Saturday, December 5, 2015

Movie Review: Santa's Dog or Hercules Saves Christmas (yellow lab or lovely friendly talkative pit bull, orphan boy)

Santa’s Dog? Or Hercules Saves Christmas? (DVD, NAMP - Gaiam Studio, 2011 or 2012, 80 minutes)

No, Not the Wrong Movie – Or Was it?

When Blockbusters downsized drastically, I purchased a few DVDs (mostly dog movies) from their remaining stock. One DVD case was titled Santa’s Dog (with a yellow Lab) and the DVD itself had the Santa’s Dog sticker on it but the DVD turned out to be Hercules Saves Christmas (with not-a-yellow-Lab).


Of course, I wondered what was going on when a beautiful pit bull appeared early on, on screen, and became the star in nearly every scene. I thought that perhaps the yellow lab on the DVD case and label would be a present to a little boy from Santa and the end so I continued to watch with my usual critical eye.

Not a bad movie at all, with a lovely friendly pit bull. Replacing the DVD into the jewel case after the movie was over, I finally read the words on the DVD case about the story. As they say, truth is stranger than fiction – the words fit the movie I had just reviewed – Hercules Saves Christmas but the dog shown on the front and back was the yellow lab.

Enough of this Mystery and on to the Movie

Munchkin elves help Santa determine who is on the Nice list and who is on the Naughty list. One lucky orphan boy is given the chance to move from Naughty to Nice if he can convince a specific grumpy ol’ man (actually, a grumpy young man – after all this is a movie) to embrace the Christmas spirit. Our little orphan tries to transfer with the help of Santa’s dog, Hercules, who speaks without using his mouth (but his red collar lights up with his words). Of course, Hercules is invisible to all but the little boy.

The munchkins have their own quirks and foibles, and manage to mess things up in their own delightful ways as Hercules’ magical powers seem to be fading. If they fade entirely, he turns into just a mortal dog, not a dog who can speak.

The Race is on!

Who will win the race before Christmas – the good guys (boy and dog) or the bad elves who left Santa’s employ to do evil in the world?


This holiday story is spectacular with the acting talents of both Claus’ and with Hercules the dog. Sally, the love interest, is delightful but Mackenzie Phillips steals the show!

Does the boy fulfill his mission to do good? Does Hercules remain an elf-dog or become a real family pet? Does the grumpy man marry his girlfriend? Does the little orphan boy get adopted? For the answers to these and other questions, watch this family flick! Kids will love the dog and the suspense while parents will stay tuned for the fast-paced banter.

PS – I found four different DVD cover photos on the Internet, one with a yellow lab like the one I purchased. The others are versions of the real movie dog but why wasn’t Hercules smiling? Perhaps he is camera-shy?

Ah, the Mystery is Solved!

It seems that some time between 2011 and 2012, the title changed from Hercules Saves Christmas to Santa’s Dog (or what it the other way around?) but some of the original cover photos remained. Ah, the mystery is solved!

Will the real dog please stand up? Or, I’ll have to ask my son to review this review to make sure I have everything right, like dog, title, photo. . . .

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