In this 3-D IMAX film, reindeer really do fly over your head

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.

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