The 1994 film The Santa Clause is a Christmas classic for good reason. The film centers on Scott Calvin, a divorced toy salesman who has a strained relationship with his son, Charlie. On Christmas Eve, Scott hears something on the roof and goes outside to investigate, accidentally scaring Santa Claus, who is preparing to go down the chimney but instead plummets to the ground. Santa presumably dies but his body disappears, leaving his suit, sleigh, and reindeer behind along with a card informing Scott that he must now put on the suit and carry out Santa’s Christmas duties. At Charlie’s urging, Scott does so and the adventure begins.
It’s a gruesome beginning — especially when you remember that this is a children’s film — but Santa’s untimely death and the fact that Scott has to put on a dead man’s clothes are glossed over in the excitement of Scott and Charlie delivering presents in Santa’s sleigh and finishing their evening with a trip to the North Pole. The unlikely premise is comedic, but it’s also one that will have some adults raising their eyebrows.
Fortunately, kids don’t tend to notice the grimmer details of the plot and it’s a good thing because there’s some other questionable stuff happening in The Santa Clause.
Can just anyone become Santa Claus in The Santa Clause?
We’ve really got to question the method by which someone becomes Sant in The Santa Clause. At the North Pole, Bernard, the head elf, explains that since he put on the dead Santa’s suit, Calvin is now subject to “The Santa Clause” which means he’s now obligated to return to the North Pole in 11 months and become the new Santa.
First of all, this is an argument that probably wouldn’t hold up in court. All Calvin did was put on a dead man’s clothes which, yes, is pretty weird, but also does not constitute a legally binding contract.
It’s also a pretty strange way of getting a job. You’d think that plenty of people would want to be Santa and would volunteer for the position. Why coerce someone to take the gig? And what if the new Santa is someone who doesn’t even celebrate Christmas? Does he still have to become the new Santa? There’s also the fact that being Santa requires entering children’s homes. Shouldn’t the new Santa at least have to pass a background check?
How exactly does the magic in The Santa Clause work?
Some of the magic in The Santa Clause we can wrap our heads around, like how a time continuum breaks down for Santa so he can deliver presents to children all over the world. Other aspects, though, are downright baffling.
For example, how on earth does the magic make Scott gain weight? How does it turn his hair gray, or force him to grow a full beard that he can’t keep shaved off? How does it make his heart beat to the rhythm of “Jingle Bells?”
For that matter, why does it do this? If Santa isn’t supposed to be seen, what does it matter if he looks like the traditional depiction of Santa? Why isn’t it enough for him to do his job? Being forced to maintain a certain weight and hairstyle through supernatural means for a job you didn’t even apply for is a bit extreme.
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