the studio gate

the backlot

the screening room
The Screening Room

The number three movie in a trilogy usually means trouble. "Return of the Jedi" was hit & miss with some awesome action scenes marred by those darned Ewoks. "The Matrix" sequels, "Reloaded" and "Revolutions" ruined the franchise. Now here comes "Santa Clause 3: The Escape Clause." Not that the first two films in 1994 and 2002 were classics, but they were pretty enjoyable. Part Three isn't all that enjoyable, and if my young daughter's lack of interest in it is any indication, there's trouble at the North Pole. The 2006 Yuletide movie is now on DVD.

The story is watered down and misses the essence that made the first two films good. What happened to the rivalry between Reinhold's character of Dr. Neil Miller and Allen's Scott Calvin/Santa Claus? There were some good lines of dialogue between the two. What happened to Calvin's relationship to his son, which was so important in the original 1994 film? Calvin's son, played by Eric Lloyd, was intregral in believing in Santa and Christmas. He's grown up in Part Three, but that doesn't mean he should've been given only a couple of scenes to work with.

The movie is unintentionally creepy. The idea of Santa & Mrs. Claus having a baby Claus is something I don't want to think about, but it's part of storyline. Then there's Martin Short as Jack Frost, a combination of Billy Idol and Linda Blair from "The Exorcist." He's Santa's main rival, an outcast who wants to change Christmas. But he's scary looking with those cold blue contacts.  

Tim Allen is pretty much Tim Allen in most of the roles he plays. There's not much difference in his acting style from "Home Improvement" to the "Santa Clause" films. In most of the movies he's in, he tends to play a successful businessman who has to learn something about himself, or his family. Don't get me wrong. I've enjoyed Allen in many of his movies, in particular, the "Toy Story" films. For its time, "Home Improvement" was funny. However, in "Santa Clause 3," he runs on autopilot.     

The rest of the cast are admirable actors. Ann-Margaret, Alan Arkin, Judge Reinhold, and Martin Short are generally fine here, but most of the time they're not given much to do. They're given a few lines and directions to look stunned at the camera.

The idea of Jack Frost getting even with Santa Claus is a good one. But not much is done with the premise. As with many sequels to sequels, the script writers got carried away with trying to fit in as many characters and plot points as possible. Some cute gags show up, such as vending machines that read "Red Deer." The sets are Christmas-y and Robbie Greenberg's cinematography is good as usual. As a whole, the movie doesn't work.

When the family is over on Christmas Day, there's usually that period of time when everyone wants to let the turkey settle. While the kids are playing with their toys, someone might pop in a Christmas DVD for the whole family to enjoy. "Santa Clause 3" might make its way into the DVD player, but I'm not sure if it'll stay in there for long. 

Bill Kallay

Special thanks to Click Communications

Photos: Disney. All rights reserved.

Quick Glimpse



Okay, we get it...Christmas isn't all about commercialism and presents. Sheesh!

Director: Michael Lembeck

Cast: Tim Allen, Martin Short, Elizabeth Mitchell


Blooper reel, Christmas Carol-oke and more



Picture: Good
Sound: Good

Nice sets

Aspect Ratio (1.78:1) and (1.33:1) for "family friendly viewing"

Dolby Digital 5.1

November 20, 2007