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Case Number 22652: Small Claims Court

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The Santa Incident

Vivendi Visual Entertainment // 2010 // 88 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge Paul Pritchard (Retired) // November 1st, 2011

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All Rise...

You can keep your peace and goodwill to all men, Judge Paul Pritchard just wants your ho, ho, hos.

The Charge

Unlock The Magic Of The Season!

The Case

When Santa's sleigh is shot down by a fighter jet over a small American town, it's up to little Sophia (Ali Lyons) and her ten-year-old brother, Daniel (Scott Graham), to save him from a pair of government agents (Greg Germann, Ally McBeal, and Sean McConaghy) who are intent on capturing him. With only weeks to go until Christmas, Santa still has much work to do, and so despite being in hiding must find a way of making enough toys for the children of the world. With only their mom (Ione Skye, Fever Pitch) and the local sheriff (Jonathan Kerrigan) to rely upon, Sophia and Daniel must race against time to save Christmas.

The Santa Incident, as the brief plot synopsis above should hopefully suggest, is yet another in the yearly cycle of Christmas movies revolving around Santa having to prove he is who he claims to be. Of course, when done right, the results can be magnificent (see Miracle on 34th Street for proof), but most of these releases are schmaltzy rubbish, suitable only for grandparents and the very young. The Santa Incident—originally shown on the Hallmark Channel—falls mostly into the latter category.

Due to its good intentions, The Santa Incident is not a movie I take any great joy from beating up on, but at the same time I have no intention of suggesting anyone spend more than bargain bin prices on the DVD.

What little originality the film contains is quickly forgotten thanks to an over reliance on the genre tropes that dictate what should and shouldn't happen in a Christmas movie. Older kid who needs convincing Santa is real? Check. Adults who don't believe in Santa, yet still let their kids hang out with an old man they nothing about? Check. A dastardly villain who sets out to end Christmas? Check. A plot that culminates in everyone having their hearts filled with Christmas cheer? Check. We even get a more recent phenomena (thanks to The Santa Clause) that sees annoying child actors portraying wisecracking elves.

Younger children should still get a kick out of the movie, thanks mostly to James Cosmo's impressive turn as Santa, which is full of warmth, making The Santa Incident worthy of consideration for a rental during the Christmas holiday period. Even the most forgiving of audiences will find it hard to deny the distinct lack of Christmas magic here. Perhaps it's the sunny locales, the fact that Santa fails to sport his famous red outfit until the very end, or the plot's emphasis on the agents out to capture St. Nick, but The Santa Incident just doesn't elicit the magic of the festive season, and rarely seems inclined to try.

The DVD, which is a barebones release, features a solid 1.78:1 anamorphic transfer. The picture is bright, sharp, and contains natural colors with no visible flaws. The 5.1 soundtrack is front-heavy, but does little to warrant criticism, containing clear dialogue and sound effects.

For collectors of Christmas movies (Mom and Dad, I'm looking at you), The Santa Incident offers passable, child-friendly entertainment, but everyone else should look elsewhere for their festive fun.

The Verdict


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Scales of Justice

Judgment: 60

Perp Profile

Studio: Vivendi Visual Entertainment
Video Formats:
• 1.78:1 Anamorphic
Audio Formats:
• Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround (English)
• None
Running Time: 88 Minutes
Release Year: 2010
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
• Christmas
• Comedy
• Family
• Fantasy

Distinguishing Marks

• None


• IMDb

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