“…I’ll be damned if it didn’t make me feel all warm and fuzzy inside.”
Last night I revisited a movie that I remember fondly from my childhood, Fred Claus. Fred Claus is a movie about Santa Claus’ brother, Fred, who is kind of a deadbeat. When Fred asks for a small loan of 50,000 dollars, Santa agrees but only if Fred comes to the North Pole and earns it. What then follows is what you would expect, a series of slapstick moments that involve Fred bringing unique work ethics to the North Pole.
Fred Claus is not a perfect movie, but I don’t fault it for that. I would say that I enjoyed it just as much last night as I did when I was younger. The movie is fun, and that’s all that really matters. Of course, I do gave to speak about the film more in-depth otherwise this wouldn’t really be a review. The first thing that I noticed about Fred Claus was the inclusion of terrible sound effects. I’m aware that the film is a “kids movie”, but the sound effects used in the film were third-rate cartoon sound effects. When someone would get hit you would here a not-so-subtle bong, when someone was poked you would hear squish, and when someone began to run you would hear that sound that is commonly found when cartoon characters try to run but their feet continue to slip underneath them. That sound is harder to put into words, but I’m sure you know what I’m talking about. These sound effects were very out of place in the film I found. Sure, Fred Claus isn’t a realistic story but these sound effects took me further out of the movie than the story ever did.
The next thing I noticed about Fred Claus was the fucking terrible CGI in the film. Now this is tricky, I’m aware, because Santa has elves. Now there are a few ways you can go about showing elves in a movie. You can go the Wizard of Oz route and send out a casting call for people of smaller stature. You can go the Charlie and the Chocolate Factory route and cast one person, then duplicate them in post to achieve the large number of people that you require. Or you can do what Fred claus did and rotoscope an actors face onto a smaller body. This effect is what I like to call the “Iron Man”, because the same thing is done in recent Marvel films where I guess Robert Downey Jr. can’t be bothered to get into an Iron Man suit. What this effect gives you is this really fucking weird ‘bobble head’ look, that sticks out like a sore thumb. The film also featured some of the worst flying effects that I might have ever seen committed to film.
Fred Claus also featured a few scenes which I would categorize as “pointless”, but this is where the film gets stronger for me. Even though I can look back and say “that scene had no point”, not once throughout the film did I feel bored. Fred Claus features bizarre story, but at the same time it was enjoyable. The performances weren’t great, but they were good enough to immerse me in the film. The movie was really funny, but it also had moments of heart in there as well. One thing that I loved about Fred Claus was that, in the movie’s universe everyone believed in Santa Claus. If that isn’t a picture of an idealistic society, I don’t know what it is. Really, Fred Claus is the epitome of a holiday movie.
Fred Claus is not a prefect film, in fact it is far from from it. It has a slew of technical issues, and the story stalls every once in a while, but I’ll be damned if it didn’t make me feel all warm and fuzzy inside.
I give Fred Claus a B