A Dynamite Christmas Movie
To make this simple, you have to be in the right frame of mind when you sit down to watch "The Night They Saved Christmas" because if you are in anything but a forgiving Christmas mood you will probably ridicule it. But if you are in the right mood "The Night They Saved Christmas" reminds you of being a child and being wrapped up in the magic of Christmas and the eager anticipation of Santa visiting. You will still see its faults as they are numerous but they won't matter as it will put a smile on your face and put you even more in the mood for Christmas.
Michael Baldwin (Paul Le Mat) is in charge of exploratory oil drilling up at the North Pole and he is under pressure because they are having no luck and his wife Claudia (Jaclyn Smith - Ordinary Miracles) has grown tired of shifting the family from one field location to another. But then Michael is approached by Ed (Paul Williams) who claims to be Santa's (Art Carney) chief elf who has been sent to ask him to stop the dynamiting as they are damaging North Pole City. Michael thinks it's just a prank but Claudia and her children agree to play along with Ed and take a journey with him. To their surprise they find themselves at North Pole City and with Santa and Mrs Claus (June Lockhart - Son of Lassie) who ask her to persuade Michael to stop dynamiting near the city.
With my adult head on for a moment I have to say that "The Night They Saved Christmas" is a flawed movie with an entertaining storyline but one which is handled quite weakly. I also have to say that the set designs are technically not the greatest with a lot of it clearly being filmed on a sound stage with fake looking backdrops. And the acting, well lets say it is often cheesy and over the top especially from the children who over act in what is to be truthful a typical 80's kid's movie way.
But whilst I have to say those faults I also have to say that watching "The Night They Saved Christmas" made me feel like I was a child again and it had me hooked on this fun, imaginative storyline. In fact and in one of many moments of irony those fake backdrops where it was clear this was being filmed on a sound stage made me think of the pantomimes I was taken to as a child. In fact everything about the movie reminded me of Christmas pantomimes from the over the top dialogue to the over the top acting. Basically if you want to watch "The Night They Saved Christmas" you need to embrace as if you were a child watching for the first time in the 80s and if you can it will make you smile.
Aside from that there isn't a lot else to say, well of course we have a storyline where the children will have to try and save Christmas when Michael doesn't believe Claudia about visiting Santa which makes it a very typical children's adventure. But what we also have is Jaclyn Smith being shot in such away that even when she is wrapped up from top to bottom in thick wintry clothes looks stunning. And there is also a young Scott Grimes as the know it all David who whilst comes across annoying is also occasionally amusing.
What this all boils down to is that "The Night They Saved Christmas" is very much one of those Christmas movies where you really have to be in the right frame of mind to watch. But if you are in that right forgiving frame of mind and are looking for something to make you remember Christmas as a child "The Night They Saved Christmas" will certainly do that.