The very idea of re-making the classic 1947 "Miracle on 34th Street" might seem as outrageous as replacing Santa with a calorie-counting sports hunk. That didn't stop Les Mayfield from directing a new version in 1994 that manages to put a little movie magic into contemporary New York.
Playing the role of the seasonal and benevolent plump one is Richard Attenborough. He brings a certain sense of majesty to the role of Kriss Kringle and it's hard to imagine better casting.
As before, we have a young girl (Mara Wilson) who does not believe in Father Christmas. That's down to her mother, who has brought her up to be practical and not take in such nonsense. Plus, she organises the annual festive parade for Cole's Department Store, including the hiring of a Santa. Upon discovering the usual actor drunk, she's forced at the last minute to hire Kringle.
Unfortunately Kringle's claims to be the real deal ensures that he's soon on his way to the loony bin. As in the original film, Santa has to stand trial and prove that he is indeed this mythical figure. A different angle is taken for the legal case in this movie and it works quite well in creating a fairytale miracle within the middle of corporate America.
Hughes jazzes up George Seaton's 1947 script with sassy dialogue and disbelieving characters. Richard Attenborough shines through with all the seasonal warmth and cheer that form the heart of a fantasy film pleasingly riddled with plot holes.