Finding Santa: A Pretty Wholesome Christmas Tale
Welcome, weebs, to Animated Observations
Hello again everyone, hope you all are doing well. For today’s post, I have something special for you all. The wonderful people over at Tricoast gave me another movie to review, this one a bit more holiday themed.
The movie I will be reviewing today is called Finding Santa. Since I am a little behind, by the time this review is out, the movie will already be out for streaming on the following services:
- Google Play
Along with any others. Also, for those who prefer physical copies of their media, the film is also already available on DVD. Minor spoiler warning as well for the review. With that being said, here are my thoughts.
Christmas, arguably the most celebrated holiday today, is an important part of many people’s year. In fact, it has become so important that many are debating online, at least in the United States, about whether or not its OK to put up their trees before Thanksgiving. It is also incredibly important to the story of Finding Santa, a 2016 film directed by Jacob Ley.
The story of Finding Santa revolves around eight-year-old Julius, an orphan living at Bellhaven who loves Christmas more than anyone else. However, due to the bullying and lying of two other orphanage boys Gregory and Squeak, Julius stops believing in Christmas. However, a strange encounter with a voice inside a box full of Christmas toys leads Julius on an adventure to save both Santa and Christmas by taking down Krampus.
The story of Finding Santa is not all that new as it relates to other holiday films. At its most basic, it is a film about a boy losing faith in those around him, and as such loses faith in Christmas. There is a very similar plot line in the second Home Alone movie, where Kevin is roaming around New York, lost and confused and almost loses faith in Christmas as a result. Julius is pretty similar to Kevin in this regard, but is maybe a bit better written. Still as far as main characters go, he is pretty hard to root against, given the fact that he is growing up in an orphanage where Christmas is one of the only things he can look forward to.
The other two major characters in the movie are Gregory and Squeak, the two bullies who make Julius hate Christmas. The reason they do so is because ever since Julius showed up as a kid, Alfred, their cartaker, had been giving Julius a lot of attention. Gregory and Squeak are also not too particularly interesting as characters, but in this case they do not need to be, because their function in the story is simply to act as the catalyst to both the beginning an end of Julius’s journey.
Two other characters worth talking about are Sophina the angel and Herman the pig. Being two of the figures in Julius’s toy box, Sophina and Herman know who Julius is and help him when he gets arrives in the world inside the box. In fact, it is Sophina’s idea for Julius to act as the new Santa in order to save Christmas. Herman often serves as transportation for Julius, but he is still an enjoyable presence on screen nonetheless.
The story, while definitely not complex, layers in a lot of little things that would otherwise go unnoticed if more was going on. One example of this is the symbolism found in Alfred’s red Christmas ornament. At the beginning of the film, when he initially finds the Santa suit in Alfred’s closet, the Christmas ornament falls and breaks, losing a small piece. This is representative of the fact that in that moment, Julius’s belief in Christmas has been broken. The ornament then makes a reappearance much later on, when it is revealed that Santa is not actually dead, but rather that Krampus has trapped him inside of the broken ornament. Here we see Santa ready to just give up on Christmas. He too has a broken belief in Christmas holiday that he makes possible, and its both literally and figuratively trapped. At the end of the film, After everyone gets together around the tree, Julius hangs the ornament, showing that even though both he and the ornament were broken, they are still ready to move on.
The animation was pretty overall pretty good, and added a lot to the feel of the movie. It really felt like all of the movement in each was necessary, and added to each scene well. There were parts where it was somewhat obvious that they reused shots, but those moments were few and far between, and often justified in doing so. There were also parts where the clay like texture of the animation made the characters or visuals look a bit stiff as well, and those parts did take a way a bit from the enjoyment.
Speaking of stiff, the voice acting could have been better. A lot of the lines were delivered extremely awkwardly, and it also kind of took me out of the atmosphere the film was trying to create. Now, its hard to complain too much about this, considering it is a Danish film, and that from what I can tell, a lot of the voice actors probably learned English as a second language.
Overall, I think my feelings about Finding Santa are similar to my feelings about Violence Voyager, mainly that while there a lot of problems with the film, it still adds up to be an enjoyable experience.
I mentioned it at the beginning of the post, but if you guys have any interest in seeing Finding Santa, it is available now both on DVD and on streaming. If you have seen it, how do you feel about it? Let me know in the comments.
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