Jeannot Szwarc’s origin story of Santa Claus is one of the most laughable, expensive and pointless major movies released throughout the 1980s… but there’s something about its hubris that makes it passably watchable, at least. Borrowing the structure of 1978’s “Superman” with all the self-seriousness and portentousness that suggests, the movie deifies Santa Claus, and while that’s commendable, it’s also ludicrous on screen. It takes about an hour for the origin story portion of the movie to finally end, and in the process we find out very little about Santa Claus himself, while the movie wanders aimlessly for the entire time. The last 45 minutes are when the movie’s plot kicks in, but it’s all for naught: The plot is rushed through, the actors seem lost, and there’s nothing for the audience to do but wait for the time to run out. John Lithgow tries to rise above the lame material with an effective, cartoonish performance, but it just reminds the audience of how much better the movie could have been.
Rating: ★★★ (out of 5)