Day 23: The Santa Clause 2 Is Ruined by a Needless Subplot to an Otherwise Charming Christmas Love Story

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the-santa-clause-2-4-1Admittedly, this was a last minute substitute film for me. I had no intention of viewing The Santa Clause 2, at least this Christmas season, but alas, I had to remove Snow Day due to some technical difficulties and my wife had been wanting to watch this sequel after watching the original recently so I decided to [finally] give in. And I was actually pleasantly surprised at a few aspects of this film that were pretty well done! It does a great job of capturing some of the charm of the original and even added some of its own uniqueness to the franchise, but where it slips up is its secondary plot that, in my opinion, didn’t need to be included in the film.

Synopsis

Scott Calvin (Tim Allen) has been in the role of Santa for the past eight years, and his loyal elves consider him the best one ever. But the world of the “Merry Old Soul” turns upside down when he’s dealt a double whammy of news: Not only has his son, Charlie (Eric Lloyd), landed on this year’s naughty list, but Scott discovers that he must marry by Christmas Eve — just a month away! — or he will stop being Santa Claus forever.

It has been a long time since I have seen this film, I’ve actually seen the original The Santa Clause far more than its sequel, and for good reason. The sequel just doesn’t quite match up in many ways. For one, the magic of seeing a truly unique North Pole is all but gone in this film as they paint a picture of a pole that is less magical and more of a farce. Additionally, while Scott Calvin, our protagonist, IS still dealing with some more grown up problems, it doesn’t seem as pressing of an issue as the original. And when you throw in what, in my opinion, is a truly horrendous subplot that distracts from what could have been an extremely good story, you are stuck with a film that…well.. just fails.

SC6While Scott travels to civilian-town to find a bride, which Neil points out will be a tough job because Scott suffers from some serious intimacy issues despite being an extremely caring and loving individual, we are introduced to an odd subplot: While Scott is away, the second-elf has created a fake toy Santa in Scott’s likeness to run things smoothly while the ‘big guns’ is traveling. However, Plasti-Calvin is far too rule-bound and strict and goes nuts, deciding that all children have been deemed ‘naughty’ and they will all be receiving coal. He creates an army of toy soldiers to ensure his power as well. What I really REALLY hate about this subplot is that Scott’s story of finding love is already a fairly compelling character arc for him and what we do see in that regards is actually very charming, but ever singly time we make any headway with that plot we switch back to the Pole. And whenever we see the Pole, things are increasingly more ridiculous ans I think it really distracts from the good story they were developing. It felt as though the writers had a good story– but lacked the confidence to really commit to it, so they created the subplot to try and please everyone. So what you get is really two distinctly different movies both in story and tone, one is of Scott finding unlikely love and the other is Plasti-Scott creating a puppet regime and attempting to ruin Christmas… neither of which is really explored well enough to call it a complete film.

SC2But I really do love Scott Calvin’s story arc in this one and his chemistry with Carol (Elizabeth Mitchel) is actually very good and pretty cute. Carol is the principal of Charlie’s school and she has sort of lost the Christmas spirit due to events that happened to her as a child (I mean didn’t we all?). She is bitter and mean at first especially in her role as an educator, one kid remarks when he looks into her eyes that they are “Cold, dark and lonely…”. Calvin not only pursues her as a love interest, but also restores her faith in Christmas…well sort of… it wasn’t explores too thoroughly because of Plasti-Scott’s arc. But Like I said, what you do see is very cute and charming and it just leaves you wanting to see more. By the end of the movie, even though he technically has been pursuing Carol for a month-ish, it feels like they’ve basically just seen each other for two days because we spent so much time on the other story  that Carol’s story felt rushed.

SC4So take it for what it is worth, I think kids might like the Plasti-Scott story but I wasn’t a fan of it. but I really liked the Scott/Carol love interest plot and wish I could see more of it. But because these two stories are intertwined, the plus side is that you get a film that has a little that the whole family can enjoy. While the movie really doesn’t live up to the original, most sequels don’t, so do not go into this one thinking that you will get a better story. Sorry, man…. Merry Christmas though! =)

Trivia (IMDb)

oy Santa’s line, “You are a sad, strange little man,” is also used by Tim Allen as Buzz Lightyear in Toy Story (1995) Also when the Toy Santa says “I think Santa feels a little Buzz!” is from him being “Buzz Lightyear” in Toy Story.

When Santa is on his first date with the aspiring singer/songwriter if you look at her shirt the face of Santa is that of Tim Allen.

 

Peter Boyle, who played Father Time in this, previously played Mr. Whittle (Calvin’s Boss) in The Santa Clause (1994).

The fiberglass “tin soldier” costumes weighed over 50 pounds and, according to the actors who wore them, were uncomfortable and hard to move in.

 

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