny lettering around the border of the card he took from Santa's pocket are the terms of a deal. Putting on the suit and entering the sleigh obligates one to shed any former identity and become Santa Claus in perpetuity "until such time that the wearer becomes unable to do so, by either accident or design". The technical name for this sort of trickery is "a contract of adhesion", and human courts usually don't enforce them, but elves and fairy tales have their own law. When Scott and Charlie return home, Scott tries to convince himself it was all a dream, but he can't deny the physical changes that accompany his new identity. His weight balloons (his boss tells him to "see a doctor, a shrink, a dietician, anything!"); he grows a beard and turns grey overnight; and all attempts to shave or dye his hair are futile, because they revert instantly. At a routine physical, his heart beats out "Jingle Bells". By the following November, when Bernard sends a fleet of FedEx trucks with the "list" and instructions to check it twice, Scott has no choice but to accept his new position. The third act of The Santa Clause offers a literal version of Miracle on 34th Street, as everyone decides Scott must be crazy, Laura and Neil fight him for custody of Charlie and Charlie runs off to join his dad on Santa's rounds. Bernard and the elves ensure that their new boss is ultimately vindicated in front of the whole world. Of course, once everyone knows that Santa is real and magic exists, a lot of things will have to change. But it's best not to consider such things any more closely than a child would. For Charlie it's enough that he and his dad have done something important together, and when he grows up, he wants to go into "the family business".
The Santa Clause Blu-ray, Video Quality
Disney's 1080p, AVC-encoded Blu-ray of The Santa Clause is one of their better catalog efforts, although it is not entirely free from issues. The film's cinematographer, Walt Lloyd, shoots in a clean and unfussy style that has made him a favorite both among independent directors making films with odd subject matter (Short Cuts, Sex, Lies and Videotape) and TV show runners (The Protector, House, M.D., CSI: Miami). The Santa Clause needed a DP who could successfully unite the look of its business offices and middle class homes with the fantastical, theme-park decor of the North Pole and the elves' habitats. Lloyd gave both of them a slightly artificial sheen so that transitions between the two seem natural and unforced. The Blu-ray captures this effect in both its superior detail and its fine delineations of color, which runs from the severe business attire of Scott Calvin's corporate world to the cheerful rainbow garb of the elves. Where the transfer can be faulted is in a small (and I stress "small") amount of post-processing that has nudged it more toward video than film. A light degree of sharpening has been performed throughout, somewhat flattening the textures and reducing the sense of depth. Moderate grain reduction also appears to have been applied (with the latest software, you can't always be sure), contributing to the image's flatness and video appearance. While this is certainly not an image that should have film purists reaching for pitchforks and screaming "recall!", it's less than film-like and not representative of the best of which Disney is capable when it comes to using the Blu-ray medium to recreate the look of film. (It's also far from the worst of which Disney is capable.) Many of the effects shots are obvious by today's standards, and some appear to be opticals, but these are faults in the original material and not the Blu-ray. (The film was not a big-budget affair.) Compression errors were non-existent, and except for the unfortunate habit of making kid's fare resemble the TV that kids are used to watching, the Blu-ray image is acceptable, if not ideal.
The Santa Clause Blu-ray, Audio Quality
The Blu-ray's DTS-HD MA 5.1 track reproduces the film's original DD 5.1 track with good fidelity and a nice sense of presence. The Santa Clause isn't a surround showcase, but it does use the surrounds to distinguish among environments like Scott Calvin's office (especially during the lively Christmas party), the rowdy front room at Denny's and, of course, the distinctive sounds of the elves' workshop at the North Pole. Bass extension provides the requisite impact for the previous Santa's fall from the roof and various landings of the reindeer and sleigh, as well as for some interesting special effects relating to a variety of chimneys. Dialogue is clear, but the lively score by Michael Convertino (an interesting choice, given his usual assignments on adult fare like Bull Durham) is somewhat less crisp and distinct than one would be likely to find on a contemporary release; I blame the original recordings.
The Santa Clause Blu-ray, Special Features and Extras
The Blu-ray's extras are not the same as those on the DVD version of The Santa Clause released by Disney in 1998 (in a white case) and re-released in 2002 as a "special edition". The DVD-ROM features, which included "Write a Letter to Santa" and a Christmas Countdown Calendar screensaver, have been omitted. Also omitted is "Santa's Helper—A Trivia Adventure Game". Newly added is a much better extra, which I have listed first below and marked with an asterisk:
The Santa Clause Blu-ray, Overall Score and Recommendation
Having launched a successful movie career with The Santa Clause, Tim Allen became so popular with the family crowd that he was able to drive the film's two lackluster sequels to successful box office results. However, the first film in the series is the only one that holds up, because its script was based on an original premise. The sequels' attempts to find a legalistic equivalent for the original "clause" have the forced, derivative quality that instantly marks a sequel as a cash-in enterprise. The Santa Clause 3: The Escape Clause has been available on Blu-ray for years, because it came out after the appearance of the Blu-ray format. It's past time the initial, vastly superior film made its Blu-ray debut. Recommended, with appropriate caveats.
Blu-ray bundles with The Santa Clause (1 bundle)
Use the thumbs up and thumbs down icons to agree or disagree that the title is similar to The Santa Clause. You can also suggest completely new similar titles to The Santa Clause in the search box below.
Similar titles suggested by members
The Santa Clause Blu-ray, News and Updates
• The Santa Clause Trilogy on Blu-ray - July 20, 2012
In October, Walt Disney Home Entertainment will bring The Santa Clause Trilogy to Blu-ray. This popular holiday-comedy franchise stars Tim Allen (Toy Story) as a workaholic single-father whose entire life changes when he learns he must become Santa Claus. The ...
The Santa Clause Blu-ray, Forum Discussions
The Santa Clause Blu-ray Screenshots
Back to The Santa Clause Blu-ray »
Trending Blu-ray Movies
Trending in Theaters
This web site is not affiliated with the Blu-ray Disc Association.
All trademarks are the property of the respective trademark owners.
© 2002-2014 Blu-ray.com. All rights reserved.