A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that The Magic Snowflake is a 2013 animated movie that is the sequel to the 2010 animated movie Santa's Apprentice. Overall, this is a very imaginative holiday movie with a central positive message about the importance of maintaining the childlike wonder of the Christmas spirit even when stressed out by grown-up concerns. There is some cartoonish pratfall violence: Characters fall, spill, and tumble over; a former Santa determined to rescue Christmas by delivering gift-wrapped bricks to all the good little boys and girls ends up throwing some of these bricks at the lead character and his reindeer friend.
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What's the story?
As the former Mr. and Mrs. Claus leave the North Pole to retire in Sydney, Australia, young Nicholas (Nathan Simony) is faced with his first Christmas as the new Santa in THE MAGIC SNOWFLAKE. In the midst of so many responsibilities -- getting up at 5:30 each morning to supervise the unruly elves, design new toys, and meet deadlines -- Nicholas begins to feel stressed, overwhelmed, and, well, like a grown-up. He begins to lose his temper and even starts growing white hairs on his face. As Nicholas' frustration mounts and he can't stop adulthood from possessing him, the Magic Snowflake that remains frozen due to Santa's unwavering belief in the Christmas spirit begins to melt. Nicholas undergoes a journey to his past and future to try to figure out why he is losing his Christmas spirit and what might happen to him and to Christmas if he loses his Christmas spirit for good. Meanwhile, all the former Santas return to the North Pole to try to save Christmas; they include a pompous former Santa who now seems to believe that he can rescue Christmas if he replaces Nicholas and simply delivers gift-wrapped bricks as toys to all the good boys and girls. It's up to Nicholas to get back in touch with his Christmas spirit, prevent the magic snowflake from melting, and reclaim his rightful role as the new Santa.
Is it any good?
This movie is a charming and creative Christmas story that can be enjoyed just as much by parents as kids. Its message of maintaining a childlike wonder during the holidays should resonate with anyone who sometimes feels overwhelmed in the days and weeks leading up to December 25. It's silly without being juvenile, sweet without being sappy, and never loses sight of the overall story and its message.
While it isn't quite up to the level of previous and contemporary classic Christmas movies and television specials, The Magic Snowflake is enjoyable fare, especially for those looking for something different. It's a sequel, but it does stand on its own, even if families haven't seen the first movie in the series, Santa's Apprentice. The creativity and freshness reward repeated viewing -- something that is definitely a hallmark of the best Christmas movies.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about holiday movies like The Magic Snowflake. What are some common character types and themes that often come up in these movies?
How is this movie different from other holiday movies? How is it similar?
How does the movie present its overall message on the spirit of Christmas?
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