The phrase 'Tim Allen comedy' is not one that strikes great confidence that I'm about to see a motion picture of great significance, but by all accounts The Santa Clause made for an entertaining Christmas movie. One thing that is certainly worthy of being an annual favourite is Michael Convertino's enjoyable score. Christmas music has a fairly distinct set of rules, the most important one being to include bells and be outrageously cheerful. As The Santa Clause is a Disney family movie, the results weren't likely to be terribly surprising, but Michael Convertino manages to avoid sounding too much like John Williams of Home Alone and actually comes across with several inspired touches.
Let's Go is a minute of pure orchestral joy that, if it doesn't recall Prokofiev's Troika must owe a debt to either Prokofiev or Tchaikovsky in some way. Perhaps the most unfortunate thing is that it isn't either longer or repeated much throughout the rest of the score. Having said that Convertino's gentle underscore is equally good and employs some interesting orchestral effects, the best first appearing at the end of Believing is Seeing and involves pizzicato strings, bells and high end arco strings that render a texture that is quite difficult to describe, but is very dreamy and quite lovely.
Convertino has included a few lovely themes that are played off each other and avoid too much repetition, even if it is perhaps occasionally unfortunate that he doesn't always do as much with them as he might. The songs are all pretty standard for the type of film; both of the original efforts, The Bells of Christmas and Christmas Will Return are the kind that should feature a video containing lots of cheerful children singing in light snowfall. I listen feeling my cynical side fighting with my mushy side on every listen, although the arrangement of The Bells of Christmas just about manages to avoid it being outrageously yucky.
It doesn't quite reach the heights of either of John Williams' Home Alone efforts, but if it was the score to Home Alone 3, I'd have said it was a more than worthy successor - it's just a shame the actual score for the third film (by Nick Glennie-Smith) is so mediocre. I think only the lack of variety of tone and material - there are several themes, but they are all similar in mood - lets it down. However, for sheer entertainment value, Convertino's effort is a winner.