HTF REVIEW: "The Santa Clause" (HIGHLY RECOMMENDED) (with screenshots)

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Ronald Epstein, Oct 9, 2002.

  1. Ronald Epstein

    Ronald Epstein Administrator

    Jul 3, 1997
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    Real Name:
    Ronald Epstein

    The Santa Clause

    Studio: Walt Disney
    Year: 1994
    Rated: PG
    Film Length: 97 minutes
    Aspect Ratio: 16X9 Enhanced Widescreen (1.85:1)
    Subtitles: English & Spanish

    What if your dad was Santa Claus?
    Three cheers for Disney!
    With every new generation there comes a Christmas
    film that is destined to become a classic for that
    era. The Santa Clause may just be this
    generation's classic holiday film. It is no doubt
    an original and fun Christmas movie that belongs as
    a part of every family's Christmas season celebration!
    Scott Calvin (Tim Allen) is a toy company salesman
    and a recently divorced father of one. With the
    Christmas season arriving, his son Charlie (Eric
    Lloyd) doesn't have much faith in his father nor
    in Santa Claus, who he shrugs off while being read
    the bedtime story, "The Night Before Christmas."
    That night, Charlie wakes to hearing a "clatter"
    sending Scott outside to investigate. There he sees
    Santa, who falls off of his roof to the ground
    apparently dying. Finding a card in Santa's suit,
    he reads the card and as he is distracted, Santa
    disappears. Gathering all of the clothing and boots,
    Scott and Charlie go to the roof to find Santa's
    sleigh and reindeer.
    For the rest of the evening, father and son spend
    the rest of this night doing Santa's yearly rounds.
    It isn't until Scott gets to the North Pole that he
    learns there was some small print on the card: "In
    putting on this suit and entering the sleigh, the
    wearer waives any and all rights to previous identity,
    real or implied and fully accepts the duties and
    responsibilities of Santa Claus until such time that
    wearer becomes unable to do so either by accident or
    In effect, Scott Calvin has become
    Santa Claus.
    Of course, not everyone is ready to believe that
    these events happened. As Scott begins to change
    everyone begins to worry about him including his
    boss, his ex-wife Laura (Wendy Crewson) and her
    Psychiatrist husband Dr. Noel Miller (Judge Reinhold).
    As Scott now finds his life in chaos, what can he
    possibly do? He wants to be himself and Charlie's
    father, but now he finds himself being Santa instead?
    Is there no way to break the Santa Clause? And if
    he would, what would happen to Christmas then?
    How is the transfer?
    Yes Virginia, there are great catalog transfers!
    With seeing some of the recent lackluster catalog
    transfers coming out of another studio this
    holiday season, I was actually surprised to see
    how superbly this 1994 film has transferred to DVD.
    In a word, the film looks brilliant. Picture has
    a very smooth texture to it, looking extremely
    clear and detailed. There is absolutely no film
    grain to be seen here, and except for the title
    sequence, there are no major film blemishes. There
    is a wonderful assortment of colors here that are
    nicely saturated with no bleeding. Flesh tones are
    very accurate, and black levels are deep.
    You don't have to wait to hear how wonderful the
    5.1 Dolby Digital mix sounds. In the opening moments
    of the film as a jazzy "Oh Christmas Tree" plays,
    you can hear how crisp and detailed the bass-heavy
    sound comes across the front speakers, with its
    beats nicely supported through the LFE channel.
    Throughout the movie, dialogue rests firmly in
    the center channel as Michael Convertino's score
    is nicely distributed through the front and rears.
    The rears play an active role in supporting the
    film's action and effects: from a crowd at an
    office party, to singing carolers whose voices
    seem to emanate from all directions, to a sled
    that passes from front to back of the viewing area.
    The LFE channel is used rather sparingly throughout
    the mix, but when it does come to life, be prepared!
    A scene where Santa's sled is pulled beneath the
    North pole is accompanied by a reasonable amount
    of floor-shaking bass.
    Special Features
    Only the magic of Disney could have created such
    a warm animated menu structure within a snow globe
    and its falling snowflakes. Press the little
    snowflake button with your remote and you seemingly
    shake up the globe, creating a fresh snowfall. It's
    this kind of stuff that really puts you in the
    holiday spirit.
    At first, So you wanna be an Elf? seems to
    be an entirely deleted sequence from the film. We
    find chief elf Bernard in Santa's workshop as he
    drills his new elf recruits. The recruits go through
    the process of wrapping gifts and reading letters
    from kids. But did Bernard just say the word DVD?
    Well, it seems that this segment is more recent
    than I had thought (Bernard hasn't seemed to age
    much), and actually turns out to be a making of
    featurette. Unfortunately, the entire making of
    the film is too quickly glossed over with a collage
    of clips that show cast members on the set, as well
    as enjoying some recreation on the studio lot. While
    kids will find the whole segment very entertaining,
    Adults will feel a little shortchanged.
    (length: approx. 6.3 minutes)
    Santa's Helper is a cute little game where
    you can help Santa on his nightly travel delivering
    Christmas gifts to deserving children. Using the
    arrow keys on the DVD remote, you help steer his
    sleigh as you avoid hitting tall buildings and other
    obstacles that get in his way.
    Making Santa snacks with Wolfgang is not
    just an ordinary cooking segment. It takes world
    famous chef Wolgang, some cool kid-tested recipes,
    and combines them with some funny intercuts and
    effect noises. There's even a measurement
    conversion table included. All of this is guaranteed
    to keep your kids in the kitchen....with your
    supervision of course!
    DVD-ROM content includes a Write to Santa
    software installation as well as a Christmas
    countdown Calendar screensaver
    that wasn't overly
    There are trailers for theatrical films The Santa
    Clause 2
    and Jungle Book 2 as well as
    upcoming DVD titles Beauty & The Beast Enchanted
    Christmas, The Country Bears, Lilo & Stitch
    Inspector Gadget 2.
    And if all that was not enough, every DVD comes with
    a movie ticket voucher that gets you in to see
    The Santa Clause 2 absolutely FREE!.
    Final Thoughts
    The Santa Clause seems to have all the
    elements of a perfect holiday classic. The film
    is an original heartwarming story combined with
    amazing special effects and spectacular costumes
    and background scenes. It's the perfect holiday
    fare that will delight both adults and kids.
    Disney has once again put their hearts into this
    format by taking this catalog title and providing
    a beautiful transfer, an aggressive soundtrack and
    sprinkling in a few extra special features including
    a FREE MOVIE TICKET to the sequel.
    Highly Recommended!
    Release Date: October 29, 2002
  2. Brajesh Upadhyay

