Finding Santa (2016) – Into a Magic World


This is my first time to get a screener on this website. Screeners are an essential way for critics to be able to watch upcoming releases of a new film before the digital releases come. Although like which, “Finding Santa” is a Swedish animated film of 2016. It’s just that, the movie just came out a few days ago digitally thanks to TriCoast Entertainment. And yet, for your information, first of all, I must stress it I didn’t do this because of compensation whatsoever. Other than than, I would like to love to write this review.

There are so many reviews on my draft I stacked on. So, I have to write this review, publish it first, and turn down “The Irishman”, “The Dead Don’t Die”, “Pierrot le Fou” and so many more. Directed by Jacob Ley, it’s a story focused on Julius (Herman Knop). He is an orphan who loves Christmas. He lives with other orphan children and at every Christman, he is waiting for Santa Claus to come. However, two other kids don’t like Christmas and also the presence of Julius. After discovering that Santa wasn’t there, Julius became sad.

He discovered that his caretaker was only pretending to be Santa. Julius then ran into a forest where he kept a small box of items that he kept. However, a blue light appears and sucked Julius in a magical world of realism where the reflection between his items and life becomes real. Santa, in that world, disappears and an evil named Krampus (Rasmus Bjerg) has taken the position of Santa and is trying to ruin the children’s dreams.

“Finding Santa”, in terms of story, doesn’t seem like a good movie. On the other hand, this movie has a weird-looking yet unique visual ever. The direction of this movie used a traditional method, besides this movie isn’t new. You can get it in any film, especially the film used Christmas as its theme. The visual is beautiful especially the scenery. The movement of characters, like they used motion capture of Laika-alike, is great. Yeah, most of the time, the design character has a specific moment where it turns to be awkward and out of the place.

The design characters are quite memorable but it seems unreal like it didn’t exist on the screen apart of they were using a 2D wood or cardboard whatsoever. However, for just an 80-minute film, this movie was trying to drag you far away until you realized when this was over. The script, dialogue, and voice acting also feel a little suffered. There is a lot of a slight pause between characters. They talk one sentence first and then, another character thinks what they should do. I know that ways like this make the character look natural. This movie just doesn’t work although, not too many parts like which either.

For an animated film, especially this is a movie for kids, the dialogue is just so obnoxious together with the voice acting (The English dub). It reminds me of a Nickelodeon cartoon I ever watched in the morning as a kid. All of the characters aren’t too memorable and this also applies to Julius, the protagonist, regardless of whether he is a bit of likable. I just thought that the story was so much more than a story about fantasy fairytale Christmas stories.

The two kids of Julius’ enemies are just so one-dimensional. The resolution of problems and conflicts between the two of them is also very simple. The movie makes this two kids so mean even though I know why they are so mean to Julius. There is also a situation when these two kids are suddenly behind Julius. Suddenly, they ruin a charming moment that Julius has arranged. I don’t know why but I never thought I wouldn’t watch a dark movie for children.

Above all, “Finding Santa”, apart from the soggy story and one-dimensional characters, has a great ambition with the effort they put into. I love foreign films, especially animation. They take a unique scope but still seems fresh and original. And this movie is also like that. Yeah, the experience feels like watching this film with family on the night before Christmas. And yeah, Christmas story for me doesn’t work with all of us too. We just keep seeing this story over and over again. “Klaus”, a new original animated Netflix movie, is probably a great example of how to write a fresh Christmas story; I have many things to also talk about the film.

Salman Al Farisi

An Indonesian who loves to watch and read everything. A literary student who likes to write about reviews and essays on Crackdown Review. But, I just wannabe critics who love arthouse than anything.

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