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A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Kids see that family and giving bring more joy than possessions and taking. Acts of kindness pay more emotional dividends than greed or crime. Engineering skills are also shown as useful. A deeper reading could suggest an environmental message in the alien creatures losing their green color by plundering their home planet.
Kindness and generosity bring joy. Giving and receiving is better than taking. The Christmas spirit is about family, joy, togetherness, and appreciation for those we love. Gratitude is a positive value. Greed doesn't pay; kindness does. Pets inspire love.
Positive Role Models
Santa pushes his engineer, Obie, to work through Christmas Eve and later apologizes for pressuring him. Holly teaches X about the joy of family and love through her generosity and kindness, a lesson X passes on to Z, who was mean, greedy, and dangerous. Obie and his wife represent an interracial couple. The elves and creatures of Christmas Town work together to fight off alien invaders to save their community and Christmas.
Violence & Scariness
The alien leader Z is a little scary. She's described as mean and dangerous, and she teases X in front of all the aliens. Santa's super-sleigh invention malfunctions, throwing Santa across a room -- he's not harmed. Alien X stumbles into some tussles and falls before and after his landing on planet Earth. He "plays dead" when his robot SAMTU turns on him momentarily. When the aliens invade Christmas Town, they freeze people with laser guns, blast down doors, and crash and explode Santa's new super-sleigh. Their Gyrotron machine depletes gravity temporarily. X and the puppy are thrown from the sleigh and saved mid-air by a reindeer. The elves fight back with snowballs and wrapping-bow shooters. Santa turns a candy cane into a nunchuck-style weapon, which he doesn't have a chance to use. SAMTU grows tentacles to fight the aliens.
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Products & Purchases
The message of this movie is that giving is better than receiving. The Klepts are known for stealing and plundering. Their only emotion is greed, until the elves of Christmas Town show them that greed leaves you feeling empty. What fills the heart is love.
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Alien Xmas is a 42-minute stop-motion animated holiday tale for almost all ages. There are just a few potentially scary scenes involving aliens' invasion of the North Pole. A young Klept named X (voiced by Dee Bradley Baker) is sent on a test run for plundering Earth. The leader who assigns him this evil mission, Z (Barbara Goodson), is mean, and X stumbles into some harmless trouble when he first arrives on Earth. But it isn't until the last 15 minutes that a full-on invasion leads to a battle between aliens and elves. The aliens have flying spaceships and laser guns that freeze people and shoot Santa's super-sleigh out of the air (the passengers escape unhurt). The elves fight back with snowballs and wrapping bow shooters, and Santa turns a candy cane into a nunchuck-style weapon that he doesn't get a chance to use. Ultimately, both X and Z are transformed from greedy to good thanks to selfless acts of love and generosity. The film also has Christmassy messages about kindness, giving, and gratitude. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
The animation may be slicker and the alien characters less traditional, but Alien Xmas is at its heart an old-fashioned Christmas special that should delight kids of all ages. Running at a tight 42 minutes, the film is just the right length and pace to hold even the littlest of holiday viewers' attention spans. If the creators have erred, it's in the faster-paced action and fight scenes, which come toward the end and feel out of place compared with the bulk of the movie. This separation is acknowledged in a false ending that comes right before the alien invasion.
But overall, the film is sweet and fun. It's also quite funny at moments, like when Santa's reindeers boo his new super-sleigh invention (making Rudolph redundant) or when Santa pulls a nunchuck candy cane out of his red suit. What's more, the aliens, elves, and puppies are all adorable. When X melts and coos at his first encounter with love, he puts the X in Xmas.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.