The Santa Clause 3: The Escape Clause (or simply The Santa Clause 3) is the third installment of Disney's The Santa Clause trilogy, once again starring Tim Allen as Scott Calvin/Santa Claus, with Martin Short as Jack Frost. Both had previously worked together in the 1997 Disney comedy film, Jungle 2 Jungle. Eric Lloyd returned in a smaller role as Scott's son Charlie, as did many of the supporting actors from the first two films, reprising their previous roles. However, David Krumholtz, who previously played Bernard the Head Elf, did not appear in this installment because of contractual issues, so Curtis (Spencer Breslin), who previously played the Assistant Head Elf, has been promoted to Bernard's former position. Principal photography was completed in February 2006.
Scott and Carol have been happily married for a while now, but Scott/Santa Claus is having difficulties managing Christmas this year. Carol/Mrs. Claus is expecting their first child, due on Christmas Eve, and is afraid that he will be making his deliveries while she is making hers. Wanting her to feel more comfortable, Scott invites his in-laws, Sylvia and Bud Newman, up to the North Pole, along with his ex-wife, Laura, her husband Neil, and their daughter Lucy, to keep her company. Meanwhile, he is summoned to a meeting of the Council of Legendary Figures, consisting of Mother Nature, Father Time, the Easter Bunny, Cupid, the Tooth Fairy, and the Sandman. They show him a cardboard cutout of Jack Frost, just as Jack himself arrives. Besides Father Time reminding him that he heralds the season and not a holiday, Mother Nature accuses Jack of attempting to upstage Santa by freezing a volcano in Hawaii, making it snow in the Amazon, and making it cold in Mexico, which sent the geese back up north for the winter. The other Legendary Figures agree that a punishment needs to be invoked against him, with the idea to suspend him being the best option to teach him a lesson. Jack manages to convince them to put him into community service at the North Pole instead. When Scott brings up the part with the in-laws during an argument with him, the Easter Bunny recommends the "Escape Clause" as an option, which he declines. When Jack asks what it is, Father Time tells him that he would know more about it if he attended the meetings more often. Scott reluctantly agrees to Frost's suggestion for community service, but with a warning to him if he does anything wrong on his watch. He helps to disguise the North Pole as a Canadian toy factory for the arrival of the in-laws. Scott manages to get them there with the help of the Sandman.
However, Jack, who wants to have the power and influence of Santa, goes around the North Pole and uses his powers to create technical problems with some of the equipment. The shop flies into chaos and many gifts are destroyed, and Scott is faced with the possibility that there will not be enough toys for all the children in time for Christmas.
Jack talks to Curtis the Head Elf about the Hall of Snow Globes and discovers that Scott's can be used to activate the Escape Clause, the most powerful one of them all. It can help the current Santa escape from his job as Santa; if he holds his snow globe and says "I wish I had never become Santa at all," he can return to the point where he became Santa and prevent the event from occurring. Scott takes a quick break to show Lucy the Hall of Snow Globes, and gives her a magical one that shows her hugging a snowman, which turns pink because her hugs are so filled with love and warmth. As they leave, Jack sneaks in there and steals Scott's, freezing Laura and Neil when they catch him, and threatening to do the same to Lucy if she tells Scott, before locking her in a storage closet. After further attempts at sabotage, including Scott trying to finish decorating the Christmas tree, he manages to enrage the in-laws, and gives Scott a gift as he talks about his frustrations alone and away from everyone else. Not realizing what he is doing, Scott is persuaded into uttering the Escape Clause while opening it and taking out his snow globe, just as Jack intended. He and Jack are transported back in time to his front yard, where, twelve years earlier, he caused Santa to fall off the roof and donned his suit to become the new Santa. Jack reaches it before the past Scott can, making sure of it by knocking the present Scott out with a shovel, and puts it on to become Santa.
Scott is sent back to the present, in which, thanks to Jack altering the past, he has been the CEO for his old company for the last twelve years, and works even on Christmas Eve. He drives over to Laura's house, where she treats him very coldly. Charlie isn't happy to see Scott either and leaves to go out with his friend despite his mom telling him not to since it's Christmas Eve. Scott frantically asks Laura where Carol is and Laura says she "left town years ago because there weren't enough local kids to terrorize or something." Scott then asks Laura where Neil and Lucy are, knowing they'll understand the situation and she tells him they're at the North Pole. She gives him a magazine that shows the North Pole is now a tourist attraction where wealthy parents take their kids and pay for them to be on the nice list knowing Frost is behind this. Laura also reveals that Neil has been taking Lucy to the North Pole, and she and Neil got divorced. Scott assures her that he'll fix everything. Wanting his old job back, Scott returns to the North Pole where the elves are miserable and Christmas has become highly merchandised. He finds Lucy and Neil are there as well, although they too are not happy to see him, with Lucy sternly calling him "Mr. Calvin". Scott asks Neil what happened between him and Laura, and Neil tells him that he doesn't know because, since he was never around, Neil tried and failed to fill his role to Charlie as his father. He confronts Jack with what he has done and claims his vision of Christmas isn't what the holiday is about, but Jack reminds him that he wished he had never become Santa.
Scott convinces Lucy to sneak into the Hall of Snow Globes and bring Jack's to him. He interrupts a musical performance by Jack, when Lucy tosses him his snow globe. Jack mocks that Scott will never convince him to invoke the Escape Clause, but Scott plays a recording of him saying "I wish I had never become Santa at all," when he said it to him earlier. To Jack's horror and fury, the two of them are whisked back to the past again, where Scott holds Jack down while his past self finds the suit and puts it on, restoring events to the way they were. As the timeline is restored, Jack once again cries out in frustration as his alternate timeline is erased and he is stripped of Santa's powers and appearance.
