Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Allen's Brain Reviews (sort of) Santa Claus Conquers the Martians

Eegahinc at B-Movie Catechism's (check him out in the blogroll!) mention of this dreck-ful film inspired me to re-view and review it. Mostly, this is an analysis of the spiritual themes in the movie... such as they are.

Of course, the title kinda gives away the plot ending, and ruins any possible tension watchers might have. There is no question that S.C. will come out on top, “conquering” the Martians...however it is that they are involved.

Alright, if you’ve never endured–er experienced–seen this stinker, here’s the basic idea. Martian children are listless and unhappy because they’ve never had a chance to be kids. Viewing earth’s tv emphasis on Santa Claus & getting gifts only increases their gloom. (There's a lesson there, on it's own!) Mars VIP Kimar makes a mission to earth in order to bring Santa Claus back to Mars. But when Santa's cheer starts to spread, Martian Christmas Grinch Voldar tries to take Santa hostage and wreck Mars’ first Christmas.Bad guys are foiled. Mars gets her own Santa. Santa returns to earth to make his usual Christmas eve run. Hooray for Santy Claus. (Only those who've see SCCtM will get that.)

And He called a child to Himself and set him before them, and said, "Truly I say to you, unless you are converted and become like children, you shall not enter the kingdom of heaven.”Matthew 18:2-3 This text expresses the central theme of SCCtM: Children need to be children, and Santa Claus is the corpulent source of jollity and child-likeness. He even inspires adults to giggle at silly jokes.

The children of Mars, you see are raised from birth to become short adults. There is no Martian horseplay–and probably no Martian horses. Martian kids don’t have fun, they have an education–and a zombified, glazed-over expression on their faces as they watch “earth programs”on television. This typifies their longing for things they don’t have: toys, “tender loving care,”and Santa. So they lose sleep and appetite. If S.C. typifies Christ in the film, are the children “restless until we find our rest in thee”?

In an earth interview of Santa at the North Pole, the reporter remarks that, if there any people on Mars, “I sure hope they have someone like you...” This is the constant problem with “Christian” sci fi – Does Jesus’ death atone for non-earthlings? Or do they need, as do the Martians in this film, their own Santa Claus/Savior?

When Kimar decides to seek the wisdom of ancient Martian wise man Chochem, Voldar(obviously the villain in this story, what with his grumpiness and sneering and handlebar mustache) objects, stating that he can “dismiss the wisdom of centuries.”

When asked “What is a ‘Christmas’?”, Chochem replies “It’s an occasion for great joy and peace on the planet Earth. And for children, it is also a time for anticipation as they await the arrival of Santa Claus.” How Advent-y!

Additionally, he counsels that the children “need a Santa Claus on Mars” so that they can learn to play and be children.

“There’s only one Santa Claus, and he’s on earth,” remarks the villain. Later on, so does earth child Billy Foster. Again, if the Claus is standing in for the Christ, this certainly reflects 1Timothy 2:5 “There is one God and one mediator...”

The Martians launch a mission to bring Santa to Mars. The spirit of S.C. already exists in a silly,child-like character named Droppo, the comic foil of the movie. I’m reminded of Romans 10:6-8

But the righteousness that is by faith says: "Do not say in your heart, 'Who will ascend into heaven?'" (that is, to bring Christ down) "or 'Who will descend into the deep?'" (that is, to bring Christ up from the dead). But what does it say? "The word is near you; it is in your mouth and in your heart," that is, the word of faith we are proclaiming.

As an interesting side note, the Martians are misled by many “false Santas” (his “helpers” ringing bells on street corners) before they come to the real thing. Thus has been the journey of many,seeking the truth, yet meeting with many substitutes before they find the real Truth.

Upon locating Santa’s North Pole workshop, the Martians--reminiscent of the mob who came to arrest Jesus in Gethsemane--over-arm themselves, taking along a giant treacherous robot (Torg) to “arrest” Santa. It’s all to no effect. The Claus is in total control and mostly comes of his own free will.

Attempts by Voldar to rid Mars of Santa fail; such as trying to send him out the airlock (He slips in through the air duct, chimney-style), discrediting him by wrecking the toy machines (this works but no one believes it’s Santa’s fault), and even kidnapping him (It turns out to be Droppo in a Santa suit.) Like God himself, Santa is hard to pin down, entrap, or control. In fact, he’s downright slippery!

That’s really about it. Droppo loves laughter and making toys, and is the essence of childlikeness.So, put him in a red & white fur suit, hat, and a fake beard, and you have a Martian “Droppo Claus.” After all, that’s what S.C. is all about, in the eyes of the movie: having fun and being childlike.

“Santa Claus Conquers The Martians” may be purchased cheaply lots of places. I got it for a buck at Target last year. OR, if you’d like to see it in a less-painful format, It was featured on the Mystery Science Theater 3000 “Essentials” set, packaged with the King of bad films “Manos: The Hands of Fate.”


EegahInc said...

Wow, that was perfect and insightful!

Of course, now I'm out of a job, but still, what a great review.

Allen said...

I'll try not to make a habit of it.

Terry said...

I'm amazed that you made it through the movie, let alone that you were able to write a theological review of it. Your comments about whether aliens need Christ or do they have a Savior of their own reminded me of one of the original Star Trek episodes. The people of one planet were "Sun worshipers" (at least that's what the crew of the Enterprise thought); actually, they were "Son worshipers" (as in Jesus, the Son of God). I admire your ability to stay awake during Santa Claus Conquers the Martians!

Allen's Brain said...

I'm kind of ashamed to admit that I haven't seen that particular Star Trek episode.

If you think SCCtM is boring, imagine seeing it as a child! It's obvioulsy intended to be one of those "Christmas classics" that would be viewed along with the Grinch and Rudolph.