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What 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.
What's the story?
In ALIEN XMAS, Santa (voiced by Keythe Farley) tells a group of kids a story of the time a race of kleptomaniac aliens hatched an evil plan to steal everything on Earth. The alien Klept leader, Z (Barbara Goodson), sends the smallest but sneakiest creature, X (Dee Bradley Baker), to test-run a new weapon that will eliminate gravity and allow them to plunder the earth. X lands with trusty robot SAMTU in the North Pole on Christmas Eve. But he's quickly found by Santa's engineer, Obie, and mistaken to be a newly manufactured toy. Working against the clock to fix Santa's new super-sleigh, Obie feels guilty because he's not home for the holiday and takes X home as a present for his daughter, Holly (Kaliayh Rhambo). Then something miraculous happens -- X witnesses the kindness, gratitude, and generosity of the earthly beings. When Holly gives him a puppy, X's cold heart melts. Now X must do what he can to protect the earth from the coming Klept invasion and make sure Santa can deliver toys to kids all over the world.
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.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the animation used in Alien Xmas. Does it look like any other films you've watched? Which ones?
The Klepts lost their natural green color after plundering their planet. What messages do you read into this detail?
Did you see references to other films or characters in Alien Xmas? Which ones?
How do the characters display gratitude? How does gratitude contribute to one's happiness?
- On DVD or streaming: November 20, 2020
- Cast: Dee Bradley Baker, Barbara Goodson, Kirk Thornton
- Director: Stephen Chiodo
- Studio: Netflix
- Genre: Family and Kids
- Topics: Magic and Fantasy, Holidays, Space and Aliens
- Character strengths: Gratitude
- Run time: 42 minutes
- MPAA rating: NR
- Awards/Honors: Common Sense Selection
- Last updated: November 17, 2020
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.
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