Jumping Jack Frost
Not to be confused with the horror comedy of the same name "Jack Frost", starring Michael Keaton, Kelly Preston and Mark Addy, is a slightly lack lustre Christmas movie which targets younger audiences but fails to deliver enough to really placate adults who also end up watching it. In many ways it attempts to deliver a slightly similar and hugely dumbed down version of "Ghost" for younger audiences but never really gels coherently to be really entertaining. "Jack Frost" is not completely terrible but compared to other Christmas movies it suffers from a drawn out storyline, poor characters, some dodgy special effects and sadly the lack of anything new.
Jack Frost (Michael Keaton - Desperate Measures) is a budding musician who spends most of his time on the road between gigs, which means he never gets to spend much time with is son Charlie (Joseph Cross - Milk). When Jack is killed in a car accident, Charlie takes the loss badly until the following Christmas when his dad magically returns in the form of a snowman. With an opportunity to make up for lost time Charlie and his snowman dad bond but with others worrying for Charlie's sanity and with warm weather just around the corner the outlook is not great.
Basically "Jack Frost" is a wholesome, child friendly Christmas movie which rather than delivering anything particularly new is generally very average, although it makes a change for it not being another Santa focussed tale. From a child's perspective it has just about enough to keep them sitting still till it ends but from an adult's point of view, and be honest we often have to watch these movies as well, it really doesn't have that much appeal.
Part of the reason being is that all the various characters are extremely 2 dimensional and are very hard to connect with. With Michael Keaton only appearing briefly before his unfortunate demise and the fact he was too busy with his music career to really care for his family, it is hard to empathise with him as a snowman. Keaton's character is not alone in this issue and the fact that none of the characters are really built upon makes them all extremely difficult to relate to. Of course children don't think about such things and for that reason "Jack Frost" is solely a children's movie.
What also doesn't help is that at 101 minutes "Jack Frost" feels extremely drawn out, which is made worse by the fact that it takes about a third of this time before we get introduced to the snowman. Those first 30 minutes where they try and build up the scene and characters is seriously wasted and cut down by half would have helped improve "Jack Frost" no end. But it's not just the first 30 minutes which causes issues it's the other 71 minutes which lack the pace, action and to some extent the comedy which a movie like this needs. In a movie which should have fun written all over it the frivolity is minimal with a poor sled chase and a snowball fight to try and make you sit up and pay attention.
When it comes to the performances Joseph Cross as Charlie is your typical cute but annoying child and does what is expected of him whilst Michael Keaton who as already mention gets dispatched early on never makes the impact when voicing the snowman. As for the rest of the cast well Kelly Preston as Charlie's mother Gabby and Mark Addy as friend Mac MacArthur only ever seem to be reciting their lines rather than acting. But there is amusement to be had when it comes to Henry Rollins who adds a spark as Charlie's slightly psychotic hockey coach.
What really would have helped "Jack Frost" would have to be better special effects which at times were pretty terrible. Now I know "Jack Frost" is a children's movie and they don't scrutinize a movie like I do, but when the animation of the snowman looks completely shoddy you can't but help comment. At times there were jagged edges shown when obviously green screen techniques had been used and an overall fake ness to the snowman which makes him laughable.
Of course some will find "Jack Frost" entertaining but in an age where children's movies often appeal to young and old equally "Jack Frost" fails to pick up on this targeting just the younger audience and alienating anyone else. At times the screenplay naturally lead to scenes which would be able to appeal to adults but then were cut short making the whole pacing of the movie feel slightly off.
What all this boils down to is that "Jack Frost" is a movie which you can happily let your children watch in the knowledge that there is nothing questionable, if you don't mind talking snowmen, or offensive but there is little to appeal to any adult who ends up watching it. As a Christmas movie it is enjoyable but there are many others which are both more entertaining and more magical.
Tags: Christmas Movies