Story

Santa (voiced by Shane Jacobson) has been in the job too long and is starting to lose his memory. The law says that means it’s time for Santa to choose a boy to train as his apprentice. The boy must be named Nicholas, be an orphan and have a pure heart. After searching the world over, the council of Santas finds a suitable seven-year-old boy called Nicholas (voiced by Jack Versace) living in an orphanage in Sydney, Australia.

Nicholas isn’t sure whether he’ll be able to take on the huge responsibility of being Santa. The current Santa doesn’t want to give up his job, and this adds to the challenge. Fortunately, Santa eventually realises that he must retire, so he does all he can to help Nicholas train to be the best Santa ever.

Themes

Orphans and loss of parents

Violence

This movie has some violence related to bullying. A boy – also called Nicholas – at the orphanage often bullies the other children. For example, he:

  • takes a toy from a child just to make her cry
  • grabs the good Nicholas and tries to push him
  • steals Santa’s magic ball and shrinks all the orphans and their carer
  • fights with the good Nicholas on a roof.

Content that may disturb children

Under 5

In addition to the violent scenes mentioned above, this movie has some scenes that could scare or disturb children under five. For example:

  • Santa dreams that he’s thrown out of his job and his home, and that he falls from a high window.
  • Nicholas accidentally sets fire to Santa’s beard with a firecracker toy. 

From 5-8

In addition to the violent scenes and scary visual images mentioned above, this movie has some scenes that could scare or disturb younger children in this age group. For example:

  • Nicholas’s best friend Felix is adopted and taken away from the orphanage. The other children are sad about this.
  • Nicholas looks sadly at the photo he keeps of his parents.
  • Nicholas climbs a high wall and falls off.
  • The police come looking for Nicholas after Santa takes him to the North Pole.
  • The fact that Santa doesn’t kidnap children is mentioned (when in reality he has ‘kidnapped’ Nicholas).
  • Nicholas falls off the sleigh several times while learning how to fly it.
  • Nicholas falls off a chimney but Santa catches him.
  • Santa is arrested for being a fake and put in jail. 

Over 8

Nothing of concern

Sexual references

None of concern 

Alcohol, drugs and other substances

None of concern 

Nudity and sexual activity

None of concern 

Product placement

None of concern 

Coarse language

None of concern 

Ideas to discuss with your children

Santa’s Apprentice is a charming Australian/French old-style animated movie that moves at a gentle pace. All the family, including younger children, are likely to enjoy it, although children aged under six years might need help with a few worrying scenes.

The main messages from this movie are about not giving up and working to get over your fears.

Values in this movie that you could reinforce with your children include friendship, helpfulness, generosity, kindness, selflessness and sympathy.

You could also talk about bullying and why the bully Nicholas behaves in bullying ways.