ORIGINAL POST DATE: December 5, 2013
This month, Who’s The Better Franchise? will spend much of its’ time looking at holiday films but unfortunately, there’s only two really worthy trilogies of holiday films that are worth talking about.
So, here’s what I decided. After this week, Who’s The Better Franchise? will look at different Christmas movies over the month of December and then return to the regular format come January. With that said, let’s get to this month’s first battle…
HOME ALONE VS. THE SANTA CLAUSE
In 1990, John Hughes was at the top of his game when he had written such classics as The Breakfast Club, Weird Science, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, Uncle Buck, The Great Outdoors, & Planes, Trains & Automobiles. But it was a little film called Home Alone that not only catapulted child star Macaulay Culkin to superstardom but to this day, it still remains the highest grossing comedy of all time with $285 million at the box office alone. Home Alone was one of those phenomenons that comes around every once in a while like Titanic, Avatar, & E.T. that sticks around at the box office well after its’ debut and becomes a massive hit. Home Alone was the #1 movie in America for 12 weeks in a row and was still in the top 10 box office up until May of 1991. That’s 7 months in theaters, that’s something that hardly ever happens.
So is the movie worth it? Absolutely, Home Alone is one of the great Christmas classics with good performances, pretty funny slapstick comedy, and also, a lot of heart. You can tell that the people behind the film were very proud of what they were making and made a really great film. Of course with the massive success, sequels followed. Two of which went to theaters and two went straight to DVD.
About four years after Home Alone, Disney found great success with the holiday release, The Santa Clause, starring Tim Allen. While not an overall great movie, The Santa Clause was a really enjoyable family Christmas film with Allen really doing a great job in the lead role. The Santa Clause was a big success during the 1994 holiday season and spawned two sequels…in 2002 and 2006 but we’ll talk about those later.
So, let’s find out which one is the better franchise? Home Alone or The Santa Clause.
Let’s begin our battle by examining our main characters, this is best main characters:
BEST MAIN CHARACTER
Both of these franchises have great main characters and that’s a good thing, if we like our main characters, then we can enjoy the movies more.
In Home Alone, we have Kevin McCalister, played by Macaulay Culkin in his first main starring role. Kevin, in the first movie, is just trying to fit in with the rest of his family but he finds himself struggling to get along with everybody even his own parents. On the night before the family trip to Paris, he gets in trouble and his mother forces him up to his room which causes him to tell his mother straight to her face that he wishes that they would all just be gone and he’d be alone. The next morning, he gets his wish as everybody forgets about Kevin by accident and they go to Paris. And of course, Kevin’s happy at first.
But as the first movie progresses and Kevin realizes that everybody is gone, he realizes what a mistake he made and tries everything he can to bring his family back. But when he also realizes that there are burglars in his town targeting his house, he has to defend his house and take responsibility and fight back.
Meanwhile, in The Santa Clause, Tim Allen plays Scott Calvin, an ordinary man who accidentally causes Santa Claus to fall to his death from his roof on Christmas Eve. When he and his young son, Charlie, finish St. Nick’s trip and deliveries, they go to the North Pole where Scott learns he must become the new Santa and convince those he loves that he is indeed Father Christmas. And boy is he convinced, all right. Throughout the film, Allen transforms into Santa himself with a bigger belly, a beard, a hunger for cookies, and kids coming up to him telling what they want for Christmas.
Culkin’s transformation from just a kid to defending for himself is handled very well and Culkin himself handles the part very well.
But I think Tim Allen’s transformation is handled much better. Allen starts off, not as a Grinch but not a fan of Christmas. He’ll still stick with it for his son but even he has a pressure point over the night. But once he starts transforming into Santa, you can easily see his revelation that he has to become the new Santa whether he likes it or not.
Culkin’s performance is great in Home Alone but for this one, I got to give it to The Santa Clause and Tim Allen.
Point goes to The Santa Clause.
Best Main Character Winner: The Santa Clause
Now, let’s look at the supporting characters:
BEST SUPPORTING CHARACTERS
The supporting characters are part of what help keep the movies flowing and keeps the audience involved in what’s going on.
In The Santa Clause, the main supporting characters include Scott’s son, Charlie (Eric Lloyd), his ex-wife, Laura (Wendy Crewson), her husband Lloyd (Judge Reinhold), and Bernard The Elf (David Krumholtz). All four of them would be back for the sequels as well, Krumholtz doesn’t appear in the third film though.
Home Alone has a number of main supporting characters including Kevin’s mother, Kate (Catherine O’Hara), his father Peter (John Heard), the many members of his family which would take way too long to explain, Gus Polinski (John Candy), the polka king of the Midwest, Old Man Marley (Roberts Blossom), and of course, the big main supporting characters, burgulars Marv (Daniel Stern) & Harry (Joe Pesci).
