The Flight Before Christmas

Movie review by
Nancy Davis Kho, Common Sense Media
The Flight Before Christmas Movie Poster Image
Wolves will scare younger kids in this holiday feature.
  • G
  • 2008
  • 80 minutes

Parents say

age 6+
Based on 4 reviews

Kids say

age 6+
Based on 2 reviews

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A lot or a little?

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

Positive Messages

The main character learns lessons about taking responsibility, believing in himself, and recognizing the family members who really love him. Santa's reindeer are played as smug and macho.

Violence & Scariness

Intense and prolonged scenes of threatening wolves intent on eating reindeer, Santa's reindeer, and Santa himself. Much of the movie involves the main character's pursuit by the same bloodthirsty pack of wolves.

Sexy Stuff

There's a subplot about figuring out which of them is Niko's father that could be considered perverted -- ALL of them remember having one night stands with pretty girl reindeer.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that while the movie features a cute baby reindeer and his forest friends, the story is about a pack of ravenous, evil wolves intent on eating Santa and his reindeer, and the main character is imperiled throughout. Non-standard family units like a single mom, son, and grandpa are featured, as is a surrogate father who is preferable to the real thing. No discussion of religious aspects of Christmas and hardly any of the secular aspects either; this is all about the reindeer.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byLowe's man March 25, 2016

Not for those who value good parent-child relationships or for purists.

Although this is scary for younger children, the level of scariness is appropriate for the age group it's aimed at. That's not where the problem is.... Continue reading
Adult Written byBobbyjoe123 May 3, 2015

Good holiday movie

This movie was clearly a classic and had appropriate content the wolves are not scary and did not bother my kids
Kid, 11 years old December 19, 2012

Slightly violent, but good

I'm a bit too old to be watching it, but it was so cute and I don't regret it! It had a nice story, although there were a few sex references near the... Continue reading
Kid, 10 years old October 26, 2012

Common Sence? More like Common Nitpicks

OK, first of all, don't litsen to those crybabies who work the site. This is a nice family movie for 6 and up. It's the perfect movie. A lighthearted... Continue reading

What's the story?

Though the packaging indicates that THE FLIGHT BEFORE CHRISTMAS is about Santa and his little helpers, the real story is a lot darker. A young reindeer, Niko (voiced by Andrew McMahon) longs to fly with Santa's Flying Forces, one of whom he believes is his father. His inability to fly doesn't discourage him, and his friend and tiny protector Julius (Norm MacDonald) exhorts him to believe in himself. One day Niko strays too far from his Home Valley to practice his flying and inadvertently reveals the location of his herd to a pack of starving wolves, setting off a chain of events which leads to the wolves' decision to hunt Santa and his flying forces. Niko must try to save himself, his herd, and Santa to redeem himself.

Is it any good?

This movie is beautifully animated and imagined, and that may be part of its problem. The wolves are truly scary, and the fact that they are chasing Niko and his herd is bad enough; then they decide to eat Santa. The subplot about Niko determining which of the Flying Force reindeer is his father borders on creepy, especially as his mother relays the tale of her one magical night with Daddy Reindeer and the arrival of Niko 10 months later.

As a singing and wisecracking weasel Wilma, Emma Roberts has a small part, although she's got top billing in the credits. MacDonald is much more affecting as the flying squirrel Julius, whose only family is Niko and whose bravery is much more compelling than that of the preening and silly Flying Forces. This is not a movie that embodies the Christmas spirit, but for kids who can withstand the wolves it's a quirky coming-of-age tale.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about what Niko does when he leads to the wolves to his herd by mistake. Have you ever made a mistake and tried to fix it? What did you learn from that experience?

Movie details

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