12 Days of Netflix: Santa Claws
Father Christmas factor4
Mike Williams | On 17, Dec 2016Reading time: 3 mins
Director: Glenn R. Miller
Cast: Ezra James Colbert, Nicola Lambo, John P. Fowler
Watch Santa Claws online in the UK: Netflix UK
It’s often easy to mistake a very mediocre Christmas movie for a more-than-acceptable experience, due to the nostalgia and good feeling they possess. But when delving into the realm of children’s Christmas films, it’s another matter entirely, which is where Santa Claws comes in.
Santa Claws is a story about a threesome of kittens, who, after causing an allergic Father Christmas to stumble off the roof and fall into a comatose status (complete with snoring), quite literally have to take the reins and deliver presents to kids the world over. On paper, it’s a fairly mundane concept, but in reality – and for anyone over the age of, say, five – it’s nothing short of monotonous.
Cheap and cheerful from the very beginning, it’s arguably the former with very minor sprinklings of the latter. It’s a struggle to see it through, although, acting and general scripting issues aside, which are equally terrible and unimaginative, some of the visuals will entice viewers to at least stick with it for a period of time.
Let’s be frank: everyone loves a kitten, so three being on screen most of the time should mean three times the fun… if your concept of fun is seeing small cats run from one side of the screen to the other, while occasionally sniffing out objects along the way. There’s very little to them, in terms of characterisation, other than they’re irrational, delusional, often creepy – and that’s just the adults. In fact, the only normal person is the young boy, Tommy, who, in totally rational fashion, wishes to celebrate Christmas. The snag? His mum, Julia, once witnessed Santa’s arrival, only to discover her present broken (no thanks to her pesky cats causing allergic calamity for Santa). Ever since, she’s denied the existence of the bearded sack-carrier and the entire idea of Christmas altogethe.
It’s a confusing, illogical way of thinking that could very well scar her child for life, simply because of her own fragile insecurities. Her borderline neurotic disdain for anything associated with the season – including a small tree Tommy puts up in his room in secret – is typified when, after coming face-to-face with jolly old Saint Nick, she still refuses to accept his existence, despite witnessing his magic fingers in front of her very eyes. (If you wish to try and get anything from this mess, look at it as an interesting social commentary on the idea of a modern Trump voter, although we think we may be reading too much into it.)
Other than the enormously creepy neighbour, who seems to want to get with Julia, there’s very little to keep even the youngest of minds engaged for prolonged spells, let alone someone looking for vague amusement. The whole tone of Santa Claws is a hammy, accentuated take on the classic visualisations of Christmastime, with little left to the imagination. So spoon-fed are its audience we see the cats talk and offer their inner monologues in a sort of crasser version of Look Who’s Talking, which isn’t even the worst element of this festive abomination. The only concession worth noting is that the film exclusively caters for small tots, so there’s a chance it’ll occupy them and, on some levels, entertain. But for any adults watching with them, you’ll want to be doing anything else. Perhaps you should.
Santa Claws is available exclusively on Netflix UK, as part of an £8.99 monthly subscription.