- Director:Luc Vinciguerra
- Cast:Delta Goodrem, Shane Jacobson, Georgie Parker, Hugh Sheridan, Magda Szubanski
- Release Date:November 10, 2011
- Running time:77 minutes
- Film Worth:$17.50
- FILMINK rates movies out of $20 - the score indicates the amount we believe a ticket to the movie to be worth
Beautifully drawn and sidestepping cliché and forced sentiment, this sweet and inspiring Christmas story will bring out your inner kid.
Right now, hand-drawn animation almost feels like it's come from another era. It has a dignity that its bigger, faster, sexier CGI competitor lacks. But the great hand-drawn films of today have a classic rather than old fashioned feel, and this beautiful Australian-French co-production has all the hallmarks of a classic. With much of the animation done in Australia, Santa's Apprentice is a homegrown tale (it's partly set in an orphanage on the edge of Sydney's harbour) that looks beyond these shores - in every sense.
It's an original story that still has the traditional Christmas feel, but the Santa here is a bit different. Facing a version of retirement-crisis, the big bloke in red chooses a Sydney boy called Nicholas as his apprentice. Whisked from his orphanage home to The North Pole, Nicholas sees the inner workings of Santa's rather magical toy factory, and gets to know the man behind the Santa myth. But Nicholas has his challenges...
As Santa, Shane Jacobson (Kenny) is inspired. And the rest of the likeable voice cast can't be faulted either, with songstress Delta Goodrem as Nicholas' friend Beatrice, Magda Szubanski as Santa's assistant, Ms. Lovejoy, and Jack Versace as Nicholas. Messages about friendship and developing confidence in the face of adversity come without any forced sentimentality. There's hardly a cliché in sight - even a bully boy eventually shows that there's something other than nastiness under his surface.
Santa's Apprentice is a sweet and innocent story for kids - even those honed on CGI will find enough to wonder at. There's definitely something here for full-grown animation fans too, but this becomes more apparent as you go deeper into the film. This is one designed for kids - and that's its great strength. Somehow, for an hour or so, it tricks you into being a kid again.