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Category:    Home > Reviews > Comedy > Holiday > Christmas > The Santa Clause 3: The Escape Clause (Blu-ray + DVD)

The Santa Clause 3: The Escape Clause (Blu-ray + DVD)


Picture: B+/B-     Sound: B+/B-     Extras: B     Film: C



Just in time not to buy for the holidays is The Santa Clause 3: The Escape Clause.  All this reviewer can start this review with is, why?  Though not everyone agrees (mainly due to a general disdain for Tim Allen) this reviewer feels that the first film, The Santa Clause, was a tasteful, cheery, and fun film that is now a Christmas Classic; but the second and third installments in the series were just dismal.  Tim Allen really needs to know when to stop…like I dunno…15 years ago.  If you don’t believe me just go to imdb.com and look at his last 15 films; with the exception of Galaxy Quest (which itself has had mixed reviews) most his films can not even be stomached.  Watching The Santa Clause 3: The Escape Clause makes this reviewer want to toss his milk and cookies.


The concept of the film is simple, mainly due to Tim Allen just being after another paycheck.  The film starts with Santa (Tim Allen) frantically preparing for Christmas as small issues occur around the workshop.  Meanwhile Mrs. Clause (Carol from The Santa Clause 2) is preparing for the birth of their first child and worries that Santa (Scott Calvin) may not be there when she delivers her bundle of joy, because he will be delivering joy all over the world.  To ease his wife’s worries Santa brings Mrs. Clause’s parents to the North Pole as well as his ex-wife, her husband, their daughter, and Scott’s son.  Since the in-laws don’t know Scott is Santa (rolls eyes) the workers disguise the North Pole as a Canadian Toy Factory to trick them.  Not before long Santa is summoned to meet with the other members of the Legendary Figures Council to discuss the matter of Jack Frost (Martin Short) trying to upstage Christmas and Santa Clause.


It is agreed (begrudgingly by Santa) that Jack Frost can do community service at Santa’s workshop to make up for his misdeeds.  Upon Jack’s arrival at the North Pole he is nothing but sneaky trouble, slowly breaking things and causing mischievous havoc.  Not before long Jack discovers that there is a magic store room that houses a magical snow globe for each Santa that has ever existed; when activated with a certain phrase by Santa, that person is cast back to the time when they became Santa to where they can choose if they wish to still be Santa.  Jack Frost wanting to steal Christmas from Santa tricks Santa into saying the magic phrase, and all ‘deck the halls’ breaks loose.


The technical features of this chilling DVD are pretty good regardless of the fact that the movie suffered from Frost bite.  The picture is presented in both formats in the 1.78 X 1 aspect ration in 1080p digital High Definition on Blu-ray and anamorphically enhanced standard DVD, which also includes a useless 1.33 X 1 full screen butchering of this mess.  The widescreen is more pleasant to view the film in both cases, but at the same time the full screen is adequate.  The picture is crisp and clear with the colors being very well balanced for a film that relies heavily on red and blue, all of which are richer and hold much better with the Blu-ray.  The sound is the all too common but nice Disney Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround Sound on both disc releases, the quality only having an occasional lightness issue, but other than that well presented.  The Blu-ray alone offers a much better PCM 24/48 5.1 mix that wins on clarity and cleanness of the recording, though it is far from a sonic masterwork.


The extras are plentiful and well presented for such a naughty list movie.  The extras include bloopers, alternate opening and several featurettes such as Jack Frost and Mrs. Clause: A Very Different Look and Creating Movie Magic – Visual Effects Secrets, From the Hall of Snowglobes to Santa’s Fireplace, Christmas Carol-oke (nice pun), and a Christmas Music Video by Aly and AJ (Nooooooooooooooooooooooo!!!!).  Overall, cheery features for not such a cheery flop of a film; I am guessing Disney is trying to make up in DVD sales what the theater sales lost.  No Blu-ray exclusives are offered, which is no surprise in this case.


After watching this film I felt like someone decked me in the halls, it was just that bad.  The sets and costumes are amazing, but other than that the film did little to engage the audience or stay true to the original concept.  Christmas is a time of giving, all this film gave me was a headache.



-   Michael P Dougherty II


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