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Parents' Guide to

The Life and Adventures of Santa Claus (1985)

By Andrea Beach, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 5+

Animated tale is heavy on fantasy, has some scariness.

Movie G 1985 50 minutes
The Life and Adventures of Santa Claus (1985) Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this movie.

Community Reviews

age 9+

Based on 1 parent review

age 9+

Animated (not) kid's film is filled with scares

PG: scares

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say: (1 ):
Kids say: Not yet rated

As an animated Christmas movie, this adaptation of an L. Frank Baum story is a bit of an odd one and best suited for families who may be tired of the same old specials every year. The Life and Adventures of Santa Claus only mentions Christmas a few times in passing, and although it certainly reflects traditional messages of the season, it feels more like a Tolkien or Narnia fantasy than a Christmas movie. That being said, families with big kids and up who are looking for something a little bit different may find it refreshing. Fans of Rankin/Bass stop-motion animation will enjoy the imaginative yet classic styling of the characters, the more advanced special effects, and the improvements in photography made in the years since the classic Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer.

Unfortunately, both the voice acting and the songs aren't quite up to Christmas-classic standards. Both the speaking and the songs are overwrought as the voice actors slowly and ponderously try really hard to convey the importance of the story instead of creating an emotional connection with the viewer. Lapses in editing and continuity sometimes confuse the timing of events. Be prepared to reassure little kids: Death and mortality are prominent themes, and some of the monsters might be a bit scary for young ones who haven't yet separated fantasy from reality.

Movie Details

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