This film offers an interesting twist on the "villains out to stop Christmas" theme that seems to be so prevalent these days. Here, the villains are a group of seedy corporate executive types posing as the Commission on Christmas in Juland, where they have banned all the real Santas from working with elves, angels or reindeer and from granting children's Christmas wishes. Their motivation? To make sure that all the Christmas presents have to be bought by parents from commercial enterprises. In other words, the villain is the commercialization of Christmas. Unfortunately, where the film falls short is that it doesn't really bring in anything about the real spirit of Christmas... I'm not talking about religious themes, but about the spirit of giving or about closeness with family and loved ones, kindness to strangers, all that heartwarming stuff that really makes a Christmas movie Christmassy (IMO). On the bright side, it was visually very Christmassy. Lots of beautiful, snowy mountain scenery, and it was great to see the quaint German village all decked out for Christmas, cobblestone streets and all. And I really loved Santa's little wooden gypsy caravan and his variety of Santa outfits. The very realistic reindeer poop from the invisible reindeer was a bit unnecessary. All in all, it was a fun romp with themes of triumph over bullying on several levels. A little too action-oriented for my tastes, but I think kids will really enjoy it. And I enjoyed it enough to see it again sometime, but not too soon. The acting ability of the dubbers was not great. I would have preferred to have seen it with the original soundtrack and subtitles, but since it's geared toward kids, I can understand why they didn't do that. Definitely a fun Christmas romp for the kids and anyone who likes snow and all the trappings that go with Chistmas.
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