Santa Claus Steals the Smurfs’ Director

Last November, it was announced that L. Frank Baum’s The Life and Adventures of Santa Claus was to be adapted into a “CG based” feature, to be directed by Tom Tataranowicz, Rich Arons and Dick Sebast. The selling point was that Baum’s Santa was the hero of a huge, epic fantasy battle story, not just a chuckling, portly old codger that judged our kids and let his reindeer traipse all over our private property. I’m thinking Gandalf after a few hundred thousand mine pies.

Variety told us that production on that film was to get underway last November at an animation studio in India.

Of course, these things always come in little clusters, so when I read today that another Santa epic was on the way, I was hardly surprised. Variety tell us The Legend of Santa Claus will be directed by Colin Brady from a script by Tab Murphy, but there’s much more “information” on the official site of Lumenas, the production company here making their feature debut:

From within the recesses of antiquity, an ancient foretelling and the birth of a modern legend are waiting to be told. After discovering a cryptic parchment with the first whispers of this all-but forgotten account of a hero’s journey, Lumenas™ scoured the most remote vaults and libraries, uncovering fragments that describe an epic battle in a vanished realm and of a struggle that spilled over into our towns. Flowing from the narrative found in these parched texts – a golden thread, the prophecy of a young boy named Nicholas, the boy who would be named a saint.

The plan is to make an entire trilogy (of course) and to market this mythology to us, ahead of the films. How cynical it all seems.

Lumenas have trademarked everything they can their animation techniques, calling them “All Motion”, describing this as “a proprietary and unique hybrid between stop-motion and digital animation”.  Sounds like they stop-motion animate some elements of the frame and add more detail with CG – though the fine points are apparently protected, and I have no inside info.

I’ve used the only decent sized image from Lumenas’ announcement of the Santa films at the top of the page. They’re keeping the hat, then.

I’m not exactly hopeful about these Santa films, not from either production company. Despite all of the links to Pixar that Lumenas want to force into Brady’s bio, his only previous feature film as director, Everyone’s Hero, is really quite bad indeed. On the plus side, he had been attached to the Smurfs feature film, so I’m thinking that one’s gone off the rails.

As a footnote, there is already a rather unorthodox Santa Claus movie out there you might want to check out. And, no, it doesn’t feature any Martians – but Merlin is in it.

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