After watching the animated Jack Frost movie a while back, I had to check out the live action one. Don’t let this intimidate you…but Michael Keaton is Jack Frost this time around. He may not look like the Jack from the animated film, but it doesn’t really follow that plot anyway. It’s a fun film that breezes by, but the ending holds it back a little in the replay value department.
Jack is the lead player in a band. The problem is that it means he doesn’t have a lot of time to spend with his son Charlie. One day, Jack is called away on Christmas, which is the last straw for Charlie. Charlie gives up on being a musician in his downtime from being a hockey all star in training. As Jack drives away, he decides that the gig just isn’t worth missing Christmas for. Unfortunately, he had already set things into motion and is
murdered taken out of commission on the way home. Charlie doesn’t take the news of his dad’s death very well and keeps to himself for the next year. When a snow man barges into his front yard the next Christmas while claiming to be Jack, Charlie is understandably skeptical. Could Jack have really been given a second chance to watch Charlie score a goal?
The film takes a while to get to the actual Snowman part and it isn’t a very long movie to begin with. Luckily, the first half is still pretty interesting. Jack wasn’t written as an extremely bad Dad or anything so it made the role more realistic. He did have a bad habit of cancelling his promises and it was definitely an issue on his side since he completely forgot about it in the movie as opposed to being called out for work. He should have turned down the Christmas gig on the spot since that was something that could be avoided, but nobody’s perfect and he made the right call in the end. Jack was a likable main character and if anything, you may want to see more of him than the Snowman. Speak for yourself if that’s the case though since I liked the snow form.
It felt like something out of Frosty and the movie even references this. The film runs into a major snag here though. Jack doesn’t want Charlie to let anyone know that he has come back from the dead…this includes Gabby, Jack’s wife. So, why does he not want her to know this? Well, that’s tough to say because it doesn’t make any sense, especially with Jack’s personality. There’s no way that he’s just ashamed to see her as a snow man. For one thing, the snowman was well made aside from its head being too big, also Jack just has too much confidence for that. My guess is that they didn’t want her to know because it adds an extra level of drama to the film as you have to question whether Charlie is actually making this up or not. The whole cast should see the snow man talking, but only 2 of them actually react to it. So, either everyone has bad eyesight or maybe this is actually fake. Luckily, the film doesn’t go down that terrible path, but I feel like that’s what the film was going for. It wasn’t worth it though.
Also, as mentioned before, the ending is pretty underwhelming. It’s not a terrible ending like Bridge to Terebithia, but it’s not a brilliantly out of left field ending like Madoka Magica Rebellion. It just ends on a flat note while you wonder why Charlie isn’t a little smarter. Considering that a few sounds from his magical instrument were enough to set the events in motion…couldn’t he have just played a little more with a different wish? Not only does Charlie not try this idea out, he doesn’t even consider it. I mean, you’ve got to be kidding me. You’ve Got To Be Kidding Me. Now I know why Charlie couldn’t hit the J shot, he never thinks outside the box.
Charlie…wasn’t a good main character. I couldn’t sympathize with him much at all. He definitely has good reason to be a little upset at Jack choosing his job over the family for Christmas, but at least Jack was hoping to earn some money for all of them since the family was on the poor side. For the rest of it, Charlie could have taken it all better. At least he helped stick up for the little girl during the snowball fights with the bullies. It was great…until he left her to fend for herself when there were two bullies towards the end. He flat out just left her and the character never really recovered from that.
Gabby was a good heroine. She was pretty reasonable the whole time and didn’t jump to a lot of hasty conclusions like some other characters have done in the past. She took the snowman plot in stride. We also had the Hockey coach. I just have to mention him because he had one of the most motivating speeches I’ve ever heard in Hockey and really helped the team get their competitive spirit back. Never winning is definitely tough so I’m glad that his team pulled it out in the very end. Another character was one of Jack’s band buddies, but he didn’t do much. He mostly just slept on the job and attempted to have some witty dialogue, but he forgot the wit part of it. The side characters didn’t have much to do, but again…it was a fairly short film. There wasn’t a whole lot that they could do so the film just developed them all a bit and kept it moving. Hey, it still had time to fit in the “cheesy bully turns good” moment.
The best moments in the film were probably the snowball fights. These action moments were a good contrast to the rest of the film. There were a few solid rounds and they all had very serious themes playing. Yes, the film actually had a soundtrack and it was actually very good. I was pleasantly surprised to see this. Watching the kids all get defeated by a Snowman was also pretty rich. Hey, Jack’s a natural at this. The animation for the Snowman wasn’t bad I suppose as they got the permanent glare that Frosty always had, but the actual design could have been a little better. I would have liked fists instead of twigs for the hands since it would have let Jack fight a little more. I suppose that was good news for his opponents though.
Overall, Jack Frost was a fun film. It’s not the kind of film that will end up being particularly memorable, but it hit enough of the right notes. I wouldn’t say that the film did anything wrong and while the ending was underwhelming, it wasn’t terrible of anything like that. A bad ending can go a long way, but this ending is good enough to not hurt the film. I’d recommend this to someone that just wants to see a nice film for Christmas. It’s mostly pretty uplifting and while it tries to have a somber plot, I’d say that it is less successful in that department. Maybe it’s about time I check out those Santa Clause films again. It’ll help pass the time by until they make a Jack Frost vs Mummy 2018 film or something. That’d be a fun match up although they’d need to power up Frost a bit. This version was not too strong to say the least.