Film Review – Santa Claus: The Movie (1985)

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Santa Claus The Movie in 4K coming November
Christmas is a magical time for children and adults alike, whether they’re opening presents at home or watching their favourite Christmas movies. Some timeless classics such as It’s a Wonderful Life and Miracle on 34th Street have charmed audiences for decades. While some still enjoy Gremlins and Die hard for an alternative watch. Then there’s Santa Claus: The Movie, a movie which embraces Christmas like nothing else

Santa Claus (David Huddleston) is given an origin story which is perhaps something most people never knew they wanted. Critically panned and a flop at the box office, nevertheless for some it became a Christmas classic and something of a tradition to watch every year at home.

It was also a vehicle for Dudley Moore, although having done many movies and become internationally famous, he still gets an ‘introducing’ credit suggesting that he’s being brought to a whole new audience.

However, this is where the movie feels at odds with itself. On the one hand it’s doing what it thinks is an authentic and loving portrayal of the world’s most beloved figure by children the world over. On the other, it’s a multi-million-dollar movie with state-of-the-art special effects and an advertising campaign that almost cost as much as the movie. Making it feel a bit too cynical.

However, for those willing to overlook the problems that the movie has, then there is still fun to be had. The story may be muddled, going from Santa’s origins to a modern-day story about two children on different ends of the poverty line and not to mention the evil B.Z.’s (John Lithgow) plot to ruin Christmas, but that’s part of the charm and the insanity.

Santa Claus : The Movie tries to give its audience what it thinks they want and it does so by throwing everything at the screen. Children may love the wonder and magic of the origins of their favourite festive figure, while adults will recognise the all too familiar commentary on capitalism. So, there’s something for everyone, especially Lithgow’s scene stealing villain who makes it all worth it.

Santa Claus :The Movie is out now on 4K blu-ray and despite its reputation for perhaps being so bad it’s good, the time feels right to watch it now. Coming with a new interview with Judy Cornwell who played Mrs Claus, a behind the scenes documentary, deleted scenes and extensive behind the scenes footage of how B.Z.’s press conference was filmed, it feels like a complete package for those willing to embrace the magic and the silliness of the season.

Family, Adventure | USA, 1985 | U | 4K, Blu-Ray, Digital | Studiocanal UK | Dir.Jeannot Szwarc | Dudley Moore, John Lithgow, David Huddleston, Judy Cornwell, Carrie Kei Heim, Burgess Meredith, Christian Fitzpatrick