The Night They Saved Christmas,
directed by Jackie Cooper
(RHI, 1984)

Looking for a Christmas story with a plot that you have never seen? Order a copy of The Night They Saved Christmas. If you thought the Exxon Valdez was disastrous, watch what happens when oil companies start drilling in the North Pole region.

The movie opens with Claudia (Jaclyn Smith), a pilot, telling her husband, Michael (Paul Le Mat), that she has moved their kids all around the world, but this place is the last straw. She is moving the kids back to Los Angeles after the New Year. They work for an oil company and she wants Michael to take the office job he has been offered. Currently, he is the project manager in the Arctic region.

Oil Rig No. 5 at site A was a dry hole, so the company is beginning work at site B, which is at the North Pole. Ice has been jamming the drill so Michael orders them to use dynamite ... and lots of it.

Shortly after the blasting begins, Michael has a visit from a short man in red who says his name is Ed (Paul Williams) and he is Santa's head elf at North Pole City. He says they must stop blasting near the North Pole or they are going to blow up Santa Claus. Michael thinks a co-worker is playing a holiday joke, so Ed invites the whole bunch to come to North Pole City, meet Santa and see the city.

When Ed arrives to pick up Michael, Murdock has called a meeting with Michael. Only Claudia and the kids go with Ed with to North Pole City. Santa arrives, but just as he starts to discuss the problem with Claudia, the blasting begins again. The previous blasts have knocked out the communication center and there is no way to contact Michael to stop the blasting. Claudia and the kids are stuck with Santa, Mrs. Claus and roughly 1,000 elves in the direct path of total annihilation.

I love the way they did the opening credits. They set the mood and tease, tantalize and suggest that something magical will follow. While the credits appear, there are magnificent explosions in the snow -- visually stunning eruptions of powder.

The special effects in this movie are spectacular! From the carnival-like reindeer rocket sled ride to the results of the blasting, this is magnificent. The sets are breathtaking. North Pole City is beautiful beyond words, though the exterior of the buildings have a plastic look, especially when viewed at a distance. The interiors more than makeup for the outward appearance, though, with lavishly decorated rooms, antiques and toys. It is a magnificent place that forces you to believe it exists and sparks your imagination.

The only bad thing about this movie is that the reindeer are animated and nicker like horses. I hated that!

Otherwise, this is an extremely well-written story with lots of tension and suspense, sprinkled with magic and fantasy worked into an action movie. It is definitely a new angle on the Christmas theme.

As a family film, The Night They Saved Christmas is superior to most. It will mesmerize everyone, adults and children. It will make an especially nice gift -- one that the whole family can enjoy.

review by
Alicia Karen Elkins

Agree? Disagree?
Send us your opinions!

what's new