Lee has a bachelor's in English Lit. She loves analyzing fiction and obsessing over books, film, and television.
The Santa Clause is a 1994 film produced by Walt Disney Pictures, starring Tim Allen as Scott Calvin, a man who must become Santa after accidentally causing the original to fall off his roof to his death.
I guess you could say I've loved this film for twenty years now. I remember loving it when it came out. It's a great comedy and one that should be watched every year for the laughs, if nothing else.
Though Tim Allen apparently felt he was wrong for the role, I feel he was perfect for it. Scott Calvin is a business man who doesn't really like kids much and doesn't like being a father. He's sarcastic, a little sleazy, and when you think of him, you think anything but "Father Christmas."
Scott Calvin is basically just Tim Allen, who once said in an interview that he didn't like kids. One theme in the film is ironic humor, so someone like Scott Calvin becoming Santa Claus is supposed to be hilariously ironic.
All that being said, watching this film again for the first time in years led me to question the plot. I feel a little peeved that the magic is ruined for me, but why not ruin it for everyone else too?
Here are some things I noticed that now bug the hell outta me about The Santa Clause.
Why Don't More People Know Santa Is Real?
Why don't more people know Santa Claus is real? Because Santa and the elves are making no attempts to hide.
For one thing, you can see the elves clearly walking around in public. They pass completely for human children -- except they all have really obvious pointy ears. And yet, no one looks twice at them. Maybe that's part of their magic.
But ok -- what about Santa?
After donning the Santa suit, Scott Calvin spends an entire year going through some serious transformations. He gets fat overnight, he grows a beard that grows back instantly whenever he shaves it, and he is followed everywhere by children and reindeer.
This isn't some crap that's going on in Scott's head, as his doctor and anyone with a pair of eyes can verify.
On top of that, we see Scott Calvin -- now fully Santa Claus -- fly off in his sleigh from the top of a house in front of an entire crowd of people at the end of the film. I suppose it made sense for the 90's since people back then didn't have smartphones with cameras on them ready to snap quick pictures for evidence, but come on.
People wake up every Christmas with a buttload of presents they didn't buy and don't wonder where they came from? Meanwhile, Santa is appearing on people's roofs on the five o' clock news.
It just doesn't make sense.
The way Santa flaunts his magic, you'd think everyone would know about him.
Why Don't The Elves Care That The Other Santa Bought It?
This one bugged me probably more than it should have, but why don't the elves care that the other Santa died???
The second Scott Calvin arrived at the North Pole, the elves were smiling at him and were cheerful. They welcomed him warmly and then went on making toys without skipping a beat. No sorrow for the other Santa, who tragically fell off a roof and perished. Just back to work.
Seriously. The elves are cold AF.
I could understand that Bernard might be cold. He's kind of a temperamental asshole. But the other elves? Judy -- the elf who made Scott Calvin hot chocolate -- seemed really sweet but also didn't seem to care enough about the other Santa to ask how he died or what happened.
There are a few explanations that could clear this up, I think.
First, maybe the other Santa was an asshole and the elves didn't like him. It's possible.
Second, the elves are probably so old, they're used to losing Santas. Scott Calvin is probably Santa #60,256, and while they are shown to get attached to him, they probably won't get choked up too badly if he falls off his own roof some day.
Why Didn't Wendy And Neil Get Their Toys?
There's a scene toward the end of the film where Wendy and Neil talk about how they didn't get the toys they wanted most for Christmas. Wendy almost comes to tears over a f****** Mystery Date board game, while Neil laments that he stopped believing in Santa Claus because he didn't get an Oscar Mayer Wiener whistle for Christmas.
What the hell?
I envy the privileged lives these two must've led to have such petty-ass problems. Who stops believing in Santa over a whistle or a board game? Geez. Maybe the fat man didn't bring your presents because you were bad kids.
That's my answer to this conundrum: Wendy and Neil were rotten kids!
Neil stopped believing in Santa when he was three. He must've been an awful three-year-old to not get that stupid whistle. And even after he behaved like a childish asshole for the duration of the film, Scott still brought him the whistle!
Scott is clearly the man Wendy should have stuck with.
Where Was Mrs. Claus?
In the second film, The Santa Clause 2, we learn that there's a clause stating that Santa has to be married and so he sets out to find a wife. Good thing Scott Calvin was straight, huh? Or else it would have been a marriage of convenience of some sort. And those suck.
But what about the last Santa Claus? Why didn't he have a wife? Why wasn't she already at the North Pole, screaming "Where is my husband, you murderer?!" when Scott Calvin arrived with Charlie?
There are a few simple answers.
Maybe the last Santa hadn't been Santa that long or just not long enough to marry. This would also explain why the elves didn't care about him falling off that roof: they hadn't known him long enough to care.
Hell, maybe the last Santa was gay and refused to marry, ignoring the clause!
Charlie Loves Santa, Not Scott
This bugs me, perhaps, most of all.
In the beginning of the film, Charlie and his father have a strained relationship. Charlie doesn't like his father much and seems to want nothing to do with him.
He has good reasons, as it seems Scott has no interest in paying attention to his son beyond the allotted time. It's like he views spending time with his son and, you know, loving him as a duty and not a joy or a blessing.
By the end of the film, however, Charlie suddenly loves his father and always wants to be with him. This is mostly because Scott now suddenly loves him.
Scott was only able to reach a point where he actually cared about spending time with his son because he became Santa Claus.
Apparently, becoming Santa meant embodying love, expressing love, and promoting love -- to the point that Scott finds himself protesting about depictions of violent toys at work. He's had a complete change of heart through no personal work of his own and purely because he put on a red suit and magically absorbed the goodness of a mythical being.
By the end of the film, Scott Calvin is no longer Scott Calvin, the cynical and sleazy asshole who hates spending time with his son. He is now Santa Claus and has embodied the loving spirit of the legend.
This legend is what Charlie loves, not his actual father. At the film's very end, he even says "I love you, Santa Claus," not "I love you, Dad."
Pretty messed up.
All my criticism aside, this is a wonderful film. It doesn't have to make sense to be entertaining and to bring a little magic to the lives of children everywhere --
Just like the real Santa Claus.
© 2018 Lee