- Charnstar Anderson
Operation Christmas Drop (2020)
It’s come to that very special time of year where I get forced into watching a bunch of bad Christmas films and sometimes, the best movie of the year, Santa Girl (2019). It’s not that I don’t like Christmas, it’s just that… Christmas movies are good at being bad. They exceed at it. For every Home Alone (1990) and Lethal Weapon (1987), you have Home Alone: The Holiday Heist (2012) or Kirk Cameron’s Saving Christmas (2014).
Even worse, is when you have a Christmas movie that is so unnotably bad, that you forget that you even watched it to write a review, until you go to watch it to write a review and remember you already saw it.
On an unrelated note, in a bid to overtake Hallmark in generic holiday fodder, Netflix released Operation Christmas Drop (2020); the story of an uptight up-and-coming politician who falls in love with a laidback hunky military man. He has a heart of gold, she has a cold shoulder because she works in politics. At first they hate each other with flirtatious dialogue, only to later realise that they need each other with flirtatious dialogue. Also, there’s a CGI gecko.
To be fair, the military aspect is kind of the main focus of the story. Erica, our political woman, has been sent to a military base in Guam in order to close it down due to budget cuts, when an article is released about Hunky McHeartofGold and “Operation Christmas Drop”: an annual tradition of dropping presents and food and stuff on Pacific Islands in need. Obviously, working for an even more political woman with an even more heart of ice, Virginia Madsen, means that she has to go to a tropical paradise for Christmas, which is not very Christmassy at all, because as we all know, you can’t have Christmas without snow. That’s why the entire Southern Hemisphere just doesn’t exist in December.
It's a feel good time, she starts by wanting to shut them down, but then she realises that she can’t shut them down because he’s just too hunky and nice, and just as she finally decides that she can’t shut them down, Virginia Madsen comes in with her ice heart and shuts them down. But in an act of defiance that, and keep in mind I don’t know military law, makes both of them enemies of the state, they pull off Operation Christmas Drop anyway. Virginia Madsen is all like “I said no” and they're like “too bad” and also “you’re coming” and then she’s all like, “Christmas spirit is nice after all, and my heart grew three times in size this day” and they all agree that the Southern Hemisphere is allowed Christmas, even if they don’t have snow. Maybe the snow was inside us all along.
Pictured: The new Grinch reboot is looking wild.
It’s super cheesy, but really, what did anyone expect?
So, did you know that the US Military are actually real nice guys? Boy oh, boy, they are so nice. War crimes be damned, when it’s Christmas, the US Military is gonna say “stuff you” to the government and make sure everyone has Christmas.
Pictured: The nicest people ever.
Fun fact: because the US Military holds the Copyright for it’s branded images, such as uniforms, weaponry, symbols, etc., you can’t actually represent the US Military on film without their say so. It’s why Michael Bay was able to make Transformers (2007) with the US Military (how sick did the Military look, am I right?). If you’re trying to criticise the Military, tough luck, kid; you gotta make up your own military branch, like an ALDI brand military.
Now, yes, I’m well aware of the fact that Operation Christmas Drop is a real thing that’s been going on since the 1950s. There’s a great moment where they show Brother Bruce, who has been participating in the drop for almost 40 years, then at the end they have a special thank you for Bruce Best, who looks exactly like the guy they cast, only for me to realise that yeah… it was him… They had him in the movie playing himself. Nice.
But that doesn’t detract from the fact that this entire movie is made to make you love the US Military. It’s pro-military propaganda! Just a bunch of scrappy soldiers trying to stand up to the government and give some humanitarian aid.
To be fair, scrapping humanitarian aid is pretty on brand for the US Government in that part.
There’s nothing you can really say in this department. It’s a Netflix Christmas movie. It looks like a Netflix Christmas movie. That is to say, it looks better than a Hallmark Christmas movie, but it’s still not great.
The entire film was shot entirely on location in Guam, which is really cool. It's the first ever Hollywood film to be shot in Guam. I did a diagram in year 2 about Guam. It’s the only country with Brown in its national flag. So that’s cool.
Pictured: Thank you to my year 2 education.
My biggest criticism goes to the casting of the two leads. Although by themselves, they’re totally fine, their chemistry together is really stale. I genuinely started to believe that it wasn’t going to be a romance movie at all, until they finally kissed under a palm tree at the end.
Pictured: Sorry, I forgot: when you're collectively this attractive, you don't need chemistry.
I wish I could tell you more about the CGI gecko, but that’s really all I have. I’m sorry. There’s a magic CGI gecko. It means luck. It’s there.
I mean, I’ve already established how forgettable this movie is. What more do you want? It just kind of happens, and you forget.
There are a few chuckle-worthy cringe moments; for example, big spoilers ahead, the main hunk has the callsign “Claws”, and the politics woman is naturally under the assumption he says “Clause.” It’s kind of funny, sure, but it gets HILARIOUS when PLOT TWIST it’s revealed that CLAWS stands for “Can’t Leave Anyone Without Santa.” That was the one point where I genuinely laughed.
Otherwise, you know… my year 2 diagram on Guam got a B… and now, after watching this movie, I know a bit more about Guam.
You won’t regret watching the movie, because chances are, you won’t remember.