Santa Claus Conquers the Martians
as presented on Mystery Science Theater 3000
seen online via YouTube
Let's start with that title. It's misleading. Santa Claus Conquers the Martians made me think it was gonna be a little more of an all-out battle than it actually was. No one's ever made a movie where Santa's an action hero (that I know of, anyway). He doesn't really "conquer" the Martians so much as he befriends them and helps them subdue their rogue elements in a non-violent way, which, I suppose, is truer to the character but doesn't make for much of an exciting movie for anyone over the age of eight. Just because it's for kids does not mean it should be stupid.
I think it's past time somebody made Santa into an action hero. The trick is to not turn him into Arnold Schwarzenegger. He should still be recognizable as Santa, in both looks and attitude, but have him capable of kicking some butt if necessary. He makes toys, so it's not a stretch to imagine him making weapons that look like toys, and of course his workshop would have to have lots of high-tech defenses. Basically, he could be Batman without the brooding and angst.
Plus, he's already got a battalion of elves and flying reindeer. Throw in a bunch of arctic animals and mythological creatures such as yeti, and you've got the makings of an entire army, all at his command! Now have him take on an alien invasion that threatens to ruin Christmas (not to mention destroy the earth) and you've got an instant holiday classic that'll "conquer" the box office!
Needless to say, however, that movie is not this movie. I was surprised to see a familiar name amongst the cast, Pia Zadora, however this was not the film for which she won her Golden Globe Award. I remember when she had a brief singing career in the 80s, but I've never seen any of her other films. She doesn't do much here other than be a distaff sidekick to her brother.
The Mystery Science Theater 3000 elements help to a degree, but Joel is still a little too bland for me. I realize that as the star, he doesn't have to be as wacky as his robot sidekicks or the evil scientist guy, but his character doesn't have much in the way of charisma, either. He's likable enough, but he's really vanilla. He's no Uncle Floyd, that's for sure. ("A Patrick Swayze Christmas" was totally funny, though.)
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