Hercules Saves Christmas

Movie review by
Brian Costello, Common Sense Media
Hercules Saves Christmas Movie Poster Image
Some juvenile humor in subpar low-budget holiday tale.
  • PG
  • 2011
  • 81 minutes

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

Selfless giving, sharing, and assistance is what the Christmas spirit is about.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Max Moogle is a mischievous and misunderstood orphan, but is essentially a kindhearted boy who cares for those around him and grows to enjoy spreading the Christmas spirit.


Characters shoot guns filled with pellets that cause giggles to those who are struck by them.


Tame flirtation between two adult characters.


A character sits on a whoopie cushion that makes a loud and lengthy flatulent noise.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Hercules Saves Christmas (AKA Santa's Dog) is a silly, but harmless movie about a dog who works for Santa Claus and helps an orphan boy move from the Naughty List to the Nice List. Aside from a character sitting on a whoopie cushion that makes an extended noise, the content is completely mild. Kids might be concerned about the dog losing his Christmas powers and perhaps even his life, but this low-budget movie is more confusing than anything else.

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What's the story?

Max Moogle is a 12-year-old orphan living in Oregon. Once again, a foster family has sent him back to the orphanage for being too mischievous. While walking in a nearby forest, Max meets Hercules, the dog who Santa has put in charge of the Naughty and Nice Lists. Hercules transports Max back to the North Pole, where he is put on trial to determine whether he is naughty or nice. The results are inconclusive, so Max must prove he deserves to be on the Nice List by spreading the Christmas spirit. It is determined that the best way for Max to do this is by helping a down on his luck young salesman named Rick Wilder, who has just been laid off from his job and has just been dumped by his girlfriend. While Max goes about helping Rick by getting him a new job and fixing him up with a new girl, an evil Christmas spirit named Rondo steps in, and challenges Santa, Hercules, and all of the elves in the North Pole. Rondo convinces a crazed woman to help him ruin Christmas and keep Max off the Nice List. Meanwhile, Hercules begins losing his Christmas powers, and it is up to Max, Rick, Santa, and the rest of the North Pole to work together to save him.

Is it any good?

HERCULES SAVES CHRISTMAS is not a good movie by any stretch. It isn't the worst movie out there, but the bad acting and confusing storyline overwhelm the brief glimpses of quirky creativity and silly humor the movie does have. Overall, the movie tries to do too much, squeezing in as many Christmas storylines as possible, when the central story would have been sufficient.

While there is a chance younger viewers will enjoy this movie and the wacky (if not outright bizarre) behavior of some of the adult characters, there is an equally good chance that older kids and parents will find this low-budget Christmas movie difficult to get through. While there needs to be more silly but sweet Christmas movies, this one lacked the budget and the talent to succeed.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about Christmas movies. What are some similarities and differences between this and other Christmas movies? Do you have a favorite?

  • How would you describe the style of humor used in this movie? Did you find it funny? Why, or why not?

Movie details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love holidays

Themes & Topics

Browse titles with similar subject matter.

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