A charming and inspiring Christmas movie has arrived just in time for the holiday season: "Saving Santa,"
the adventures of a time-traveling elf.
The animated tale has largely flown under the radar in the United States so far, but it has attracted big, enthusiastic audiences in other countries following its November and December releases.
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It is No. 2 at the box office in Russia, No. 4 in Poland, No. 1 in Ecuador, and is performing strongly in other nations as well, the film's co-producer Nick Simunek, told Newsmax.
"If cheery singing and a talking reindeer can't get you in the Christmas spirit, then nothing will," according to thefilmreview.com website
, which calls the movie "a fun, festive film."
calls "Saving Santa" a "wildly fun time-traveling adventure from the award-winning animation studio behind Disney's 'Tinker Bell' and 'Planes...'"
The hero of the film is Bernard, a low-level elf voiced by "The Hobbit" star Martin Freeman, who dreams of one day joining Santa's elite team of inventor elves at the North Pole.
He presents to the team his latest invention, which can project holiday memories from the past to be savored again, because "the one thing Santa can't fit in his bag is Christmas memories."
But the demonstration goes awry and causes a power outage at the North Pole — on Christmas Eve.
Bernard learns from Santa how he can deliver gifts all around the world in one night: with the aid of a time-travel globe invented by an elf.
But in the meantime, the power outage temporarily disabled the North Pole's cloaking device and enabled the villain of the movie, Neville Baddington, to locate Santa's secret location. Baddington, voiced by Tim Curry — of the cult favorite "The Rocky Horror Picture Show" — operates an airborne delivery service and wants to learn Santa's secret for delivering packages.
Baddington and his team of evildoers arrive at the North Pole and kidnap Santa. Bernard decides to use the time-travel globe to go back in time and warn Santa and undo the damage.
But he has to make repeated trips into the past. And to succeed, he'll have to use his memory-projecting invention to unlock the Christmas spirit from Baddington's memory.
Can Bernard rescue Santa in time for Christmas?
The movie also features the voices of Joan Collins, Tim Conway, and Ashley Tisdale, among others.
Interestingly, when Saving Santa movie was released theatrically in Britain, the role of Santa was voiced by an Englishman. Producers thought it best, when it came to the United States, to have the role revoiced by an American, and Tim Conway got the job.
They also added Tisdale, who is popular among younger Americans.
Simunek, a veteran film producer, said "Saving Santa" is his first animated film, and it was difficult to make. But in the end, "I'm very happy and very proud of the results," he said. "The whole team did a fantastic job."
poster who watched the movie with her three children said it was "very cute, and had a few short musical scenes. We really enjoyed it."
And DVDtalk.com observed
: "Between the time travel, Christmas vibes, funny jokes and pop tunes, there really is something for everyone in the room, which is all we really want around the holidays."
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