Guest Author - Gail Kavanagh
There aren't too many Christmas movies in the science fiction genre to watch at Christmas, but everyone has their favorite fantasy movies to watch this time of year. Here is my list of movies the family and friends enjoy over the Christmas season.
The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe
When I first read this book as a child, I particularly loved the idea of Christmas in Narnia - a real Christmas with sparkling white snow, a jolly Santa and his reindeer, and presents that really rocked, like swords and daggers and healing potions. The 2005 Disney movie really captured the spirit of a Narnian Christmas, returning after so many years without it - imagine, being in a land where winter never ends and Christmas never comes. The feeling of joy and delight when Santa returns is well portrayed, and makes this movie a real favorite with us at Christmas.
It is an immovable Christmas tradition with us to watch The Grinch. The youngsters love the Grinch's attempts to do away with Christmas altogether and spoil the Whoville fun, and the adults can enjoy some smart humor as well. Hands up - who has a relative that can do the Grinch creep really well?
The Nightmare Before Christmas
Another favorite with our family of budding Goths, this Tim Burton tale is delightfully creepy and we usually screen it first at Halloween, because it crosses over both festivals so well. Jack Skellington decides to hijack Christmas because he is bored with doing Halloween every year, but makes a complete mess of it. Kids love that.
Phoebe Cates' tragic recall of the Christmas that ruined Christmas forever was so side splittingly funny, that it was constantly parodied, even in the second Gremlins movie. For the rest, this 80s classic was a joyride of gruesome gremlins, cute little mogwais and messy business with blenders. It's still one of the best popcorn movies ever on Christmas Eve.
Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone/Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
The Yulefest sequences in both these movies make one long to spend Christmas at Hogwarts. Magical things happen all over the place in the first Potter movie, like wizard's chess, and the invisibility cloak, while Goblet of Fire's Yule Ball is a sheer delight, with Hermione blossoming into a beauty, the Weird Sisters rocking on stage, and Ron seething in the background. Great stuff.
Santa Claus Conquers the Martians
This is really the only science fiction Christmas movie that I can think of, and it is fun to watch with the grandkids at Christmas. Santa and two little humans are kidnapped by Martians who want to cheer up their bored Martian kids, and of course the aliens learn the meaning of Christmas. Made in 1964, it's pure hokum, with terrible special effects, but honestly, it is fun.
Santa Claus the Movie
Watch it for John Lithgow, the 80s King of Comedy, who created so many irresistibly funny screen characters. In this movie, he is the appalling B.Z, inventor of 'Christmas Two' - and despoiler of Christmas One. Watch it also for David Huddlestone and Judy Cornwell, the cutest and most adorable Mr and Mrs Santa Claus ever to appear on screen - you just want to hug them both. Try not to worry too much about Dudley More. He occasionally gives the impression that he hates Christmas and kids, and would have been happier playing Scrabble, but he's harmless really.