Years ago, when I was in college, I liked nothing better than gathering my friends up on a weekday evening and heading off to the movies. We didn’t have much money, because we were college students, but there was one theater that featured a discount night on Tuesdays. It was with this group of people, one of whom I married and three others who were in my wedding, that I first saw The Santa Clause. And it’s probably because of them that I still love the movie to this day.
Who, where and when you watch a film is a huge part of why we appreciate the films we do. When the film in question is designed to tug at the heartstrings, it becomes doubly important. It’s no secret that I love the holiday season. The Santa Clause, with its story of a man becoming the one true Santa, provides everything a good Christmas film should. It brings together people who believe and who do not, to show that a little faith in your fellow man this time of year is a good thing.
In case you’ve never seen this Disney holiday classic, you’ve missed out on Tim Allen’s most iconic role in film. While he’ll always be known for his role on Home Improvement or as the voice of Buzz Lightyear, it’s as Scott Calvin/Santa Claus that Allen will always be most visually identified. I’ll be honest, the Santa Clause has a mediocre script at best, but Allen’s performance lifts it to the level of a classic.
He begins the film as a divorced dad, who does not believe in Santa, but makes allowances for his young son. When the real Santa is shocked and falls off the roof, Scott has to don the Santa suit, leading him on an immediate journey around the world to deliver presents and a year long journey to becoming Santa himself. Is there a lot of cheese and sentimentality? Of course there is, but would you expect anything less from a Christmas movie?
Again, this could easily be a one note script. The main gag of a man becoming Santa is original, but the surrounding cast outside of Allen and his son are not great. While David Krumholtz as Bernard is playing a simple, grumpy elf, the rest of the cast is quite wooden and unconvincing. Wisely, the filmmakers seem to have noticed that, and focused on the relationship between Scott Calvin and his son as the core of the film. It’s his son’s belief in him that allows Scott to overcome his own doubts about what’s happening to him and grow into his role as Santa Claus.
I said at the beginning that the people I watched this film with are a big part of why I love it. I imagine many of you have a similar feeling about this film or others. The sense of family that emanates from the movie and the core relationship make you want to hug others nearby and make you cherish what you have. For a holiday movie, that is all you can ask. While The Santa Clause is not on the scale of It’s A Wonderful Life or other classics, it’s definitely at the top of that next tier. Enjoy it with someone you love this year.