    Brajesh Upadhyay Supporting Actor

    Jul 11, 1998
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    Thanks for the review. Fun movie. I'll be picking this DVD up.
  3. Patrick Mirza

    Patrick Mirza Supporting Actor

    Mar 12, 1999
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    Great review Ron. I can't wait to get it! My wife and I start watching Christmas DVDs right at the start of November to get us in the mood for the holiday season.
  4. Jeff Bamberger

    Jeff Bamberger Second Unit

    Sep 15, 1999
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    Nice review.

    Though I think my original DVD looks and sounds pretty good. Won't be upgrading this one, at least not right away.....
  5. Chad Gregory

    Chad Gregory Supporting Actor

    Oct 11, 2000
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    I was one the fence about this release, and I'm still there unless there is a great price out there over the holidays. Great movie, though...

    I'm guessing that the "HIGHLY RECOMMENDED" status is given for the upgrade in picture? Because the extras are basically non-existent.

  6. Alex S

    Alex S Second Unit

    Feb 21, 2000
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    Great review Ron.

    I'll be picking this up on the 29th.
    Great movie.
  7. Kenneth Cummings

    Kenneth Cummings Supporting Actor

    Aug 7, 2001
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    Might end with two copies here, one for myself and one for my mom, who still has the old VHS copy, and would like to upgrade it. Thank you for the review, while the extra are slim, it fine by me.
  8. Tim Glover

    Tim Glover Lead Actor

    Jan 12, 1999
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    Monroe, LA
    Real Name:
    Tim Glover
    Great review Ron! I've owned the laserdisc, original dvd, and will be getting this too for the video quality and special features. And I agree there aren't too many modern Christmas movies that are very good but this one is terrific!