Back in the present, Scott reunites with Carol, even though no time has passed since he left, and he promises to make her life better. Jack, meanwhile, contemplates his plan to take over Scott's job backfiring on him so spectacularly. Scott then shows his in-laws the truth about his workshop, where despite Jack's sabotage, gifts are being manufactured and will be ready on time for his deliveries. To his surprise, his son Charlie arrives and helps out the elves, as do the other members of the Council of Legendary Figures.
Just as it seems things are going perfectly, Curtis and Lucy appear, and Neil and Laura are wheeled in, frozen solid. Jack is also dragged in by the "elficers", and when ordered by Scott to undo his spell on them, Jack refuses. By unfreezing them, he would have to "unfreeze himself" and so they will be frozen forever. When Scott asks for Mother Nature to help him out, she reminds Scott that the abilities of a Legendary Figure won't work on others. Frost believes he still won; however, Scott has an idea. He tells Lucy to give Jack one of her heartwarming hugs; her tight hug, full of love and warmth, breaks him down, changing his clothes and hair from icy to normal and breaks the spell around Neil and Laura. Everyone, including the defrosted and reformed Jack, celebrates with a hug, and Carol suddenly announces that her baby is coming. She gives birth to a boy just before midnight and names him Buddy Claus, right before Santa has to leave to deliver the gifts.
The score was composed by George S. Clinton, who won the 2007 BMI Film Music Award.
|"White Christmas"||Andy Williams|
|"It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year"|
|"Santa Drives a Hot Rod"||The Brian Setzer Orchestra|
|"O Canada"||Otto Jensen and Julien Desabrasis|
|"The Most Wonderful Time of the Year"||The Kids Picks Singers|
|"The Christmas Song"||Marin Short and Ann-Margret|
|"We Wish You a Merry Christmas Tree"||Pam DeCosmo and John Ginger|
|"Greatest Time of Year"||Aly & AJ|
|"I'm the Real Santa"||The Refreshments|
|"The Hallelujah Chorus Theme Song"||
The film appeared on ABC Family on December 1, 2009, as part of the 25 Days of Christmas, and has aired there annually since. In Canada, it first appeared on CBC Television on December 13, 2009. In the UK, it was shown for the first time on the BBC on Christmas Eve 2009. In New Zealand, it was also aired on TV 2 on Christmas Eve 2009. In Singapore, it was shown for the first time on MediaCorp Channel 5 on December 26, 2009.
The film was released on DVD and Blu-ray in the United States on November 20, 2007, and in the United Kingdom on November 12th.
The Santa Clause 3 received negative reviews from critics, earning a 17% rating at Rotten Tomatoes. Eric D. Snider said that Allen did The Santa Clause "the first time with enthusiasm, the second time with affection and the third time for a paycheck." Kyle Smith wrote "We're getting a turkey and a ham for the holidays. [...] Santa is so dumb he should be demoted to cleaning up after Geoffrey the Giraffe at Toys 'R' Us." Manohla Dargis dismissed the movie as "squeaky clean, but you might die of boredom." Finally, Nathaniel Bell wrote off the film as "holiday filler, stuffed with unearned emotion and trite sentimentality." In the UK, Mark Kermode described it on BBC Radio Five Live as "the cinematic equivalent of tertiary syphilis".
The first two films had been box-office successes during their opening weekends, but The Santa Clause 3 was beaten by Borat for the #1 spot. By February 7, 2007, the film made $84,500,122 in the US and a worldwide gross of $110,768,122. (The first film made $189,833,357 worldwide at the box-office while the second film made $172,855,065.)
- The ticker sign reads "378 years without an accident", when in the first movie, Scott became Santa Claus because the previous Santa fell off of Scott's roof, which would be classified as an accident. However, the sign could only be referring to the North Pole workshop.
- The revelation of the "Escape Clause" in this movie contradicts the first movie's statement that being Santa Claus is a lifetime commitment. Scott even tried to get out of the responsibility in the first movie, but the clause didn't permit him to do so.
|Tim Allen||Santa/Scott Calvin|
|Elizabeth Mitchell||Mrs. Claus/Carol|
|Judge Reinhold||Neil Miller|
|Wendy Crewson||Laura Miller|
|Liliana Mumy||Lucy Miller|
|Martin Short||Jack Frost|
|Alan Arkin||Bud Newman|
|Art LaFleur||Tooth Fairy|
|Aisha Tyler||Mother Nature|
|Jay Thomas||Easter Bunny|
|Peter Boyle||Father Time|
Arika Gluck (uncredited)
Grant Measures (uncredited)
|Charlie Stewart||Dr. Hismus|
|Zach Mills||Carpenter Elf|
|Tom Hornof||Security Guard|
|John Ross Bowie||Rory|
|Tim Dougherty||Masonry Elf|
|Elizabeth Small||Baker Elf|
|Tony Bustamante||Fireman Elf|
|Zachary Gray||Workshop elf|
|Tabitha Grayston||Canadian elf|
|Julio Leal||Young father|
|Taylor Masamitsu (voice)||Additional voices|
|Deborah Ouellette||North Pole mom|
|Enn Reitel (voice)||Unknown|
|Cameron Scher||Wrapping elf|
|Ariana Serrano||Additional extra|
- The Santa Clause 3: The Escape Clause at the Internet Movie Database
- The Santa Clause 3: The Escape Clause at Rotten Tomatoes
- The Santa Clause 3: The Escape Clause at Allmovie
- The Santa Clause 3: The Escape Clause DVD review at DVDizzy.com
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