In November, it’s time to get you in the Christmas spirit with The Claus Family . . .or not. Somehow I missed this Netflix offering last year and already there is The Claus Family 2 in the hopper, although that seems completely unnecessary. From a production standpoint, the 120 minute film feels like a Hallmark Hall of Fame presentation, but from a storyline, more like a Hallmark Christmas TV movie.
The Claus Family is a Dutch-Belgian presentation, though both dubbed and subtitled. Surprisingly, I could not find a dubbed or subtitled trailer. Overall, the sets are ornate, notwithstanding fake snow. And, where before have you seen elves with jet packs? Moreover, in The Claus Family, Santa trades in his sleigh for a magic globe, and his trademark hat for a hood. Suitable for youngsters, but in need of a bit more heft for adults, I give the film 3.0 Gavels and it garners a 5.7/10 IMDb score.
Upon the death of her husband, Suzanne Claus moves her family from the Netherlands to Belgium in search of a new start. Daughter Noor likes being close to Grandpa Noel Claus, son Jules despondent. He hates Christmas. When Jules finds out that Grandpa is the real Santa Claus and he is next in line to take his place, he rebels. Jules lost his father on Christmas Eve and will never be happy at Christmas. Then, Grandpa gets hurt. Who will save Christmas?
Unknown to the American audience, Jan Decleir plays Noel Claus. Appearing in two Oscar-winning films, Roger Ebert described Decleir as “the real thing.” Mo Bakker, already a veteran of eight films, plays young Jules. He could be a bit more convincing. Will Ella be his love interest in The Claus Family 2?
A sub-plot of The Claus Family is Suzanne’s effort to rescue the Mariene Biscuit Company from closing. That will definitely get you in the mood for Christmas cookies. Lest you think it sexist for a male to be Santa and a female to bake cookies, you will be pleasantly surprised to find that several past Santas were female and the President is a Madame.
“It’s inoffensive, even if there’s only enough story here to fill half the runtime.” Ready Steady Cut
“This story’s contributions to the Santa Claus lore just create more questions than answers. I have never seen a more inefficient and wasteful system than the one this Father Christmas uses. He only has four elves. Four! To do all the work! That is an OSHA violation if I’ve ever seen one.” Parent Previews
Off we go into the Christmas season. My gift to you? I’ll try to keep these to a minimum.