‘The Santa Clauses’ Review: Tim Allen Brings Back the Christmas Spirit

In 1994, Tim Allen was one of the biggest stars in Hollywood. He had a hit TV show, he made movies, and he was also the lead to be the voice of Buzz Lightyear in Pixar’s first feature film, Toy Story. One of those movies that really put him on the map was The Santa Clause, a different sort of Christmas movie where Santa literally dies, and then a new Santa is appointed. That first film was a huge success for Disney, and two more sequels were made. Now, Tim Allen isn’t as famous as he used to be, but he is back to bring the Christmas spirit with a new Disney Plus show.

The Santa Clauses is a TV series based on the previous The Santa Clause trilogy, with Jack Burditt in the roles of showrunner and executive producer. The series stars Tim Allen, Elizabeth Mitchell, Kal Penn, Erick Lloyd, Austin Kane, Elizabeth Allen-Dick, Matilda Lawler, and Devin Bright. The film is a direct sequel to the trilogy and tells the story of Santa, who is now falling short of his responsibilities and might try to look for a new replacement. However, it is not an easy task, as Santa himself doesn’t want to leave the job he has come to love.

The first, The Santa Clause, is a Christmas classic for sure. The film managed to subvert expectations by putting Allen in the main role. Allen is quite funny, but his character goes through a huge transformation both on the outside and on the inside. Which, of course, it was related to the theme of self-improvement that the movie was trying to convey. We can all be better and help others along the way. So, that first movie managed to capture all the cozy feelings related to Christmas while also delivering a great comedy film.

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The sequels were very that successful. Mainly, because, the character’s journey was already done. And so the sequels tried to catch the lightning in the bottle once again, without understanding how they did it in the first place. The result were sequels that, while successful at the box office, basically killed the franchise by not delivering when it came to the core values of the story. So, when a new continuation to the story was announced, reactions were a bit on the skeptical side.

However, I am glad to say that The Santa Clauses, not only delivers great comedy but also a story that harkens back to those core values from the first film. Yes, at this point, the franchise is not relevant enough in the eyes of younger audiences. But so far Disney has decided to go full nostalgia bait with its original efforts in its streaming platform, so The Santa Clauses fits right in with everything else that they are offering. It might not be the original show the streaming service needs, but for Christmas, it will do the job.

The series brings Allen back, which is very nice. This type of legacy sequel doesn’t really work if the main players from the original are not back. So, with Allen back on board, it feels like this is a legitimate continuation and not just another project to fill the void. Everyone in the cast is doing a great job, Allen included, but the most interesting storylines involve the new characters. These characters for sure bring new life into the story, but they also give you a sense of expectation. They are new, so it is difficult today how they will behave and react to certain situations. It makes the show worth watching.

The production values are quite solid. The show makes good use of fantastic sets and solid visual effects to enhance them. We are not talking about Andor’s level of production here, but the show doesn’t feel cheap. All costumes also look quite nice, and even the cheapest-looking element, which is the elves’ facilities, looks good enough to not be a distraction. The makeup department is quite solid, and Allen also goes through a transformation as the episodes run through.

As the series progresses, it becomes clear that the series is being made into a sort of epilogue. A passing of the torch and a way to revive the series for new audiences. If that objective will be achieved, we will have to see, but so far, the series feels like an actual project made with love and care. This is the exact feeling all Disney productions should give to the audience. However, lately, the feeling is that milking the cow is more important than doing something else with the milk, and there are many things that could be done.

In the end, The Santa Clauses serves as a solid legacy sequel to a franchise that might have been forgotten, but it is showing it still has one last hurrah! The characters and the actors are doing a great job, and while the writing isn’t anything particularly original, it is solid, and it will bring you more laughs than you expect.

SCORE: 7/10

  • Nelson loves all things related to storytelling. He has spent most of his life studying narrative, applied across all mediums; film, TV, books, and video games. Mulholland Drive is his favorite film.