Santa's Magic Crystal Movie Poster Image

Santa's Magic Crystal

(i)

 

Finnish Christmas adventure has some cartoonish violence.
  • Review Date: March 21, 2014
  • Rated: NR
  • Genre: Family and Kids
  • Release Year: 2013
  • Running Time: 80 minutes

What parents need to know

Positive messages

As a movie about a quest to rescue Christmas from Santa's evil younger brother, there isn't much in the way of positive messages.

Positive role models

In this adventure quest of sorts, the characters don't stray beyond archetypes of "good guys" and "bad guys."

Violence & scariness

Some tame adventure-style violence. Characters dodge icicles fired like lasers. Some peril involving flames and lava.

Sexy stuff
Not applicable
Language
Not applicable
Consumerism
Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking
Not applicable

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.

Kids say

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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?

QUALITY

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.

Families can talk 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?

Movie details

DVD release date:October 22, 2013
Cast:Gerald Owens, Kyle Christensen, Clarissa Humm
Director:Antti Haikala
Studio:Phase 4 Films
Genre:Family and Kids
Topics:Misfits and underdogs
Run time:80 minutes
MPAA rating:NR

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Parent Written byusher December 25, 2015

Mostly harmless but insipid

My 7 year olds liked it. I thought it was utterly horrid as a movie. If I was reviewing it for myself, it would get half a star; because they liked it, I'll give it two. But I wouldn't recommend watching it with your kids, unless you have something else to distract yourself with. As a movie: Voice acting was bad overall. The squirrel, which was a main character, was particularly poorly acted. Animation was ok. It was full of action but somehow was boring anyway. In terms of messages for kids, I'd say it was not bad, but also not totally harmless. The good (-ish): The protagonist was a good kid with a good heart. Most of the supporting characters were very immature, but all but the villain sort of redeemed themselves at the end. The bad: There was one statement by Mrs Claus that I thought was a poor gender message (something about having the "boys" go save Christmas while she cleaned up around the place) but one of the most powerful and brave elves was a girl, so the gender stereotyping wasn't universal. Also bad: The main character comes from an orphanage and the guy who runs it was a terrible human being -- a tiring stereotype. Just once I'd like to see a loving foster parent or conscientious social worker in these orphaned-kids' movies. I wouldn't recommend for younger kids because of the fast action and the immature characters (including adults). Seems ok for 7+ though the movie was simply so bad that for a family movie night, I'd recommend taking pass on it and trying something else. Anything else.

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