Photo via thpioneerwoman.com.

4 Stars

Netflix is notorious for its wide variety of highly-anticipated Christmas movies and shows that are released each holiday season. Without much warning, the streaming service drops on us a random array of the most unique and special films to get everyone excited for the holidays. 

Debuted on Nov. 5, “Operation Christmas Drop” is a new Netflix Original that is all about giving back during the holiday season. With a run time of 1 hour and 26 minutes, the movie is sure to remind fans of what it truly means to spread Christmas cheer and devote time toward helping others. 

Starring well-known actor Alexander Ludwig as Andrew and Kat Graham as his partner-in-crime Erica, the film was surprisingly refreshing with a new and interesting twist on the holiday theme. Other actors in the cast include Bethany Brown as Sunshine, Trezzo Mahoro as Joker and Rohan Campbell as Travis. It is a romantic comedy directed by Martin Wood and is somewhat based on a real life humanitarian U.S. Air Force mission called “Operation Christmas Drop.” 

The film is about a legislative aide named Erica who is sent to a U.S Air Force base located in Guam, having to spend her Christmas working and away from her family. Her job is to review the financial spending of the base and help her boss, played by Virginia Madsen, decide whether or not to close it altogether. As soon as Erica gets off the flight, she is greeted by Andrew, an Air Force captain who has both taken over and organized Operation Christmas Drop. He is passionate about the mission and takes pride in giving up his Christmas to help the islanders, all while trying to convince Erica to get on board.

Operation Christmas Drop is a humanitarian mission put on every year by the U.S Air Force. Packages are made up of donations, clothes and food and dropped off to various islands around the globe. The Department of Defense began the tradition in 1952, where airmen drop supplies attached to a parachute to over 50 islands in the Pacific. The idea of the Christmas Drop served as a background to the film and inspired the setting.

The setting of the film is tropical and vibrant, the beach vibes and the sandy shores making for an aesthetically pleasing movie to watch during the fall and winter months. Although Guam’s tropical weather is very different from the chilly weather usually associated with Christmas, there is no lack of Christmas spirit, lights, Santa hats or decorations in the movie. During the film’s “Coconut Christmas Party,” the beach is full of holiday decorations and cheer as everyone is dressed in their most festive beach attire.

The costumes are realistic and contemporary, the Air Force members are all dressed in appropriate uniforms and the base was authentic and easily identifiable. The local community around the base and the citizens of Guam were heartwarming, welcoming to Erica and the Air Force members and dressed in clothes that celebrated their Pacific Island culture. The island of Guam was picturesque and full of palm trees and unique scenery, making it the perfect setting to spark a romance between leads Erica and Andrew. 

Although a little cheesy and predictable at times, this film is special because it serves as a reminder of what the holiday season should really be about: giving. Erica is a hard-working woman who wants to follow orders and do her job well but ends up changing her plans altogether by falling in love with the island and the mission. Andrew is able to remind her that giving and helping others is the most important thing and that there are millions of people in the world that are in need of her help. The film serves as a reminder that although working is important and necessary to sustain a comfortable life, there is always time to stop and remember to give back and celebrate others.