★★ "S-A-N-T-A C-L-A-U-S Hooray for Santy Claus!" Sadly, that catchy, opening song may be the best thing about this misguided Christmas affair.
The film opens as Martian children are watching a live feed of Earth television's major news network, K.I.D. TV. Tonight's top story, an interview with Santa Claus at his secret workshop, just a few weeks before Christmas.
Martian children look remarkably like Earth children except for some ill-applied green paint. They are unhappy children, as one would expect to be when covered in green paint. Of course, their morose dispositions could also have to do with the fact that they receive all their meals in pill form.
One Martian father wants his kids to be happy like the Earth children and consults Chochem the Ancient.
Chochem: "What time of year is it now?"
Dad: "It is the middle of Septober."
To be honest, I was laughing so much at the concept of Septober that I missed hearing Chochem’s advice, but regardless, the Martians head to Earth to kidnap old Saint Nick to bring happiness to the children of Mars. Now, Santa is hard to find as the Martians quickly find out. Scanning their space computers they say, “But there’s millions of people down there! It’s like looking for a speck of space dust in a comet's tail...wait a minute, I see him!”
The film is happy to employ some stock footage of the Air Force swinging into action, but our flyboys aren't fast enough to rescue Old Saint Nick, and the Martians not only sail away with Santa, but two Earth children as well, Billy and Betty.
For a moment it looks like Billy and Betty will give their Martian captors the slip. During an escape attempt at the North Pole they find themselves face to face with a polar bear, played unconvincingly by a guy in a suit. They are then hunted by Torg, a robot that is made from a refrigerator box and some dryer duct.
Santa really seems unfazed throughout this entire kidnapping. He's just excited at the prospect of helping these “quiet, remote and very unhappy,” Martian kids. The fact that two Earth kids have been kidnapped along with him is completely ignored, even though their parents are probably going out of their minds with worry.
The Martians not only force Santa to make toys for their kids, but the Earth kids and Martian kids are put to work as well. Maybe Santa could bring the Martians some child labor laws for Christmas.
Voldar is the film's central villain. You can tell because he’s the only Martian sporting a mustache. If only he had twirled it maniacally. Voldar hates the idea of Christmas and sabotages Santa's Martian workshop. He also mistakenly kidnaps Dropo, the film's comic relief, who was dressed up as Santa. Dropo is kept prisoner behind a “Nuclear Curtain” that will disintegrate him if he touches it. “Once you hit that nuclear curtain, there won’t even be a whisker left!” Luckily for Dropo the nuclear curtain is powered by two lightbulbs, one green and one red.
Since the film's title spoils the ending of the film, I don't feel bad about doing the same. Voldar is undone by Santa and the kids, mostly because he forgets he’s holding a laser gun in his hand as they pelt him with toys.
I didn't want to throw things at the end of the movie, but I wasn't filled with Christmas cheer either. I can only hope I've been a good enough boy this year so I won't find this DVD in my stocking come Christmas morning.