A little girl discovers dreams do come true if you really believe. Six-year-old Susan has doubts about childhood's most enduring miracle - Santa Claus. Her mother told her the "secret" ... See full summary »
A little girl discovers dreams do come true if you really believe. Six-year-old Susan has doubts about childhood's most enduring miracle - Santa Claus. Her mother told her the "secret" about Santa a long time ago, so Susan doesn't expect to receive the most important gifts on her Christmas list. But after meeting a special department store Santa who's convinced he's the real thing, Susan is given the most precious gift of all - something to believe in. Written by
Robert Lynch <email@example.com>
Macy's department store refused permission for its name to be used in this remake. See more »
When Santa Claus tells the little girl his name in other countries, he states that in Italy his name is "La Befana", however that is the name of the kind witch that flies around filling stockings on January 6th. His name in Italian is "Babbo Natale". See more »
Few things are more amusing that reading the comments from the crybaby dishrags who whine about remaking a classic like "Miracle On 34th Street" (1947). How are these weepy rants helpful?
Did it need to be remade? No. But the source material is good enough that any number of professionally done remakes would still be entertaining. If this 1994 version had been the original, people would already be crowning it with the classic tag.
But it is not the original. It strikes a decent compromise by keeping many of the original story elements, deleting some, updating others, and making a few generally ill-advised additions.
There are even some clear improvements. Elizabeth Perkins and Mara Wilson are a much better mother and daughter match than Natalie Wood and Maureen O'Hara. There is a real chemistry between them and the producers appear to have grasped this connection. This "Miracle" is told much more from their respective points of view and in that sense is much more their story than in the original. Wilson brings a focus and intensity to her roles that few child actors can match. She gave a similar performance the next year in Matilda. Perkins is one of those actresses you don't really notice at first, memorable in "Big" and "Speak" for performances filled with subtle nuances.
It is no surprise that Richard Attenborough falls short of the Edmund Gwenn standard but that was Gwenn's signature role; and as much a part of cinema history as Gregory Peck's Atticus Finch. But look for the sequence where Wilson pulls his beard and discovers it is real-this is one of the great all-time scenes.
As long as Perkins and/or Wilson are being featured, the film works quite well. And it really only stumbles seriously during the courtroom scene and during the subplot elements featuring James Remar and Jane Leeves. The film staggers along a bit but recovers itself in time for an original and very effective conclusion. As Roger Ebbert said, while it will never replace the original; this is a sweet, gentle, good-hearted film that stays true to the spirit of the original and doesn't try to make everything slick and exploitative.
Then again, what do I know? I'm only a child.
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