Christmas Festival of Ice (2017) movie review

In the tradition of Moonlight and Mistletoe comes Christmas Festival of Ice (man, that title just rolls right off the tongue). It’s yet another Christmas movie where they have to raise money to save the thing.  This time, “the thing” is just one feature of a Christmas Festival: an ice sculpting contest.  (You know, traditional Christmas ice sculpting!  The Christmas tradition that has swept the nation… in places that aren’t always hot or ravaged by climate change.) Anyway, it’s going to be one of those.

So what’s the plot?  New law school graduate Emma (Taylor Cole) goes to work at her mom’s law office (the impeccably dressed Wendy Crewson of The Santa Clause series and Air Force One) and discovers that the annual ice sculpting contest has been cancelled (although the Christmas Festival is still happening).  Emma isn’t having that, so she goes on a crusade to raise the $20,000 it’ll cost to put on the ice sculpting festival.

Let’s put the breaks on.  We can extrapolate that a graduate of law school is at least twenty-four years old.  Emma says she’s been sculpting in the contest with her dad since she was little, so let’s say that she’s participated for the last twenty years  on some level or another.  Without adjusting for inflation, we can then assume that this little town has spent $400,000 on ice sculpting contests over the decades.

Wow.  If that much money was spent per year in the one horse town I grew up in on anything other than high school football, there’d be blood in the streets.  I just can’t fathom it.  And how much does the rest of the Christmas festival cost?  And try to look in the background at the other booths – they are indecipherable.

Also, no one seems to give a shit.  If people really care about a thing or a business sees an opportunity, raising $20,000 shouldn’t be that tough.  Finding twenty companies to give a grand each in the general area (which doesn’t seem economically depressed) shouldn’t be that hard. You get a donation, you let them put up a “Presented By” banner at the festival and done deal.  This isn’t that complicated…

Except that again, no one gives a shit and Emma raises less than half of the money by the deadline only to be saved at the last minute by an anonymous donor.  It would have been a lot more reasonable to have her save the entire festival and not just one facet of it, but I guess that ruins the anonymous donor reveal at the end of the flick, which is a long way to go for a concept that doesn’t exist until the last quarter of the movie.

And I haven’t even mentioned the camera work and editing – it’s not good.  Most of the time, it’s fine, but every once in a while, there’ll be something ugly, poorly timed and just downright bad.  They also had a hard time filming the ice sculptures… sometimes it worked, but most of the time, you can’t tell what they’re supposed to be due to lighting, focus, camera placement, etc.

I will spare you the tale of Emma’s love interest.  Damon Runyan (Star Trek Discovery) was punished for his sins, let’s say that.

Which brings me to the movie’s total lack of interest in ice sculptures.  The more important they become to the plot, the less you see of them.  It’s baffling.  Even the prize winning masterpiece at the end… I couldn’t tell you what it was.

I have no idea.  And “ice sculpture” is in the title of the movie.

No one working on Christmas Festival of Ice gave a shit and you won’t either.  It’s predictable, boring and often nonsensical.  Taylor Cole is charming, but that’s not enough to save this one.

About Jamie Insalaco

Jamie Insalaco is the author of, and editor in chief of

Posted on November 30, 2017, in christmas blog posts, movie review and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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