A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Santa Hunters chronicles four kids' efforts to ensnare Santa Claus and get video footage to prove his existence. As such, there's no time for being nestled in bed or for sugarplum dreams as the kids try desperately to track Santa's movements and take aim at him with glow-in-the-dark marker darts. You'll see some frantic chase scenes and a few crashes, as well as some arguments as tensions rise. An adult's greed and quest for revenge nearly ruins the holiday for everyone involved. On the upside, the kids learn that even good intentions can have unexpected consequences, and they must choose between selfish desires and doing what's right for Christmas believers everywhere. Expect some name-calling and potty humor (an entire scene plays up the humor of farting) but also a reminder that the holiday's true meaning isn't wrapped up in presents under the tree.
What's the story?
In SANTA HUNTERS, four kids lay a trap for Santa Claus to capture proof of his existence. Led by 9-year-old Alex (Benjamin Flores, Jr.), the Santa Hunters also include his sister, Elizabeth (Laya DeLeon Hayes), and their cousins Zoey (Breanna Yde) and Richard (Mace Coronel). After tricking their parents into thinking they're asleep on Christmas Eve, the four set up a surveillance system and lie in wait for St. Nick's arrival, but things take an unexpected turn when their actions threaten Christmas magic itself. What ensues is a mad dash to set things right before the world awakens to a drastically different kind of Christmas morning.
Is it any good?
Santa Hunters revisits a popular theme of holiday movies for the kid crowd: Can you believe in Santa without seeing for yourself that he's real? This story tilts heavily in favor of the magic of it all -- particularly with regard to die-hard believer Alex -- but merely suggesting the need for proof could raise questions for kids whose faith is on the fence. And when the kids consider the logistics of legendary hallmarks of St. Nick's magic -- ingesting millions of cookies in one night, hauling enough toys for the world's tots in one bag -- it does cause one to wonder anew how it all works.
Mystery aside, Santa Hunters is a fairly mundane addition to a holiday movie repertoire packed with classics and traditional favorites. There's little about it that's really notable, save the glaringly absent restrictions on kids who run amok in their pursuit of Santa and one very memorable bathroom scene, courtesy of a gassy grown-up. As for the big man himself, he's a surprising about-face from the wizened, grandfatherly types we tend to expect in that role, often seeming oafish and unpracticed. The bottom line? With the plethora of Christmas movies at families' disposal during the holiday season, there's reason to be picky about the ones you choose to maximize the holiday spirit.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about what Christmas means to them. What traditions do you enjoy at this time of year? How does it feel to give, rather than to receive, gifts?
Do the characters learn a lesson in this story? How does it change their behavior? What value is there in making mistakes? Can you recall some you've made that taught you something worthwhile?
What are some of your family's favorite holiday stories? How (if at all) is Santa portrayed in each? Does this movie's presentation of Santa fit with your vision of him? How do different cultures differ in their take on him?
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