‘Rare Exports: A Christmas Tale‘ might not be the right movie to show small children, but for us big kids, it’s a perfect Christmas movie that reminds us of the true origin of Santa Claus.
Even you readers chose ‘Rare Exports: A Christmas Tale’ for the top Christmas holiday movies to watch, and I couldn’t agree more. Rare Exports is part fantasy/black humor/horror/fun Christmas movie all rolled up into this cool twisted packet. What I enjoyed so much was that this odd little Finnish film follows the formulaic Christmas movie/feed good, but then it twists and turns them so you don’t know how it will end.
For you pure mainstream movie goers, this isn’t the film for you, as many will be scratching their heads wondering why Santa isn’t the Santa they grew up with. I’ve always been fascinated by the origin of Santa Claus and the deeper in the past you delve, the darker that origin is and Helander has embraced that to make a wonderful film that’s comically evil, and shouldn’t cause the uproar that ‘Silent Night, Deadly Night‘ caused in the 1980′s. Rare Exports has that fun 80′s feel to it though, and taking a lesson from Steven Spielberg, the tale is told through the eyes of a child (Jorma Tommila) who quickly gets wise to what’s fact and what fiction has been foisted upon him. In this version, Saint Nick takes his naughty list very seriously and those loveable elves we’ve grown accustomed to, are nasty old men who grab up these bad kids for their punishment.
The pacing of the film is great, and shot in Finland, the scenic vistas are breathtaking, especially on blu-ray. In this small town, the villagers hunt reindeer to survive, but as a nearby excavation is happening, something is amis and Pietari, our spirited boy with a hard scrabble life does a little spying. As in all horror movies, that kid that spies winds up having the bad come to him, and ‘Rare Exports‘ is no exception. You’ll be blown away by Tommila’s performance since he doesn’t try to be Macauley Caulkin in ‘Home Alone‘, he’s got a little bit of Bruce Willis ‘Die Hard‘ without the overacting. He drags around a teddy bear which makes him adorable but not cloying.
After the excavation unearths Saint Nick, kids around the village begin disappearing, and it’s up to Pietari to save the day with us rooting him on as he truly takes this role on with gusto and plays it perfectly. His father and the locals are a little dense at times and don’t want to believe that Santa Claus is this wretched old man, but it’s not long before they realize that if they don’t do something, all the children in that village are going to disappear forever. This Saint Nick finds even the smallest infraction worthy of punishment.
If you’ve not seen this one, and you like a little horror with your Christmas, ‘Rare Exports’ is a must see for the holidays. Plus you can foist it on your unsuspecting relatives who whine they don’t get to see you enough. After this one, they’ll leave you alone.
Video is presented in 2.35:1 widescreen shining through at 1080p. This film looks amazing, and you’ll love the scenic backdrop, although you’ll see plenty of naked old man elves in pristine color.
Audio is every bit as good as the video, coming to us in a DTS-HD Master 5.1 track that is just phenomenal.
Nicely enough, this blu-ray package comes with a dvd of the film for your friends that are still living back in that age.
A half hour making of featurette that is fairly standard with interviews and some behind the scenes footage.
You will also find four minutes of an animatic and computer effects comparison for those of you that love that.
A very cool featurette that I loved was Blood in the Snow, an all too brief featurette which shows off the cool art that was created for the production of the film and compares it to the scenes that weer actually shot.
Rounding out the disc are the Finnish Theatrical trailer and a Photo gallery.
Best Movies Ever Rating: A
‘Rare Exports: A Christmas Tale’ turns your average Christmas tale on its head and makes you do a little researching to realize that the Coca-Cola invented Santa Claus had quite the controversial beginnings.