Films like Fatman are why Christmas movies no longer bring me holiday joy

This is the cover of the Christmas movie Fatman which failed to impress me.

IMP Awards

This is the cover of the Christmas movie Fatman which failed to impress me.

It’s December. 

It’s time for family get-togethers. It’s time for hot chocolate and snow gear. But mostly, it’s time for Christmas, and with that comes the movies.

Fatman is yet another Christmas movie starring yet another Santa (Mel Gibson). In this film, however, he isn’t portrayed as the loving, jolly man who fills the minds of every present-eager child. Instead, he’s an overworked, average Joe on steroids with a failing business and a caring wife (Marianne Jean-Baptiste). 

Yes, Santa’s work is going down the drain. With fewer kids on the good list, fewer presents are given, and therefore, fewer digits are appearing on Santa’s paycheck. He must find a way around this—a way around what would potentially be the end of Christmas.

I was hoping to give more of a preface for the movie, but I really can’t without giving it all away. There was absolutely no plot in the beginning. There was character development, and people within the story were established and elaborated on, but overall, nothing was really happening.

My mom had watched the trailer before we saw the movie and found that it spoiled the whole movie’s plot. After seeing the film, I decided to check for myself to see if it were true, and sure enough, it captured the entire meager plotline except for the very last couple of minutes in the film. 

When just watching the trailer, it seems like the movie would have given more, so they did advertise it well, creating interest in potential viewers. However, it fell far from the expectations it set up. In fact, I could’ve simply watched the trailer and looked up the final result, and I would’ve been much more satisfied.

All I received was the setting of the story and a short buildup to the climax.

Towards the end of Fatman, Seven (Eric Woolfe), one of the elves, picks up Jonathon’s green notebook and takes it with him. After that, it is never seen again nor is it explained. The movie does not show what Seven does with it or what happens to it. It is also not explained why Seven picked it up; it was something the scene really could’ve done without and seemed very unnecessary and ultimately confusing.

Fatman was also painfully slow with many extra, unpurposeful scenes as if they needed to make the movie longer. For the entirety of the movie, until the ending neared, I was waiting for further development on Billy’s (Chance Hurstfield) order and Jonathon’s (Walton Goggins) execution of it, but all I received was the setting of the story and a short buildup to the climax instead. 

There were no setbacks for the main characters nor were there small victories. 

The movie also didn’t have an “all is lost moment” for the main characters—such as when the protagonist suffers a major blow emotionally or physically and seems unable to recover for the time being. This sort of element would usually capture my attention and pull me into the story, arousing my interest and sympathy while I root for the heroes. 

Sadly, this film had no such scene, leaving me not particularly sympathetic to any character since it was also unclear who exactly the movie intended to shine the spotlight on.

The questionable story layout didn’t stop there. Due to a contract Santa signed in order to save his work for the time being, the military took over Santa’s workshop for what seemed like no reason in the movie’s sense. The end of the movie didn’t clearly present some resolution to this that would’ve made their presence seem more justifiable. 

The end just ended. 

There was no explicit mention of the future of Santa’s business or his potential dealings with the government or the lack thereof. There wasn’t any connection or conclusion that made their introduction worth it. In essence, it was a problem presented but not solved, making it pointless. 

Ultimately, it was a wasted idea that could’ve been so much better if it was resolved nicely in the ending and tied in more with Billy and his resentment of Santa. 

There was a sort of hopeful ending that suggested the problem of low income wouldn’t happen again, but it wasn’t wrapped up clearly; instead, it was very subtle, and I almost missed it, which would’ve left me confused as to what really happened and why.

With this being said, Fatman wasn’t entirely awful. They got one thing right: the making of the film. The camera angles blended perfectly with the scenes. The lines were decent, and the acting wasn’t noticeably horrible or distracting. The producers definitely spent time, effort, and money on this film, but they should’ve placed extra emphasis on the story itself.

In the end, the movie was done well, but the plotline itself was incomplete and didn’t live up to its potential. Someone could seriously get the entire story by watching the trailer then looking up the final result. Fatman, therefore, is just another Christmas movie that fails to stand out.