Good Costumes/Decent Setting
-Disney knows how to dress up their stars, and mad props to the wardrobe and costume design for helping blend modern and traditional into one.
-This film has some great fashions to which help bring a bit of the holiday magic, while also setting up for some jokes and unique standpoints that were fun to watch.
-The setting itself is again very modern, and the adaptation of the fantasy stylings of St. Nick are nicely conformed to meet the city to which they dwell in for much of the movie.
-It's simplistic, it's colorful, but it's a handshake between the two that I felt was very impressive to enjoy for the fact this movie was lower budget.
Fun Little Music Moment
-One of the night's themes is ending up at and underground club where Santa's gather and of course there is a DJ to get things going.
-This moment was probably one of my favorite events during the film, the little musical number nothing unique, but just funny and cute as child and entity pair up for a fun little dance number.
-It helps add some character development moments, a few small laughs, and sort of embodies the theme of the movie and where the plot is going.
-No surprise here, Disney is pulling punches to make sure that no one can call this movie too violent for the holidays.
-Despite the set-up, the movie is loaded with that cute little holiday, Hallmark like, preaching that will touch the hearts, warm the soul, and make you giggle.
-All kicks, antics, and "action" scenes are like a Christmas cookie, soft and easy to see without anyone ending up in the hospital. Which for a holiday family movie is kind of important.
-Throw in the moral lessons, the simplistic character development, and the lines being pretty much Full House in a new form, and well... you've got an After School Special in Santa Clause form.
Funny At Times
-Fortunately, all the PG rated goodness does still have some laughs from me, with Howery being the one who somehow had me cracking up.
-His raspy and higher pitched voice is just perfect for spouting out these lines, the way he screams, reacts, and tries to explain things so awkward and nerve driven that I found myself just waiting for him to spout out the next part of the plan.
-The Santa rules, though juvenile, are the best part for me, and his explanations and reactions he has to make when they appear are probably some of the cleverest stuff in this movie.
-This is where I find the writing genius, when incorporating the balance of adult and kid humor into a funny package, and I don't think the lines would have half the magic if not for the actor.
-The movie tries to get the heartstring tugging early, but it doesn't happen until about 70% of the way through the movie.
-All of the fluff, the jokes, and the Playhouse Disney acting sort of get in the way at first, but by the end, there is this connecting moment where everything starts to work and you feel the magic of the season.
-Sure, there are better things, but in this Disney Channel film, it worked for me at the end to really tie things up and feel a tad real or hopeful for what can come despite the past.
Acting is Good:
The acting is fine, again perfect for the caliber of the film, nothing too mind blowing, but perfectly fine to keep in theme with the family friendly roles.
-Validum is cute, innocent, and plays lighthearted well. That typical child inspiration that solves the grown up problems with the belief in Christmas. She's not annoying or over the top, and she handles her lines well.
-Ludacris is still fun, but he's held back in this role and really missing the vibes of his Fast and Furious character. He's got the edge, he's got the sass, and he's got the heart, but something seems to be holding his true potential back. But still he makes it work and has great chemistry with Howery, a buddy comedy that though restrained, really has that sort of brotherly love-hate dynamic I like to see.
-Howery is the champion for me. He's not doing anything mind blowing, he's just funny in that dorky, grown up Urkel way. Clumsy, accident prone, and nervous, he's the smart saint with the bad luck and the way he sort of reacts just is very funny for me.
Most of the Story Is Weak
-The movie starts out with a promising couple of tales, a man who is struggling with liking Christmas secondary to his past and a potential Holiday scandal that serves to bring some spice to the holiday story.
-Sadly, both of these tales suffer for me, turning into a preachy tale that gets in the way of the natural delivery and writing this movie shows it could have.
-Sure it's heartfelt, sure it's sweet, and again if's family friendly, but the attitude could have been turned up a notch to match the level of Home Alone and actually have some suspense to the story.
-Perhaps in doing this, there could have been more discovery of his trauma and help him get to the end, or maybe even dig into the little girl's feelings, while also exploring Santa's challenges.
-I know, that's advanced for modern Disney, but classic Disney did this better, and to have a little more of that thought and engagement could have made this movie much better.
-Even the mystery of the reindeer was kind of haphazard and thrown in for a kiddie finish that felt like it would fit well with some of my hyper Disney fans.
The Antagonists... Too Cutesy
-Again, there was this potential for the bad guys to have a little bit of bite and threat, a true opposing force to try and outsmart to get to the end.
-Instead, we got typical Disney Channel bologna, bungling idiots, who look more intimidating, but can't come close to doing their jobs.
-Even when they come close, the thrill is rather pathetic and the solution is too simple, missing any of the composure or magic that past Disney did a long time ago.
-Again, for the theme of can't be anything more than G rating, it works, but I had hoped better given the build up of the opening scene.
Lot Of Christmas Components That Felt Rushed
-Perhaps the story and antagonists could have been overlooked if the holiday themes could have had some impressive use.
-The Santa Bar did this right, but everything else felt a little too muddied, simplistic, plain, and just too modern in missing the magic.
-I could have seen a lot of places for Christmas magic to come in, using toys, gimmicks, and some holiday decorations like they did in Jingle All The Way. It might have been corny, but it at least had the holiday zest behind it.
-But again, the Christmas feeling was sort of flat, only arising when it came to discussing the true spirt of Christmas motif.
More Comedic Variety
-Howery managed to have this presentation that worked, but that was sort of the only thinking fans like me laugh.
-Again, some Home Alone Tactics could have worked, or maybe a little more entendre like jokes snuck in to help with giving the humor a little more diversity.
-The inclusion and use of the elves a bit more could have helped with this, or even given the bad guys a little more of the Marv or Harry could have gone far. Competent, but clumsy in a nice balance.
-But again, like SpongeBob, the modern era focuses more on goofy and silly stupidity that appeals to like ten and below rather than the variety.
-Does it work for this film? Sure, this film again feels very G or PG rated, but still, classics continue to show how you balance to get everyone involved in a film.
Dashing Through The Snow is fun, family friendly, and a holiday film that holds the spirt well, if not a bit too naïve and controlled for the younger audience. Good costumes, fun acting, and this light humor are great for snuggling up and watching together, which I think they were going for. But sadly, the movie still just doesn't have the cohesiveness to sell this movie better outside of the cute factor with a nice Christmas wrapping, at least in terms of the theme and the costumes. The magic fell flat in terms of using more of the Christmas theme, and the humor as well is a little too geared to kids and not as much to adults. A mediocre story with silly villains does little to help with character development, or even the Christmas motif, and I just.. wanted more. I don't hate it, but I think Disney's original streaming movies need to study the roots and find a little more storytelling and not be afraid to dive into being creative and a little more PG than G. Might tell a stronger story and get the emotion across, while letting the stars maximize their directions. Thus, with all this, I give the movie:
Movie Overall: 5.0-5.5.