The Santa Clause 3: The Escape Clause (2006)


Dave’s 3-Word Review:
Lost its way.

Ho, Ho, Ho! Let’s talk about The Santa Clause 3, the last sequel in this Christmas-themed comedic series. It’s also the probably most-hated film in the franchise and most unasked for film, but have to admit…how many Christmas movies get so many sequels? And how many are so popular? Ignore how good or bad they are for a minute and realize that they really did have some popularity. Mostly because of the comedic styles of Tim Allen and unique method of telling a story, but in the end…we all realize it was made to get that conclusive “trilogy” feel and we’re all just done with the franchise as a whole.

For his third and final film, Tim Allen dawns the suit as he awaits the birth of his new baby, but his wife is having a hard time coping in the North Pole and misses…taller people. To help support his wife’s unreasonable raging hormones, Santa travels back to the real world and collects her parents, but he has to keep his real identity secret…so he has the elves disguise themselves as Canadians working in a Canadian toy factory. Meanwhile, Jack Frost is making his rounds maliciously destroying the factory. You see, he heard about the “Escape Clause” that mentions that Santa can rewind time and never become Santa. So what happens…when Jack Frost forces Santa into the Escape Clause?

Humbug. That’s all I got to say about this one, fellas…humbug. What happened? I mean, they seem to have everything in place that the others had, but the spirit is almost completely missing. I guess we have to take it apart piece by piece. Firstly, they had Charlie as the same actor, but he was barely in it. Bad move. Next, Bernard apparently retired, which I didn’t think elves did…another bad move. Introducing the in-laws kind of made sense, but it was irrelevant and overall another bad move. But there is one thing I definitely despised from this film: direction.

As I have mentioned in previous reviews, the franchise thrives off of a balance between reality and fantasy. The whole Tim Allen as Tim Allen thing is incredibly important to the series as a whole, and can’t survive without that element. If it was just Tim Allen as Santa the whole time, we would have an even bigger problem. So yes, Tim Allen does revert back to his former self again for the third time, but the way it’s done is so much of a copout. They wait until the very last minute for the film’s best weapon: time travel. Here’s what happens in a nutshell: Jack Frost tricks Santa into going back in time, then Scott Calvin immediately goes to the North Pole to face Jack Frost in something like…I don’t know, fifteen minutes?

Here’s how I would have done it: In the beginning of the film, Santa and Jack Frost find out about the Escape Clause, then Frost tricks Santa into doing it (like the film suggested), only in the beginning – not an hour into the film. This way, we can have more Tim Allen being Tim Allen. I would propose that after they altered time, Scott loses his memory, but déjà vu starts to come back bit by bit when he figures out how wrong everything is. Then, his niece gives him a hug, and her magical hug brings his memory back – THAT’s when he goes after Frost. Also, forget all of that in-law crap. You’re welcome, writers.

See…that’s a problem. I shouldn’t have to sit here and explain how a story should have went. That is the writer’s job. Unfortunately most everything was ruined here. The movie is saved by Martin Short with a pretty darn good character. He’s funny, he’s malicious…he’s the perfect antagonist. He and Elizabeth Mitchell both did a great job, and I would easily say they saved the film, if only by a hair.

The Good:
Elizabeth Mitchell probably brought the most Christmas spirit this time around, even though you can barely tell. Martin Short is hilarious as Jack Frost, and he adds so much to the story. The whole idea of time travel changing everything is brilliant, but they botch all of that potential up.

The Bad:
As I’ve said: they botch all of that potential with time-travel up. Tim Allen is more forgettable in this film; the in-laws are a stupid addition; and for the most part, I just didn’t sense any Christmas spirit because they tried to add this darker theme where everyone in the future hates Scott Calvin. Blah.

Memorable Quote:
Bud Newman
: [about the door he’s sanding] As smooth as a baby’s butt, feel it.

Scott Calvin: [feels it] Oh yeah, very butt-like.

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