The Year Without a Santa Claus (2006)

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4.0 Overall Score
Story: 4/10
Acting: 4/10
Visuals: 4/10

More Misers

Not as good as the original

Movie Info

Movie Name:  The Year Without a Santa Claus

Studio:  Warner Bros. Television

Genre(s):  Seasonal/Comedy/Family

Release Date(s):  December 11, 2006

MPAA Rating:  Not Rated

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Retirement…for Santa!

It is Christmastime again, and Santa Claus (John Goodman) has had enough.  His manager Sparky (Chris Kattan) is pushing for a more streamlined production from the North Pole and Santa Claus finds the commercialism is too much.  When he decides to not deliver toys on Christmas, his wife Mrs. Claus (Delta Burke) must find a way to rouse him back into spirits.  Santa’s elves Jingle (Ethan Suplee) and Jangle (Eddie Griffith) head to South Town to increase the Christmas spirit and try to convince Iggy Thistlewhite (Dylan Minnette) that Santa Claus is real or Christmas might be ruined.  When Santa Claus learns of the situation, his only hope might come from a deal with the children of Mother Nature (Carol Kane)…Heat Miser (Harvey Fierstein) and Snow Miser (Michael McKean).

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I’m stayin’ in bed!

Directed by Ron Underwood, The Year Without a Santa Claus was a made-for-TV movie that adapts the popular Rankin/Bass Claymation special from 1974 which was based on the 1957 story by Phyllis McGinley.  The movie aired on NBC on December 11, 2006 on NBC and is available on DVD.

I didn’t really grow up with The Year Without a Santa Claus but I enjoy many Rankin/Bass holiday productions from that period.  They have a certain wholesome nostalgia to them that is reminds me of childhood…the live-action A Year Without a Santa Claus doesn’t hold this nostalgia.

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Where’s Squiggy!

The first problem is that the story is about double the length of the original and had to add to the original to make it long enough.  There just wasn’t enough story in the original movie to stretch it out into a full length film.  What story there is loses emotional context do the goofiness of it, but also isn’t clever enough to be very funny.

It is too bad because the movie has a decent cast.  I actually expected more from John Goodman as Santa Claus but was let down by his performance.  Delta Burke is nice as Mrs. Claus and Ethan Suplee and Eddie Griffin are fine as Jingle and Jangle.  Sparky played by Chris Kattan is a new character for the special and was also one of the more irritating characters.  Dyan Minnette is a kid actor, and it shows in parts where he must carry the movie.

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Heat? Fire? I’ll burn you up!

The breakout characters from the first special where the Miser Brothers who ended up having their own special.  Their played by Michael McKean and Harvey Fierstein.  Their role is also amplified for the movie and of course they get to perform the classic Heat Miser/Snow Miser song (I’ve always wondered why it isn’t Heat Miser/Cold Miser…or Fire Miser/Snow Miser).  It just isn’t the same as the fun Claymation version.

Visually, the movie also is quite poor.  The movie goes for blatant and intentional sets rather than attempting realism.  It was probably a smart movie, but the movie does end up coming up as cheap rather than clever.

Don’t bother with this live action version of The Year Without a Santa Claus.  Just stick with the original and enjoy a classic animated film.  It seems like just another way to ruin a holiday classic.

Related Links:

The Year Without a Santa Claus (1974)

A Miser Brothers’ Christmas (2008)

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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