|Index||7 reviews in total|
"Christmas Secret" was one of the most delightful Christmas specials aired
on television for the 2000 holiday season. It is a production that the
family can really enjoy and will please anyone except a confirmed
Without giving away too much of the plot, a college professor is given a book showing that reindeer can really fly. He sets out to discover if this is actually true. He ends up at Santa's workshop and becomes involved in a number of delightful situations.
Richard Thomas is wonderful as the professor grounding the fantasy elements in reality with his performance. Beau Bridges may seem to be an unusual choice for Santa, but as the story unfolds, he proves to be exactly right. Each of the characters fits their role like the proverbial glove.
CBS offered the production on tape during the telecast and I could not wait for mine to arrive. I have watched it numerous times during the year and find it more enjoyable with each viewing. There are wonderful sequences for children and many humorous ones for adults. It is a film for the entire family. I only wish it was also available on DVD. Currently it is only available directly from CBS.
For a delightful, magical holiday production, "Christmas Secret" really fills the bill.
I haven't seen it for several years but have looked out for it every year since 2002 perhaps. I thought it was "magical". It is a fantasy movie so just bring a little willing suspension of disbelief to the table and this movie is wonderful. I cant speak to the individual performances at this point because it has been too long, but I seem to remember everyone's performance in this movie as being on the money. I don't recall Richard Thomas being bad in this movie, he is what he is, and I have always liked him and his work, just because of him. I personally felt this movie was always underrated, but maybe not everyone can connect with it, just like not everyone could connect with Richard Thomas' characters' theories in the movie! If I can find it on DVD I will be a happy camper.
I personally found the film, despite certain flaws inherent to TV
budget-level productions, to be completely delightful. I especially
enjoyed Beau Bridges as St. Nick. I found the script to be
well-written, and the story at least attempted to be somewhat
plausible. The character interactions were excellent, and I feel that
those who hated this film are also the same types who gripe about the
problems of the Holidays in general.
Sure the movie is a bit trite in spots, but HEY! It's a movie about SANTA CLAUS! Suspension of disbelief or cynicism is mandatory before viewing such a movie.
This movie really does have something for both kids and adults, and I'm proud to have a copy of it on my shelf. If you love Christmas, you'll probably love this movie. I do, and I did!
What the previous reviewer neglected to mention is that the sets used for the film were magical, in particular Santa's village, perfect. just how you would imagine an old time Christmas village to be. The script wasn't great, the plot was a cute premise, but the sets were a triumph.
I was thoroughly enjoying "The Christmas Secret" until the explanation came up as to why Santa Clause distributed gifts. The story became so erroneous as to be offensive to me. Saint Nicholas was no legend, he was a real Bishop named Nicholas Klaas who was born of wealthy Christian parents in 270 A.D. in Turkey. His parents died in an epidemic while he was still a youth, he gave his life to Jesus and used his entire inheritance to care for children, the sick and the suffering as long as he lived. He wore the red robe of a holy Bishop and a black belt to keep it closed. He became known throughout Europe for his love, concern and generosity towards children and young adults. He also became the patron saint of sailors and voyagers. There is wonderful moral material that Bishop Klaas stands for. He performed many, many acts in secret, expecting nothing in return. Here in America, we call him Santa Clause which is our version of the Dutch Sinterklaas. He was single all his life and folklore has been added by every country. There is a real moral point to gift giving, by his example of giving to people in need, especially children and young adults, not to those already wealthy and greatly possessed. Saint Nicholas continues to be a model of compassion, love and concern as modeled by his teacher. He died on December 6, 343 A.D.
The Christmas Secret was touted as a wonderful film, but I was truly
disappointed. They even sold VHS and DVD copies of the film when it was
over, which leads me to think the producers were really proud of this
project. As a screen actor myself I felt most of the performances were
phoned in, although Beau Bridges, as Nick, did have a moment or two. If I
were Richard Thomas I would not put this film on my otherwise fine resume.
