SANTA'S APPRENTICE (G) Rating: 3/5 Selected release (77 minutes)


Rating: 3/5

Selected release (77 minutes)

BRIGHT, amiable traditional animation with an old-school flavour and solid storytelling, this is a French-Australian production that had its origins in a French TV series about the adventures of a boy training for Father Christmas duties.

Eschewing the hyper-realist style of much contemporary animation, the movie is a lively tale of Yuletide wishes, the longing for family and the challenges of adapting to change. Yes, there is definitely a Santa Claus, but he occupies a position with a compulsory retirement age and a clear succession plan. The next Santa must always be a boy called Nicolas, he must be an orphan, and he must be pure of heart a notion that doesn't seem out of place in the world of this particular movie.

In a Sydney orphanage, there's an ideal candidate, but he has an awkward affliction for someone whose future involves delivery work on rooftops he's afraid of heights.

The TV series was directed by the animator making his feature debut with Santa's Apprentice, French filmmaker Luc Vinciguerra. There were Australian elements in the creative team, and the voice cast includes Shane Jacobson as Santa, a man a little reluctant to hand over the reins of the sled, and Magda Szubanski as his zealous personal assistant.

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