Back in June, I published my list of the Top 10 Worst Hallmark Movies of All Time. Since then, it has become my most popular post on 18 Cinema Lane, acquiring over 1,000 views! In the comment section of that post, a blog reader named T. Ann suggested that I check out a Hallmark movie called The Santa Incident. Because I’ve never seen this movie and because I don’t take movie requests from readers and/or followers often, I chose to review this movie and see if it was truly as bad as T. Ann made it seem. Personally, I don’t watch movies where I have a strong feeling they could be bad. While I watch every movie I see with an open mind and low expectations, there are some films that I’ll simply take people’s word on because of how bad they seem. However, there have been few Hallmark Christmas movies that I’ve ended up disliking. If you look at my aforementioned list, you’ll find only one Christmas movie on that list, with seven Christmas movies found in the list’s Dishonorable Mentions section. Will The Santa Incident be placed somewhere on the list of the Top 10 Worst Hallmark Movies of All Time? Please keep reading this review if you want to find out!
Things I liked about this film:
The acting: I thought the acting performances from this cast were good! Every character in this movie appeared believable on-screen. I really liked James Cosmo’s portrayal of Santa Claus, as his version of this character was likable and somewhat different from other versions of Santa that I’ve seen in movies before. In The Santa Incident, Santa volunteers to help various people in exchange for supplies, so he can finish making toys for Christmas Eve. In all the Christmas movies I’ve seen in my lifetime, I have never seen Santa engaging in activities uncommonly found in Santa focused stories, such as participating in community service. James’ acting performance and the screen-writing helped set this version of Santa apart from other Christmas themed movies featuring the famous figure.
Some of the creative choices: While I watched this film, I really liked some of the creative choices that were found within this story. The premise of The Santa Incident is a good example of this, with the film asking the question, “What if someone perceived Santa as a criminal”? This question has never really been explored in Christmas movies, let alone those by Hallmark, so this creativity added interest into the story. Another creative choice I liked in this movie was how the elves were presented. The elves in The Santa Incident were members of a secret agent squad who were trained to save Santa. They even used toys as tools to help them in their mission, such as using a toy robot to locate Santa’s location. These creative choices showed how the screen-writer thought outside-the-box when it comes to a Christmas themed story.
The humor: Like in a lot of Christmas themed Hallmark movies, there was a good amount of humor in The Santa Incident! Most of the comic relief within this movie came from the characters of Erickson (portrayed by Greg Germann) and Cunningham (portrayed by Sean McConaghy). The differing personalities of these two characters help make them a great comedic duo, even though they are meant to be the villains of the story. One of the funniest scenes in The Santa Incident was when Erickson utilizes stuffed animals to interrogate Santa. As I just mentioned, Erickson and Cunningham are meant to be the villains of the film’s story. But, the comedic timing of these two actors was such a pleasant surprise!
What I didn’t like about the film:
A little too drawn out: In my review of Shoelaces for Christmas, I talked about how the film being a little too drawn out was one of the movie’s weaknesses. The Santa Incident faced the same issue. There were some scenes that dragged on longer than others, making the movie, at times, feel longer than it might have been intended. To solve this problem, either some scenes should have been cut or the script should have been written a little bit tighter.
Some filler scenes: When I watched The Santa Incident, I noticed there were some scenes that felt like “filler” material to satisfy the film’s run-time. An example of this is when Daniel, Sophia, and/or Santa walk to the “Ghost Factory” in more than one scene. If some of the scenes like this were cut from the movie, it would have helped The Santa Incident not feel as drawn out as it did.
The editing: During the movie, there were some scenes that felt like they ended too quickly. I noticed this, sometimes, happened whenever characters were having conversations with one another. This seemed to be an issue related to the film’s editing. For these scenes, I think they should have been a little bit longer, so the conversations can feel like they had a natural finish.
My overall impression:
Honestly, I thought The Santa Incident was ok. While I think Hallmark has made stronger Christmas films, The Santa Incident is, to me, no where near the Top 10 Worst or even Dishonorable Mention bad. Even though this film had its flaws, I believe the creative team behind this movie had good intentions when they brought this story to life. John Campea, from The John Campea Show, has said on his show in the past that “All films are subjective”. This is a statement that I agree with because everyone looks at movies differently. Someone’s favorite film could be someone else’s most despised movie and vice versa. No matter what your opinion is on The Santa Incident, I’m just glad that I was given a chance to see this film. Thank you, T. Ann, for suggesting that I watch The Santa Incident because, otherwise, I may have never seen it.
Overall score: 6.1 out of 10
Do you like Hallmark Christmas movies? How many Hallmark Christmas movies have you seen? Share your thoughts in the comment section!
Have fun at the movies!