Saving Santa
"You can't help feeling you've seen this all before... and not just in this movie."

As any child who's opened a lavishly wrapped present at Christmas only to discover it contains a green knitted jumper from Aunty Linda will tell you - beware shiny packaging, it's the content that counts.

And so it is that despite an impressive voice cast headed by the master Hobbit himself Martin Freeman and with bad guy and gal wingmen voices supplied by Tim Curry and Joan Collins, the plot of this film has all the appeal of an empty stocking.

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Scriptwriter Ricky Roxburgh, working from a story by Tony Nottage, is aiming for clever but things just end up convoluted as reindeer poop-scooping elf Bernard (Freeman) inadvertently lets baddies into the North Pole and then travels back in time to try to prevent it.

The digital animation is workmanlike and the central characters suitably cute or sinister but it lacks the sort of background detailing kids have come to expect. This North Pole may be colourful but the backdrops often appear bland and flat compared to other recent seasonal films, such as Arthur Christmas. I watched the film in 2D but given the lack of general detailing, I can't imagine 3D adding much to the overall experience.

The anondyne, autotuned pop songs are little more than forgettable filler and as Bernard does the timewarp (again and again), you can't help feeling you've seen this all before... and not just in this movie. October may seem very early for the release of a festive film but it might well take you until Christmas to explain the plot to elves under eight.

Reviewed on: 31 Oct 2014
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Saving Santa 3D packshot
An elf travels back in time to save Santa's sleigh
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Director: Leon Joosen, Aaron Seelman

Writer: Tony Nottage, Ricky Roxburgh

Starring: Newell Alexander, Noel Clarke, Joan Collins, Tim Conway, David Cowgill, Tim Curry, Holly Dorff, Moosie Drier, Pam Ferris, Martin Freeman, Jackie Gonneau, Nicholas Guest, Richard Steven Horvitz, Ashley Tisdale, David Zyler

Year: 2013

Runtime: 83 minutes

BBFC: U - Universal

Country: UK, US, Mongolia


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