A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that this delightful holiday tale blends a unique story with clever humor and kid-friendly content, making it an excellent choice for the entire family. There's very little in the way of iffy stuff, the imaginative concept of elves preparing homes for Santa's arrival will have give kids lots to ponder as Christmas nears, and there are plenty of adult-geared references to keep parents chuckling. In typical Disney fashion, all of this entertaining content is wrapped up in positive messages about perseverance, unselfishness, and self-worth.
What's the story?
PREP & LANDING tells the story of longtime Santa's helper Wayne (voiced by Dave Foley), who belongs to an elite group of elves trusted with the task of prepping each home before the Big Guy's arrival. A 227-year veteran of the job, Wayne is confident that he's earned a promotion, but when he's passed over yet again and saddled with rookie partner Lanny (Derek Richardson) on Christmas Eve, he loses his passion for his work and gets careless, causing a serious security breach. With exuberant Lanny's help, Wayne must rediscover the holiday spirit to save Christmas for a special little boy. The DVD comes with several funny extras including two shorts: "Operation Secret Santa" and "Tiny's Big Adventure."
Is it any good?
Just when you thought every avenue had been explored in the world of Christmas stories, along comes a story that will captivate you with its unique spin on a tiny facet of the magical holiday. This sugarplum of a tale will delight any kids who've fretted over the contingencies of Santa's visit -- how does Santa land safely on my roof? what if my dog barks at him? how can he be sure I'll be asleep when he comes? -- and reassure them that the North Pole team is a step ahead of every conceivable mishap.
Disney is well known for designing entertainment for both kids and parents, and this cute Christmas tale is no exception. Adults will pick up on the minor details that escape kids' attention (tie-ins to spy and action movies and a wealth of clever, high-tech gadgets) and will sympathize with Wayne's frustration over being slighted on the job and stuck with an overzealous coworker. But in the end, holiday spirit conquers all, tying in happy messages about unselfishness and compassion. Need another reason to like it? The special isn't tied to a merchandise line (at least, not yet...), so there's no fear of it prompting the "gimmes" from your kids.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the commercialization of the holidays. Do you think the media influences our expectations of holidays like Christmas? Do TV shows and/or commercials make you want certain items?
Kids: What are some of your unique talents? What do those talents help you to do? How can you develop your skills? How would you like to use your talents in the future?
Compare this special's take on the North Pole residents' preparations for Christmas with what you've seen in other movies. What other movies/specials offer a behind-the-scenes look at Santa and the elves at work?
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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.