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NCO in US Navy 1986-1993
BA in Film.
Not terrible if you think a bit
This film is regarded as a "turkey" and one of those films that's "so bad it's good." There are several things to consider when reviewing this film, but the most important considerations are the time it was made and the intended audience.
Santa Claus Conquers The Martians was made in 1964. Anyone who was a child around 1964 can tell you it was a very innocent time compared to today. Kids genuinely believed in Santa Claus then. One must also consider a child's concept of Martians, robots, and space travel in 1964. The cheesy Martian makeup and the clunky robot may evoke laughter from a modern audience, but a child's toy collection in 1964 might have had a Marx tin robot toy that looked very much like the one featured in this film. In fact, Marx Toy Company created the toys used in this film.
I was born in 1968, and I remember watching this movie on commercial television in the early 70s with my mother. Adult viewers see the story, set design, and effects as cheap and silly, but to a child in the 60s and 70s, this film was perfect Christmas viewing.
It's important to remember that this film was intended for children, and more specifically, children from a specific time in history. Not all films are timeless, and this one can be regarded more as a time capsule, showing just how innocent kids were 50 years ago.
The premise that Santa was real and had adventures beyond his annual duties was just fun for kids. I can't imagine this film having the bad reputation it has if it were done as one of the Rankin-Bass animated Christmas specials.
A look at the cast also reveals that all of the adult actors were professionals from stage and other film productions. I found the line delivery and acting to be sincere, and it's obvious that the cast did this because they loved their children. If this were done as a stage production, the audience would laugh along with the silliness, but kids would be mesmerized. And that's another thing to consider: the movie's costumes and set design actually seem more suited to a stage play rather than a film.
I'd say if you watch this film expecting some kind of sci-fi classic, you'll be disappointed. But if you look at it from a historical point of view, and consider that it's a play made with love for children who believed Santa Claus would visit them soon, you might see it in a different light.
A Christmas Story (1983)
Not meant to be "The True Meaning of Christmas"
This movie is not intended to bring the "true meaning of Christmas" to the screen. It is meant to make us remember what it was like to be kids at Christmastime during a more innocent era in America.
There was a time in this country when a person's word was his bond, when doing the right thing was its own reward, and Political Correctness was where it belonged: in Communist Russia.
Some people just don't "get" why A Christmas Story is so popular. I'd imagine these people can't remember believing in Santa Claus, or they can't remember anticipating Christmas morning with a treasure trove of gifts under the tree. These people may have lost their innocence very early in life, but worse, they can't remember it, and only cold cynicism is now in its place. A Christmas Story is meant to help you remember a time in your life when magical things were still real to you, before you were disillusioned by the realities of life.