In terms of which movies gave the supporting characters more development and time with them, I got to go with the Home Alone movies. For a movie with so many supporting characters, they do a good job of giving each character their own time on screen and provide a lot of good elements to the story.
The Santa Clause supporting characters are good but there’s nothing really spectacular about them. So, the point goes to Home Alone.
Best Supporting Characters Winner: Home Alone
Both franchises have really good musical scores and now, we’re going to find out who has the best music:
Both franchises have some really good composers at their head that provide great music.
Home Alone and Home Alone 2: Lost In New York carried great music from the legendary John Williams. Who would’ve ever guessed that John Williams, the man behind the legendary themes for Indiana Jones, Star Wars, & Superman could’ve made a great theme for a comedy like Home Alone? I mean, just listen:
And surprisingly, Williams almost didn’t do it because if you watch early trailers for Home Alone, you can see that they were originally going to have Bruce Broughton come in to do the score. Can’t find anything about why the changeover but it did lead to a surprisingly effective score from one of the legendary composers.
The Santa Clause music is decent but there’s nothing really spectacular about it. The first movie’s score was composed by Michael Convertino and while it’s a nice little score, there’s not a whole lot of spectacle with it. The sequels were composed by George S. Clinton and at least, the sequels provided a much better music score than the first film. But overall, all of the Santa Clause movies don’t have that much memorable score music and is mostly using classic Christmas music. Hell, both the first Santa Clause and the first Home Alone use the same cover of White Christmas by The Drifters.
So, by a long stretch, Home Alone takes this category and gets the point.
Best Music Winner: Home Alone
The sequels to these films vary from good to really bad but you’ll be surprise who wins this one. This is the best sequels:
Most of the sequels for the original Home Alone & The Santa Clause are not really all that great but for the sake of this, let’s look at them on their own merits.
Home Alone 2: Lost In New York is easily the best of the sequels for not only the Home Alone franchise but of both franchises together. Yes, it’s the same as The Hangover Part II and Taken 2 but you know what, I give Home Alone 2 credit for upping the ante and still managing to be a good sequel but not try to outdo its’ predecessor. At least some effort was put into this movie, which is more than I can say about the other sequels.
Yes, after everybody from the first two films didn’t return for Home Alone 3. That’s when the franchise began to take its’ inevitable downfall. Home Alone 3 was a massive failure on all levels because it steered away from what the original two films were and didn’t even come close to feeling like a Home Alone movie until the traps appeared at the end.
And just when you think it couldn’t get any worse, we got not one but two Home Alone TV movies for ABC in 2002 and ABC Family in 2012, Home Alone 4 and Home Alone: The Holiday Heist. And neither one of them was the Home Alone sequel I wanted to see…
Do I even need to say anything about those two TV movies, they were terrible movies and didn’t do Home Alone any justice whatsoever. They make Home Alone 3 look like Citizen Kane, that’s how shitty it is.
The Santa Clause spawned off two sequels in the 2000s, 2002’s The Santa Clause 2 and 2006’s The Santa Clause 3, which are much more family-oriented than the first movie. While neither one of them are great sequels, I will give both of them credit for at least being watchable. Which is more than I can say about the majority of the Home Alone sequels.
Of the three films, the third film is the weakest one but that’s only because it turns into a ‘It’s A Wonderful Life’ situation where Jack Frost (Martin Short) tricks Santa into traveling back in time to not find the Santa suit when Santa fell off Scott’s roof and Frost becomes the spotlight of the holiday season and Scott is back to his job before he found the Santa suit.
It’s not a great movie but unlike Home Alone 3, it’s actually watchable and it at least follows the events of what’s happened in the last movie.
A really tough call because we have at least two good movies in each franchise while the other sequels are not that great. I think I’m going to give it to The Santa Clause because there’s at least something about all three films that has something that’s watchable. Only the first two Home Alone movies are the good movies and the other sequels just suck hard.
Point goes to The Santa Clause.
Best Sequels Winner: The Santa Clause
It comes down to who’s produced the better projects, the best overall franchise:
BEST OVERALL FRANCHISE
Now choosing the best overall franchise is a tough one because like I said before, both franchises only have two good products.
So, to decide the winner for this one, it’s all going to depend on how much more entertainment I get from watching the movies. What’s the franchise that I have to watch every Christmas? What’s the one franchise that I can quote lines from during the holidays?
It’s obviously Home Alone. Yeah, The Santa Clause has at least three watchable movies in its’ series but besides the first one, there’s not a whole lot of memorable things about the sequels.
With the first two Home Alone movies, I can at least remember a lot of really great moments from both films. And in terms of quality, both Home Alone & Home Alone 2: Lost In New York are really solid Christmas movies and while the first Santa Clause is a good Christmas movie, I find more enjoyment coming from Home Alone than I do with the Santa Clause films.
So, the Home Alone movies get the point as the superior franchise.
Best Overall Franchise: Home Alone