Be sure you bring a jacket if you go see "Santa vs. the Snowman."
This 3-D computer-animated holiday film takes you on a North Pole adventure that's so palpable and vivid, it creates a windchill factor. Throughout the movie, snowflakes dance on screen and appear to land on your nose. Audience members at a preview screening tried to reach out and grab them I shivered. Theaters are cold enough to begin with.
Produced by the Oscar-nominated team behind "Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius," this 45-minute IMAX movie brings together state-of-the-art animation that's bolstered by a big screen, a third dimension, and digital sound. Reindeer streak across the screen and over your head. Sleigh bells ring and then echo all around you. Your chair rumbles during action scenes. Characters, color, and yuletide cheer converge at a pitch akin to standing in the middle of the Rockefeller Center tree-lighting ceremony.
The story is about a lonely snowman with an endearing smile who longs for company. He stumbles across Santa's village and discovers a lively toy workshop manned by little green elves (potential playmates). But he's chased away when he tries to grab a musical flute.
Feeling rejected and jealous of Santa's fun-filled world, he devises "Project Blizzard," a plan to overthrow Saint Nick and steal Christmas for himself. So he creates a snowman army and attacks the North Pole. In a scene that mimics Star Wars, ice cubes are launched at the audience (and the elves). Santa's fleet retaliates with blow dryers. Even Kriss Kringle himself wages battle from inside a giant nutcracker.
Though the movie's basic plot is aimed at kids, parents will enjoy some inventive, humorous touches. If you're a fan of computer animation, "Snowman" is worth seeing for its sheer technological crispness. The characters' reflections in windows and the icicles are strikingly real.
The cartoonish violence and 3-D intensity may overwhelm small children. But in the end, this is a fun family film that teaches forgiveness.
Just try to stay warm.