‘Tis the year of nostalgia, and there’s no better time to soak it in than during the holidays. And this season, we’re seeing the return of a jolly old friend in The Santa Clauses. The boisterous Tim Allen dawns St. Nick’s suit once again as the iconic character struggles with his hope to retire as Santa Claus and focus on being a family man.
The Santa Clause (1994) is one of those films near and dear to my heart, as it is for many. It’s a true classic that brings me right back to my childhood with every watch. That is why I found it so unfortunate that the sequels have failed to capture the same magic, both in the well-intentioned but mediocre 2002 film and the dreadful 2006 release.
Though Allen‘s adored in the role, those follow-up misfires left me hesitant to jump on the sleigh when this series was announced. But with the promise of familiar faces, like our favorite elf Bernard (David Krumholtz), and my weakness for these types of films and series regardless of the outcome, I went in with checked expectations.
While it’s difficult to judge the entire series based on the first two episodes, I was surprised to find them somewhat enjoyable, especially as a kid-less millennial. It doesn’t match closely to the 1994 film as I had hoped for, with the comedy and overall look more aligned with the latter films. I had really hoped for less slapstick (several new characters are obnoxious) and something perhaps more meaningful, like in the original.
It’ll be great for families to watch, and I find it sweet that those who grew up with the first film can now enjoy this with their kids. My issue with these legacy installments—aka “nostalgia bait”—is that the focus isn’t on the original fans. Instead it’s aimed to entertain newer generations and just latching onto the existing framework. I shared similar thoughts on this year’s Hocus Pocus sequel. It’s not necessarily a bad thing, it just feels cheap at times.
That’s not to say The Santa Clauses isn’t full of callbacks or that it’s not amusing to see Scott Calvin back in action. Those who enjoyed The Santa Clause 2 will likely find this to be just as fun, and I’m still very much excited to continue watching as the later episodes roll out.
See the first two episodes of The Santa Clauses on Disney+ on November 16
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