The Year Without a Santa Claus(2006)


Tonight: The Year Without a Santa Claus (2006)

No, not that one. In 2006, someone thought it would be a good idea to take a beloved animated classic and turn it into a live action TV special. They made the right decision in casting John Goodman as Santa Claus, and while they were patting themselves on the back, they accidently cast Chris Kattan, Eddie Griffin, and Carson Kressley as Elves. After realizing their mistake, they attempted to course correct with Delta Burke as Mrs. Claus and a younger. . .uh. . .that kid from Goosebumps and 13 Reasons Why as Iggy Thistlewhite.

The movie begins at SANTA EXPO! A North Pole convention where the elves are showing off their latest toyline ideas. Santa is getting put into his Santa Suit by Carson Kressley, who keeps making jokes about Santa’s weight. Carson Kressley also makes a joke about how he should have been a dentist. (sigh)

Chris Kattan is Santa’s Assistant, Sparky. Clearly he spends way too much time up Santa’s ass, because Christ Kattan has a mean case of pink eye. Sparky is obsessed with modernizing Santa, such as having Santa speak in Hip-hop lingo, delivering toys that require parents to buy accessories, and even designing a new Santa outfit that is a green Superhero costume. If they released this a few years later, it would be CGI animated, just to complete the horror. Sparky gets annoyed with Santa’s inability to modernize with the times that he even suggests going on without Santa. Of course, donning the Green Santa Super Suit in the third act. Still has pinkeye. Through the whole thing.

We still get Jingle and Jangle played by Eddie Griffin and Earl’s brother who can’t see sailboats (Ethan Suplee). Jingle spends much of his off time watching Human Television on his phone, including Dr. Laura, Local News of Southtown (mumbles the state), and. . .the Animated version of The Year Without a Santa Claus?!? I’d complain about spoilers, but they would be WAY off base.

So Santa gets frustrated with the Emo Barbie line of toys and accessories and after the Doctor tells him he needs a vacation, Santa just fully gives up and says he isn’t doing Christmas this year, unless he can find one child that even gives a crap. Jingle and Jangle overhear this and steal vixen to go off to Southtown where they saw the guy from Goosebumps as a little kid named Iggy. Iggy is apparently sponsoring a Christmas event, even though he doesn’t believe in Santa. Vixen gets picked up by the police and placed in . . .Animal Jail? The local pound? The proper name will come to me eventually.

Jingle and Jangle try to convince Iggy that they are really Santa’s elves, but he doesn’t believe him. Even when they show up at his school and show off their ears, do amazing backflips, and . . . do really well at a snowmobile video game? Yeah, that last one wouldn’t convince me either.

While at the school, the P.E. Teacher corrals Jingle and Jangle to find out why a couple of Elves are hanging around a High School. The P.E. Teacher turns out to be the Greek Goddess Artemis. Apparently when humans stop believing in Gods, they have to get real jobs. Even Hercules is now doing Advertising for a Mythological Retirement Community.

Does this really go anywhere? No. Is it ever brought up again? Nope.

Although Jingle and Jangle’s video game skills don’t convince Iggy they are elves, the tickets they won convincEs Iggy to steal a Reindeer for them. Iggy uses the fact he is the mayor’s son to convince the Animal Control Officer to give them Vixen. Vixen then flies away and Iggy is now willing to believe.

Santa eventually finds out about their tomfoolery and goes out searching for them. First he passes through the cavern separating the Miser Brothers.

Yeah, remember in the original the Miser brothers were on two different islands? In this one they live right across from each other. And they are constantly at war supposedly making travel through from the North Pole very treacherous. Except it didn’t? Jingle and Jangle made it through fine. In fact they don’t bring up the danger until well after they are safely in South Town.

But we do get the Heat Miser/Snow Miser songs! Well, Song. They combine the two songs into a single musical number. Which I actually prefer. Their songs were two sides of the same coin. So there was no need to waste valuable movie time . . oh wait, I forgot which movie this was.

Well, more accurately we didn’t want this thing any longer than necessary. Heat Miser and Snow Miser go from hurling ice and fire balls at each other, to getting into a boxing match. When Santa is trying to figure out where Jingle and Jangle are, and the Misers are being very unhelpful, Santa calls for Mother Nature, played by Carol Kane. She does a fantastic job. You know, at playing a crazy person.

I have to wonder, does Carol Kane only take crazy roles, or is she given regular roles and just make them crazy? Either way, god bless the woman!

Mother Nature sets the Miser Brothers to rights and Santa eventually finds his way to South Town. There he runs into Iggy who, finally believing in Santa again, manages to soften Santa’s heart and make him believe in Christmas again. Santa asks what Iggy would like for Christmas and Iggy asks for snow in South Town. Santa goes to the Miser Brothers and convinces them to let it snow in South Town, or he’ll call their mother, yatta yatta yatta.

As I briefly mentioned before, Iggy is the Mayor’s son. A lot of Iggy’s motivations are wrapped up in the fact he doesn’t get to see his dad because he is so busy. The Mayor is apparently working with some greedy corporations to do . . . something. And it is apparently bad? But when it snows, the Mayor remembers to true meaning of Christmas and calls off the deal. (shrugs)

So Santa is heading back to the North Pole with Vixen, Jingle, and Jangle, and he has a renewed spirit of Christmas inside of him. Sparky on the other hand decided to take advantage of Santa’s absence and don the new Santa Super Suit and declare himself the new Santa! He is laughed off stage and Santa arrives just in time to make his yearly run.

Afterwards, due to the deal with the Miser brothers, everyone at the North Pole is sitting around enjoying a warm summer’s day in the middle of winter.

This movie is honestly a parody of itself. The movie goes out of its way to point out how modernizing the traditional aspects of Christmas for commercial success is a bad thing. Yet that is EXACTLY WHAT THIS MOVIE IS TRYING TO DO! Instead of Santa just being sick and wanting to take a year off, he is bitter and has become disillusioned with the holiday. The elves themselves are actually phasing Santa out of the Holiday and making everything commercial instead of heartfelt. And how does this all come out in the end. Santa decides to just keep delivering presents. He doesn’t seem to change anything else.

All in all, I would say this one pulls about the middle. It’s not godawful, it just seems mediocre, which is disappointing for the number of good actors in it. I would say if they ever get a streaming option for it, watch it then. As it stands, I had to go pay money for this, and it wasn’t really worth it.

Tomorrow: You know what Christmas movies have been missing? Horrifying imagery and Rat Nazi’s!

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