Plot: What’s it about?
When “The Santa Clause” first showed up in theaters during the Holiday Season of 1994, it was a big hit. At the time, Tim Allen was the king of TV with his show “Home Improvement”. His transition to movies showed that he had what it took to not only rule the airwaves, but the Silver Screen as well. Years have past and though Allen’s star doesn’t shine as bright anymore, he has managed to hang on to his career. He returns to the role that was his most successful on the screen, as Scott Calvin or better known as Santa. The film could have been a flop as enough time had passed from the original. I mean kids that saw it at the age of, say, 7 are now 15! But Disney, proving that nothing is truly out of their range, dusted off the film and made it almost as entertaining as the original. Allen joins a star-studded cast that includes Judge Reinhold, Wendy Crewson, Jay Thomas and Michael Dorn just to name a few. Like most of their recent offerings, Disney aims the film at kids, but it contains enough subtle humor that adults will get the jokes and have a good time too.
Calvin (Tim Allen) has been Santa for eight years and is loved by all of the elves that work for him. The consider him to be the best Santa ever. However, Calvin’s son, Scott has landed on the year’s “naughty” list. Calvin must find a wife by Christmas Eve or else his reign as Santa is officially over. A two sentence plot might not make for much of a movie, but there’s so much that’s really fun about the movie that you’ll forget how basic and simple the concept is. Allen actually plays two roles in the film, one as Scott Calvin (Santa) and the other as his evil plastic duplicate. The lovely Elizabeth Mitchell plays the would be future Mrs. Clause. The film might seem a bit dated, as I feel most holiday movies are. They seem to come out at the right time of year, make their millions and then simply go away. I mean how often do you feel like watching a Christmas movie in July? This might be the exception to the rule, though. A well-rounded cast and proof that Tim Allen hasn’t lost his charm makes for a very good movie-going experience. With Disney pulling the strings, it’s quite possible that they have a franchise on their hands…
Video: How does it look?
The Santa Clause 2 is presented in a 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen transfer. This is another top notch day & date transfer from Disney, who continues to churn out outstanding transfers. I saw a couple instances of slight pulses, but these were infrequent and minor in nature. The colors have are vibrant and never bleed, while flesh tones are natural and consistent as well. No issues with the contrast either, detail is good and I saw no flaws with the black levels at any time. Disney, trying to get more buck for the bang has also released this in a full frame.
Audio: How does it sound?
Though you wouldn’t think that a movie like “The Santa Clause 2” would be a candidate for DTS, it sports 5.1 surround tracks in both Dolby Digital and. Of course, this movie isn’t as explosive as some others, but some good presence is still here and these tracks take full advantage of that. The music seems to be the most active element, especially in some of the more complex numbers, such as the Le Pelt fashion show. The music is very well presented and so are the sound effects, although usually for atmospheric tones, to keep the mood intact. The dialogue also comes across well, with clean & crisp vocals and no signs of volume flaws I could detect. So even if this isn’t the speaker shattering kind of audio material, Disney should be commended for giving it the best possible audio mixes.
Supplements: What are the extras?
There isn’t a whole lot in terms of supplements, or maybe we’ve just become spoiled by lavish two-disc special editions. First off is a commentary track by director Michael Lembeck who gives us some insight into the shoot and some behind the scenes information as well. Though I doubt many children (the target audience of the movie) will be interested in what Lembeck has to say, true fans might find this entertaining. Seven deleted scenes are shown and though a short movie, the right decision was made to leave these on the cutting room floor. Also shown are some outtakes (Gag Reel), some DVD-ROM features and “Operation Toy Box”, a set top game. There are a few featurettes as well, first up is “Inside the North Pole with Curtis” which is essentially a Making of Featurette that we’ve seen time and time again and Lembeck gives us a tour of Elfsburg in another, somewhat hokey featurette. All in all, if you’re a fan of “The Santa Clause” movies, this should be a welcome addition to any collection.