Kevin Sorbo can also be almost heartbreakingly beautiful…
My good friend, RI in Europe, sent this “The Santa Suit” review as a private commentary about Kevin’s Hallmark Original Movie, but, she wrote such compelling words that I wanted to post her story. She kindly gave permission. Thanks, RI! We appreciate your great insight and willingness to share with us.
Thanks to a friend, I got to see “The Santa Suit.”
I never was big on Dickens in general – or on Ebenezer Scrooge in particular. And I thought that A Christmas Carol has been done to death from each and every aspect it could possibly present that yet another version would only bring just more of the same. Well, it didn’t.
Sure, Shakespeare it ain’t, but the beauty of it is… it doesn’t have to be.
I found the concept of having Scrooge not visited by the Spirits of Christmas, but, turned into Santa both funny and highly original.
The dialogues flowed nicely, the scenes held well together, the characters were all of them… well, characters, each and everyone endowed with something to shine by with well-defined and fleshed-out personalities, well-balanced in themselves between black and white with many, many shades of grey (or rather many colors, really). And I liked the pace, since the movie tried to resume itself to the strictest necessary structure and had, thus, a lot of time to develop its atmosphere.
And yes, I tremendously liked Kevin Sorbo here. There never was too much in the delivery, whether he had to be funny, dismayed, touching, cold, sentimental… whatever – he always hit it right. There were so many scenes in which he was outstanding that I would be hard-pressed if I had to pick one. The (scene) checking the mirror and going, “Yep, still there!” is priceless, and the first encounter with “Darth Elf” (is) superb. But, then, in an entirely different way, so is the monologue/dialogue with the social worker when telling her the “hypothetical” story of someone not missed when disappearing. Out of the top of my head I think I can come up with maybe (maybe!) five actors worldwide (and taking into account all generations I’m familiar with) who can transport the exact nuance of a whole gamut of sentiments as precisely and as accurately dosed via expression only as he does here.
Then there is the “Dickens meets O. Henry” scene with the story of the silver frame, certainly another highlight. The encounters with Marge are, them, too, extremely rhythmed, all of them, as is the low-keyed gentleness in the scenes with the little girl.
Last, not least: I really loved the way he looked/they made him look in this. He was, is and will probably always be ruggedly handsome. But, there is also another dimension to his looks that has been ever since the “Hercules” days (in fact since the earlier “Herc” days) a bit neglected: In addition to being attractive and sexy and all of that, he can also be almost heartbreakingly beautiful in a surprising, touchingly straightforward way. It’s not something he uses (or allows to be used) very often. It happened in “Hercules” here and there. Already in “Andromeda” one got to see it, but, very seldom: Season 1, “Rose in the Ashes;” season 4, “Answers Given to Questions Never Asked;” and season 5, “The Test,” come to mind, but, I’d be hard-pressed to come up with much more in which he lets this… innocent beauty of his (for lack of a better description) shine through and determine the mood of the entire episodes.
It is there also in Last Chance Café to some extent, but, both Avenging Angel and Prairie Fever, as well as the Walking Tall movies don’t use it. Of course, it isn’t something that has to be used; as an actor he has got enough to offer even without it. And I realize that this kind of beauty can be just as much a trap for an actor as it can be a blessing. But, in “The Santa Suit” one can notice how powerful a tool it can also be. I hope they remember it more often in future movies of his.
I was impressed at how easily (and probably without a whole load of money, too) a really… crafty, well-made movie can still come together. I wish they would remember it more often. (Although I have to admit that Hallmark did a good job with Avenging Angel, as well.) And Kevin seems to have had a blast with it and certainly deserves every attention: He always manages to have at least one scene in each one of his works that he does in a completely unique way. This time, though, I noticed at least three.
It’s always such a joy to see talent being let run freely to really accomplish ALL it can.
(Photos courtesy of The Hallmark Channel)