I started watching this film series at the very beginning; Tim Allen was just coming off his Home Improvement high, and clearly wanted to get into movies.
The Santa Clause was one of his first films, and in my opinion it remains one of his best. This film came out about the time that I was stuck in a quandary about whether to subject my child to the mythology around Santa Claus, and just what I would want to say on the subject (previous Christmas rants are here) the story of Scott Calvin struck a chord with me. Many of the problems that I had with Christmas were summed up quite nicely in the beginning of the film, and the fantasy that followed the film's very ordinary beginning made me a believer in the Santa Claus myth again. I could see how this would work in my own life and family.
[This, in a nutshell, is what distinguishes a good film from a bad one. Do you identify with the characters? Do you sympathize with them? Does the situation of their imaginary lives address some issue that you are struggling with? Outside of proper story construction (Theme, plot and pacing) these elements are crucial; these are the elements that make you want to like a film]
I think every father wants to be Santa Claus; and through movie magic, they can be. I won't go so far as to say this is a great film; it's a good film that I happen to like a lot.
The Santa Clause 2 was a film that I actually dreaded. Having invested myself in the first film (this is a consistent problem with sequels) I really didn't want to have my cherished memories tampered with. Thankfully SC2 was light on the tampering aspect. Other than the introduction of the "Council of Legendary Figures" which I found more intriguing than I did offensive (and that because of the linked literary reference) there was very little meddling in the story that evolved in the first film.
The need to establish the mythological Mrs. Claus alongside Santa, as well as the chance to make Scott Calvin a little less reprehensible in the relationship department, was the major subject of this film. I have to admit that I haven't re-watched this film recently, but it hasn't been because I didn't like it.
(more on that in a bit)
Santa Clause 3: The Escape Clause is a predictable, but entertaining, comedy.
Unlike the second film, I found myself more interested in the concept of the "Council of Legendary Figures" than I was in the story at hand.
[I don't know why Piers Anthony left these particular immortals off his list (other than Time and Mother Nature, that is) but I don't think he needs to add them. Don't need a book (or a movie) about the legendary figure of the Easter Bunny.
Perhaps it's time for a series of films about the Incarnations of Immortality series itself.]
The less said about this installment, the better. It is watchable, but unremarkable in it's execution.
I'll probably add it to the library, to be watched when the children want to get into the Christmas spirit; as opposed to when the Wife wants to watch a Christmas movie. Then it's Die Hard. No other film comes close to scoring that high on her favorites list; Not Charlie Brown, not the tried and true stop motion films of the 60's & 70's. Not even It's a Wonderful Life or The Bishop's Wife; not even A Christmas Story.
Nope, it's the Nakatomi building and Yippee-ki-yay, motherfucker every holiday season. Yes, it is interesting around here at Christmas time.