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Monday, December 22, 2014

'Saving Santa' BD and DVD: Revisiting Awesome Time-Traveling Elf Christmas Classic


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[Editor's Note: This enhanced reprint of a prior review of the November 2013 Blu-ray release of the Christmas film "Saving Santa" is intended to further spread the word about this wonderfully charming and amusing holiday confection.]  

The facts that the taglines for the Christmas film "Saving Santa" are "Adventures of a Time Traveling Elf" and "Boldly Go Where No Christmas Has Gone Before" indicates that this truly delightful tale is not your father's Christmas fable.

This sci-fi yuletide story centers around aforementioned time-traveling elf Bernard, voiced by "The Hobbit's" Martin Freeman. Bernard scoops reindeer poop at Santa's stables but strives to be an inventor at Santech, which provides Mr. Claus with gadgets and gizmos.

The primary obstacle to Bernard achieving his desired career change is that his inventions, which includes a reindeer translation device that does not transmit in English, are wonky. As is typical in this genre, the other scientists elfishly somewhat cruelly exclude Bernard from their games. Rather than laugh and call him names, they toss him out on the street.

The crisis that prompts Bernard to (repeatedly) engage in the aforementioned time travel comes in the form of an invasion by the wonderfully named  rapid package delivery company executive Neville Baddington. Tim Curry does a wonderful G-rated version of Dr. Frank-N-Furter from "The Rocky Horror Picture Show" in voicing Neville.

Neville's twin disclosed motivations are desires to acquire the technology that allows Santa, voiced by comedy legend Tim Conway, to make worldwide deliveries overnight and to get Neville's oppressive mother and boss Vera off his back. Charlotte Rae arch-nemesis Joan Collins of "Dynasty" makes Joan Crawford seem like June Cleaver of the '50s sitcom "Leave it to Beaver" regarding her voicing of Vera.

Although Bernard must time travel to "put right what once went wrong," he has an advantage over "Quantum Leap's" Dr. Sam Beckett in that he can keep returning to the past "time after time." Like the titular character in the Jean-Claude Van Damme film "Timecop," the time-traveling version of Bernard must avoid contacting any other version of himself.

The following clip, courtesy of YouTube, of "Santa's" trailer does a great job conveying all this awesomeness.




No one with the literary skills that comprehending this review requires should be surprised that things work out in the end. The great fun relates to seeing how Bernard achieves his mission. Additionally, a very nice twist at the end brings the story back to the opening.

Even nicer aspects of "Santa" are that it is a holiday film that adults can truly enjoy. The CGI animation is excellent and has awesome backgrounds and bright colors; the voice actors are well-known and perfectly cast; the story maintains a nice pace and has enough classic sci-fi (including a Scottish elf frantically stating a need for more power) and action-adventure references to entertain those of us whose current bedtimes do not require asking to stay up late to watch "Frosty" and "Rudolph." The catchy ditties are a nice bonus.

The final "naughty or nice" evaluation of this one is that it is a great option for stuffing a stocking and is worth popping in the Blu-ray or DVD player. On a related note, being placed on Santa's naughty list for "encouraging" people who delay driving off when a traffic light turns green or who refuse to leave parking spaces because they are talking or texting on their phones to move should provide for an automatic appeal.

Anyone with questions or comments regarding "Santa" is encouraged to email me. You can also find me on Twitter via @tvdvdguy.