    "Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night! When I wake up, I'm getting a CAT SCAN!"
  9. LukeB

    LukeB Cinematographer

    Apr 26, 2000
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    So, it loses the one bonus feature that was on the original disc (the theatrical trailer) and doesn't include any of the deleted scenes, that we see a few glimpses of in the trailer? [​IMG]
    On the bright side, though, that transfer looks stunning. One of my favorite Christmas movies, and I've had the original DVD for well over 2 years now, but I don't think re-purchasing is high priority, in spite of the new 16 x 9 transfer.
  10. cafink

    cafink Producer

    Apr 19, 1999
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    Real Name:
    Carl Fink
    I haven't actually seen this movie so the following is based only on what I've heard about it.

    I understand that the film contains a reference to the phone sex number 1-800-SPANK-ME. This line, I've heard, was deleted from the original DVD release of this movie. I believe that it sometimes shows up on television with the number 1-800-POUND substituted.

    So which of the three versions is included on this new DVD?
  11. LukeB

    LukeB Cinematographer

    Apr 26, 2000
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    Ron, if you plan on checking that scene in question; it's pretty early in the movie, after Charlie has come to Scott's house and Scott and Laura are arguing. I'm guessing it will just be the awkward-looking cuts as on the original DVD, which eliminate the line altogether.
  12. Jenna

    Jenna Second Unit

    Feb 12, 2002
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  13. Aaron Cohen

    Aaron Cohen Second Unit

    Jul 25, 2002
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    I will DEFINITELY be picking this up, trailer or not, as I don't own the original dvd but still.... what's going on with studios not putting trailers on their dvds?

    Several of Paramount's newest releases didn't have trailers and even the Black Hawk Down DVD is trailerless!

    Give me a trailer over a useless made for tv documentary to get people in to theaters anyday.
  14. John Berggren

    John Berggren Producer

    Jun 17, 1999
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    I've wanted to see this since Galaxy Quest. This DVD will be the perfect opportunity.
  15. Beau

    Beau Supporting Actor

    Jan 24, 2002
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    Great review. This is my favorite Christmas movie ever. I remember seeing it for the first time in the cinemas when I was 8 years old. Me and my family watch it every Christmas Eve before we go to bed. I don't mind TOO much that it wasn't PACKED with extras, and I'm definitely going to get this, becasue I don't own the old DVD, but I would probably have bought this one anyways even if I did have the old one.[​IMG]I can't wait for the sequel to come out.
  16. Chris M

    Chris M Second Unit

    Apr 15, 2000
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    This has been my very favorite christmas movie since I saw it in theater. I'm definately gonna repurchase... it'll be great to watch on my new 16:9 TV.

    Guess you weren't able to compare the earlier DVD to this one Ron?

  17. DaViD Boulet

    DaViD Boulet Lead Actor

    Feb 24, 1999
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    thanks for the review. Looking forward to adding this to the Christmas collection!

  18. Robert_eb

    Robert_eb Supporting Actor

    Sep 14, 2001
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    I own this film on laserdisc and wasn't planning on upgrading to the new dvd until I read this review. Thanks Ron.
  19. David Stone

    David Stone Stunt Coordinator

    Jan 6, 2002
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    Great review of a great film. We opened it today (had to wait until after Halloween [​IMG] ) and the family watched it twice.
    I give Disney a 9 out of 10 for this one. They lost a big point for needlessly leaving the original trailer off the disc, especially since it was included in the previous release of the DVD. A "Special Edition" should always offer the features already included in the regular edition release, not omit them.
    Also, on a purely personal note, I was a bit disappointed with cover art for the DVD case. The laser disc has similar artwork, but, instead of a solid border, it used the text of the "Santa clause" as the border around the artwork just like it ran around the edge of the card.
    Truly a missed opportunity to add the same bit of charm to the DVD cover.

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