Indiana Daily Student

COLUMN: ‘Operation Christmas Drop’ isn’t just a crummy Christmas movie

Alexander Ludwig stars as Capitan Andrew Jantz and Kat Graham stars as Erica Miller in "Operation Christmas Drop."
Alexander Ludwig stars as Capitan Andrew Jantz and Kat Graham stars as Erica Miller in "Operation Christmas Drop."

I’m going to be honest, I never really cared for Christmas movies. I wasn’t raised on a lot of the classics such as “A Christmas Story,” so I guess I just never developed a taste for them. 

In other words, I wasn’t looking forward to the explosion of crummy Christmas movies that comes with this time of year. I wasn’t dreading it — I just didn’t care. But you know, new releases are hard to come by these days, and this is what I saw was coming to Netflix this time around. 

Now, I thought I knew what I would be getting when I flipped on “Operation Christmas Drop.” I didn’t think it would have any surprises in store for me. I figured it would just be fun and light, the kind of movie that’s perfect if you’re looking for something to play in the background. 

But it actually did surprise me. Just not in a good way. 

“Operation Christmas Drop” is about a congressional aide named Erica who is sent to an Air Force base to come up with reasons to shut it down. She’s sent to that specific base because it does a thing every year where it drops presents and supplies on neighboring islands as a humanitarian mission. While she’s there, she meets an attractive captain named Andrew who tries to defend the titular operation. 

So yeah, “Operation Christmas Drop” isn’t very good. The whole thing reeks of laziness and is just poorly made overall. Lots of weird shots, bad lighting and some baffling visual effects. Like, there’s a random fake gecko that shows up throughout the movie. I am at a total loss as to why they spent the time and money to build that visual effect. It was a little funny, but not on purpose. 

But I fully acknowledge I am not the target audience for this movie. Movies like this were never my thing to begin with, and it’s not like “Operation Christmas Drop” was going to go out of its way to draw in new audiences. Why would it? 

On its own merits, “Operation Christmas Drop” is perfectly enjoyable. It has pretty leads, a gorgeous setting and, most importantly, a really heartwarming story. It checks all the boxes Christmas movies need to. 

And this is where I figured it would end. I thought I would be able to write this review and then it would instantly leave my brain. But there’s something about it that just keeps bothering me. 

At one point during the movie, I started to think it was being awfully laudatory to the military, and I decided to do a quick search. My suspicion was confirmed. Operation Christmas Drop is a real thing the U.S. Air Force does every year. Ugh. 

Suddenly, everything about the movie just started to feel really gross. I couldn’t just watch it and think about it as a sweet little movie to watch around Christmas — now it was a piece of military propaganda disguised as heartwarming holiday fun.

While I do think there’s still some enjoyment to be had in “Operation Christmas Drop,” I don’t really see the reason for anyone to watch it when so many other Christmas movies exist. Just typing in the word “Christmas” on Netflix yields plenty of results, many of which I imagine are much less problematic. 

I’d like to say this is a decent choice if you’re looking for light holiday fare, but there are many better options on the same streaming service. It’s probably best to steer clear of this one. 

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