A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Santa's Magic Crystal (aka The Magic Crystal) is a 2011 computer-animated feature from Finland. There is some cartoonish adventure-style violence -- characters avoid rivers of flame and dodge icicles fired like laser guns. As often happens with computer-animated movies made in Europe, the biggest concern for North American audiences is trying to comprehend what exactly is happening, as some of the characters and dialogue seem lost in translation. The voice acting isn't the best, either -- one of the characters, a reindeer, speaks (for no discernible reason) in an accent that might be Jamaican or perhaps Rasta-German. Still, the central story line is engaging enough for younger kids, and some of the story twists are engaging enough to keep the interest of parents and preteens.
What's the story?
Jotan is a young orphan boy who is brought to the North Pole. When a magic crystal is stolen through the evil machinations of Santa's greedy younger brother Basil, Christmas is threatened all around the world. Since he is near the top of the "Nice List," Jotan is enlisted by Santa to help rescue the magic crystal. With the help of the many new friends he meets at the North Pole, Jotan must find a way to take the magic crystal back from Basil and return it to Santa so Christmas can be saved and children can receive their presents.
Is it any good?
Although the central story line in SANTA'S MAGIC CRYSTAL is easy enough to follow, for North American audiences this Finnish computer-animated holiday movie could prove hard to follow. Some of this is due to the voices of the characters. For instance, there is a reindeer who, inexplicably, speaks in what could be classified as either a Jamaican or a Rasta-German accent. This is quite distracting, as are some of the characters that seem somewhat superfluous, put in solely to be "cute" or "spunky."
Still, the basic story is interesting and enjoyable enough: An orphan must save Christmas from Santa's evil younger brother. It isn't the best holiday fare out there, the voicings aren't the best, and the computer animation isn't at Pixar levels, but, nonetheless, this movie does manage to be engaging enough for families looking for something a bit different.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about Christmas movies. What similarities and differences do you see between this movie and other holiday movies?
What are your thoughts on the overall quality of the computer animation in this movie?
What is your opinion on the voice acting in this movie? Why do you think the reindeer had a "foreign" accent as compared to the other characters?
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