a critiQal film review The Santa Clause 2 (2002)

Plot: It's been 8 years since Scott Calvin (Allen) became Santa Claus. Almost too late, he discovers there's another clause: he needs to get married by Christmas Eve, or he stops being Santa! To make matters worse, his son Charlie (Lloyd), has landed himself on the "naughty" list. Desperate to help his son, Scott heads back home, leaving a substitute Claus to watch over things at the Pole.

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  • ...while this sequel doesn't live up to the magic of the original, it's still a decent Christmas movie for the whole family.

Remember when Hollywood was content with the success of one film, and didn’t want to plunder it for everything it has by creating a sequel? Ah, those were the good ol’ days. That’s not to say that all sequels are bad, but the sequels that Hollywood is generating these days seem to be a bit excessive. This past summer alone, we’ve had sequels to Bad Boys (1995), Charlie’s Angels (2000), Lara Croft: Tomb Raider (2001), and another The Terminator (1984) sequel (to name a few)…and now The Santa Clause 2 has arrived on DVD.

And with Spider-Man (2002) and Scooby-Doo (2002) coming out with sequels next year (among others), we have to ask ourselves if we’re going to keep shelling out the bucks to see these multitudes of sequels? I suppose that all depends on the quality of the sequel.

While the other sequels this year haven’t been too bad, is the same true for the Disney holiday movie sequel The Santa Clause 2?

Tim Allen returns in the role that made him a bigger family name than even “Home Improvement” (TV) did, as Scott Calvin (aka Santa Claus) in this sequel. He also gets to take on another role as he portrays the bad toy Santa as well. The first film was a true achievement for him, in terms of acting, as he easily translated his macho-guy image into the role of a caring father who has to come to grips with an entirely new lifestyle.

In The Santa Clause 2, it seems as if Tim knows he doesn’t need to prove to the world he can be good at this, and it shows in his acting. He doesn’t seem to try as hard this time around, and the film suffers a little because of it.

Both his son (Eric Lloyd) and Bernard (David Krumholtz) from the first film return for The Santa Clause 2. While Lloyd seems to be embracing his continuing role with much more exuberance than his on-screen dad, Krumholtz seems a bit less sure of himself, and has to seemingly rely a lot on relative newcomer Spencer Breslin, as Curtis, to guide him through his scenes.

The plot behind The Santa Clause 2 is a true unplanned sequel type of a plot. It introduces the audience to something they should have known from the first film. Since the audience didn’t know about it, it’s obviously been thrown in as a way to make a sequel, not for any real story continuity.

Making the Mrs. Clause, however, does help enhance The Santa Clause 2 as it does fill the one void the first film lacked when comparing it to the Santa stories: his wife. Mrs. Claus shows up in the stories almost as much as Santa himself, and this helps complete the air of believability that the films are aiming for, especially for the younger generations.

The story does skip around a little bit, and a little more time should have been focused on Scott finding a wife, but all in all, it does manage to convey at least a semblance of the magic the first one had.

There are some bad puns thrown in again, but they tend to be taken more seriously in The Santa Clause 2, while the first introduced them with a bit of tongue-in-cheek humor, inviting the audience to laugh along with the film, not at it. This seems to be somewhat lost in the second film, unfortunately.

The biggest thing that worried me going into The Santa Clause 2 was how they were going to handle the reindeer. From the previews I’d seen, they had tried to make the reindeer more of a story character, and I was afraid they would make the reindeer able to speak in this film.

While talking animals do work for some films (Homeward Bound, pretty much any Disney animated film), talking reindeer would make the film lose a bit of it’s credibility, and damage the suspension of belief the film is going for.

Luckily, the reindeer don’t speak English in The Santa Clause 2. Rather, they speak (for lack of a better word) reindeer. While some of the characters in the film can understand them, the audience cannot, and so the suspension of disbelief is saved.

While The Santa Clause 2 will never live up to the magic and wonder that the original The Santa Clause (1994) brought to the screen, it’s not too shabby of a sequel after all. The filmmakers have tried to stay true to the original film, and have brought back most of the original actors to help keep the continuity flowing.

Although the Mrs. Clause showcases a huge flaw in the film (if there was another clause, why does it take 8 years for it to take effect?), SC2 still turns out to be a nice Christmas movie that the whole family will enjoy.

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