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  Directed by
    None Listed
  Starring
  Specs
  • Widescreen 1.85:1
  • 16:9 Enhanced
  • Dual Layer ( )
  Languages
  • English: Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround
  • Spanish: Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround
  • Russian: Dolby Digital Stereo
  • Portuguese: Dolby Digital Stereo
  • English - Visually Impaired: Dolby Digital Stereo
  • Commentary - English: Dolby Digital Stereo
  Subtitles
    English, Spanish, Russian, Portuguese, English - Hearing Impaired, Icelandic, Danish, Swedish, Norwegian, Finnish, Estonian
  Extras
  • 7 Deleted scenes
  • Audio commentary
  • 3 Featurette
  • Animated menus
  • Interactive game
  • Gag reel

Santa Clause 2 (Rental)

Buena Vista/Buena Vista . R4 . COLOR . 100 mins . G . PAL

  Feature
Contract

Making a sequel used to be tricky in Hollywood. These days, a film sequel is like a bum Ė everyoneís got one. However, it isnít often a film gets given its sequel eight years after the original film version has graced screens (see: The Terminator). This is the case with The Santa Clause 2, though, and as far as sequels go, this one is about as good as they can get. It remains true to the original storyline (give or take a little) and while not having anywhere near the originality of the first (a usual dilemma for sequels) it has expanded on the theme a little.

Apparently, Scott Calvin is the best Santa the elves have ever had as a boss. Heís fun, heís dedicated and he just loves the role. Unfortunately, he has misread his contract (yet again) and he must now fulfil the Mrs Clause in order to remain as this successful Santa. This means he has to take a wife before Christmas, which leaves him but a month to do so. Meanwhile, his son Charlie (now 15 years old) is having all sorts of trouble at school. So, fast decreasing from Santa into a regular nobody again, Scott must visit Charlie and sort out his troubles plus find a missus along the way.

"Letís see what this baby can do!"

With some interesting new approaches (the Legendary Figures are particularly inspired; these are folk like the Tooth Fairy, Mother Nature, Father Time, the Easter Bunny etc.) to keep it interesting, the story does flounder a little under its own weight - that is, the weight of formula filmmaking. The story is so very predictable if you canít see it coming you are either asleep or dead or possibly both. However, Tim Allenís usual joviality seems to pull us through, although he lacks the fully irritable focus he had in the first film. Maybe this is eight years of being Santa or maybe itís just tiredness at being brought back for the same old thing, who knows? Whatever it is, the film is as watchable as the first, it just lacks that same sharp edge.

  Video
Contract

Made in 2002, the picture quality is razor sharp and in great shape. Shadow detail is fine, colours are full and vibrant without being over-rich and flesh tones are all natural. Blacks are true to life and really the only fault is in the film itself, not the transfer. And this fault (albeit rather minor) is in the computer animation. At times itís a little dodgy and almost rushed, although a lot of it is quite good. Santaís North Pole village housed under a massive dome beneath the ice is quite impressive, as are the Ďfakeí Santa makeup and toy soldier costumes (though these last arenít computer animation at all).

  Audio
Contract

The standard Buena Vista Dolby Digital 5.1 surround is quite impressive here although, again (like the first film), it doesnít get a lot to do. There are some nice wind sounds in the surrounds plus noise of the elves hard at work, but thatís about it really. And some stuff in the final quarter, but youíll understand that when you hear it Ė Iím not gonna give away the ending.

Dialogue is all easily understood, and Tim Allenís Ďfakeí Santa is the highlight of the dialogue here, without doubt. Perhaps this is where he was putting all his energies and playing down the Ďrealí Santa part, because he does a great Pink impersonation from The Wall throughout. Eric Lloyd, who plays Charlie, suffers the same lisp he had as a seven-year-old in the first film, but there are no troubles understanding him.

Musically the film is again less than subtle in the opportunity to throw Christmas cheer in at any given moment, but we do expect this in a Christmas film, do we not? At any rate, it sounds great... all except for a massive cringeworthy scene in a restaurant when Calvin is out on a date. I wonít wreck it for you, but if this doesnít make your skin crawl, I donít know what will.

  Extras
Contract

Okay, this isnít a Special Edition and it has three times the effort put into the extras as the first film got in its DVD release as a Special Edition. So whatís up with that?

Our first contestants come in the form of three featurettes. First is Inside the North Pole with Curtis, which runs for 9:47. This is a bit on the set and in character (much like the So You Wanna Be An Elf? featurette on the first filmís DVD) and is worth a look. The kids will get more out of it than anyone else, though, I daresay.

Second we have a Directorís Tour of Elfsburg which is a fairly cheesy bit running for 4:15, shot between takes while everyone is holding position in the town square. Dodgy.

Lastly for the featurettes, we have Confessions of the Legendary Figures, which sees all of them getting more screen time than they got for the length of the film. Itís done in an interview setting and the interviewer is the busiest man alive, the director Michael Lembeck. Again, a little cheesy.

The gag reel plays next and is pretty worthless. Playing without enhancement at 1.85:1 this goes for 4:17 and just isnít very funny. The audio commentary by director Michael Lembeck is alright I suppose, but I canít get into the solo effort ones. Opinions are just too one-eyed and thereís too much praise flying about.

Deleted scenes (with intros) follow and there are seven with a play all feature. Lembeck is here again to tell us why these scenes were cut and this is always interesting to hear. Finally the interactive game is a decided highlight of the extras. This is cool with three worlds to outwit soldiers and answer questions related to the film and is a pretty nice effort considering some games Iíve seen from the Disney camp.

Also, there's an Easter egg sitting awaiting your visit in our Easter egg wing and the bonus materials page keeps with the theme of the first DVD release by having a sort of toy function. Highlight certain buttons to make the Toy Machine work in various ways.

So overall a fairly nice package, which outshines the first movie's extras section by a long chalk.

  Overall  
Contract

As far as continuing the story from the first film goes, this one does okay. While itís a little more formulaic than the first, it does bring in some fresh info to fill out the overall Santa story a bit more and is well worth the look. Peter Boyle drops by in a cameo from the first film as an entirely new character that is a thoughtful addition, though it may be easy to miss him.

Simple and harmless, this is fun family viewing for the Christmas holidays with some ongoing fun thrown in via the extras. As a complement to the first film on DVD it is a comfortable equal and the two will work well in unison in any family collection.


  • LINK: http://www.dvd.net.au/review.cgi?review_id=3439
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      And I quote...
    "A harmless continuation of the Santa saga that is slightly below the level of the first film, though the extras package brings them back to equal footing."
    - Jules Faber
      Review Equipment
    • DVD Player:
          Nintaus DVD-N9901
    • TV:
          Sony 51cm
    • Receiver:
          Diamond
    • Speakers:
          Diamond
    • Surrounds:
          No Name
    • Audio Cables:
          Standard Optical
    • Video Cables:
          Standard Component RCA
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