02nd Nov2014

‘Saving Santa’ Blu-ray Review

by Phil Wheat

Stars (the voices of): Martin Freeman, Newell Alexander, Noel Clarke, Joan Collins, Tim Conway, David Cowgill, Tim Curry, Holly Dorff, Pam Ferris, Nicholas Guest, Ashley Tisdale | Written by Tony Nottage, Ricky Roxburgh | Directed by Leon Joosen, Aaron Seelman


Every year there seems to be an inordinate amount of new CGI Christmas movies thrust upon unsuspecting supermarket shoppers – after all, most folks buy theses types of titles on impulse whilst browsing in the likes of ASDA, Tesco et al. Titles that are watched once or twice and then sit on the shelf for the most of the next year or, even worse, are tossed in to the “get rid” pile  (I know you all have one). Saving Santa is one such film.

Once upon a time, Santa operated with just a small workshop and a few elves. But, as Christmas has grown ever bigger, Santa has been forced to innovate! Now his cleverest elves develop amazing technology, including a hologram to hide the North Pole and a time machine to allow Santa to deliver presents to every home in the world, in just the one night. Bernard is an elf who dreams of creating such inventions, but his job is to clean the reindeer stables! Yet when he creates an amazing Christmas memory machine, his luck might be changing. But Bernard’s invention is broken by a curious elf, causing the North Pole’s power to fail and the hologram hiding it to disappear. Now exposed to the outside world, it is spotted by Santa s enemy, Neville Baddington, who is determined to steal Santa’s secrets for himself. The only person who can stop them is Bernard…

A US/UK co-production, with animation produced in Mongolia of all places, this is one of those holiday movies that hopes to become the next The Snowman or Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer – those perennial favourites that play on television each and every year on TV stations across the globe – telling a moralistic story (the usual underdog makes good tale) that is tailored to appeal to parents with young, undemanding toddlers that will be enthralled by the bright colours and characters rather than the actual story.

That’s not to say Saving Santa doesn’t have some story. It does. In fact it’s time-travel story actually gets quite convoluted once Bernard keeps going back in time to prevent the North Pole invasion… Convoluted in the Back to the Future sense I mean, not the real science sense. Although I could have done without the generic Disney-wannabe show tunes the perforated the film and my ear drums!

Despite Martin Freeman headling as the voice of Bernard D. Elf, it’s Tim Curry who is the real vocal star of the movie, seemingly channeling all the classic Disney villains in his role as the evil Neville Baddington (it doesn’t hurt that he plays against Joan Collins, as the voice of his mother – a character that looks and sounds like 101 Dalmations‘ Cruella DeVille). OK, I’ll admit I’m not the target audience for a film like this – after all I’m a cynical adult with no kids who sees Christmas as more of an expensive wallet-bashing holiday rather than a wonderful time of the year – so I may not be the best judge of a film like this, but I can still appreciate some decent voice acting when I hear it; and Saving Santa at least has that.

Saving Santa is released on 3D Blu-ray on November 3rd, courtesy of Kaleidoscope Home Entertainment


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