Here we go. Brace yourselves. Santa Claws is a film that features some poorly-realised talking animals, a major Santa mishap, and the creative talents of the production company known as The Asylum. It has been a while since I watched a film from The Asylum (I have often enjoyed their silly creature features, but their mockbuster fare . . . not so much). And I think it has been even longer since I watched a film with talking animals at the heart of it.
Ezra James Colbert plays young Tommy, a boy who is upset that his mother (Julia, played by Nicola Lambo) has decided he can no longer keep a number of kittens in his care. This leads to Tommy pacing the kittens in a box and leaving them to be collected by Santa. Yes, that’s his plan. Unfortunately, Santa is allergic to cats, which leads to an accident, which then subsequently leads to the kittens taking charge of Santa’s sleigh and trying to save Christmas. Will they succeed? Will Julia rekindle her long-lost Christmas spirit? And will the neighbour, Marcus (Evan Boymel), get the Santa sighting that he has spent many years longing for?
Although I have yet to see any other film written by Anna Rasmussen (and one of those is called Shark Side Of The Moon - why have I not seen that one?), she does what is expected here, in terms of the simple plotting, the focus on the cute animals, and ensuring that characters learn a lesson or two before the end credits roll. It still feels a bit overlong, despite coming in at under the 90-minute mark, but maybe that won’t be noticed by younger viewers, and this is family entertainment squarely aimed at younger viewers.
Director Glenn Miller is someone I know for his Asylum films that feature killer animals (check out his filmography and you can find one or two treats tucked away in there) and he effectively goes through the motions here. It would be easy to view this as a painful debacle, especially during the moments that use poor computer effects to make the mouths of the kittens move while they speak, but it has everything that it needs. There are enough Christmas decorations strewn around, Santa is a decent Santa (played by John P. Fowler). And the mischievous kittens will appeal to anyone who likes cute kittens . . . and what younger viewer will not like cute kittens? It often looks cheap, probably because it is cheap, but it never actually feels as if it has been lazily thrown together without an ounce of care. Some may disagree, but I would point those people to a few films that are much worse than this.
Not that this is good. It just isn’t as bad as a number of Christmas movies made by people who care a lot less than Miller, Rasmussen, and co.
Lambo and Colbert are perfectly fine as the central mother and son, I have already said that Fowler plays his part well, and Boymel is okay as the man desperate to spot Santa, and maybe well-equipped to rescue the furry sleigh stowaways. A variety of actors voice the animals, but they just blur into one mass of “cute” voices as viewers wait to see how the animals will a)save Christmas, and/or b) get home safely.
Is this worth watching? No. Is it worth picking if you have a young child wanting to be entertained? Still no. But if you find it in the TV schedules, and you have a child who REALLY likes kittens, then this won’t be as painful as you expect. And I will end with that glowing recommendation.
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