It was an embarrassment. I had been a fan since his Waltons days, but have
found myself untempted to watch any of his subsequent work, so poor was
In defence of the actors, the directing was stilted, mechanical, and thoroughly amateurish.
I hope this is not considered a spiteful review and negative assumptions made about my qualifications as a critic. I turned the movie on because it had a good cast and I was prepared to enjoy the film. However I would challenge any one out there to watch this film and not wish for their money back, even though it was on T.V.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
THIS REVIEW IS MOSTLY ALL SPOILERS. IF YOU PLAN ON ENJOYING THIS FILM, DON'T
READ THIS REVIEW.
That's the problem with kids TV nowadays. It's all so patronizing and condescending. `Wow, that was fun, wasn't it?' No it wasn't. And unfortunately it seems to have permeated into children films as well. And that is what 'Flight of the Reindeer' is all about. Admittedly I haven't seen 'Flight of the Reindeer' in a few years so I might be hazy on some points, but I remember being thoroughly unimpressed with it at the time.
Essentially, the story follows a lecturer who is given a book for Christmas. Now, the lecturer is an esteemed scientist on the flying habits of some animal. I think it was bullfrogs. Anyway, through this book, Mr Lecturer / family man learns that reindeer can fly in exactly the same way as bullfrogs. Apparently this book was written by a scientist many hundreds of years ago who disappeared in the North Pole. Now, if it were me I would have thrown the book out the nearest window. Flying bullfrogs are a naturally occurring phenomenon, but flying reindeer is a fantastic and wholly unrealistic concept. But, Mr lecturer ISN'T me, so I guess that explains why he decides to fly to the north pole leaving his wife and kid at home with no idea where he's gone. Of course, things go awry and before he knows it, a flying reindeer has crashed into his private plane and he's stranded at the North Pole.
Are you still following this? Good.
His family, of course, are devastated. I would be too, I mean, what a suck-tacular Christmas. Elsewhere, Mr lecturer finds himself in a hidden town at the North Pole inhabited by midgets and one tyrannical figure who dresses only in red and white. Rather than try to escape immediately, as I would have done, he greets everyone there with open arms. This hidden civilization of midget monsters, and he greets them with open arms. Oooo-kayyyy. They feed him this story that they are the elves of Santa Claus and they spend all year round making toys for kids they have no idea exist. And Mr lecturer accepts all this. He even accepts that Santa Claus is in fact the scientist who disappeared two hundred years ago or whatever. There's just one problem - they don't want him to leave. The world can't know of their secret existence. After all, before they'd know it there'd be a McDonalds and a Starbucks on every street corner.
Still with me?
Now, Mr nice guy's family find the book and assume he's gone to the North Pole. Boy, wouldn't they be embarrassed if they found out he'd just gone for a brisk walk? Before the audience knows it, they're jetting off to spend a Christmas in the most authentic winter wonderland on the planet. Meanwhile, Mr lecturer gets sick of all the uppity midgets and decides to leave. I can't remember exactly, but I do recall him holding Santa Claus to gunpoint. A fire fight ensues when the midgets attack and he manages to escape via Santa's sleigh. With Santa hot on his heels and with bloodlust in his eyes, Mr Whatever, through some marvellous co-incidence, finds himself flying alongside his family's plane that is looking for him. So he jumps on to their plane, the planes flies back and everyone lives happily ever after.
The fact is, there have been some shocking films made in the name of Christmas over the years but because they feature that festive charm they get away with it. And it's that charm that is utterly devoid from 'Flight of the Reindeer' There isn't much wrong with it; nothing which insults the intelligence (well, obviously there IS, but it's a kids film and thus can get away with such things) or anything particularly offensive, but the problem is there is nothing much right about it either. It just doesn't FEEL Christmassy. And for a film that is all about Christmas, that it a pretty major flaw. But hey, I don't think 'Flight of the Reindeer's target audience mind about that? Why should they? They're all so doped up on sedatives they probably couldn't spell `Christmas'
I give it three out of ten. If it was a TV-Movie then I'd add another two stars onto it. We all know how bad they can get.
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