"A Holiday Romp"
In THE SANTA CLAUSE 2, Tim Allen reprises his role as Scott Calvin, a divorced man who was forced to become Santa Claus and now has to find himself a Mrs. Claus, or lose his magical powers. As long as SANTA CLAUSE 2 focuses on the problems of Tim Allen’s character, the movie is an enjoyable romp appropriate for the whole family, but there are non-Christian elements that may confuse children, especially younger ones.
You might not expect a movie about Santa Claus to contain serious warnings against totalitarianism and moral legalism, but that’s exactly what THE SANTA CLAUSE 2 provides viewers. Regrettably, though, despite some redemptive elements, the movie replaces the redemptive birth of Jesus Christ with a pagan worldview about Santa Claus. Included within that worldview are references to other legendary characters such as the Tooth Fairy, Mother Nature and Cupid. However, although God seems to be left out of the equation, THE SANTA CLAUSE 2 succeeds as enjoyable, funny entertainment that will please many children and adults.
As in the first movie, funnyman Tim Allen (the TOY STORY movies) plays Scott Calvin, the latest man to don the red suit of the Christmas season icon, Santa. Scott has settled into his new role as Santa, and just may be the best man to play Santa in history.
There’s trouble at the North Pole, however. Scott learns that his real-life son, Charlie, has been put on the “Naughty” List instead of the “Nice” List. He also learns that, unless he can find a Mrs. Claus, there will be no Santa and the children will not get their gifts. Scott decides he must travel back home to fix these problems.
The North Pole needs someone to replace Scott while he’s gone. The Number 2 elf, Curtis, suggests that they make a duplicate Toy Santa to take Scott’s place while he’s gone. Scott reluctantly agrees. The Santa Sub, however, begins to institute some strange definitions of naughty and nice. He becomes a mean taskmaster, all decked out in a two-bit military dictator’s outfit. The Toy Santa arrests Bernard, the Number One elf, and Curtis must go to fetch Scott to save the day.
Scott is having his own troubles. He has set his heart on his son’s pretty principal, but she gets spooked when Scott tries to explain why he’s come back to town. Meanwhile, his son, Charlie, feels betrayed by his dad’s interest in the principal, who’s the source of Charlie’s conflicts at school. Everything leads to an exciting, funny conclusion.
THE SANTA CLAUS 2 is one of the better produced holiday-oriented family offerings from Hollywood. The sets are colorful, the story contains plenty of comical jeopardy and excitement, and Tim Allen is very funny in his dual roles as the Real Santa and the Fake Santa. The movie provides an excellent satire of two-bit dictators like Fidel Castro and Saddam Hussein. There is also an allegorical message that, like God, Santa and the elves judge the children by grace. Although only “nice” children get the toys, Santa and his elves realize that every child has at least some “naughtiness” in their nature. Grace, however, can cover over a multitude of sins.
In this way, SANTA CLAUSE 2 follows the pattern for storytelling laid out by Frank McConnell in his classic book STORYTELLING AND MYTHMAKING: IMAGES FROM FILM AND LITERATURE. In that book, McConnell defines Satire as a type of storytelling where the Hero realizes that things are crumbling around him. In fact, he may even realize that everyone in society is guilty and/or corrupt. This knowledge may drive him mad or crazy like a lunatic or a clown, or it may turn him into a savior or a messiah who, in turning the corrupt world upside down, actually turns the world rightside up.
Thus, in SANTA CLAUSE 2, the Toy Santa discovers that, in reality, there are really no “nice” children – all children have been very “naughty” at some point during the year. This knowledge turns him insane, and he decides that every child deserves a lump of coal instead of toys. He also decides that the elves in Santa’s Workshop aren’t following the rules very closely, so he institutes a dictatorship, complete with enlarged Toy Soldiers to enforce his will. The real Santa, Scott, not only has to stop the insane legalism of the totalitarian-minded Toy Santa, he must also remind the female principal and her faculty members of the childlike joys that celebrating Christmas can bring. If only they put aside their adult cynicism and believe.
