Friday, December 14, 2012

Mousey Movies - The Santa Clause 2

Poster showing Tim Allen as Santa Claus

I really am a sucker for The Santa Clause franchise!  You may not agree with me about how funny they are, but they crack me up.  So in 2002, when The Santa Clause 2 was released I was excited.  Tim Allen would be back as the beloved character and there appeared to be room for more hilarious lines.  In most ways the sequel delivered for me.  I thought it was funny.  They clearly had a bigger budget for the sequel, so we saw more of Santa’s workshop and “outside” shots in the North Pole.  The sequel was a more mature version of the original, not as silly but with better furnishings.  
The plot of The Santa Clause 2 is an older more experienced Santa Claus has held down the position for several years and been highly successful, becoming a better person.  As Christmas and its busyness approaches, Santa’s elves inform him of a second clause.  The Mrs. Clause charges Santa to get married before Christmas morning or he will revert to regular guy Scott Calvin.  As Christmas approaches the de-Santafication process begins, as Santa loses his beard, weight and magic.  If this is not enough, Scott’s son Charlie begins acting out at school leading to confrontations with Principal Carol Newman.  While Scott handles the search for Mrs. Claus and fatherly duties, his duties at the North Pole are managed by a toy plastic Santa who under the instruction of number two elf Curtis begins to misunderstand his Santa duties.  Will there be Christmas as Scott/Santa both fights his plastic doppelganger and looks for love.
With a Box Office of $172 million, this sequel was both a blockbuster and Mousey:
·        The Kid:  Spencer Breslin plays a new elf, Bernard’s number two Curtis.  We have to be honest; if the franchise was to continue they had to introduce a new future head elf.  With David Krumholtz aging, height is a clear problem for Bernard as he has become the starting center of the North Pole basketball team.  So a kid actor had to be introduced as a key elf.  Disney was good to Breslin.  Before The Santa Clause sequel he had starred with Bruce Willis in 2000’s Disney’s The Kid.  Honestly, this movie was somewhat forgettable to me though I can remember being excited about Willis in a kid’s comedy.    Breslin’s other Disney projects included voicing Cubby in Return to Neverland, another sequel in The Princess Diaries 2: Royal Engagement, The Santa Clause 3: The Escape Clause as Curtis now the head elf, and with Tim Allen again in The Shaggy Dog.
·        Tink’s Big Brother:  It may seem campy, but the inclusion of the Council of Legendary Figures makes me smile.  It amuses me to think that Santa Claus has to survive business meetings just like many of us.  Art LaFleur plays the Tooth Fairy, a very un-Pixie Hollow fairy.  But like his little sister Tinker Bell, Tooth Fairy has very dainty fairy wings.  Being someone who watched The Secret of the Wings the day before the annual viewing of The Santa Clause 2 I enjoyed this very different and very manly fairy!  LaFleur is a very active character actor who for me is a perfect fit to a number of non-Disney baseball movies including Field of Dreams and The Sandlot as classic baseball players not dainty winged pixies.   

·        Tucker’s Tooth:  I had trouble with the 2009 version of the V television show on ABC.  I just could not believe that Mrs. Claus was Erica Evans gun totting FBI agent.  Maybe if I had seen Elizabeth’s Mitchell’s other ABC offering as Dr. Juliet Burke on Lost I could have made the jump.  But for me Mitchell is Mrs. Claus!  Mitchell’s work on ABC is not the only link to Disney history in the character in Carol Newman.  Walt Disney’s first films in Kansas City in 1922 were produced under the name NewmanLaugh-O-Grams.  I doubt this was an intentional homage, but it does provide a nice Disney fanboy moment.
·         Hidden Mickeys:  The Santa Clause 2 is full of hidden Mickey’s.  Viewers should watch carefully especially on the workshop floor where stuffed classic Mickey Mouses and a few Minnies are photo bombing scenes.  You can also find Mickey displayed in Santa’s bedroom.  Along with the mice, you can also find Winnie the Pooh and friends on the sides of jack-in-the-boxes in the workshop.  For a non-Mouse Hidden Mickey look in Lucy’s room for the Kim Possible poster.    
·         Little Man:  In the final confrontation between Scott Calvin and plastic Santa, Allen gets an opportunity to relive a classic line from Toy Story.  The original line was spoken by Buzz Lightyear to Woody.  In this version plastic Santa directs the quote at Scott as he attempts to stop him from escaping from the North Pole with a bag full of coal. 
As you can probably tell from past posts, I do not always need movies to have stories at a Shakespearian level.  But what I do often ask is that movie provide me some fun.  I admit it, the story is not the tightest, the acting is not award winning, and the look of the North Pole never fully pulls me into Santa Claus’ world.  But The Santa Clause 2 has consistently provided me fun, enough so that I force the Between Family to watch it along with the original every year.
Remember, hot cocoa is superior refreshment!   

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