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SANTA VS THE SNOWMAN

SYNOPSIS
A lonely snowman who cannot talk because there is no-one to talk to and who can only give sound to a flute, is lured by the lights from Santa’s village and the all-night happiness that goes on. Peeking into the woodshop window and seeing the elves singing and cheerily churning out Yuletide toys, the snowman dreams of usurping Santa and having all the world’s love to himself. Making a grab for a shiny red flute, the snowman is spotted by Santa-security but escapes to his igloo where he raises an army of snow minions to do battle with Santa (voice of Jonathan Winters) on the very night the jolly red joker must deliver billions of toys.

Review by Keith Lofthouse:
The good news is that the 3D animation is technically so sophisticated that the “coming-at-ya” images on the giant screen practically poke your eye out. The bad news is that Santa slings a snowball that actually takes the Snowman’s eye out, which is surely not a Christmassy thing to do. And the old news is that IMAX is 30 years of technology still waiting for a decent story to happen. 

Santa vs The Snowman is a curious clutter that is part Star Wars, Muppets and Toy Story which comes across as a glitch before Christmas when it tries to tickle the fancy of mums and dads too. The film has a few cute ideas and several modest chuckles but it isn’t exactly kiddie-friendly.

We hear from a surveillance elf, mooning about getting some kind of “commitment” from a female elf and feel the kids squirm when there’s babble about “incoming transmissions from reconnaissance,” gizmos that “meet emission standards” and jet-powered reindeer that are “the latest evolution in sleigh technology.” 

The elf woodshop might seem like the right place for an Elvis impersonator but it’s no place for a gag about faded tennis icon Billie Jean King. The 3D effects – dizzying at first when the cameras prowl around at carpet level in a room full of toys - retire in the second-half, allowing some relief from the eyewear. 

Alas, Santa is more ho-hum than ho-ho-ho and the Snowman (who never gets to play that flute) has all the charm of a meltdown. The message is simple: throw snowballs, but don’t steal and don’t covet what is better left to others. 

The final verdict came from the boys in the front row. “Boring!” snapped the eight-year-old as he scurried towards the exit… “double boring,” yipped his brother.

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CRITICAL COUNT
Favourable: 0
Unfavourable: 0
Mixed: 1

SANTA VS THE SNOWMAN (G)
(US)

CAST: VOICES: Jonathan Winters, Ben Stein, Victoria Jackson

PRODUCER: Paul Marshal, John A. Davis and Keith Alcorn

DIRECTOR: John A. Davis

SCRIPT: John A. Davis (creator Steve Oedekerk)

CINEMATOGRAPHER: n/a

EDITOR: Kinsey Beck

MUSIC: Harvey Cohen, Carl Lenox

PRODUCTION DESIGN: n/a

RUNNING TIME: 40 minutes

AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: IMAX

AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: November 28, 2002 (Sydney/Melbourne)







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