Santa's Feeling Frosty
Three times I sat down to watch "The Santa Clause 3: The Escape Clause", the third and currently last movie in "The Santa Clause" franchise and three times I ended up falling asleep sometime towards the middle. Was I tired, had I been over doing the hot cocoa and marshmallows? Nope it's just that sadly "The Santa Clause 3" is a boring movie which is a weak and I hope final part to these "Santa Clause" movies. In a way it's a shame because the first two "The Santa Clause" movies were pleasantly entertaining full of Christmas magic and a sort of Santa mythology but this final movie is missing those key elements making it a rather dull climax to the series.
Christmas is coming and as per usual things are going full steam at the North Pole as Scott Calvin aka Santa Claus (Tim Allen - Zoom) prepares for another magical night of gift giving. But Scott has more than the Christmas delivery on his mind because he's done more than kiss Mrs. Claus (Elizabeth Mitchell - The Santa Clause 2) under the mistletoe and they are expecting their first child together. And if that wasn't bad enough legendary character Jack Frost (Martin Short - Jungle 2 Jungle) is desperate for attention and devises a cunning plan to steal Santa's job.
Story wise it sounds like there is a lot going on in "The Santa Clause 3" but in reality there isn't because it all ends up being about is Jack Frost up to no good as he tries to trick Santa out of his job. It's a weak storyline which treads familiar ground that can be found in any number of children movies and what's worse it doesn't do it well enough. Frost is just not nasty enough and so you watch and watch waiting for his plans to go into action and when they do, well not a lot happens. And as for the rest of the storyline, well with Mrs. Claus about to drop we have the in-laws coming to visit, which means we get pretence as to what is going on because they can't find out the truth about Scott being Santa.
But the weakness of the storyline is not the major problem; the problem is that it's not magical enough. Yes we're back at the North Pole workshop with all the elaborate machinery but we've seen it before and that magic is a lot less. And it's the same with other elements, the sort of mythology of Santa is lacking as well as too much focus is placed on the Jack Frost storyline. Plus much of the humour, the quirkiness of it all is also missing, yes there are jokes but for the most they are weak and barely raise a smile.
As for the performances well the same old faces return with Tim Allen donning the facial hair, big jumpers and Santa costume once again and basically going through the motions. Elsewhere we also get Judge Reinhold, Wendy Crewson, Spencer Breslin, Elizabeth Mitchell and Eric Lloyd all adding to the cast of returning faces. Sadly one of the best characters Bernard doesn't return and so we no longer get David Krumholtz who let's be honest was one of the best things about the first two movies.
Now I would like to say that the new faces add some entertainment to things but when you have the talented Alan Arkin reduced to what amounts to nothing more than a bit part things are definitely wrong. Arkin is a wonderfully dry comic talent yet the few moments he gets are wasted as the material is too weak. And then of course we have Martin Short as the nefarious Jack Frost who looks great as the frosty one but then comes across as so restrained that he just isn't villainous enough. He should be more of a pantomime bad guy, but nope we have a scheming bad guy who doesn't even act bad enough to get a boo or a hiss.
What this all boils down to is that "The Santa Clause 3: The Escape Clause" is sadly a disappointing movie and a less than memorable way to bring the series to a close. All that was so good about the first two movies, the Christmas magic and Santa mythology has vanished, replaced by a mismatch of storylines and a bad guy who just isn't bad enough. It's a tired movie and surprisingly tiring to watch because nothing really great ever happens.