In Search of Santa

Movie review by
Tracy Moore, Common Sense Media
In Search of Santa Movie Poster Image
Christmas adventure has some harsh, mean-spirited moments.
  • NR
  • 2004
  • 80 minutes

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A lot or a little?

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

Educational Value

In Search of Santa teaches about different arctic animals, orienting direction by compass, and legal proceedings.

Positive Messages

The film promotes the importance of curiosity, knowledge, honesty, loyalty, and facing one's fears.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Characters are very simplistic, and largely nice or mean. Some adult characters are kind and present; others are unreliable and mean-spirited.

Violence & Scariness

There is some emotional and physical peril as the sisters face some mean adults and dodge seals, polar bears, sword-wielding pirates, and skeptical penguins, all while navigating the open sea on their journey. 

Sexy Stuff
Language

There's no profanity, but some characters insult or taunt other characters in demeaning ways, telling them they are ugly, stupid, liars, greedy, or not good enough. A character tells her sister she hates her. An adult tells a child she is an insufferable brat.

Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that part of the plot of In Search of Santa involves a central debate over whether or not Santa Claus is real. Additionally, there are some mean-spirited adult characters who are a bit more emotionally caustic than may be appropriate for younger kids, as well as some sustained emotional and physical peril throughout the film. Some characters insult or taunt other characters in demeaning ways, telling them they are ugly, stupid, liars, greedy, or not good enough. A character tells her sister she hates her. An adult tells a child she is an insufferable brat.

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What's the story?

Princess penguin sisters Crystal (voiced by Hilary Duff) and Lucinda (voiced by older sister Haylie Duff) hit the ice to prove Santa is real, dodging wild animals, pirates, and the open sea on the road. Along the way, they will discover just what it means to truly believe.

Is it any good?

With 2004-era CGI that looks like a cheap video game, this penguin-populated Santa tale looks dated and drags a bit. With its handful of characters who are a bit too mean-spirited and sisters who remain rivals for the better part of the film, it may be a bit harsh for younger kids.

That said, kids may enjoy the pure spectacle of the tale: animated penguins, ice adventures, and the anticipation of Santa. But parents will want to monitor reactions to those harsh insults, and otherwise may need a bit of patience to sit through this poor-quality, convoluted story that mish-mashes pirates, penguins, and Santa in one sloppy mess.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about beliefs. Do you celebrate Christmas or believe in Santa? What rituals and beliefs are part of your family?

  • Have you ever had someone not believe you? What did it feel like? Were you able to convince them you were telling the truth?

  • Do you have siblings? Do you ever not get along? How do you fix things and make them better?

Movie details

Themes & Topics

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For kids who love the holidays

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