Sometimes childhood classics just do no live up to your expectations when you get older. It could be that the your adult self is just too different from your kid self or it could be that the movie just isn’t really all that great. Santa Claus Is Comin’ to Town is that movie for me. I was actually really excited to see this movie as I remember it being a film I loved as a kid. Kris Kringle just seemed so perfectly altruistic and nice. And for kids this film may just be a solid film to watch every Christmas, but as an adult I just don’t feel for it the same way that I used to.
This movie is the retelling of the story of how Santa Claus came to be. A mailman recounts the tail to children (presumably the children watching the very same special) and begins the story of an orphan child being dropped off at the door of the Burgermeister who refuses to take him in and instead sends him to an orphanage. Along the way, however, the soldiers accidentally lose the child in a storm and the baby is found by some overly responsible woodland creatures who deliver him to the Kringles, a family of toy builders that rose to prominence by being the first toy makers to be personally hired by the king.
As time goes by, Kris Kring, the baby from the beginning, learns a lot from the surrounding animals, like how to be nimble and quick, how to laugh and how to have fun. When he is old enough he decides to bring his family’s toys to a neighboring town for the children but he is unaware that th Burgermeister has recently banned toys and toy makers. Kringle is forced to take every increasing drastic measures to bring the children their toys like sneaking into the town at night, putting gifts in stocking and going down chimenies.Thus begins the tale of how Kris Kringle became Santa Claus.
Now before I get too negative, I will say that this movie does have a lot of redeeming elements. For one I find that the stop-motion is a bit improved from the 1964 Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer and I, in a general sense, don’t hate the pole people in this film. The Kringle family, though fairly mysterious, do seem genuinely nice and pleasant and The Winter Warlock has always filled a soft spot in my heart. He was angry because he was misunderstood, and does a complete 180 the very moment someone opens up his heart. He even takes in the Kringle family when they decide to start making and delivering toys full-time. He is really the true hero of the story, I think, and I would watch a movie more about his origins to be honest.
But as an adult I do feel like there were far too many plot holes or just skipped bits of story all together. When Kringle is imprisoned, Winter decides to endow a bunch of Kringle’s reindeer friends with the ability of flight to assist in his escape. The next thing we see on-screen is Kringle and his band of toy makers flying away on reindeer. I still have literally no idea how they even got out of their prison sells let alone how no guards saw them leave until they we airborne… maybe it was a Christmas miracle? Other things that bothered me include, but are not limited to, the fact that the guards lost a baby and then…what? Punched out for the work day? Or the fact that the main antagonist of the story just eventually…. died off and was forgotten… that feels like lazy storytelling to me…
Finally, I think there was too big of a focus on musical numbers in this movie given its length. It felt like the writers thought that every scene needed a song and dance. Many of them felt out-of-place and one even felt like an acid trip… you know… the one with the teacher finding her place in the world? It sort of freaked me out…
So I guess this may be a movie to just turn on and let your kids watch while you get yourself a cup of coffee or finish your online shopping. I really do not recommend it as an adult as you will find yourself not only thinking Santa Claus is a bit creepy and you may even seeing a bit of yourself in the Burgermeister….and
that… that is just a Christmas gift that no one needs!
Kris Kringle says his first line after the first eight minutes of the program.
When aired on TV on ABC and ABC Family, sometimes the special has been edited in order to fit the hour-long slot along with commercials. In the ABC version, the songs “If you Sit on My Lap Today” and “My World is Beginning Today” are cut while the ABC Family version cuts out scenes that may be traumatizing for younger viewers, most notably the scene where Burgermeister Meisterburger burns all of the toys belonging to the children of Sombertown
The doctor who examines Burgermeister Meisterburger says, “Just as I suspected. You’ve broken your funny bone.” However Burgermeister has a bandage on his foot. The funny bone (or humerus) is located in the arm.
When the children are naming off Santa’s reindeer, one of them refers to Blitzen as “Blitster”.
One of the kids watching the Burgermister burn their toys are smiling, even though they are all meant to be crying; when the kid’s toys were confiscated for the first time, that same kid which said, “We’ll never play again” is still smiling. Someone forgot to change the models. (or the kid is just evil, am I right?)