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Brian Stokes Mitchell
Hundreds of years ago in Lapland, a little boy named Nikolas loses his family in an accident. The villagers decide to look after the orphaned boy together. Once a year - at Christmas - Nikolas moves to a new home. To show his gratitude, Nikolas decides to make toys for the children of the families as good-bye presents. Over the years, Nikolas's former adoptive families become many, and soon almost every house has presents on its doorstep on Christmas morning. At thirteen, Nikolas is sent to live and work with Iisakki, a grumpy old carpenter, who forbids Nikolas to continue making presents for Christmas. Gradually, however, Nikolas wins Iisakki's trust. Together they begin to look after the Christmas traditional that Nikolas has begun. When the aged Iisakki has to leave Nikolas and move away, the tradition of Christmas presents is once again at risk. Thankfully, Nikolas comes up with a solution that brings children joy every Christmas, even continuing to today. Written by
Technically superb film, with some unfortunate acting, screenplay
This film is one mixed bag. Technically it couldn't be any better. The cinematography by Mika Orasmaa is masterful and the soundtrack by Leri Leskinen does not fall short of the visuals. The Lappish scenery is magnificent and the movie props and costumes create a remarkably romantic and fairy tale-like atmosphere without losing a sense of reality. I was captivated by the execution of the film.
That being said, the acting is highly inconsistent - at best great (Kari Väänänen) and at worst performed by a former Finnish idols runner-up, Antti Tuisku (you can't make that up). This may or may not be a problem with the dubbed English version, but it sure as hell stands out like a sore thumb in the Finnish-spoken original here and there. The dialogue, it must be said, at times makes George Lucas seem like a pretty decent screenwriter.
As for the story, it may not be for everyone. There are scenes that border the questionable for a children's' movie about Santa, although certainly none of them spoil the film (or Christmas for that matter). It's not a sugar-coated Disney flick, but it's also neither depressing nor without humor or joy. Bottom line, all's well that ends well.
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