Santa and Pete (DVD Review)12 Oct, 2008 By: Anne Sherber
Prebook 10/17/08; Street 11/25/08
Stars James Earl Jones, Hume Cronyn, Flex Alexander, Tempestt Bledsoe, Erica Gimpel.
Santa and Pete is a fanciful and charming Christmas story about the evolution of Santa Claus and his mysterious helper, Pete.
Jones plays a grandfather whose grandson comes to visit at the holidays. As the old man and the young boy finish decorating the tree, the boy discovers the last two ornaments, one of Santa Claus and the other of a Moor that Jones identifies as Pete. When the boy asks who Pete was, Jones launches into a story that spans generations and continents.
Cronyn plays Saint Nicholas, the patron saint of children. He wanders the Old World each year, keeping his Book of Life, but always returning to his beloved Holland every Christmas. One year he is detained in Spain and accused of being a spy. But a sympathetic cook helps him escape, and together the pair sails to the New World.
As they meet new people and have adventures, little pieces of the Santa mythology are explained; his red coat, his reindeer, his hat, his propensity for coming down chimneys.
Santa and Pete is a period piece with a contemporary flair. Alexander, especially, brings a modern sensibility to the proceedings as Pete. Cronyn is delightfully crinkly as the magical Saint Nicholas and Jones is like a soft, cozy blanket as the grandfather who loves to tell this story.
Not just a holiday story about families at Christmas, Santa and Pete is a holiday story actually about the holiday and is a lovely little family film that will delight children and satisfy parents.