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Reviews » DVD Video Reviews » Santa Clause 2
Santa Clause 2
Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment // G // November 18, 2003
List Price: $29.99 [Buy now and save at Amazon]
Review by Aaron Beierle | posted November 6, 2003 | E-mail the Author
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The Movie:

Occasionally, I find my expectations proven wrong about a picture. I'd expected "Santa Clause 2" to be another Disney direct-to-video effort that somehow gained theatrical distribution. While it's bigger and better than that, it doesn't cross that line by leaps and bounds.

Eight years (it seems like forever) since the first film (although apparently ready to go last year, the film was reportedly delayed to re-work the story), Tim Allen once again plays Scott Calvin, who became Santa Claus after accidentially knocking off Santa in the first picture. After a rather decent "Crimson Tide"-ish opening where the elves just barely miss being spotted by a plane flying over the North pole, Santa kicks the production line into high gear. Unfortunately for Santa, nobody remembered to tell him about the "Mrs. Clause", a piece of fine print that required that he get a wife or lose the suit.

So starts the "De-Santafication" process, shrinking Scott (er, Santa) back down until he'll no longer be the jolly fat guy who delivers presents. At the same time, he finds that son Charlie is on the "naughty" list this year, so he flies back down to the states in the hopes of trying to work both things out at once. Meanwhile, he leaves a robot Santa in his place, who starts to not work particularly well with others.

Script issues aside (why didn't anyone remember to tell Santa during these eight years), there are some really nice moments scattered throughout this film, including one where Scott livens up a school Christmas party by finding the presents that were in the hearts of the teachers during their childhood. It's a sweet scene, handled well and genuinely touching. Allen and Elizabeth Mitchell (as the Principal who wants to suspend Charlie) also have good chemistry together and are one of the reasons why the film works as well as it does.

Overall, "Santa Clause 2" isn't much to look at (I was a little stunned to find that this film was done at a reported cost of $65 million), it's rather forgettable and it's not going to do much for Allen's career. However, it is fairly well-done family fare, offering enough to keep kids passably entertained, while also mixing in some jokes for the adults in the audience.



The DVD

VIDEO: Presented in 1.85:1, THX-Certified anamorphic widescreen, the picture quality on this transfer may not be flawless, but it's certainly quite pleasing. Sharpness and detail are first rate, as definition remains consistent throughout much of the picture. As the camera pans through Santa's workshop, plenty of small background details and goings-on are clearly visible.

Some mild edge enhancement was occasionally apparent, but it was nothing that caused too great a concern. Print flaws remained at a minimum, with only a speck or two visible. Compression artifacts weren't seen, nor were any other issues. The Christmas theme provided a pretty vivid color palette, which looked bright and cleanly presented here - even a bit moreso than it did at the early screening I saw last year.

SOUND: The film is presented by Disney in Dolby Digital 5.1. This is really a soundtrack that comes to life during a few action moments, but then folds up for the rest of the time. The rear speakers kick in during the North Pole scenes, extending the action further into the room and even boasting some nice minor ambience, such as the clinks and clacks of the workers in Santa's workshop. Audio quality was fine, as speech remained clean and clear , while effects and score sounded dynamic and well-recorded. While certainly not demo material, this soundtrack provided a basically satisfying experience.

EXTRAS:

Commentary: This is a commentary from director Michael Lembeck. Lembeck, clearly told to make a commentary for the kiddies, acts throughout as if all of the locations were "real". There's not much insight into the technical process or production, just a lot of information about working with Santa and the elves, presented all in a straightforward manner, straightforward enough to make one wonder if Lembeck believes what he's saying. ("Yes, sure Michael, we didn't film in a backlot…we filmed in the North Pole, it was great.") Kids will love this commentary, I barely withstood a mild amount of it.

Gag Reel: Lasting a few minutes, this is a mildly funny collection of goofs, with a few of Allen's line readings spinning out of control.

Featurettes: "Director's Tour of Elfsberg" follows director Michael Lembeck, who's shooting a promo reel for Disney, who were "concerned" when they heard about the "battle" between Elves and Toy Solders. Another "tour" featurette is presented by Curtis, the #2 elf.

Also: Deleted scenes, a featurette with the "legendary figures" featured in the film, an interactive game, DVD-ROM features and promos for other Disney titles, including "Lion King 1 ½"

Final Thoughts: "Santa Clause 2" isn't necessary or particularly memorable, but it's a lukewarm bit of holiday fun that kids and adults will likely find a satisfactory rental. Disney's DVD provides good audio/video quality and a few decent kid-focused supplements.

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