In this German kids’ film, a mix of live action and slightly dodgy animation, young Ben is new in town and finds an unexpected friend when Santa comes crashing down to Earth in a caravan, accompanied by miniature angel helpers and an invisible reindeer. But this is no fat old Santa – he looks more like Matt Smith’s Doctor Who, complete with a Tardis-like home. He’s been banished by the baddies who think Christmas is all about adults – it’s up to him, Ben and Ben’s classmate, Charlotte, to fly the flag for the kids.
Based on the book by Cornelia Funke, the story should appeal to youngsters who squeal at the sight of snow and Santa – and the occasional set piece, such as a tussle with the reindeer, is quite fun. The main snag is that this was filmed in Funke’s native German – and it’s been dubbed, not subtitled. Even if you can handle the American accents in rural Germany, the ill-advised translations distract and Ben’s mother sounds for all the world as if she’s presenting an infomercial. No amount of snow is going to compensate for that.