Of course, the history of Jesus Christ’s life on earth also reflects some of this pattern. Jesus is born into an extraordinary time of social and political upheaval. His teachings upset many apple carts. In the end, as the True Messiah or Christ, He becomes the Divine Savior who, by His Grace and Love, turns society upside down and the whole world, indeed the whole universe, rightside up.
Despite its positive messages, the other messages in SANTA CLAUSE 2 are mixed.
For example, Santa has several encounters in the movie with the legendary figures Mother Nature, Cupid the Greek God of love, the Easter Bunny, the Sandman, Father Time, and the Tooth Fairy. These encounters are played mostly for laughs, but the movie includes pagan references to Mother Nature and Greek mythology that conflict with the biblical worldview of God, Creation and the meaning of Christmas.
Also, there are several lines of dialogue and plot devices where Santa Claus replaces the redemptive birth of Jesus Christ as the reason for the season. The movie suggests, for example, that, without Santa, Christmas would not exist. Of course, a more charitable person might think that the movie is just telling viewers that the celebratory spirit of Santa and his gifts helps make Christmas a special time for everyone, especially little children. This view, however, can make people forget the importance of the birth of Jesus Christ, the Divine/Human Savior who comes to die for our sins and to preach a new covenant of peace between God and Man.
Therefore, MOVIEGUIDE® cannot wholeheartedly endorse SANTA CLAUS 2. Christian parents of younger children may want to keep their little ones away from SANTA CLAUSE 2, to avoid confusion in their minds regarding Christmas.
As long as SANTA CLAUSE 2 focuses on the problems of Tim Allen’s character, including the crazy character of his wacky twin, Toy Santa, the movie is an enjoyable romp appropriate for the whole family. The filmmakers should have given more thought, however, to the worldview messages about Christmas and religion that they’re sending. They also could have added more biblical elements to their Christmas fairy tale, such as references to the gifts that the wise men brought Jesus when He was born.
(Pa, BB, C, Ab, L, V, A, M) Eclectic pagan worldview about the Christmas holiday includes references to legendary figures like Santa Claus, Mother Nature, the Tooth Fairy, and Cupid with some solid moral and redemptive elements (especially about the need for Grace) and some unbiblical moments where Santa replaces the redemptive birth of Jesus Christ as the reason for the season; several references to “butt,” a couple uses of the word “heck” and reindeer passes gas in one scene; comical, action violence such as reindeer learning to fly falls behind some houses, Santa plays football with elves, and elves and other people fight enlarged toy soldiers; no sex or nudity, but Santa goes out on dates to find a Mrs. Claus; wine seen in restaurant; no smoking; and, lying implicitly rebuked, public school principal bans holidays, teenager inflicts graffiti on school walls but is punished and totalitarianism rebuked in a comical fashion.
In THE SANTA CLAUSE 2, Tim Allen reprises his role as Scott Calvin, a divorced man forced to become Santa Claus. Scott discovers his real-life son, Charlie, has been put on the “Naughty” list. He also discovers that he must find a Mrs. Claus, or else he will lose the power to be Santa. Before going back to town, he decides to make a life-sized Toy Santa, or Android Santa, to take his place at the North Pole. The Toy Santa goes berserk, however, causing all sorts of complications for Scott’s plans to straighten out his son and find a new wife.
THE SANTA CLAUS 2 is one of the better-produced holiday-oriented family offerings from Hollywood in the last few years. The sets are colorful, the story is exciting, and Tim Allen is very funny in his dual roles as the Real Santa and the Fake Santa. Despite positive messages about responsibility and grace, however, the movie contains some objectionable pagan elements, including references to Mother Nature, and an attitude that, were it not for Santa Claus, the meaning of Christmas is diminished. Thus, Christian parents of younger children should approach this movie with caution.