The Year Without A Santa Claus
All-new movie based on the Holiday classic.
Warner Home Video has released The Year Without A Santa Clause. Based on the classic 1974 animated Rankin and Bass Christmas special The Year Without a Santa Claus, this 2006 live-action, modernized version of the story features John Goodman as Santa Claus, Delta Burke as Mrs. Claus, Eddie Griffin as Jangle, Ethan Suplee as Jingle, and Chris Kattan as Sparky. In both productions, Santa is disgusted with the commercialization of Christmas and feels overworked and underappreciated. Add in a bad cold and Santa declares that he is canceling Christmas this year and it falls to two elves, Jingle and Jangle, to restore Santa's faith by finding a child who understands the true spirit of Christmas. The most striking differences in this new production are the cynical, almost satiric portrayal of the extreme commercialization of Christmas at Santa Company (complete with punk rocker dolls, violent video games, and a crazed employee named Sparky who dreams of taking Santa's place as action-hero-inspired "Extreme Santa"), a makeover of the elf Jangle as a television-junkie obsessed with talk shows, a less prominent role for Mrs. Claus, and a twist on the young boy and town Mayor story line that focuses less on encouraging the boy (who just happens to be the Mayor's son in this version) to believe in Santa Claus and more on inspiring the Mayor's realization that his relationship with his son is much more important than his political ambitions. While neither version has the warmth of the more optimistic Rankin and Bass animated specials like Santa Claus is Coming to Town and Frosty the Snowman, this latest live-action version of The Year Without a Santa Claus is full of modern day references that will date it in future years, is somewhat crass, and at times downright unlikable.
When his devious head elf, Sparky (Kattan), tells him that he must "keep up with the times" no matter how materialistic Santa Claus (Goodman) resists, fearing that the holiday has become far too commercial. Convinced that no one believes in him anymore and that people have forgotten the real meaning of Christmas, Santa decides to take the year off and not deliver any gifts, much to the dismay of his two closest elves, Jingle (Suplee) and Jangle (Griffin). When Santa tells them that he doesn't think there are any children left who still care about the true spirit of Christmas, the two elves decide to prove him wrong. But their efforts are complicated by Heatmiser and Snowmiser, the two feuding sons of Mother Nature (Kane), whose help Jingle and Jangle will need if they want to save Christmas.
The spiritual, charming and very melodic score is by Deborah Lurie. In this movie also the song from the 1974 animated TV-special, Snow Miser, with music by Maury Laws and lyrics by Jules Bass can be heard.
Released by Warner Home Video in December 2006.
Available from Amazon.com.