Film Reviews:

Santa vs The Snowman (Imax 3D)

(John A. Davis, USA, 2002)

[Santa vs The Snowman] Now you know a little about what I got up to over the recent Christmas break. I've been meaning to catch this ever since it opened three years ago. Having finally gotten around to seeing it, the wait wasn't really worth it. As a piece of lightweight seasonal fodder this had plenty going for it... or so I thought. I love films with snow in them. I've a soft spot for snowmen (one of may favourite Mr Men as a kid was Mr Snow). I like CG animation. I like the Imax format. I really like 3D Imax films. So how could this fail? Well its that age old chestnut: story. It doesn't really have much of one. This plays more like creator Steve (Jimmy Neutron) Oedekerk came up with a story outline and the production simply used that as its shooting script.

[Santa vs The Snowman]The computer animation looks far older than it is, and comes across as clunky rather than fluid, meaning character movements are especially limited and 'unnatural'. Whilst the very young (at whom this is obviously intended and marketed at) will mostly enjoy it, more demanding kids and adults will find it all, if you'll excuse the pun, a bit too one dimensional. It falls way short of the dual child/adult pleasing fare of Pixar, for example.

It says a great deal when your best sequence by far is lifted straight out of another film. Here it is an unsubtle 'homage' to the Imperial Walkers attack sequence on the ice planet Hoth in The Empire Strikes Back. A great cinematic moment to choose admittedly, but you'd better have some decent stuff off your own to back it up and this doesn't really have anything of substance to offer. At times it almost feels insipid, faintly recalling the sentimental syrup of Santa Claus: The Movie. Even the 3D potential is seriously underexploited. Very disappointing. 5/10

Rob Dyer (February 2005)

See also:

Jack Frost
Nightmare Before Christmas, The
Polar Express, The
Santa Claus: The Movie

A-Z of Film Reviews